Well Slide2learn-ers, the mini is here and looks very promising - but how good is it, and will it work for education?
Here are some thoughts from the Slide2learn team - add yours in the comments :)
My impression (having bought two): it is smaller, lighter. That's about it!
I've got a few kids trialling them at school (my daughter, with one I bought for home) and some randomly selected students at school.
As far as typing goes, two thumbs whilst in portrait mode seems to work best for me, as far as accuracy goes.
Two hands in landscape was hard, as I kept hitting the wrongs keys. Two thumbs in landscape was a little more difficult as reaching everywhere wasn't that simple.
I also noticed that it was slower to load some apps than my iPad 3, though haven't really tested this closely.
I've used my mini this weekend. A few impressions:
- Instead of setting up the min as a new iPad, I restored from my iPad 3's backup to clone it. Everything really does work the same.
- Even thought it is mini, doesn't mean that apps are any smaller in memory size. I got a 32 GB mini and I should have got a 64 GB to fit all my stuff. But I'm not a typical user.
- I expected the resolution to look a little better than iPad 2 since the screen is smaller. But the screen appears more blurry than an iPad 2 to me.
- I have to enlarge web pages more often to be able to actually read them.
- It's more comfortable to hold than a regular sized iPad.
- The one game I play on iPad is N.O.V.A. 3. I prefer to play it on the mini because it's easier to hold and maneuver.
Love it for ereading. the size is perfect for little ones - had it with some kindy and Pre-primary kids today and they were able to type with one hand and hold with the other hand. Love the fact it is downsized iPad apps as opposed to upsized iPod apps.
Education - great for the ECE kids but a bit small for all the creation stuff for middle and upper primary kids.
General - excellent reader/general productivity but not the best size for all things that I do on my iPad.
I've had a go at compiling a bunch of thoughts into these points (NB. A full education review will be up at Mactalk.com.au on Wednesday 7th Nov):
Pros for education:
- Much better speakers for when used as a group activity station.
- Much lighter especially for younger students to use for longer periods
- Battery life is as great as an iPad 2 and better than the iPad 3. I've gotten over 9 hours of heavy usage out of it (screen at 70% brightness running videos, games and/ or streaming music with wifi and sometimes bluetooth on as well).
- The perfect device for schools that have 1:1 laptops but want to also add a more mobile and flexible learning device.
- The cameras mean it can function as a recording rig and light content creation tool when needed.
- Apparently performs better in a drop test than the iPad 3 and Google Nexus7 (http://bit.ly/VMsuZ7)
Cons for education:
- Slippery back mandates a case (but most schools get these anyway).
- Smaller touch points might be tricky for kids with low fine motor skills.
- While adults can hold it in one hand, for kids the 'one-hand' marketing doesn't really work.
- Shared group activities would work for 2 rather 3-4 kids.
- Cheaper price means its almost too easy for schools to buy them without having a proper learning plan in place first.
In closing, here are some explicit usage scenarios and the suggestions re: which iPad is best, that I'd make:
- For mainly classroom desk-based use, go with the larger iPad.
- If all you need is 16gb, go with the iPad 2.
- If you need more than 16gb, OR money is an issue, get the mini.
- If you have other devices (laptops or larger iPads already), get the mini.
- If you will be sharing iPads between students in groups, consider the larger iPad.
- If you are used to a retina iPad, wait for the retina mini.
- Also keep in mind the new Lightning dock connector means you'll need some new cables and adapters, thus adding to the cost