Apple iPad Mini

Though an iPad mini with a Retina display is probably be right around the corner, the current version, with its 7.9-inch display (versus 9.7 inches for the standard iPad), does remarkably well at delivering the iPad experience in a smaller, more-compact package. Best of all, Apple has trimmed the price:  The mini starts at $329 for a 16-GB, Wi-Fi-only model.

Feeling lighter than its 11-ounce weight, the mini delivers all the features you’re used to in the full-sized pad: front and rear cameras, FaceTime capability and a similar range of memory, from 16 to 64 GB.

Utilizing the same dual-core A5 processor as the iPad 2, the mini feels a bit sluggish in comparison to the current iPad, which has the A6X unit under the hood, when playing video games or surfing the web.  The mini still does admirably well with a fast Wi-Fi connection.

Much like Amazon’s Kindle Fire, or some earlier Android tablets, the mini seems to be a better Kindle than magazine reader.  But it’s a mega remote control for any of your music servers or other devices so equipped—and iTunes is also a blast to use on the mini via AirPlay, if you have a B&W Zeppelin or other AirPlay-enabled music player.  The additional screen real estate of the mini a blessing for those used to an iPod.

If you consider the current iPod touch a baby iPad, the family is now seamless, with offering in kid’s meals, regular and large sizes.  Should you be a multiple iDevice family, the mini shares the same power connector/charger as the iPhone 5.  Audiophiles will be disappointed to know that this means it is not compatible with the Wadia 170i or 171i docks.

Apple iPad Mini

MSRP: $329 – $659 (depending on configuration)