Ross from Facebook asks:
Hey Gadget Guy… tell me why I shouldn’t buy an iPad Mini, and what I should buy instead, and why it’d be better. I don’t want to admit to drinking the apple-flavored kool-aid, but I love my iPhone, and wanna get a pair of tablets for me and my special lady friend… yeah, we gotta get 2 because we can’t share. hehe…
No worries on “drinking the kool-aid”, I’d be daft to say Apple doesn’t make fine products. The Mini is in an interesting position at the moment however, and buying one now, might not be the best move.
It’s old hardware. It was old-ish hardware when it was released, essentially a shrunk iPad 2. This brings up numerous support questions, like whether it will receive two full proper updates of iOS, as the iPad 2 is most likely done with major updates this year. That and I would fully expect we’ll see an iPad Mini refresh this November. Plus for hardware almost three years old, it’s really expensive compared to the current crop of Android Mini tablets.
And to answer your question about what else to buy, I’d start by looking at the Nexus 7.
For $100 less you get a MUCH nicer true HD 1080p screen, in proper widescreen (so if you watch movies, you don’t lose half your display to letter-boxing). Remember the current Mini isn’t a “Retina” device.
Other things like stereo speakers and NFC might be a wash, but it’s much more current technology.
It’s not out yet, but the LTE variant of the Nexus 7 will likely sell for about $20 more than the least expensive, WiFi only iPad Mini. Ouch.
In conclusion, depending on what you want to do with a tablet, an iPad Mini today would still be a fine purchase. It is a sexy little tablet. However, if you can hold off, treat yourself to more of a Thanksgiving present, you’ll probably get a better “bang for buck”.