iPad vs. iPad Mini

Review: iPad Mini

iPad MiniAs a recent convert from Windows products to Apple in 2012, I began to consider purchasing a tablet to fill the gap between an iPhone and a MacBook Air. While I found the super-light laptop great for making a backpack less cumbersome, it is still difficult to use on something other than on a table or other hard surface. Additionally, while the iPhone is nice for pocketability, it isn’t a great size for reading at the airport or watching a video while lounging. While the iPad, of course, already fits this niche, to me it still seemed somewhat cumbersome for things like reading, and too expensive for something that would be used purely recreationally, so I decided to try the iPad Mini.


Price: $329 from Apple
Ownership: 3 Months
Buy at Amazon.com (aff)

 


Pros
1) Build Quality – It’s a sweet, well-engineered, solid product.
2) Size and Weight – Unlike its bigger brother, the iPad Mini is the perfect size for reading and one-handed use. Plus, it’s super light. (Sidebar: I will go more in depth about in a future blog post about cases, but suffice it to say, I’ve stopped using any kind of case when I’m at home because the machine is just too awesome sans any kind of weighty nuisance.)
3) Software – If you like iOS, then you will like the iPad Mini. If you don’t like iOS, why are you still reading this review?
4) Screen – Some people hate that the iPad Mini does not boast a Retina display. While it is not as sharp as the iPhone, it’s not a very noticeable difference to me, as I currently type on a perfectly fine non-retina computer.
5) Battery – The battery life of the iPad mini is good. I can watch a full hour of video with the battery only decreasing by about 3-5%.

Cons
1) Ports – Lightning isn’t bad, but it should be cheaper to get an HDMI to Lightning adapter if you want to hook it up to show something on a TV.
2) Muting – The mute switch will only mute app and general sounds. It will not mute the video, which is dumb.
3) Flash – I still wish you could get flash content on iOS.

Summary

I really like the iPad Mini. I think it’s a better form factor than the iPad (though the rumors about the iPad 5 seem intriguing and might make it a wash). For me, it still isn’t as much of a “go-to” device as my iPhone or Macbook Air, but it’s really good for home lounging, as well as a cramped location (airplane, sitting in a seminar). If you are into the Apple ecosystem and want a fun, less expensive (though not inexpensive) tablet, I can only recommend the iPad Mini.

My iPad Experience

A Guest Post by Bridget Germain

iPadHi! I’m Bridget, a friend of Jeff’s. I just recently bought an iPad, and Jeff asked me to write a little post about my experiences with it so far. But first, some background on me: I’m a 23-year-old non-profit business professional (I work for Big Brothers Big Sisters doing corporate relations) and I love my gadgets, but know next to nothing about how they work. I’m also an unabashed Apple devotee, and have been lusting after the iPad for a while.

I bought it primarily to use as an e-reader after I discovered that I really liked using iBooks on my iPhone (except for the fact that it was tiny). Now, I know you’re probably going to say that I could have bought a Kindle for $99 instead of the $800 that I spent on the iPad, but I’ve used a Kindle before and didn’t love it (it doesn’t have page numbers! AGH!). Plus, I wanted to use the iPad for other things; namely, as a personal assistant.

No, I don’t use Siri. But when I started my new job, I really wanted something that I could use to schedule all my appointments, something that’s not always easy to do on the iPhone. Plus, I tend to forget to actually add things to my calendar when I just write them down in my notebook, so having the iPad with me at all times has been dandy.

While I have used it mostly for work so far, there are a few apps that have come in really handy for other things. One is the Mint.com app, into which you can import all of your bank accounts, investment accounts, and loans, and budget for just about anything under the sun. As someone who never wanted more than one bank account but somehow ended up with two bank accounts and three investment accounts (yes, really) plus student loans, it comes in pretty handy to see my total cash flow each month. You have to make an account online before using the app, and the website itself is somewhat easier to use than the app, but the app is great to just quickly check up on something. Plus, it uses lots of graphs and charts, and as a visual person, that helps me a lot.

I also blog on WordPress, so I use the WordPress app as well. I’ve never written a post from there, but it’s useful to check page stats and reply to comments when I’m at work and don’t want to log in on my work computer! It’s definitely a LOT better than it used to be, or at least better than the iPhone app used to be. Luckily, both have improved magnificently over the past few updates, so if you do blog using WordPress, I would definitely recommend the app.

Some of the other apps I use are Facebook (obviously), Goodreads (basically a social networking site where you can publicize and keep track of all the books you read), Slate (an online news magazine) and Kindle (because one reading app is obviously not enough).

I’ve been bad and haven’t really worked on keeping my iPad backed up, but I do use iCloud, so there’s that. I’m considering getting a Dropbox account for work, but I haven’t done it yet.

