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Is buying the first gen iPad Mini a good idea?

The Apple iPad Mini has received its fair share of attention since its launch event last week. Then again, which Apple product doesn't? With speculation that can stretch out over months, or even years, the Apple rumor mills are arguably as hyperactive as the many, many fanboys that Apple has managed to gain since the start of this decade (usually with good reason). But on a purely logical level, does the iPad Mini deserve to be something you need to splurge upwards of $329 on? Read on to find out!

 

 

The Screen

 

Apple can spin it in any which way, but the screen of the iPad has a decidedly low resolution. 1024x768 is a frankly terrible resolution for tablets in most price ranges of late, as practically all of them (including the sub $200 Google Nexus 7) manage to sport a 1280x800 resolution. It certainly is quite a fail on Apple's part to skimp out on something as crucial as the iPad Mini's screen, especially after spending months on touting its Retina displays.

 

Usability

 

Here's the deal - the iPad Mini falls in a strange spot between 10 inch tablets and 7 inch ones. In fact, the only tablet in recent memory with a comparable screen size to the Mini's 7.9 inch screen was the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, and even that had a very different final shape thanks to its 8:5 aspect ratio screen, as compared to the 4:3 seen in the Mini. The 4:3 ratio has its advantages - any user of normal iPads will know that the added width is a huge benefit for web browsing, reading and casual gaming. The 8:5 (or 16:9) ratio seen in most competing tablets is exponentially better for watching videos and multimedia, but little else. The way you plan to use your tablet is naturally your call, and you should decide whether you want to go with the iPad Mini or not depending on how you intend to use it.

 

The Price

 

This has been a sore sticking point for a massive number of people out there. The $329 price tag (with increasing capacities/wireless capabilities adding $100 or more to it at each successive stage) is exorbitant for a tablet that was expected to be Apple's answer to the pesky challenge posed to it by the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire. Those two Android tablets may be far too cheap for Apple's profit margins, but the consensus was on a price tag hovering in the mid $200s. The rumor mills got that wrong, and now, spending an amount of money that:

  1. Almost encroaches into the territory of the 9.7 inch iPad 2
  2. Far exceeds the price of most comparable competitors in this particular niche of the tablet market
  3. Seems a bit excessive for what is essentially a first generation product

seems misguided at best.

You may be aspire to be an Apple device owner and consider the iPad Mini to be an easy entry ticket into the iDevice owners' club, but be careful before you end up with a hole in your pockets.

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