A few months back, I published a couple of posts describing why I bought“”and then subsequently returned“”the iPad mini. You can go back and read those posts for the full story, but the short version is that, at the time, it really didn’t fit my needs well enough to justify ditching my full-size iPad.
Things have a way of changing, though.
I recently bought the iPad mini again. I mentioned this on the Twitter and a few people were curious what prompted me to reinvestigate a device I had previously tried and dismissed. Hence, this post.
Reconfiguring my computing life
My computing configuration has undergone some changes recently. As of a month ago, my primary Mac is now a laptop (it was previously an iMac). Since I work from home and spend a great deal of time at my desk, I really like to be able to work other places, particularly in the evening. The iMac isn’t exactly portable and I would routinely take my iPad to a coffee shop or a bar and work there. The iPad, combined with a Logitech Ultrathin keyboard case, became a somewhat crude laptop stand-in; it worked quite well for writing, task management, email and other basic computing tasks.
Now, I have a laptop that I can easily take with me wherever I decide to go. As a result, the iPad has slid into more of a consumption device for me. Not completely, mind you, but I do a great deal less typing on it than I did in the iMac era. These days, my iPad is used for reading books and comics with my kids, watching the odd movie and only occasionally for writing.
New iPad accessories
For what felt like a long time after the iPad mini came out, there was a noticeable dearth of serviceable keyboard cases. The device has Bluetooth and can be used with any keyboard and the best solution I found during my first go-round with the iPad mini was to use it with an inCase Origami (non-affiliate link) “” a case for the Apple Bluetooth keyboard that, when unfurled, provides an easel-like stand for the iPad. It worked well enough and I still use it on occasion, but it was annoying for three reasons:
- It has to sit on a table top or the iPad will fall backwards out of its little slot. I often type with the iPad sitting on my lap, so this is a big-ish problem.
- When used with the iPad mini, the bottom half-inch or so of the screen is obscured by the keyboard’s cylindrical battery compartment.
- I hate carrying around two things. Yes, that’s a dumb complaint, but it bugs me and I’m not going to say it doesn’t.
I was glad to discover that, since then, Logitech has made an Ultrathin specifically for the iPad mini (non-affiliate link). I’ve written most of this post using it, actually. It’s definitely small and using it requires tolerating a few non-trivial annoyances, but I’ve used and loved my full-sized Ultrathin for quite some time and was confident that the smaller version would perform roughly as well as its big brother.
In the aforementioned post, I cited the lack of a Retina display as one of the iPad mini’s biggest drawbacks. To be honest, I’m still not thrilled with the idea of a non-Retina display, but I’ve chosen to just deal with it. The comic book reading experience isn’t nearly as nice on the iPad mini, but Comixology makes it more pleasant with their fancy Guided View technology (which displays a single panel at a time instead of a whole page).
Why I didn’t just keep my big iPad
Honestly, it started feeling huge and heavy. It could be that I’m growing doughier and weaker and I’m just not the strapping chap I was a few months ago, but I decided I wanted something smaller and lighter. You’ll recall from the aforementioned post that the size and weight of the iPad mini were my favorite features, so this shouldn’t be altogether surprising.
Moreover, the iPad mini pretty much obviates my need for a Kindle. I would occasionally read while walking around my neighborhood””something that has perpetually vexed my pal Michael“”but I rarely do that anymore and having a smaller device to read on made more sense and is more comfortable.
Lastly, I just wanted a change of scenery. I’ve been a rather heavy iPad user for the past couple of years and the siren song of a different form factor was more than I could resist.
I haven’t sold my large iPad yet and I have 30 days to return the iPad mini plus accessories if I decide to, but I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be sticking with it for the foreseeable furture.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click them and buy something, I’ll earn a small commission. I’ve also placed non-affiliate links immediately after all affiliate links, so choose whichever one makes you more comfortable. Know that any affiliate product I recommend is something I personal purchased, use and love enough to tell you about.