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iPad Mini review roundup: slim shape, sharp lines, sub-par screen

The iPad Mini is a good-looking tablet, reviewers say. But the screen is less than impressive. 

By Matthew Shaer / October 31, 2012

The new iPad mini is shown next to a full sized model at an Apple event in San Jose, Calif., on Oct. 23, 2012. The iPad Mini goes on sale later this week.

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On Friday, Apple will begin selling its long-awaited iPad Mini – a pared-down, super-slim tablet with a 7.9-inch display and an A5 processor. The Mini starts at $329, for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model; 4G LTE-capable versions are set to ship in early- to mid-November. Reviews of the new Apple tablet begin to leak out today. So what kind of device is the iPad Mini, exactly? 

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Well, let's start with the obvious: The size. As Harry McCracken of Time notes, the Mini is 0.28 inches thick and weighs just 0.68 pounds.

"That’s not just a drastic reduction from the large iPad, which weighs more than twice as much, it’s also trimmer than Apple’s smaller-screen competition," McCracken writes. "One of the persistent gripes I hear from iPad skeptics is that the existing models are too big and bulky to hold comfortably; if there were an industry award for Tablet You Can Most Easily Envision Holding for Extended Periods of Time, the Mini would be a runaway winner."

Shane Richmond of The Telegraph, in the UK, agrees, calling the Mini "the best looking tablet computer anyone has designed."

Ever!

"There are plenty of people who care nothing for how a gadget looks. The specificationists are more interested in processor cores, USB ports and whether they can root their operating system. That's fine," Richmond writes. "They'll be unmoved by the sleek metal back and the chamfored edges of the iPad mini. Nevertheless, this is a device that looks and feels great." 

Of course, there is such a thing as too thin, writes Joshua Topolsky of The Verge. 

"I actually had a little trouble holding onto the device when I wasn't using the Smart Cover due to the back being as smooth as it is, and the frame being so thin. Maybe it's just my big hands, but I wanted a little more to grab onto. In that regard, I prefer the feel of the Nexus 7," he notes. "That problem was exacerbated by how wide the device feels in your hand, as well as the lack of a significant bezel around the left and right of the screen in portrait."

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