Tag Archives: ipad mini

Apple Certified Refurbished iPad mini Review

If the iPad mini’s relatively high price is holding you back from purchasing one, maybe you should consider an Apple Certified Refurbished iPad mini.

Here’s how retail prices compare to refurbished:

Wifi only
Memory Retail  Refurb  Savings
16GB        $329     $279      $50
32GB        $429     $359      $70
64GB        $529     $439      $90

Wifi + cellular
Memory Retail  Refurb  Savings
16GB        $459     $389      $70
32GB        $559     $469      $90
64GB        $659     $549      $110

Refurbished iPads arrive in boxes that resemble retail packaging.  The only notable difference is the absence of the picture on the lid. Other than that, everything else is identical. My iPad came wrapped in cellophane and when I removed it, the tablet did not have a scratch, a fingerprint, or even a speck of dust.
That’s because Apple tests and certifies all refurbished products. All refurbished iPads include a brand new battery and outer shell. They also include a 1-year warranty and you have the option of purchasing an AppleCare Protection Plan.

I have the 16GB wifi + cellular model. I chose the white & silver version because finger prints and scratches appear to show up more on the black & slate version. The natural aluminum back still picks up finger prints, but they’re not as visible.

The ipad mini is well designed and feels solid but light. The volume buttons are on the right side with nothing opposite them on the left. That’s an important design element for me, because I hate accidentally putting a device to sleep when I’m trying adjust the volume with one hand. The sim tray is also on the right side with the lightning port and speakers along the bottom.

I use the switch above the volume buttons as a mute switch, however, in settings you can change it to a rotation lock.

On a Nexus 7, the power button is Above the volume rocker so I frequently turn the tablet off when I’m trying to adjust the volume. I like the placement of the power button on iPads…up top & out of the way.

I’m not an audiophile, but the sound seems sufficient. I do prefer headphones when watching videos, but earbuds are not included with iPads, so I use the ones that came with my iPhone 5 and they sound great.

The iPad 2 and iPhone 4 charge via a 30-pin connector where orientation matters, while the iPad mini and iPhone 5 use the new Lightning connector. Unlike the original charger, the lightning connector works regardless of direction.  The iPad mini comes with an  iPhone style  power brick.

When I was researching the iPad mini, I was concerned that the screen would feel cramped. Many of the apps I use have an iPad version and a version optimized for the iPhone. But when I’m forced to use productivity apps on my iPhone, I’m usually left annoyed at the lack of space and wishing I had my iPad. I don’t get that claustrophobic feeling when working on the iPad mini. The experience of using an app on the iPad mini is identical to the experience I had using an iPad 2 – I don’t even think about the missing space so, I can stay focused on my work.

This is what editing a document looks like in Pages on an iPhone 5.
iPhone doc

This is what the same document looks like in Pages on the iPad mini.
iPad doc
The iPad mini and the iPad 2 have the same resolution screens – therefore, both displays contain the same number of pixels. However, since the iPad mini’s screen is smaller, it has a higher pixel density and in theory a sharper display. In my experience, I haven’t noticed a difference between the two – I’ve been equally satisfied with both. I have to note, though, some people have expressed strong opinions about the lack of retina displays in the iPad mini. If you have the opportunity, check one out in person and see if the ‘less than retina’ display will be an issue.

So far, I don’t have anything bad to say about the iPad mini. I really liked my iPad 2, and the iPad mini is all the good things about the full size iPad, wrapped up in a more portable package.


Get an iPad Mini Now or Wait?

It’s about time for us teachers and students to start thinking about heading back to school.  I love this time of year:  shopping for back-to-school clothes, and supplies…and GADGETS!

I decided to sell my iPad 2 wifi and get an iPad Mini 3G, but I was faced with the ever present tech shoppers dilemma: Do I get the current generation or wait for the update?

I watched/read tons of reviews of the 1st gen iPad Mini to make sure it would meet my expectations. I investigated every rumor pertaining to the unveiling of the 2nd gen iPad Mini. I determined that the 1st gen iPad Mini exceeded the iPad 2 in performance – so it would be an upgrade for me. And, if the rumors are correct, the 2nd gen iPad Mini will be revealed sometime in the next 2-6 months – not very specific.

If a retina display is a high priority for you, and you can wait up to 6 months (according to rumors), and you don’t mind paying full retail price, then wait for the 2nd gen.

I’m not already spoiled by a retina iPad so even though the resolution of the current iPad Mini is the same as the iPad 2, its smaller display has a larger number of pixels per inch, giving it a sharper appearance. I decided to go with the 16GB iPad Mini 3G that retails  for $459. However, you can get the same model, only refurbished, directly from the Apple Online Store for only $389. Even if Apple announces an new iPad Mini in a couple months, it would probably be well after the 1st of the year before they started showing up in the refurbished store. I ordered the refurbished device. You can watch my unboxing below.

Gadget Fever and the Holidays

Don’t you hate it when you write a post on your mobile device, publish it, and it disappears forever!  Does this happen to anyone else?

I’m writing this post (for the second time) on my Toshiba z835 Ultrabook. I wrote this post the first time on my Nexus 7.


I was going to ask for the Nexus 7 for Christmas, but I got a severe case of gadget fever this summer and pre-ordered one from Google.  I use my Nexus 7 for a few hours every day, so I’m getting my money’s worth.  I watch videos on Netflix and YouTube, read the news, and browse gadgets on eBay.  I had hoped that I would be able to do some of my school work on the Nexus 7, but it turns out that productivity is much easier and more reliable on my ultrabook, or a real computer of any kind…(I’m still stewing about the lost post!)

I realize that no matter how well a device meets my wants and needs, I get bored with it and begin looking a new devices.  I think its a case of “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  My gadget fever really hits its peak about the middle of summer when I start thinking about going back to school, and this time of year, when the new has worn off my back to school gadget.

Well, this year, when I started feeling the twinges of holiday gadget fever, I started looking at old-school PDAs on eBay.  I ended up getting a Palm Tungsten E2 with a charger, leather like case, and a 64MB SD card for $20.


For the record, this is the best Palm device I have ever owned.  I had planned on using it as a journal / graphing calculator / alarm for school, but it seems my pockets are too full to accommodate anything else. I guess I could just leave it setting on my desk…I may give that a try next week, but I might be tempted to play Space Trader (my favorite Palm game) when I should be grading papers.

In the midst of me enjoying my new Palm, Microsoft released the Surface.


If I were in the market for a tablet right now, this would be the one – it’s got a full version of MS Office – everything I have been looking for in a tablet.  I’m ashamed to say I actually thought about selling my Toshiba z835 to get one on these.  If I didn’t already have a laptop, I would probably get a Surface and be happy, but I think ditching my laptop for a Surface would leave me constantly frustrated with all the things I couldn’t do.

I made it through the release of the Surface without succumbing to temptation, then Apple drops the iPad mini.


I had endured the months of rumors without the slightest hint of desire.  I have owned an iPad 2, and it is a wonderful device for media consumption. But my dream device has a productive side (maybe the Surface is my dream device).  Well, then I saw the iPad mini.  I can honestly say, I love the Surface for Its brain, but I love the iPad mini for its body.  I’m infatuated with the iPad mini’s design.

I considered selling the Nexus 7 on eBay and getting an iPad mini, but I really need to get my gadget spending under control.

I went to Best Buy yesterday and actually touched an iPad mini.  It was nice, but I resisted temptation.  Instead, I got a nice notebook from the Martha Stewart collection at Staples.


I’m excited about using it as a journal. I’ve gone through gadget phases and paper phases before.  For the sake of my bank account, I’m hoping this is the beginning of a long paper phase.