With the iPad Mini becoming available to customers Friday, Apple (AAPL) has once again demonstrated why it is a powerful player and undeniably the top choice for consumers in the tablet space. Early reviews of the new 7.9-inch tablet, which according to conclusions from several top hardware experts is very well designed and offers excellent build quality, have hit the web. Overall, reviewers were enthusiastic and quite positive about Apple’s newest tablet, with some calling it a “five-star device” while noting that they were surprised how much they liked it. The only real complaints across most reviews are the gadget’s screen resolution being lower than the existing full-size iPad 4, and the price being a bit high.
We have collected a summary of conclusions from several top hardware reviewers, but you can click on the names to go to the full writeup:
“What’s unique about the Mini? Without a doubt, it’s the design. It’s cute, it’s discreet, and it’s very, very light. It feels like a whole new device for Apple. It’s light enough to hold in one hand, something the iPad was never really able to achieve for extended periods of time. It’s bedroom-cozy. Other full-fledged 7-inch tablets feel heavier and bulging by comparison. This is a new standard for little-tablet design. It makes the iPad feel fresh. After a week of using the iPad Mini, it seems to find a way to follow me everywhere. It’s extremely addicting, and fun to use.
A Retina Display and a lower price would have made the iPad Mini perfect….Regardless of your feelings of the Mini’s price, or its A5 processor and non-Retina 7.9-inch display, here’s what you’ll notice when you pick it up: it’s really shockingly nice to hold.”
“I’ve been testing the iPad Mini for several days and found it does exactly what it promises: It brings the iPad experience to a smaller device. Every app that ran on my larger iPad ran perfectly on the Mini. I was able to use it one-handed and hold it for long periods of time without tiring. My only complaints were that it’s a tad too wide to fit in most of my pockets, and the screen resolution is a big step backwards from the Retina display on the current large iPad…The $329 price may well tempt some budget-conscious buyers who have lusted for an iPad. But Apple believes the lower size and weight, not the price, are the key attractions.
If you love the iPad, or want one, but just found it too large or heavy, the iPad Mini is the perfect solution.”
“It doesn’t feel like Apple is racing to some lowest-price bottom — rather it seems to be trying to raise the floor. And it does raise the floor here. There’s no tablet in this size range that’s as beautifully constructed, works as flawlessly, or has such an incredible software selection. Would I prefer a higher-res display? Certainly. Would I trade it for the app selection or hardware design? For the consistency and smoothness of its software, or reliability of its battery? Absolutely not. And as someone who’s been living with (and loving) Google’s Nexus 7 tablet for a few months, I don’t say that lightly.”
“[T]he hardware here is much nicer than [Google’s] Nexus 7 and it offers access to the comprehensively more tablet-friendly App Store, but whether that’s worth the extra cost depends entirely on the size of your budget — and your proclivity toward Android. Regardless, the iPad mini is well worth considering for anybody currently in the market for a tablet. Its cost is compelling, its design superb and it of course gives access to the best selection of tablet-optimized apps on the market. To consider it just a cheap, tiny iPad is a disservice. This is, simply, a great tablet.”
“Small and light enough to take everywhere but big and clever enough to be considered a full-blooded tablet, the iPad Mini provides a near-perfect balance – for a price…millions of people are likely to go crazy for the latest slab of aluminium to grace Apple’s iOS line-up.”
“I was wrong. I have wondered publicly whether or not a smaller tablet would fit into my workflow and even suggested the larger iPad would be better. I was wrong….I was really surprised with how much I used the iPad mini in my daily routine — more than the 10-inch iPad. There are a couple of things you have to remember with the iPad mini. First, it isn’t just a smaller iPad, but rather it feels like its own device … The iPad mini is a well thought out device and it’s exactly what you would expect from Apple.”
“Lining those pluses and minuses up against those for the Nexus 7 – which garnered four stars – there’s no doubt that this is indeed a five-star device. The 20 percent difference in comparative price is more than made up by the difference in build quality and software selection. Apple is going to sell a lot of these.”
Apple has sold 100 million iPads since first introducing the device in April 2010. According to IDC, the tech giant currently owns 68% of the tablet space. The iPad mini is expected to strengthen that position.