Review: New iPad Mini Proves Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Only last month I declared the iPad Air the most tempting tablet on the market. But now you can build a convincing case that the Air isn't the most tempting iPad anymore. Such a designation, at least for the person who prefers a more compact design, is reserved for the brand new iPad Mini with Retina display, a tablet more elegant than its name.

I've been using the latest Mini for a few weeks and consider it the best small-screen tablet on the market, period. It's not necessarily the best value for a price-sensitive consumer, however, given such strong and less expensive alternatives as Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX.

Easier To Manipulate

The size of the Retina Mini marks the only significant difference between it and the iPad Air. And even at that you find similarities -- at 0.29 inches they are equally thin. The designs are also remarkably alike, as if Apple left the Air in the dryer too long and it shrank to Mini proportions. Both have narrow bezels on the side, and wider ones on the top and bottom. As the larger of the two, the Air comes in at 1 pound, while the Mini weighs just under 3/4 of a pound. And the Air is about an inch-and-a-half longer and 1.3 inches wider than the Mini.

In virtually every other respect, the new iPad Mini matches the iPad Air spec for spec and feature for feature, starting with the most visible and welcome addition of all, the bright and brilliant Retina display that's not only on bigger iPads, but also some iPhones and Mac computers.

Given the sameness, you're left with the classic trade-off: pitting a smaller and lighter iPad against a heavier model with a bigger screen. Yes, iPad buyers had to wrestle with the same...

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