When the iPad debuted, many called it "just a big iPod touch." Most soon realized that such claims were misguided, as the iPad turned out to be much more: more powerful, more capable, more useful, more everything. Instead of being arithmetically bigger than the iPod touch, the iPad offered exponentially more of what was good about it.--
Now that the iPad mini is out, some of the same people are calling it "just a smaller iPad." This time around, such a description is much more apt, as the iPad mini offers nearly all of the features, power, and capabilities of its full-size siblings. It even runs all the same apps. The result is a device that--far more than the Mac mini, or even the old iPod mini--gives you nearly everything of its non-mini namesake in a smaller package.
But calling it "just a smaller iPad" glosses over much of what makes the iPad mini unique.
Half the size, most of the iPad
At 7.9 inches tall and 5.3 inches wide, the iPad mini is just 60 percent of the footprint of the fourth-generation iPad. Even more impressive is that thanks to its 0.28-inch thickness (yes, it's even thinner than the iPhone 5) and 308-gram (11-ounce) weight, the iPad mini is just 46 percent of the volume of the standard iPad and 47 percent of the weight. Yet the mini offers a 7.9-inch (diagonal) display that's a full 66 percent of the screen area of a full-size iPad.
Put simply, the iPad mini gives you two thirds of an iPad at half the overall size and weight. This will make the iPad mini usable in situations--and occupations--where a full-size iPad wouldn't be. You can hold it in one hand and slip it into the pocket of a jacket or scrubs. And remember the adage that the best camera is the one you have with you? The best tablet is the one you have with you, and I've already found myself bringing the iPad mini places I wouldn't have taken the standard iPad.
(Why not just use an iPod touch or iPhone? While the iPad mini is just 1mm thicker than the latest iPod touch, the mini's footprint is nearly four times larger, with a screen that's 4.4 times as big in terms of area--though not in resolution, as I'll cover later.)
Just as striking as the iPad mini's smaller size and higher screen-to-body ratio is its overall design, which in some ways has more in common with the iPhone 5 and iPod touch than with the full-size iPad. The first thing you'll notice is that the bezel framing the display is much narrower along the longer edges than on a full-size iPad, allowing Apple to squeeze as much screen area as possible into the iPad mini's smaller package.
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