I normally don’t review hardware. I like it, but given my one experience with serious electrical work (buy me a coffee, it involves a barn roof), I tend to not mess with it. So I’m purely a hardware consumer.
That means when things like the iPod came out, I was highly interested. A deck of cards and it has all my music? I’m in! Now I have an 8G iPhone (yes, the smallest one) and it’s perfect for what I need it for: a phone and a walkman. Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple games (Tetris, Bejeweled, and Dungeon Raid), but for the most part I use my smartphone to handle the phone and texting stuff, directions when I’m in a new place (which happens a lot now) and listening to baseball games.
I also have a laptop, which I use to code and write and … well you know what they’re for. Then I have an iPad. I’ve had one since they first came out as I’ve always had a mad crush on the idea of an Apple Tablet. Back in 2004, a whole decade ago, I wanted it for ebooks. Today, I use it for books, comics, surfing the web, Angry Birds (do do doot do!), email, and writing. Yes, I like writing stories on my iPad.
Recently, I started looking at the iPad Mini as a viable choice. It’s smaller, lighter, and still retina. At the time, my iPad was the ‘new’ iPad (3rd gen, with Retina), and it worked well, but always felt heavy and clunky in my purse. The main issue I had with the mini was how would reading comics feel.
Answer? Awesome. The retina display is somehow better on the mini, crisper and clearer without me having to crank the brightness up. It has good battery life (reading all day) and the apps are more responsive than my iPhone. There’s less lag jumping between them. This is due to the beefier processor, I know. I also got more disk space, so now I don’t have to download one manga at a time and delete it when I’m done. I like to re-read.
The only thing I don’t like is reading it in the sunlight, which I know is a common kvetch of the iThings. I love reading on my deck or patio, in the sun, so now I just sit with my head in the shade and it works out. Also, and this is a first world problem, my iPad is so crisp, my eyes get tired reading on it. Though that I’ve solved by changing the iBooks font and colors.
So why blog about this? Well my iPad also has an SSH app (iSSH) and a file editor (Diet Coda) and when you toss in WordPress and Chrome (with my normal profile saved), I can bring just my iPad to a WordCamp and be able to work or take notes. I joked I needed a svn/git app, but really I just use Coda, sync with DropBox, and pick up the files when I’m at my laptop. Yeah, it’s pretty cool.