The iPad Mini is overpriced junk [Opinion]

Yesterday Apple unveiled its much-rumored and hyped iPad Mini. With a 7.9-inch display and $329 pricetag, Apple is obviously taking aim at the 7-inch tablet niche popularized by Samsung and dominated by Amazon and Google (vis-a-vis Kindle Fire and Nexus 7). What does Ashraf think about the iPad Mini? Ashraf thinks it is an overpriced piece of crap.

Before I delve into my criticism of the iPad Mini, let me say I am not predicting that the iPad Mini will fail. How consumers, in general, react to Apple’s new product, I really don’t know. However, I do know how consumers should react — shun it like the junk it is.

That being said…

I’m not sure who Apple is trying to fool here. The specifications of the iPad Mini are, literally, so last year. 1,024 x 768 screen resolution (169 PPI)? 512 MB RAM? Dual-core A5 processor? Really? Why not just call it an iPad 2 Mini because those are the specs found in 2011’s iPad 2. While for 2011 those were good specs, the tablet market has drastically changed with the likes of Nexus 7 and 7.0-inch Kindle Fire HD. In fact, the Nexus 7 easily beats the iPad Mini in this area with superior screen resolution, better screen, more RAM, and a faster processor.

Aside from outdated specs, the Mini starts at $329. $329! Is that a joke? Both the Nexus 7 and 7.0-inch Kindle Fire HD start at $199 for WiFi-only versions (8 GB for Nexus 7 and 16 GB for Kindle Fire, although it is rumored the $199 Nexus 7 will be bumped to 16 GB on October 29.) That means the iPad Mini is at least $130 more expensive than its main Android competitors; this difference goes up even higher if you factor in tax, the cost of higher internal storage versions, and the Play Store/Amazon Appstore credits the other two tablets come with. I mean I realize that Apple likes to charge a premium for its products, but an iPad Mini at $329 is squarely in the middle of no man’s land — not attractive enough to jump on but also not too expensive.

Granted, there are some positive aspects to the iPad Mini versus the competition. For example, the 7.9-inch screen means the iPad Mini’s display is 0.9-inches larger than the Nexus 7 and 7.0-inch Kindle Fire HD but is still small enough to be held in one hand; the iPad Mini has access to the hundreds of thousands of tablet-optimized apps on Apple App Store, a number that Play Store and Amazon Appstore do not come close to matching; and the iPad Mini claims to have up to 10 hours of battery life, which is excellent (beats out Nexus 7 by two hours but is bested by Kindle Fire HD by an hour). However, by and large, the iPad Mini is playing catch-up with the competition and is failing miserably at it.

There are two main reasons to purchase the iPad Mini — form factor that is smaller than larger tablets (making it easier to hold in hand or travel with), and price. If you are looking for a tablet with a 7-inch form factor, then the iPad Mini might be attractive to you… although you should realize before you jump the gun that the display on the iPad Mini is average — no where near as beautiful as the one on the iPad 3 (aka new iPad). If you are looking to buy a tablet that provides you the best bang for the buck, the iPad Mini is just about the last tablet you should look at. While the Mini isn’t as pricey as iPad senior, $329 is way too much to pay for last year’s tech. $249, on the other hand, would have been a real game changer.

Have thoughts on the iPad Mini you would like to share? We have a comments section for that!

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  • Adam Madigan

    IPad 2.

    Overpriced, yes. I was surprised at how little it can do… an expensive kid’s toy.

    After a month of playing around with it, (got it for Christmas) I still can’t get over the kid’s toy feel. No sensation of professionalism, of “Let’s get to work!” of “Ok, now I’m waiting for you!”

    It has no options.

    No features.

    No friggin’ USB connection for Pete’s sake.

    I try to import my contacts with a decades old standard .vcf file – – Not recognized. Are you kidding me?

    So this “slick” Mac makes me re-type 150 entries into its format because it can’t import a simple .vcf file? Not happening.

    Good things are it has a decent screen and camera. Good battery. The standard charger is a plus… wait, no that has to be Mac too. Good luck to you on the road. Another way of increasing productivity for the professional man. Or, a good way to know you have a hundreds and hundreds of dollars toy for 12 year olds to play Angry Birds on.

