The iPad Mini is proof positive why technical specs don’t matter anymore. It’s slower than both the third and fourth-generation iPads, and it features a significantly lower resolution screen that doesn’t even meet HD video standards.
And yet, its minuscule size and overall convenience makes it the best iPad I’ve ever used and the best tablet on the market.
The original 9.7-inch iPad basically created the modern tablet market, and Apple’s iPad line still accounts for more than 50 percent of new tablets sold (according to IDC). But I’ve never felt truly comfortable using any iPad for prolonged periods of time — and the same goes for every other tablet I’ve used that’s around 10 inches. They’re tough to hold with one hand, and even with two hands, it’s not exactly effortless to hold large tablets for hours on end.
Smaller tablets don’t have any of those issues. You can throw a small tablet in a bag and forget it’s even there, and they’re generally light enough to hold with little effort, like a paperback book. Given their size and flexibility, they’re naturally more focused on content consumption.
With its 7.9-inch screen, the iPad Mini is slightly larger than its 7-inch Android counterparts. But it still has all the makings of a small tablet, and that extra screen real estate actually makes it far better for reading.
Apple has struck a balance between size and performance with the iPad Mini — and it’s one that will resonate in the tablet market for years to come.