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iPad mini: Feels light, handles well

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Since Tuesday’s announcement I have been trying to visualise the iPad mini in relation to the existing third-generation iPad. Eventually I cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of the new device (7.87 x 5.3in) and placed it on top of the iPad’s screen. Immediately I can see that this is more or less the ideal size for my purposes.

The conjuring trick is squeezing that larger 7.9in (diagonal) screen into a device that is little bigger and much lighter than the main opposition, the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7. To achieve this, Apple has made the surround smaller than on either of the other devices. This means a much better user experience, particularly for web browsing, without extra bulk, as was pointed out graphically at the presentation.

The iPad mini is also little more than half the thickness of the opposition. In terms of overall volume (height x width x depth) the mini, despite its bigger screen (the others have 7in diagonals) is by far the smallest. It has a volume of only 11.67 cubic inches compared with the Nexus 7 at 15 and the Fire at near 16 cubic inches.

When we take the lighter weight into consideration, 11.04oz compared with the 11.99oz Nexus and the hefty 14.6oz Kindle, it is obvious that the iPad mini is a winner in terms of handleability and convenience. It is also manufactured to far higher standards, in metal. Above all, is an Apple product with all that signifies.

Even compared with the Kindle Paperlight, the iPad stacks up well as a reading device. It is only slightly bigger in overall volume (11.67 cubic inches against 10.95); it is thinner, believe it or not, and the difference in height and depth are not massive when the much more usable 7.9in screen is taken into account.

I have deliberately not tried to extend the comparisons further, particularly not to price, because I am primarily concerned with size and weight combined with an adequate performance. For me, also, remaining within the Apple eco-system is all important.

After doing my bit of origami and working out these comparisons I am even more convinced that the iPad mini is what I have been looking for.

by Mike Evans, 26 October 2012