    Tried out the sound recording software to record a new song, only to find it was limited to 85 seconds. That is a minute and 25 seconds. What song have you heard recently that is a minute and twenty five seconds long? Useless.

    Tried the iMovie software only to find I couldn’t make it edit, add tracks, or export in any recognizable file. In fact, couldn’t get it to save at all. When it did, I couldn’t find for the life of me where it was on the hard drive, because there is no access to the hard drive.

    Called Mac and they told me that as a consumer I wasn’t allowed to access the hard drive. I couldn’t improve, modify or adjust any of the files because this was done by Mac updates. They know best.

    I can’t right click and get options, can’t view the core files, don’t know where anything is saved, can’t adjust the file types, can’t record sounds or music, can’t copy my files via USB, only have slow as ass and cumbersome Bluetooth to connect, can’t charge the thing on the road, can’t install my contacts files, can’t edit video, can’t export video, can’t edit sound and find myself looking at a bunch of cartoon like icons that have nothing but cartoon features behind them with not an option or control to be found.

    First Mac and the last.

  • Galen smith

    Why can’t I delete all my emails all at once…..don’t know what might come on my screen..battery life is very short…. Very unreliable…

  • Paul

    Just bought the tab4 8inch samsung, connected a $3 usb cable then attached a usb flash drive. All files movies pics and music straight to the flash drive, try doing this with the itoy, its impossible……

  • jim mc

    My 18 month old ipad mini will not turn on.
    Apple said they don’t repair them.
    To me that makes it a kleenex product.
    Not acceptable life span.

  • janet

    The ipad mini IS a piece of junk. I have an original ipad I bought when they first came out. Got the mini for Christmas, it only works half the time, won’t go online, can’t open a page. Siri only works part-time also. Music only plays 6 of the songs. I took it back, thought maybe they were rushing them out at Chistmas and not making them well. Just bought another last week, same piece of junk with the same problem. It can’t get online, even when I am sitting here using my other ipad at the same time, and it gets online fine. Its just the mini. What a piece of crap. Its going back also. I wanted it because I have the original and am familiar with the apple, but what good is if, if it dosen’t work half the time?

  • GucciGosia

    I agree with your comments… the quality of the product is far superior. It is made of much better materials and looks much more classy (if you are going purely on the visual side). I have an iPad , iPhone and MacBook Pro (I love the OS) so for me it makes sense to buy an iPad Mini because it will sink and work beautifuly together with all my other devices. Having said that I am also considering the purchase of Nexus 10 because I like to use Android for some extra fun and simply for versitility. I really believe it just comes down to individual preference.

  • Ashraf

    @mukhi: I didn’t even bother looking at the MBP13 price. I’m sure it was near $2k.

    @Dirk: While I am not denying that iPad Mini has its pros and usefulness, your comment reeks of iSheep in its pure, unadultered form. Bro, stop drinking Apple’s kool-aid.

    >>- much better, more colourful and clearer display

    Are you kidding? The display is, at best, average. If you are trying to say it has a better display then the Nexus 7, you are mistaken my friend. Just compares the PPIs.

    >>- much better battery capacitiy and life (surfing the web with WLAN about 10 hours against 5 hours with the Nexus 7)

    Again I must ask if you are joking. Firstly, I’d like to know who told you Nexus 7 gets 5 hours? Google rates the tablet at 8 hours and independent tests show it gets close to 10. Apple claims the iPad Mini gets 10 hours and it obviously hasn’t been independently tested yet; however, seeing as the iPad Mini is essentially the iPad 2 with a smaller battery, independent tests will likely show it getting 8-10 hours.

    >>- much better body (aluminium) and much better front glass, very good haptic, better gesture support

    So you have used the iPad Mini? I mean I don’t see how you would know it has “better front glass, very good haptic, and better gesture support” unless you have used it.

    I won’t deny the aluminum design of the Mini gives it a premium feel but the rest of your comments are stupid seeing as you haven’t used the device.

    BTW the Nexus 7’s design is lauded by many as being awesome.

    >>- much better software (in direct comparison, iPad software wins agains upscaled Adroid tablet software).

    True iOS has more tablet-optimized apps than Android. Other than that, however, iOS vs Android is a debate you will never win because both have their pros and cons.

