Some iPad Mini Testing (With PDFs Too)

Photos taken on Monday, November 12, 2012. Resized and resampled to VGA; click any to enlarge.

An unexpected summons to the city enabled me to quickly visit the Borg Cube Apple Mothership:

And I got right down to business, running my standard PDF tests.

Prior posts in this series:

Asus Windows 8 Introduction: Part One
Asus Windows 8 Introduction: Part Two
Twitter Report: PDF Tests On Nexus 7
Tech Fondles: Xyboard, Galaxy Tabs 10.1 & 7.7
Processed World PDF Torture Test, Part Three: iPad And HP TouchPad
iPad PDF Torture Test: GoodReader Vs. Processed World
The PDF Torture Test The iPad 2 And iPhone 4s Failed
Update On iPad 2 And Google Books PDFs
Google Books PDF Smackdown: NookColor Vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab Vs. iPad
Google Books PDF On HTC Flyer
eInk Nook Reading Google Books PDF
More PDF Action On Rooted NookColor
Google Books PDF On Rooted NookColor

And if you want to play along at home:

Success: A Novel at Google Books
Success: A Novel at my Google Docs (for people outside of the U.S..)
Processed World (Nov-82) [choose PDF (5.9 M) or right-click Save As here]
Processed World [Google Docs: PWPDF3bHigh.pdf – app 14 MBs]

And the usual cautions about screen photographs: Ignore the interference pattern from the camera sensor. I’ve applied filters to only three of these, to enhance the ability to see text.

That one is Success: A Novel opened in iBooks.

Here it is open in mobile Safari:

Torture fast-paging:

Well, they all do that. Even an i7 CPU on the Asus Transformer Book running full Windows 8. I just like doing it. I wait for the day when the pages are never blank like that.

Interesting how Google Books generates the page as regions:

Or is it mobile Safari doing that? This test is just for my own curiosity and shouldn’t be used to judge any hardware. No one in their right mind would read a PDF from Google Books while connected to the Net. It makes sense just to download it.

I was satisfied with the speed of Success: A Novel on the iPad Mini. The improvements to both iOS and iBooks have made an enormous difference since my first tests with an iPad. However, as I note further down, they can still do more. Perhaps an A6 CPU is faster? I didn’t try it.

One thing I must point out, when I tried Success: A Novel on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, it kicked the iPad 3’s ass. With the iPad Mini, that performance gap has been wiped out. So well done for Apple with this test PDF! (And no, I have not yet gone back to try it again on a Retina iPad with the new versions of iOS and iBooks. Some other day.)

The next round:

Opened in mobile Safari:

Text rendering delay:

Again, that doesn’t really matter. People will — or at least should — download PDFs.

Opened in iBooks:

Text rendering delay:

Rendered text (not the same passage):

This is where Apple still has room for improvement. That version of Processed World is the one I changed to make it render faster than the version at the Internet Archive (which I didn’t even bother to try on the Mini). That text rendering delay on the faster version is just disappointing.

There was a demo version of the WordPress app on the Mini:

No, those are not this blog’s stats. The demo displayed canned examples. It was interesting to see the bizarre interface it had. Someone at WordPress needs to adjust that UI and UX. It just doesn’t seem right.

Ah, YouTube!

But I want a YouTube app again, dammit. But Apple is unlikely to install that on their demo models.

Gangnam Style in 720p! That’s better than my crap desktop can do it. Also, I was very surprised to see that videos preloaded more and faster on the Mini than on my desktop. I wish Google would revert to pre-loading the entire video again.

Tweeting from the Mini:

Note that I held the Mini n my left hand — lightly, not with a finger-spanning death grip — and pecked at the keyboard with one finger. I didn’t do thumbs. Typing was just fine.

Size comparison to iPad 2:

I did it that way deliberately because of all the dissing Steve Jobs did of 7″ tablets being just half the size of an iPad’s screen.

