Tech: Tablet… upgrade?

Within 30 minutes of posting my previous tablet piece, Eli messaged me “you know, there’s an apple store right by my office”

He also convinced me to go with wifi-only model, with the promise that if I really, truly miss/need LTE we’ll look at adding a wifi hotspot to our cell phone plan. So that night he brought me home my new ipad mini (there really wasn’t much competition, it was a matter of convincing myself to just bite the bullet).

So it’s been two weeks – what do I think?

So with the money we saved on the wifi-only option, I got a case and a crayon. The crayon is a very nice stylus. The case does exactly what I want – protect my ipad and give me a real keyboard. Thus far it’s been great, the bluetooth has connected without issue. My only complaint with either is he ability to know how much battery is left (this is a perennial complaint for bluetooth devices for me). I don’t want to know “ok” and “not ok” – I like a number -“30%” or “70%.” If I know that tomorrow is a light-use (expected) day, I might leave 30% off the charger. But if I know I’ll be using a LOT of my peripherals, I might charge to 100% even from 70%. When all I get is an indicator when it’s low – that doesn’t help me!

I miss widgets. I’ll live without them, it’s a functional tool – but owning an iOS device just reinforces my personal opinion that it’s too simplistic. I can make folders just like on Android (the number of Apple users who have in the past week gone “did you know you could folder” hurts. I love you guys, but in a techy-world, folders are NOT SPECIAL). Some widgets I miss more than others. Google books is a pretty big one. My Libby widget…. I miss being able to just LAUNCH my book – not go digging practically every time. Google Music was a nice widget to have, but it’s more of a phone-app for me so I’ll get over that one.

I think the tablet is a little wide. I sometimes scoff at Linus Tech Tips reviews for their obsession with bevels – but in the case of the iPad mini it’s a definite thing. I don’t need zero bevel, but there’s a good 1/4-1/2 inch around my screen and it adds to the size without adding anything useful. I can’t see any use of that bevel.

The video quality is a significant upgrade for me. Granted, my old tablet was 6 years old, so upgrade is the point. Still, it’s good video quality not just acceptable. And with that, the battery life has been impressive.

Without much video, I’ve gotten ~3 days. The day I watched a good bit of video I lost about 40% power over 4-5 hours. Still a good battery life in my world! My phone drains way faster than that. So despite the screen size (generally the big battery drain in my experience), the battery is excellent.

Overall? It’s a decent tablet. It hurdles the low bar of “best on the market” with air to spare. I still prefer Android OS, but I’ll adapt.