According to The Wire Cutter's Seamus Bellamy and Brian Lam, the best tablet out there is the iPad mini. Seems almost obscene to think, with bigger usually being better, but Seamus and Brian argue that the iPad's weight didn't really make the device as comfortable to carry as one may think.
Sure, yes, it's smaller but there are compromises. Yes it's harder to touch type on in landscape -- but typing on any iPad is miserable and it's easier to thumb type in portrait. Yes, it is only as fast as an iPad 2 and sometimes a 3, making it less than half the speed of the iPad 4. Yes, it does not have a high end retina display like the iPad 4, and the Android and Amazon tablets have better resolutions and sometimes better screens overall. Yes, one day, it may be upsold with a retina display and you may have wished you waited. That might come as soon as next year.
But these things are not the most important things in a tablet right now when it comes to happiness with a tablet. The most important thing is that it doesn't feel like a ball and chain when you use because it is half the weight, with 2/3 of the real estate. And that it has a lot of apps. And although one day the mini will probably get a retina display it's not going to be as big of an improvement over this mini as this mini is over a full sized iPad. It might feel like it should have a retina display now, but I understand why it doesn't (cost) even though its competitors do.
Stepping back a bit, if I could only have one, my favorite Apple tablet is actually an iPhone, subsidized, pocketable and ever-connected. But the mini screen fits in with it better than the original iPad. The mini has twice the diagonal length of the iPhone, and laptops are almost twice the diagonal length of the mini; it segments perfectly. Meanwhile, the full iPad is the odd man out here, almost the size of laptop screens and only about a pound less than the Macbook Air. Weird.
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