Resolved Mini or 4 for textbook use?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by sully677, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. sully677 macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2007
    I'm trying to decide which one would be best for graduate school to accompany my air. I have a MBA and would like to use the iPad to store my most of my textbooks to lighten the weight of my bag.

  2. crazydawg807 macrumors newbie


    Aug 22, 2011
    ipad 4 easily. you want an ipad with a bigger screen. i also store my textbooks on my ipad, and reading textbooks on a mini will be much more difficult than on an ipad 4 due to screen size and the lack of a retina display on a mini.
  3. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Are your textbooks ePub or PDF? If PDF, the mini might be too small. For ePub, either would work equally well.
  4. sully677 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2007
    I plan on getting the Kindle edition books. The nice thing about the mini would be that I could fit it in my white coat pocket, but the textbook portion is most important.
  5. davideotape macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2012
    The 4 is the better machine all around with the exception of size. For textbooks the 4 is the best choice. Not only is the screen larger but it's also clearer.

    The only thing the mini has going for it is its size. And while that's a big thing (i love it) everything else points to the 4 for what you need.
  6. GrandPhrase macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2012
    Textbooks, as you mentioned, are probably better on the iPad 4 because of bigger screen size which makes it much more easier to navigate and handle all that enormous amount of content. And PDFs as well.

    The mini would only be good for standard books alone, from the iPad mini's size (books are usually the size of the mini, so it would only be natural to handle them that way - books' contents are meant and optimized in that size, after all).
  7. SunnyRenegade33 macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2012
    Assuming you have the budget to afford both, it's a no brainer - go with the iPad 4.

    Bigger screen, great portability, retina display (which is ideal for text reading) - why would you consider anything but?

    Honestly, one thing I've noticed is that a lot of people tend to suggest that other users on this forum purchase the iPad mini. The funniest thing about it is that said people almost always have an iPad mini themselves. Apple released the iPad mini simply to reach to a broader base of customers financially speaking. The iPad mini is basically an iPad for people who aren't willing to dish out the big bucks for an iPad (not that this is a bad thing).

    I simply don't think the size differences between the two tablets have any sort of significant difference in terms of functionality and usability.

    All in all, I'd go with the iPad 4.
  8. raccoonboy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2012
    the only reason to get the mini should be if you are aiming to save budget.
  9. THFourteen macrumors 6502a


    Apr 8, 2010
    Thats a rubbish argument.

    I gave my ipad 3 to my wife because i only ever used it on the sofa, i don't carry a bag everywhere so i can't be bothered to take a full size ipad out of the house.

    The mini (if it ever arrives) fits nicely in both my summer jacket and my winter coat pockets.

    I'd prefer if they had made it retina and A6 and kept the price high, but for me and a lot of mini users the form factor is worth more, as it means we will use it more.

    Not to mention, have you ever tried to use a full size ipad standing up on a tube train or a bus? you look like a "douche" and you can't operate it very well at all.
  10. WilliamLondon macrumors 68000


    Dec 8, 2006
    Your situation and mine are nearly identical. I've got an MBA and I'm studying a programme right now and wanted exactly what you're looking for, something to complement well the MBA (mine is the 11"). I used to have a full sized iPad and didn't want something that big to lug around, as it seemed contrary to the MBA's size and weight benefit.

    My Kindle (which I love) just doesn't work with PDFs, so that was a non-starter really, what I wanted was something like the size of the Kindle but could display PDFs well enough to read (articles, books, magazines, scans of books, some of which are very old, and sometimes the scans aren't just one page, but two). I looked at other higher resolution options, but in the end went with the mini and I couldn't be happier. The screen, despite what some on here say, is *not* an issue. I can read a double page scan without zooming in. It's not ideal, and what I like to do is clip the page in Acrobat so there's just one page, but if you don't have that option, it's still readable. Also, there are tools like Good Reader where you can set a clip for every page, so you eliminate any extra white space on each page and it automatically maximises your viewing area.

