To Mini or Not to Mini

Cortney Naylor, Lead Creative Most of us have already made the decision that we want an iPad, but are unsure whether or not it will fit into our workflow. With varying capacities, color, connectivity, and carriers, the complexities are enormous and not easy to navigate. Of course, with the introduction of the iPad mini, the decision process has become even more hectic. My goal with this article is to help make that decision to purchase an iPad mini less complexed, so we can spend less time deciding on whether to buy the new iPad mini, and more time enjoying it.

iPad mini, Big Features

Before we talk about whether we should buy an iPad mini let’s first discuss what it has to offer. The mini is compact, coming in at just above 7 inches. It weighs in at 0.68 pounds for the wifi, and 0.69 pounds for the wifi +3G making it the lightest iPad yet. The screen resolution matches the iPad 2 at 1024 by 768. The horsepower within the iPad mini is the same power we can find in the iPad 2, Apple’s dual-core A5 processor. Of course, there had to be some differences than the iPad with Retina display. The iPad mini comes in both wifi or wifi + LTE (the fastest connectivity carriers offer). If you choose to go with the wifi + LTE, you have your choice of carrier VERIZON, AT&T, and for the first time ever, SPRINT. (For data pricing click here) Apple decided to cover the back of the iPad mini in black slate or silver, just like the iPhone 5. Like the iPad with Retina display, it has a FaceTime HD camera on the front, and 5 megapixel camera on the back that records High Definition Video. The iPad mini wouldn’t be complete without our dear friend, Siri. As usual, the mini is available in three capacities, 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. So to put it all in laymen's terms; it’s compact, light, with nice resolution, camera, and battery life, all for the starting price of $329. (For additional details on pricing click here) Just as important as what the mini has to offer, is what the mini doesn’t. The same thing that gives the mini an advantage is the same thing that makes it a disadvantage, the screen size. For some the screen size is perfect, for others the larger screen size is needed and preferred. With the iPad mini, not only is the screen smaller, but it’s not a Retina display. If you have grown to love the beautiful Retina display, an Apple device without one may be a big turn off for you. Last but not least is the mini’s speed. It’s fast, but not as fast as the iPad with Retina display. The speed difference between the mini and the Retina display is how Apple choose to set them apart.

Inventory Your Needs

So now that we know what the mini has to offer, you should ask yourselves, how would you plan on using an iPad mini? Do you read, watch, play or create? For many of us, we do a combination of them all. The big decision here is deciding which one you do the most, or plan to do the most. I suggest giving a percentage to each category, for example, 70% of the time you can find me reading on my iPad, 20% of the time I watch my iPad catching up on the latest TV episodes, 5% of the time you can catch me playing a game (typically whatever the latest craze is), and the other 5% of the time you can find me actually creating something. I typically create documents, spreadsheets, or I’m touching up some photos in iPhoto. Understanding how you use or will use your iPad, is essential in deciding whether the iPad mini is the right choice for you. Next, you are going to take the features of the mini, and how you use or plan on using your mini, and see if they benefit you. Here’s an example. In the previous paragraph, most of my usage went to the reading category, with reading taking up 70% of how I use the iPad. Taking that into consideration, I took a look again at what the mini has to offer. It’s compact, light, and can fit into one hand. Essentially, I can hold it in one hand just like a book, it can fit easily into my purse or backpack, and it’s not too heavy to read for extend periods of time. Continue to go through the list, and match features to see if they benefit how you plan on using your mini. You may just find that mini has more of what you want then you thought, or it might not. The iPad 2 and the iPad with Retina display didn’t go anywhere for a reason. You may find that you create a lot with your iPad, so the power of the iPad with Retina display would really come in handy (or currently does the job for you). Perhaps you like the mini, but the smaller screen with your declining vision just won’t work. Trust me, my vision keeps getting worse, so I know the feeling. The iPad 2 for $399 may be the best deal.


Apple has made it clear in its iPad family that there is an iPad for everyone. Whether it’s the iPad mini, the iPad 2, or the iPad with Retina display; Apple is determine to see an iPad in everyone’s hand. With prices starting at $329, it’s hard to resist all the things we have come to love about the iPad, in a smaller lighter version, at that price point. If after the article you still need help deciding; book a Quick Consult over the phone, feel free to ask any questions you may have. We want you to get the right iPad for you. If you already purchased the new iPad mini, or perhaps you choose to go with another, book an appointment at online, and we will help you get up and running.

I’ve already made my decision, I’m going to mini, and I’m looking forward to it.

Cortney conducts Quick Consults for The Mac Instructor and runs her own video production company. To book an appointment with Cortney, click here.

Rick Stawarz

Minneapolis, MN

I am an Apple Certified Support Professional with over a decade of experience supporting families, schools, and businesses. Tech has always captured my imagination, but it's not my only passion. I'm an ordained Anglican minister;  Aeropress is a daily ritual of mine; I've driven across Mongolia; and I'm the father of three girls. I hope to provide for you a balanced and realistic perspective into the practicality of technology.