Glen Davies, CORE’s IT Manager and a member of the New Zealand Institute of IT Professionals, couldn’t wait to get his hands on the new iPad Mini when it hit the stores on Friday 2 November. The following review was printed in the New Zealand Herald on Saturday 3 November.
I was sceptical about the new iPad mini, and have had a few debates with my son, who was convinced it was a good thing when Apple released it recently.
I couldn't see the need for a smaller version. Why wouldn't you pay a little extra and get the full size one?
Today I purchased one for work, as CORE is obviously involved in the integration of technology into education, and we wanted to evaluate how the iPad mini might compare with the full-sized iPad as far as a student-owned device goes.
How it stacked up..
I am now in the unfortunate position of having to admit to my son that he was right. The smaller form factor just seems much less cumbersome – not that a normal iPad seemed all that cumbersome before having a play with the mini. As it was passed around the office the response was that it seemed much easier to hold and use than a regular iPad.
Speed and responsiveness are not noticeably different to a full sized iPad, and the built-in speakers are pretty impressive. The one downside is the lack of a retina display, if you are moving from an iPad 3 you will notice the difference – if not you will probably think it is just fine. The strange thing is that when you are working with it you don't really notice that the screen is significantly smaller than a full size iPad.
It looks like Apple may have slipped on standards slightly in the rush to get these out of the door though. The final finish on the first one tested is not quite up to Apple's usual standards, with the very edges of the screen appearing just slightly unfinished and sharp. However, looking at another unit the finish is what you would expect, so maybe the first one was a Monday or Friday model!
Although these units come in at about $100 cheaper than an iPad 2 and $250 cheaper than the retina iPad, I think it is the size rather than the price that is going to make these a hit with students if the reaction from my teenagers is anything to go by. "This is way cooler than an iPad" was the response after 30 seconds of playing with it.
Although I would like to spend a bit more time working with different apps, my initial view is that the reduced size in no way reduces the usability or usefulness of the device. From a school perspective this means you can potentially look at getting more devices into students’ hands for the same money. For example, for $10,000 you can get 13 retina iPads or 20 iPad minis.
Others agree, but we're taking the Mini into schools to test it there
It appears that others are agreeing with me, if the Business Insider review is anything to go by!
But, how well will the Mini go in schools? Over the next week we are hoping to get an iPad mini into the hands of some students and teachers in early childhood and primary settings, so watch this space for a follow up post written by e-Learning Facilitator Tania Coutts in the coming weeks with some more feedback from the coalface.
We'd love to hear from you about your experiences with the iPad Mini
Have you had a chance to try out the new iPad Mini yet? What are your initial thoughts?
Glen Davies is the IT Manager at CORE Education, and responsible for the IT infrastructure for CORE's geographically dispersed workforce. His passion is finding ways to incorporate technology into teaching, learning, and online collaboration.
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