Is the iPad mini worth the money?
A man holds an iPad mini during the launch of the iPad mini and iPad with Retina display Wi-Fi models in Los Angeles, November 2, 2012. REUTERS/David McNew
The Apple iPad mini's marketing campaign looks to win over consumers who are looking to purchase a slightly smaller (and cheaper) version of the iPad. It's working. Consumers are going out in droves to purchase the iPad mini thinking that it is the best option to fulfill their tech dreams, but many buyers will receive a rude awakening. The iPad mini is lacking in many ways compared to the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7. With the popularity of the Apple brand, it's safe to say that if its price were lower, the company would have been able to dominate its tiny-tablet competitors.
In a feature-to-feature comparison, gizmodo.com highlights multiple ways in which the iPad mini is inferior when compared to the Kindle Fire HD. First and most importantly is the price. Consumers are always trying to get the best bang for their buck, and the iPad mini does not provide the most affordable alternative. The 16 GB Wi-Fi-only model is $329. If you plan on downloading tons of apps and other content and want 32 GB of storage, that model costs $429. The 64 GB version is $529. The 64 GB version isn't even the most expensive version of the iPad mini. Apple is set to release a Wi-Fi and cellular version of the device that will range from $459-$659. The Kindle Fire maxes out at $614 for the 64 GB model and the Nexus 7 has a maximum price of $299 for the 32 GB version.
Not Just About Price
For the price of the Apple iPad mini, you would think that it would have the clear advantage in the specs department, but this is also not the case. One glaring omission from the iPad mini is the fact that it's missing the retina display that has popularized many of the new Apple devices such as the 4th generation iPad and the MacBook Pro. In fact, the iPad mini has fewer pixels per inch than both the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7. The iPad mini has 163 pixels per inch while both the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 have 216 pixels per inch. The lack of pixels in the screen prevents you from watching HD movies and TV shows on the iPad mini.
There are still good features and aspects of the iPad mini that would be very appealing to its consumers. The iPad mini is only 0.68 pounds for the Wi-Fi model and 0.69 pounds for the Wi-Fi plus cellular version, which makes it very easy to carry around on a long day without placing too much strain on you. Your iPad mini will be available to use all day, even when you have forgotten your charger at home because the battery life is roughly 10 hours.
Another feature in which the iPad mini holds the edge is the camera. It comes with a rear camera that has almost twice the mega pixels of any competitor. It also has a front-facing and a rear-facing camera, which neither the Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7 boasts. The iPad mini also has the biggest screen in its class with its 7.9-inch screen. This means is has a 35% larger screen size compared to the 7-inch tablets.
Even with all of those attractive options, the most alluring feature of the iPad mini is a feature that makes Apple's mobile devices popular: the App Store. The variety and sheer number of apps that are available on the App Store cannot be matched by any of its competitors. There are apps for those who purchase it to have fun, to be a functional tool or for people who want to use it strictly as a multimedia device.
The Bottom Line
Negative aspects aside, the Apple iPad mini has some attractive features, and it is probably at the forefront of your mind when you think about purchasing a small-sized tablet. However, this does not mean that it is the best buy for you. This is especially true since it is missing some key features, which have popularized many of Apple's other recent devices. Given Apple's history with its devices, there is more than likely an iPad mini 2 on the way that will improve upon all of the areas that the original version is lacking in. The iPad mini may be the most notable device in its class, but there are plenty of more attractive options out there for your wallet and your fingertips.