And a quick test of the camera (click these for full-size):

That’s a shot using the automagic macro, of an iPad 2 screen. That makes me swoon. I have to press a goddammed directional button — and I always forget which direction — and then choose a menu item on the atrocious (don’t ever buy it!) Nikon Coolpix to get macro focus.

That one is grainier than I’d like with items washed-out. However, all digital cameras are a pain, especially when they’re staring into light. It’s good enough for blogging, I think.

And now the Truth or Dare portion of our program:

So there it is. The original speculated dimensions of the iPad Mini in paper compared to what we got!

And what about the new paper iPad Mini I made based on the revised rumored dimensions?

BAM! I had it spot on. STFU about the cat paw print. I wasn’t going to cut out a new one just for two photos.

And let’s go there:

Galaxy Tab 7.7: 7.74″ x 5.23″ x 0.31″ – 11.9 oz
iPad Mini: 7.87″ x 5.3″ x 0.28″ – 10.88 oz

Spooky, isn’t it?

So… conclusions:

I came in skeptical about those narrow side bezels. But they work. My thumb never accidentally hit the screen. This is because of the incredible balance and weight distribution of the Mini. How the hell does Apple do that? Given all the parts inside, how do they manage to get that balance and feeling of lightness — and also quality solidity — when no other tablet maker can? Not even Samsung has pulled that off. Jon Ive and his team are freakin wizards.

The thinness of the Mini is incredible. I kick myself now for not getting a photograph of it next to my LifeDrive (which I was carrying). It’s nearly one-third the thickness: 0.74″ for the LifeDrive versus 0.28″ for the Mini. And my LifeDrive weighs 6.7 ounces compared to the Mini’s 10.88 ounces — but the Mini feels lighter in my hand!

For those who might be tempted to compare it to eInk devices, here is your STFU:

Original Nook: 7.7″ x 4.9″ x 0.5″ – 12.1 oz
iPad Mini: 7.87″ x 5.3″ x 0.28″ – 10.88 oz

The original Nook was heavier and it still sold. In fact, people usually carried it in attached cases that added even more weight!

There is only one other tablet I’ve seen with an 8″ screen (it might be 7.9″ too, for all I know and for the way marketeers massage numbers — see “32-inch Class” HDTVs!), the Archos 80 G9.

Screen-wise, they should be similar. However, the Apple aesthetics just kill it. Apple’s history of digital typography — beginning with the original bitmapped Macintosh and then TrueType outline typefaces — just gives it a winning edge despite the same screen resolutions. Things look designed on an iPad Mini, not like it’s a tarted-up computer from the 1980s. That’s the impression I still get from most Android tablets (the exception being those from Barnes & Noble).

I know there are people out there who have been spoiled by Retina displays. I understand that. But the lack of Retina didn’t bother me at all. There are still plenty of people out there who has never been bedazzled by Retina. And even those who have hi-res screens — such as Android phone owners — probably still won’t notice any difference.

As for that $329 entry price? I hate to say it, but damn, after touching it, holding it, yeah, they can make people grit their teeth and pay it. Because the iPad Mini feels like an object, not like a thing.

The only other tablet maker to come close to that is, again, Barnes & Noble (at least with their prior NookColor and Nook Tablet; I haven’t yet tried the new Nook HD and HD+).

And as for Archos, their 80 G9 just feels like crap compared to the iPad Mini. And so do the Kindle Fire (first gen; I haven’t touched the latest ones) and the Nexus 7. The iPad Mini is like a Mercedes or a Lexus compared to a Yugo. Most other tablets feel like Yugos. They are things, not objects. Not something that you can fall in love with. They might have functionality, but they don’t evoke emotion.

If I had the money, I’d buy one immediately.

But I am still under the domination of kittens. (Yes, those are different kittens. Had the explosion stopped at the original three, I’d have a Mini! Hell, I would’ve had an iPad!)

1 Comment

Filed under iOS

One response to “Some iPad Mini Testing (With PDFs Too)

  1. I have also seen the Google Books generating the pages as regions on my iPad1 while doing your test.

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