The iPad Mini is considered to be one of the best tablets out right now by most people, but it’s taken a lot of bashes by critics for its at first glance outrageous price tag of $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model. This is compared to just $229 for the Nexus 7 (2013) with the same configurations. That extra $170 is well worth it, however, for three reasons:
The iPad Mini comes in with the A7 chip, in all of it’s glory. It’s only dual-core with a seemingly dismal 1.2 GHZ clock speed, but that 64-bit architecture makes all of the difference, however. According to benchmarks, this chipset has about the same amount of power as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, and even manages to outperform the 800 in some aspects.
The general pattern we’ve fallen into is an incredibly high-end 10 inch tablet with a younger brother of a 7 inch tablet that falls behind in performance in some way, shape or form to achieve an often $150-$300 cheaper price tag. We’ve gotten to the point where that’s what we consider 7 inch tablets to be. A flawed, paperback sized device for a ridiculously cheap price. That’s not what Apple is going for with its iPad Mini with retina display, however.
It’s going for a device that’s exactly the same as its flagship 10 inch tablet, but just a little bit smaller, and more portable.
2. The App Store
The second reason is the main reason that while iPhones fall behind Android Phones, iPads still dominate the tablet market: the hundreds of thousands of tablet-optimized apps.
While, to be fair, Google Play’s library of tablet optimized apps is rapidly growing, you’re still going to be be getting an overall much better tablet experience with the iPad Mini. Even if you factor out the fact that a lot of apps look a little off on Android tablets, the general iPad App Store itself has a lot more work and education oriented apps available. Google Play pulls ahead in utilities and core gaming, but in everything else, you’re going to find that the App Store is going to be giving you better quality and more functional apps for tablets.
You can ask any tech-savvy person who opted to pay the extra money for the iPad Mini why they spent so much money, and, while the internals and design are important, they’ll probably say the main reason was the App Store.
You can say that internals don’t matter anymore, or argue that benchmarks can’t be trusted anymore. You can claim Google Play has a better app selection (it really depends on what types of apps you download), but you can’t deny the top-notch build quality on the iPad Mini.
The device is sleek, comfortable to hold, insanely light, and, did I mention sleek? This is without a doubt, the best designed tablet out there. Nearly every aspect of the external hardware is perfect. The only thing that could’ve been done better is the wideness of the device. It’s not narrow enough to fit in a back pocket, and a device of this form factor should be. Otherwise, this device beats out most (if not all) 7 inch tablets in this department.
The iPad Mini is certainly worth the price, for most people. There’s no denying that in some aspects, Android is the superior operating system, and some people who’ve gotten used to the advantages of Android may not want to switch to the much more simple, and much less free iOS 7. That may not even be the issue. Some people may not like the width of the iPad Mini – they may want the paperback size of most other 7 inch tablets, which is better for reading and one-handed use. Some people may just want to read books and magazines, play games and check their email on their tablet, and don’t see the need to spend $400 when they can do that just fine on a $229 Nexus 7.
The iPad Mini isn’t directed towards these people however. It’s directed towards people who want to get more advanced work done on their tablet (beyond email and writing word documents), and want it in a package not necessarily paperback size, but slightly more portable than the iPad Air, and want something that gets mainstream social apps and games as soon as they come out, something that Windows 8 tablets don’t have. And, for these people, it’s absolutely worth the premium.