    The screen on the mini I find to be wonderful. I know it's not a retina display, and while I would like it to have one, it's far from being a deal breaker or rendering the device incapable of delivering lots of functionality. I play games on mine (which its great for), I do all the other things and more I did with my full sized iPad, but I love this one even more because the size and weight and thinness of this thing is something that makes it so great.

    The iPad 4 would not be a bad decision, I would never say that, but if you really are looking to complement an MBA, I think the mini is that and more.
  11. sully677 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2007
    Thank you all for the suggestions. I am still trying to make my mind up, but both seem like great options.

    I have looked at the kindle hd, but the iOS software seems to be superior from what I've seen.
  12. lokster macrumors 6502


    Feb 7, 2010
    i am in the same boat as you and am also trying to decide between an ipad 4 or a mini :)

    im leaning towards the mini because of the price and portability. the weight of the ipad 4 is heavy but the retina display is awesome, im too used to seeing cleartype on my iphone 4s
  13. JayDude132 macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2010
    I currently use Kno for all my textbooks on my iPad 2. I have been considering switching to the Mini as well, because my iPad 2 has problems with its battery. Sometimes it dies overnight with no apps running, sometimes it will last days...

    Anyway, I went to the local Best Buy and went to to check out what my textbooks would look like on the mini and they are surprisingly really nice! I think over Christmas break, I am going to pick up a mini.

    The other problem with the full-size iPad is that sometimes it can get a little awkward to hold - especially if you are going to hold onto it for a long time. However, if you have a tabletop to set the iPad on, then its not a problem.

    I know everybody has their personal preferences as far as retina vs non-retina, but I have read thousands of pages of text on the iPad 2 and my eyes have yet to start bleeding :p The non-retina is not bad to read on in my case, but if you are more sensitive to that sort of thing, maybe you should go with the iPad 2.

    In the end, I think you should drive to your local Apple store or Best Buy and check one out for yourself to see what you think. The mini is very portable, easy to hold with one hand (for reading) comfortably, and in my opinion - not too small to read on. The iPad 4 is more powerful, has a larger viewing area on a nicer screen, but is harder to hold. Not that it is too heavy, but its just... awkward sometimes, if you dont have a surface to set it on.
  14. sully677 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2007
    I think the mini is what I'm leaning towards. Even though the text may be a little smaller than the 4, it will be less weight to add to my MBA and other books.
  15. davideotape macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2012
    Speaking as someone who has both, at least for now, the regular ipad is not heavy at all. While yeah, the mini's lighter, the iPads still light and very much a portable device. If you're going to have a bag at all times the ipad 4 is definitely the way to go. It's objectively a better machine (much faster processor, graphics, retina display, much easier to read).

    If you want something to carry around with you all the time, even when you don't have your bag then the mini is fine.
  16. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Hi. I am a grad student. I scan pretty much everything -- books I need for seminars, books I need for my research, journal articles (if not already available in ProjectMuse, JSTOR, etc.), and class handouts. All of it goes digital, and all of it gets read on my iPad. I haven't carried a book in my bag for a couple of years now -- since the iPad first came out. If you are so worried about weight, get the iPad 4 and ditch the dead tree books :)

    The Mini is simply too small to read comfortably, and so is the Nexus 7. Why? If you want to read a journal article, it is a PDF (not an ebook), it almost inevitably comes in A4 size, and the big iPad is closest to that. It is a little smaller, but not significantly so. The problem with the Mini is that you will probably end up reading in landscape, and then it slows you down. I am a speed reader and need to be able to digest things in large chunks at least a paragraph at a time.

    HOWEVER, other students in my cohort prefer the Nexus 7 over the iPad because of the weight. They don't mind the landscape so much. My advice? Give it a try in the store. Find a PDF online and try to read it (just search for pdfs). You'll know right away.

    Personally, the size and screen resolution of the iPad makes up for the weight, because I am in it for the best reading experience, but if weight is your priority, then the Mini (or Nexus 7) is the way to go.
  17. WilliamLondon macrumors 68000


    Dec 8, 2006
    That's not true - I own a mini, and I read PDFs on it every single day for my studies, some I get from JSTOR, but many are scans (some from very old books). Like you, I hate carrying books, so even if I can't get the PDF from a variety of sources, I'll check out the book from the library, bring it home and scan it so I can turn it into a PDF which I then send to my mini, because I love reading on these types of devices, and it's the main reason I bought the mini over a full sized iPad.

