Back in December of 2012 I wrote a blog post about "Why I Switched to an iPad Mini." In that post I talked about whether the iPad mini was big enough to be used as a sheet music reader. The conclusion that I came to back then was that for my use at the time the smaller screen of the iPad mini was big enough. Now, 6-months later, I wanted to post an update on that conclusion.
It's been about 2-months since I made the switch from a 2nd gen iPad (iPad 2) to an iPad mini. For me it was more than just a form factor change though. I went from a wifi only to an LTE iPad and from only 16 Gb of storage to 64 Gb. FREEDOM! Being able to access almost all of your data anywhere AND work on it as well as being able take a lot of things with you (including apps) was very liberating. My 16 Gb iPad was maxed out and I was having to get rid of apps (apps that I still used mind you) just to add new apps or content. No more. With that out of the way, here are my thoughts on the mini:
- Harder to type in landscape while in your lap (not quite big enough)
- A little too small to watch a video with someone else
- Some app UIs have buttons that can be hard to hit
- Was hitting the "x", "c", "b", or "n" keys instead of spacebar, took a while to adjust to the smaller keyboard (minor and I quickly adapted)
- Complicated sheet music is a little to small to read (sight reading difficult music probably not a good idea)
- Much more portable, I really do take it EVERYWHERE now
- MUCH lighter, more comfortable to hold for long periods
- A more ideal size to take photos or video with
- Even better on a cramped middle airplane seat, just like holding a paperback book instead of holding a small laptop
What makes the mini stand out:
- The size of a small lightweight notebook now, perfect to grab and take anywhere
- Portrait 2-thumb typing is very efficient, now my main mode of entry
- Use it almost exclusively in portrait mode where I used my iPad 2 almost always in landscape (small form factor makes portrait natural and comfortable)
- iPad mini is an exceptional in between size (between the iPhone and a laptop)
I have to say that after 2-months I am extremely happy with my iPad mini. I use my iPad to get a lot of work done while I am not at my desk and the mini is much more portable and comfortable to use for that purpose. The smaller form factor isn't for everyone, but I think for most people and for how they use their iPads its a more ideal size than the full sized iPad. Be honest, which would you rather carry around... a thin textbook sized device or a much lighter weight paperback book? I read Fraser Speirs' blog post this morning about how his school approached the decision on what device to go with for the next 3-years (another iPad, iPad minis, other tablets or a Chromebook). At the end of his post he pretty much summed up my thoughts on the iPad mini..."If I had the budget to provide two computers to each pupil, those two devices would unquestionably be a MacBook Air and an iPad mini." Those are my devices, an iPad mini and a 13" MacBook Air, and I couldn't agree more...they are a perfect combination!
With all this talk about how great the smaller form factor is I am actually using a rather large case with my mini and I absolutely love it! My next blog post will talk about that case and why it works so well with the mini.