Something I’ve been having trouble with is finding a case. I originally bought a “Smart Case” from the Apple store, but I didn’t like it because it didn’t stand up the way it was supposed to. I’m looking now for a case that will fit in a folio, since I got a branded Big Brothers Big Sisters folio when I started working there. (If anyone has any recommendations, let me know!) So I’ve been pretty undecided so far, but for anyone out there who is also still undecided, just don’t buy a Smart Case.

Finally, I want to give you a quick breakdown of what I spent on the iPad. I had initially planned to get the wireless-only 32GB one ($599) but ended up going with the wireless+3G 16GB one, for $629. (I got it in black to match my iPhone.) I also got AppleCare for $99 (because I tend to be hard on equipment) and a dock for $29. I haven’t used the dock much yet, but plan to use it more once I buy my new iMac (which I imagine I will be writing about once I’ve spent some time with it!) and spend more time at my desk.

All in all, I would definitely recommend the iPad. I love mine, especially for reading using the iBooks and Kindle apps and for my calendar.

Tablets for Business

Why it Makes Sense

Tablets for BusinessTablets make great productivity gadget. Aside from being able to play games, watch videos, and listen to music, there is a multitude of social networking opportunities out there to connect you to everyone on the internet. Tablets may appear to be the new way to procrastinate, but we seem to be forgetting all the practical uses. The business environment is actually where these devices can shine.

For our business, we chose the Apple iPad. We found that the iPad is a useful mobile business tool for many reasons. The operating system provides many features and makes it easy to synchronize all your personal information, like calendars, contacts, tasks, and email. Manually consolidating all your personal information from one device to another device is a thing of the past. Aside from synchronizing your personal information, there are many apps that allow you to share and collaborate documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. With the combination of the Apple iOS features and the many business apps on the market, the iPad is an extremely productive tool.

Collaboration

In every business, there are times when several people will be working on a single project. In the past, this meant each individual’s numerous revisions and edits would all have to be consolidated into a final document. Now, with programs like Dropbox and Google Drive, many people can work on the same document and see the changes in real-time, providing one collaborative document instead of a multitude of revised versions. This can be done with word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, drawings, and even templates, and they can be shared with any number of people.

Tablets are perfect for traveling since you can easily hold meetings—including video conferencing—through a variety of apps and collaborate on projects in real-time. In extreme cases, you can even access your full desktop using a remote access app, such as LogMeIn, for the few things that you can’t use the cloud for. Aside from being able to access your private files, there are geo-location apps that can be very useful in finding places, people, and even events in your area. I personally find it most effective when trying to find food on the go, but most businesses are listed to make it easy to find anything you might need.

Business Operation on the Go

A tablet is great for someone on the go, such as a business owner or manager. There are many business apps that can be used for overall management of a physical business. For example, there are security apps that allow you to monitor all live feeds of security cameras, see access logs of who entered and exited the building, and even control door locks and lights. Now companies are even beginning to get involved with payment services that integrate with PayPal or credit cards.

Another great feature is the ability to accept credit cards on the go. For a small percentage per swipe, you can add the convenience of credit cards and get paid instantly regardless of what type of business you run.

Portability

Tablets are far easier to transport than laptops or desktops due to their compact size. When you need to use a tablet there is no startup or login process necessary, whereas laptops always need to load the operating system unless they are already in sleep or standby. Its size and ease of use make it ideal to use while on the go—have you ever tried to use a laptop while walking? Also, instead of needing a bag to carry a laptop, most people only need a case for their tablet.

Can I Replace all of my Computers?

Tablets are the most effective when they are used on the go or for when you will be moving from meeting to meeting; it would be inconvenient to constantly pack and unpack a workstation. However, if you plan to work in one place for any more than two hours, it may be easier to use a laptop. This is simply because the access to a full keyboard and a mouse allow for faster typing and user input. It is possible to get a full keyboard for a tablet, but some might argue it is still not as convenient as having a computer. Other situations where a tablet would not suffice would include situations where you are using accessories requiring USB, SATA[?], or a video output port. Occasionally there are workarounds so that you can still use a tablet for these situations.

Personally, I believe that most business professionals will require a desktop or laptop computer. Oftentimes I find my multi-tasking capabilities on a tablet are limited compared to using a computer because I like to have multiple things displayed on the same screen.

Apps and Features We Suggest:

1) Dropbox (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac) – Store any documents that you want access to. Share folders with others for collaboration.

2) Google Drive (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac) – Perfect for writing up new documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. Any document created within Google Drive does not count against your 5GB allotment!

3) Kindle (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac) – Read all of your PDFs and kindle books or documents from anywhere. Great for reducing textbook cost.

4) PhotoStream (iOS6) – Share photos and images with people privately.

Great Resources:

1) Apple – iPad at Work
2) Inc. – Should you Buy or Lease Computer Equipment for your Business?