    >>Lets begin with a price of $199 for a piece of plastic (Nexus 7) and ask me, what i want to pay to get a bigger and better display, much better software, a better body construction and much more battery life.

    Bigger display, yet. Better display, better software, better construction, and better battery life? No.

    BTW, are you looking at the iPad Mini for a “big display” or a display that fits better in hand?

    >>I think, the price is acceptable for the quality of Apple products. Thats why i use and pay them.

    Enough said.

  • Dirk

    To compare two (or three in this case) mobile devices, there are key ascpects that can’t be said in specs based comparisons.

    Here are the reason, why a iPad (if mini or not) is worth it’s price:

    Compared to other Tablets a iPad has

    – much better, more colourful and clearer display
    – much better battery capacitiy and life (surfing the web with WLAN about 10 hours against 5 hours with the Nexus 7)
    – much better body (aluminium) and much better front glass, very good haptic, better gesture support
    – much better software (in direct comparison, iPad software wins agains upscaled Adroid tablet software).

    Lets begin with a price of $199 for a piece of plastic (Nexus 7) and ask me, what i want to pay to get a bigger and better display, much better software, a better body construction and much more battery life.

    Would iPay a 130 bucks for that? Of cause!

    And would i call this features “crap” or “overpriced junk”? No! Why?

    I think, the price is acceptable for the quality of Apple products. Thats why i use and pay them.

  • mukhi

    all i can say is that i am disappointed (yes, from price point of view). specs are acceptable as long as the price drops, and it did not happen. for example, i did not expect a retina display in ipad mini (price would be higher) but asking for $329 for this old gen ipad with smaller screen is too much. i will look elsewhere for 7″ tab.

    BTW, did you see the price of new MBP13? by jove! did you see the new imac w/o HDMI? can’t believe apple did not do it this time either.

  • Ashraf

    @Raeldin: Thanks for the catch — fixed. And you are welcome!
    @ds5929: It wouldn’t be fair to say all Apple’s products are crap. While I would never buy them, the iPhone and iPad are great products.
    @Ty: That may be cynical, but I tend to agree.
    @Jake:@Mike: You both are right — I was exaggerating when I called the Mini “junk” and “piece of crap”. Literary merit, if you will.
    @David Baker: I’m personally holding out to see the Nexus 10.

  • I agree with Mike and Ty.
    I regards to Ty, I think they did this on purpose, because next year they’ll put out one with decent specs and the Fan Bois will buy it agian.

    FYI: I’m a MS person w/ an iPhone and won’t be buying one this year as price for mini is too high, but am considering iPad 3.

  • Mike

    “Junk”? Come on–just less-than-great specs (as you note) and, of course, overpriced. Not unlike the Apple Shuffle, actually, when you think about it, in many ways.

    And, harkening back to an earlier column here disputing the so-called Apple tax on so many Apple products, yet another example of exactly that . . . .

  • Jake

    Overpriced – maybe. Crap – no.

    Like it or not Apple’s typical quality level is above the average and calling their products ‘crap’ is reactionary rather than considered.

    Specs based comparisons always strike me as a bit misleading anyway (much as with cars). It’s what’s important to an individual that matters. e.g. For me Apple’s 4:3 screen ratios are far preferable to most Android letter box screens. Others couldn’t care less.

    I have an Android phone and an Android tablet (4:3!) and generally look to all things Android because I like tweaking stuff and consider Android products better value for money.

    But there’s no denying that Apple quality even when overpriced.

    And let’s not forget – the best tablet is one that get used the most regardless of price.

  • Ty

    Apple has learned that The Bois will buy just about anything Apple throws out the window.

    This is just naked greed on Apple’s part. Rather cruel, if you ask me, because all this really has going for it is the Apple logo.

  • ds5929

    “overpriced piece of crap”? You might want to file that away so you’ll have a ready-to-go spot on review of anything apple brings to market. Not,as you state,that it’ll keep the jobs-bots from shoving boatloads of cash into the coffers of the patent trolls.

  • Raeldin

    Nice article Ashraf.
    I have wanted an iPad mini since I heard the rumor’s earlier this year, but I think you have it right. At $249, I would have pre-ordered one, now I’ll wait and see maybe pick one up next year or a full size one.
    And I don’t want to pic nits, but you should replace the word ‘wear’ with ‘where’.