I’ll come right out and say it: I’m an Apple fanboy. So for me to say that I love my newest apple device isn’t so surprising. However, as I was laying in bed the other night, holding my iPad mini with my left hand and navigating with the pointer finger of my right, I felt the need to break the nighttime silence with an exclamation to my fiancé “This is the best device I have ever owned.” Sara, who knows my addictive nature to all things technology, humored me with a “Yeah? Good.” response.

There was a lot of thought behind my statement. As I laid there, flipping through Flipboard, emptying my inbox, and editing on Google drive, I kept coming back to the thought of how much I was enjoying the experience. Prior to me getting the iPad mini I had two previous versions of this device: the 1st generation iPad and the New iPad. Much like Goldie Locks neither of those felt right.

The 1st Generation iPad

The 1st generation iPad felt and behaved exactly like the first generation iPhone. It was a new gadget that I inexplicably had to have so that I could get another stamp on my early adopters card and gleefully grab hold of the future before the majority mustered up the courage to put their more reserved hands on it. And like all technological advancements at first, it was unrefined and clunky.

The marketplace was in its infancy and what I needed it to do to become an integral part of my lifestyle was not possible yet. If I were to use it daily, I would have to change myself for the tool, and that felt wrong.

It ended getting set aside and I resold it just a few short months later. It simply couldn’t compete with the 1-2 punch of the iPhone and MacBook Pro that I had at the time.

The New iPad

By the time The New iPad (definitely Apple’s worst product name to date) was released, the marketplace had matured and I was interested in giving tablets another chance. I’m glad that I did. For over 18 months that iPad traveled everywhere with me. If I wasn’t programming or processing photos, I used it exclusively. Most of the apps that I used on my Mac and PC were now available on the iPad making it slide effortlessly into my toolset.

Granted, I never liked typing on the onscreen keyboard and quickly purchased a keyboard case from Zagg. I hated the idea of buying an external keyboard to supplement the iPad, but I’m glad I did because it’s sturdy construction saved me from shattering the screen on more than one occasion.

After being replaced by the iPad mini, this iPad is now in the hands of my fiancé and our son. It was decommissioned from Corporate America to spend the rest of its life retrieving and responding to email, pinning on Pinterest, teaching letters and numbers, and destroying bad piggies.

The iPad mini

When the iPad mini was released I very quickly and superficially dismissed it entirely. “Apple is growing conservative and stale” I thought, labeling the mini as the “chic chick device”.

Santa was thoughtful enough to give my brother one last year for Christmas, and several months ago when we were together at a family event, I picked it up and started playing around with it. If I’m being honest, I was looking to reaffirm my preconceived notions.

I was wrong. Whether I held it horizontally or vertically it felt great in my hands. It was light and I especially liked typing on the device horizontally. The keyboard felt natural and I didn’t mind using it for an extended period of time.

As time passed, I found myself wishing that my iPad was smaller and lighter. The Zagg case was really weighing it down weighing approximately 2.4 lbs. At the encouragement of Sara, we took advantage of a Black Friday deal and picked up an iPad mini at Target.

My fanboy status is happily restored. The iPad, which fits comfortably in my winter coat pocket is literally almost always by my side. It feels like a product that can firmly stand on its own and can be used daily without needing any accessories to make it usable. I love it!

  • The Good

    • Size – At 7.87″ x 5.3″ it feels almost too perfect, like your hands were specifically the ones used in the prototype development.
    • Weight – It’s a featherweight weighing 0.68 pounds. Perfect.
    • Battery life – With a battery that feels like it can be measured in weeks, not days, it’s the perfect travel companion (It will actually last for about 10 hours of use).
    • Keyboard Usability – In horizontal mode, your thumbs meet exactly in the middle. It’s the perfect device to quickly search the web, jot down emails, and write blog posts like the one you’re reading now.
    • Price – At $225 (after a $75 Target rebate), this is a steal.
  • The Not So Good

    • Low Resolution Screen – After having a Retina display iPad, you can really appreciate the quality of their screens when you don’t have one. It doesn’t ruin the experience, but if I were to buy an iPad Mini again, I would not hesitate to spring for the Retina display.
    • Keyboard capitalization – I do not understand why Apple’s on-screen keyboard is not in lowercase until the CAPS key is pressed. This is a quirk across all iOS products, but it’s worth calling out.
    • iPhone – What the hell am I supposed to do with my iPhone now? It’s almost pointless. Given that I use my iPhone 85% of the time to surf the Internet and check email, its days are numbered.

A contender approaches

Shortly after purchasing the iPad Mini, perhaps a bit drunk on Apple goodness, I picked up a new MacBook Air. Will the iPad Mini remain this fan’s favorite or will the MacBook Air make its time at the top a brief one?

Truebluetitan is the personal blog of Rob Schultz, a 30-something from Pittsburgh, PA.

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