Wednesday, March 27, 2013

User review of iPad mini: The good, the bad and the ugly

One of the latest gadgets of Apple released in October 2012. A 7.9inch screen and 0.28 inch thick, weight 308g, 1024-by-768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch tablet comparable to Kindle Fire HD and Nexus. Bundled with FaceTime HD camera at 1.2MP for video chat, 720p HD video, an iSight camera of 5MP running on dual core A5. Comes with an iCloud storage space of 5GB. That is iPad mini. Cost-Rs.21,900/-. Wifi+cellular cost Rs.29,900/- and the new iPad with retina display cost Rs.31,900/- onwards. All 16GB.

With lots of excitement, you open the package of the iPad. There is a thin quick guide. Who reads thick manual by the way. Your iPad already charged. Just press the power switch at the top and there you are. But before using it, just complete the minimal formalities of setting up the device.

The display and touch response is fantastic. My 2 year old boy is in love with it. He flips through and jumps from one open apps to another by one finger. For back to home screen you have only one option in iPhone but here, besides that, you squeeze (pinch) with your four fingers and voila there you are in the home screen. Mind you the number of finger you used means a different command. The device self protect and hangs if my boy touches roughly, giving a message to try after sometime (when your mood is better).

Need to get used to running many apps/programs at the same time as there is no 'close or exit' program feature in Apple device. I, too was a bit tense when some 20 apps keeps running in the background. Of course, we can stop them by tap-ing twice the home key and hold on the running apps and stop/kill them by tapping.

Loads of apps available. Some free some on payment. The wise thing is to go appshopping. Yes, window shopping of apps where you can track on apps and install when it is free or price drop. If you did not need now, just install and remove it again to remove the cluttered home screen. You can use from your apple cloud account when needed. You already paid it (free). As for me I quickly purchase and install Laisiangtho developed by Khen Solomon and then headed for the music of my hey days; ABBA, CCR, Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel etc. Its all there.
Books, sermons, online course (of what they call podcasts) and you name it, it is there. The next environment of education is here and now. Let us also not forget that it is the new market place where each company is trying to promote their own. The apps purchase for one Operating System (OS) cannot be used or exchanged in another OS. I purchase an apps in BB and request to transfer in my new iPad and was told that it is not possible. Mind you its a different environment. And this is what they are fighting for. A stronghold.

Why ipad mini wifi with 16GB?
Well I like it that way. Size is perfect. Why should I spend extra for cellular when I can use my home/work wifi for free or tether with my mobile phone by making it a wifi hotspot. Storage, 16GB is OK. For a week's trip you can packed in all important documents, e-books, audiobooks, pictures and some films. 16 GB is a BIG space and is easy on the pocket (money). For more space use Dropbox, Google drive, iCloud and your Apple account will store all the backup of your apps and settings.

The good
The size and weight is just perfect. I feel normal iPad is way too BIG and the 7inch screen tablet is a bit small. Typing with it is a breeze. Split the keyboard into two, hold it in portrait mode and use the rule of the thumb and you can type real fast. The good thing about the keyboard is that while the cursor is on the browser' URL the space bar conveniently split into five important things; the colon; slash, dash and .com. Mind you a space bar is not necessary while typing in the browser URL. ArtiCOOL on a web page can be conveniently read by using 'reader' which is a touch activation at the right end of the URL.
You may check the latest updates on the weather by speaking to the Siri while tying your shoe lace. Any apps you need and dream, its there. It can be configure with Kindle account, audiobook account and all your internet account. Watch TV shows or episode or films using this cool device. You can even subscribe news and magazines. Mostly paid version. My childhood favourite magazine 'Readers Digest' is available at Rs.110 per issue.
The gyroscope is working perfectly. The orientation of the screen adjust automatically and there is no concept of up down or side ways of the edge of the screen. This make gaming experience superb.
The new connector call Lighting is creatively crafted that there is no chance of plugin the wrong way. Well it replace the old 30 pin connector.

The bad
Even though the resolution of the screen is fine there happens to be a new techno called 'retina display' which tempted us in saying the resolution could be better. While activating the iPad one needs to provide bank/card details. Of course, you may skip and say None. Apps and any purchase will be directly deducted from your card. For multiple user I strongly recommend using a password for accessing/buying/installing your apple account. I remember one of my friends who complains that he used to received sms saying an amount of Rs.xx debited from his account when his young boy of 3 years play games and add apps.

The nomenclature of media files created from any Apple device, especially picture file is bad. Not like IMG_SlNo in Canon. Send it from any Apple device to your friend, the picture filename created from them will be just 'image' for all. I need not point out that it overwrite/replace the previous picture. I am not satisfied with the picture taken from it either .

The ugly
Connecting. Bluetooth, consider it non existence. Its for your keyboard or headset only. Forget about transfering/sharing picture, mp3 or any file to/with another device. It does not pair up with non apple devices. I tried pairing up with iPhone and iMac. It do pair up but file transfer is 'a pain in the ass'. No USB drive to transfer the songs you have collected for years and the movies you saved. You can only transfer files across Apple devices through iTunes having the same Apple ID. I mean that you can only transfer in your own Apple devices. It do let you transfer files across Apple devices having different Apple ID through wifi only. Yes wifi and not bluetooth! It reminds me of two neighbours who can both stand at their boundary wall and talk but use their landline to talk by sending their voices via the telephone exchange in the next town.

There is no Airdrop features of Macbook wherein you can actually drop files from one Macbook to another Macbook. And the inbuilt map is erratic. Let me not mention the resignation of the boss on this count.

Concluding remark
  • Its a great device. 
  • A bit tempting and pricey. 
  • File sharing could be made better. 
  • No doubt, it is one of the best tablet and you surely, will fall in love with it.

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