By Space Cowboy
Good day friends. I am an adamant Android fanboy. I feel it’s taken the exact direction that digital technology should be taking with its open-source policy, because sharing is caring after all; and I love variety, and with Android, the variety available is huge. Android powered phones, tablets, digital cameras, gaming consoles, Google Glass… it’s fantastic.
Now, cast your minds back to the heady days of puberty, male readers. Do you remember that terrible feeling of dread as an awkward boner took hold of your trousers? You know, the boner that should never have been, one brought on by something you would never want to tell anyone about? Well, I’ve never had one of those myself – in high-school, I would frequently tell the girls their stocking-clad feet or the smell of her schoolbag were making me rigid, nothing was too weird – but after playing with the iPad Mini, I think I might know what one of these feels like. I’m ashamed to admit it, but… I like this little tablet.
Usually I would now list the reasons Apple is a dog-shit-eating, limp-wristed, hipster-centric cock-up of an organisation, but I actually just want to get this over with. The embarrassment is killing me. So I’ll move on to why I like the iPad Mini enough to write an article on it.
Firstly, for the first time ever, it’s an Apple product that is not shamefully overpriced. It’s really quite reasonable. And another thing I like about it right off the starting line is it’s form-factor; suddenly, the less-rectangular-than-Android shape makes sense, and it’s one of the things I hated about the bigger iPads. At this size, it rests well in the hand and offers sufficient real-estate for me to never think, “Ah, would that it were another two inches larger!” Just for the record, I’m still talking about the iPad Mini here.
So, how about some specs? Dimensions-wise, we’re looking at a 200mm height, by 134.7mm width, by 7.2mm thickness, weighing in at 312g. It’s tiny, and yet the build-quality makes it feel solid and imparts a presence in its tiny frame. How could Apple have possibly fitted anything nice inside though? They just did. It comes in a 16, 32 and 64 GB model, with 512 MB of RAM (the same as the iPhone 4 and 4s, which is plenty given the proprietary software) and a Dual-Core Apple A5 chipset running at 1 GHz, running iOS 6 off the shelf. These specs aren’t going to make geeks lock their bedroom doors and turn off the lights, but they are more than enough for the user-experience this little machine grants you; every transition, every app, every game runs completely smoothly. The screen is a 7.9”, 768 x 1024 (@ 162 ppi) LED-backlit IPS LCD as with all of Apple’s products nowadays, and it works beautifully. Take a look at the viewing angles on this thing:
I fear my awkward boner is betraying me quite heavily already. But there’s a little more to be said about the iPad Mini. The battery life is ridiculous. I tried for three full days to run the battery down to zero, and was only able to do so on the fourth day. I streamed, I gamed, I browsed, I snapped photos, and it just kept going. Browsing is fast and responsive over WiFi, and although the model I tested had Cellular capability, I didn’t have a SIM to put in it. I streamed videos from it to the TV via Apple TV Decoder, which lets you wirelessly stream any media on your Apple mobile device to a TV with the decoder plugged in to it. It’s fancy, and a little dick-ish, but very cool. With regards to the camera (and this is where I’ll admit that Apple beats any Android phone hands-down), here’s one I took of a nice flower in the garden. Note the sharp crispness of the image and the bright vibrancy of the colours, all 16-million of them.
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Now, look here, this tablet is not perfect. Amazing, but not perfect. Firstly, the shitty South African iStore is woefully understocked and did diminish the experience for me a little bit, and as I’m writing primarily for South Africans, this needs to be considered. And having to use iTunes to load media on or off the device is a harrowing affair, as we already know. Also, if you happen to have an iPhone 4/4s and think you can incestuously charge all your Apple gadgets with one cable, you will be sorely disappointed; Apple went with the new connection for the iPad Mini, the same one used for the iPhone 5. Which costs upwards of R11,000. So hang on to both of your chargers (and your old phone) for now kids. Also, although iOS 6 is very fluid and polished, it gives me the same chill I get from using any Apple product: it’s cold, clinical and dead (this is obviously a matter of preference). Also, as with all Apple mobile devices, you will not be able to Bluetooth pictures of your balls to any non-Apple device, and I had so hoped this might not be the case with the Mini. It’s just this kind of snobbery that makes me want to rage about Apple but I’m going to nip it in the bud here.
I’m not sure what else to say. The iPad Mini worked hard for me and never disappointed, never had a glitch to complain of, did everything the moment my fingertips beckoned it to do so. It was never uncomfortable, whether I was lying down or seated, or even standing. It’s not over-priced, but certainly not at the cost of quality. This is an amazing little 7” tablet, and though I say so with cheeks full-red, it gave me a good, turgid techno-boner. Thanks Apple for getting something right. You may return to being shit now.
I score the iPad Mini, 85% Turgidity!