Some lucky folks who attended Apple’s media event in San Jose, California earlier today, got a chance to get their hands on the newly released iPad mini.
The consensus seems to be that the device is thin and light, with a great build quality. The hardware, although older, seems to do fine when running apps on the smaller screen.
Here’s an excerpt from TechCrunch’s hands on:
The finish of the device is matte on the back, making for a very nice feeling in the hand. The weight is really the most impressive part, though – as with the iPhone 5, but to an even greater degree, the iPad mini feels almost weightless when compared to its predecessors. It’s so thin and light as to feel almost like a prop, rather than a functional device.
Using apps on the mini is what you’d expect from an iOS device: fast, smooth and overall a pleasant experience. But the best part is that there won’t be an update curve as there was for the iPhone 5 or iPad with Retina display, since it retains the same resolution of the original iPad, meaning apps designed to work on that device work out of the box. I tried out a number of native and non-native apps, and all worked flawlessly. The camera is also completely usable for walkaround casual shooting, something that will please the growing number of folks who seem to want to use a tablet as their camera.
The build quality and finish both feel good as you’d expect, but the device is just considerably lighter than the iPad which results in superior in hand feel.
The display doesn’t feel cramped either thanks to the reasonably large diagonal size. It’s clear that the iPad mini is a nod to those who want something even more portable than the standard iPad.
Yes, it’s lighter and more nimble, making it feel as if Apple concocted its own version of the 7-inch tablet. And indeed, that’s precisely what has happened here. It’s still not “small,” though. While a fully outstretched adult hand can generally grasp it without help from the other, you’ll still want both for typing and using apps. It’s still too big for your average pocket, and it’s not going to save you a heck of a lot of room in your knapsack compared to the 9.7-incher.
Like most Apple products, the build of the smaller tablet is excellent, easily surpassing the competition on the market. By comparison, the Nexus 7 and Fire HD feel like toys.
The display on the mini looks incredibly sharp, and even though the resolution is lower than the 3rd and 4th generation full-size iPad, it doesn’t immediately seem like a 1024 x 768 display. The smaller, 7.9-inch surface area certainly helps squeeze the pixels.
Applications I tried out seemed to run as snappily as anything on the 3rd generation iPad. Titles like Real Racing 2 took a little bit of time to boot up, but gameplay was fine.
Here are a few hands on videos with the iPad mini: