They say good things come in small packages. The iPad mini is a perfect example.
It fits all the power, aesthetic, and fun of an iPad into a size you can comfortably hold in one hand. Apple hits a sweet spot with the 7.9 inch screen size. There’s enough screen real estate to browse the Web or read a book. It’s also slender enough to fit inside my jeans pocket.
This smaller tablet will run all of the software in the App Store – and there’s lots of it. Apple fits all the specs of an iPad 2 into a smaller package. Making it one of the most powerful tablets in its size category.
Some complain the iPad mini’s screen isn’t as high resolution as other tablets. But I found the 1024 by 768 resolution quite sharp. The contrast is high enough to make reading text easy on the eyes. 3D games from the App Store also look great.
What makes the iPad mini so usable are its touch gestures. Use all fingers and swipe across the screen to switch between apps. Or pinch all five fingers to return to the home screen.
Let’s dig into the iPad’s settings menu to unlock some customization secrets. Under “General” check out the “Accessibility” options. You can make text on your iPad larger. It’s great if you find e-mail and notes too hard to read on the mini screen.
Or turn on “zoom” to really get a good view. This allows you to double tap with three fingers to zoom in. You can also swipe with those three fingers to pan around the screen.
Also under the “General” settings are the Keyboard options. You can add typing short cuts. If you find yourself typing the same phrase over and over again, you can create a shorter macro.
Use the Bluetooth on the device to connect a keyboard for better typing. I find this roll-up keyboard works nicely with the iPad mini. It makes for a super-portable work station.
Starting at $329 for the 16 GB version, the iPad mini is a pricey option for tablets this size. But you get a quality build, with an exterior that is metal and not plastic.
But if you can hold out one more year, you might get an improved product for the same price. Odds are Apple will get the Retina Display into this for 2013.