    While the iPad4 will be a better viewing (not reading) experience, I am someone that can tell you *from personal daily experience* that the mini is very usable with PDFs - as I said it was my number one criteria when choosing the mini. I don't have to read in landscape mode (unless I'm too lazy to clip a double page scan, and then I'm reading 2 pages without zooming). For me reading on this smaller device is so much easier than my previous full sized iPad (which I did read on, and it was not bad, but this smaller form factor is much more enjoyable an experience, despite the fact its resolution is less than other devices).
  18. christophermdia macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2008
    I am doing my MBA and have long since been using my iPad for reading PDF documents and downloading txt books via course smart. When the Mini came out I gave the 3 to my wife and am just finishing up this semester with the Mini reading documents and txt books. It has done wonderfully. I can read things efficiently on the mini and with less strain of holding the heavier device. Yes it's not retina but I don't see where that has been an issue on anything but some web pages (and that is far and few between). Everywhere I have been I have been able to enjoy my mini, traveling, working, in a meeting, in class, in the mall while my wife shops for Xmas gifts.....I updated my wife's 3 yesterday and thought, man this thing is so much bigger! Luckily, I bought her a mini for Xmas since I'm sure she secretly loves mine!
  19. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Good to hear.

    Personally, I found the experience quite unpleasant, but I think the best thing to do is go into a store and give it a try, or borrow a friend's for a while to see what works for you. Maybe you'll like the Mini, maybe you'll like the iPad. I guess it depends on the person. For me, the retina display and size of the full-sized iPad are perfect for PDFs.
  20. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I would get the iPad 4 for reading textbooks.
  21. SnowLeopard OSX macrumors 6502a

    SnowLeopard OSX

    Dec 5, 2012
    iPad 4 without a doubt. Bigger screen, retina display, and still very portable -- wouldn't these attributes be ideal for textbook reading?

    Out of curiosity, why wouldn't the iPad 4 be a better reading experience?
  22. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    The iPad4 is without a doubt a better reading experience. He's just saying that the smaller size makes it more enjoyable for him, but not because it's technically a better experience.
  23. LushMojo macrumors regular


    Oct 26, 2008
    Camden, Maine
    I'm going to pick up a Mini for clinics and rounds. A great deal of our med students have switched because the Mini fits easily in a white coat pocket (which you mentioned - what type of program are you in?).

    I have the 3 and love it for textbooks and PDFs. I have Big Robbins on Inkling and several others in the Kindle app. I use GoodReader and NotesPlus for PDF reading and marking up respectively.

    I won't miss the 3 that much and once the Mini retina version comes out I'll be switching immediately.
  24. WilliamLondon macrumors 68000


    Dec 8, 2006
    That's a very good question. For me personally, I just love the 7" (ish) size of these type of devices, as I feel they're much more book sized and more comfortable to hold with one hand for longer periods. I have a Kindle (bog standard) that I still use as my eReader (my mini hasn't replaced that yet, and I'm even considering a Paperwhite Kindle as an upgrade - the Kindles are just so lightweight, and the battery lasts weeks, not just hours or days as the case may be - and I'm an avid reader), the mini is really about viewing PDFs and other iPad fun stuff (love the games!). The mini's size for me is perfect for lugging around, and pulling out of my bag which I do much more often than when I had a full sized iPad - for me, size is a big determining factor when it comes to whether I consider something appealing.

    Small, lightweight, discrete, quality - I'll take two! ;-)
  25. Anti-Lucifer macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2012
    For those that say the mini is great for reading while the iPad retina is great for viewing is full of sjht

    Unless you don't "view" with your eyes how can u say iPad retina isn't good for reading books and PDFs?

    The mini is fine for iBook ePub content but its inferior to the retina iPad for viewing PDFs.

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