iPad mini with Retina display review

How do you use your iPad?

Apple juggled their iPad lineup yesterday, kicking the iPad 2 to the curb and bringing the iPad 4 back out of retirement. For anyone who wants a slightly less expensive full-sized iPad, that's a big improvement. For anyone trying to decide which iPad they want, it's even more confusing. We have an iPad buyers guide to help people choose the right one for them, but it got me thinking — which iPad is right depends on how you're going to use it. That's the part that interests me. How do you use your iPad?

Web surfing, forum stuff, Twitter, RSS reading, email, paying bills, etcetera.JustMe'D, iMore Forums Member

Everywhere you go you see people using iPads in different ways although some of them are well, shall we say 'less accepted' than others.

I like it far more on a holiday then my laptop. It's small does the same exact thing as my laptop and easier to take a photo with.t3ddie, iMore Forums Member

I'm certainly not out climbing mountain tops and snapping photos or taking video under the sea with mine. It does however serve me well as a coffee table tablet for light browsing and reading while watching television or laying in bed and not really wanting the hassle of taking a MacBook to bed with me. Some folks go all in though, ditching their laptops for iPads on business trips and vacations.

So where does the iPad fit in your life? How do you use your iPad? Let me know in the comments below or head on into the iMore Forums for more discussion.

Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.

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There are 50 comments. Add yours.

lfc31 says:

Everything at home unless I am having to do serious work. When I am out I usually use my iPhone, much more mobile. I use it for social media, e-mail, internet etc.

richard_rsp says:

I have an iPad Air and use mine generally the same way you do... bedside reader / coffee table device. I feel that for me it has replaced reading books, newspaper, magazines, or listening to the radio while in bed or sitting in the living room.

But I also use it for more... It serves as a TV guide for our UVerse to see what is on TV. My wife and I use it to watch episodes of TV shows in bed or while on the road. It has been used in the kitchen to follow recipes. And it is used as a stress reliever/small gaming device. We use it to Facetime (its easier than holding the Macbook) with our parents.

The only real WORK that I have done with an iPad was giving a presentation, which worked flawlessly connected to a projector (iPad 3). We are also looking into using an LTE connected model to allow inspectors at my office to electronically enter in information in the field.

Overall, its a very useful device. I have a Macbook, but unless I have MS Office stuff to do, I take the iPad.

tigerinexile says:

Media consumption, broadly. Hockey games in bed, a reading library, music when I don't need super high quality audio, and movies.

Most of my internet browsing, too.

I leave my laptop in its bag whenever I can.

nat750 says:

I have a 64gb iPad Mini With Retina 4g. A typical day starts with listening to an Album through the Djay2 app whilst getting ready (I like my albums in the mix opposed to one song stopping then one starting), then as I've have the books I'm studying for college on my iPad I do a bit of reading up whilst have breakfast etc, if it's a day I'm off college or work then I use it as a TV for my youngest daughter in the back if the car whilst out & about, then during the day have it reading out sections of my study books whilst pottering. If I'm at work I use my Logitech keyboard folio case to finish assignments using pPages or Docs to Go which I can email to college direct from iPad. The occasional gaming whilst sat on the toilet, and would use it for my default FaceTime device. The occasional iMessage if my phones on charge & my full time web browser & to watch netflix whilst travelling. Couldn't live without it.

News_Dr2521 says:

I use mine for reading and media--newspapers, magazines, RSS, YouTube and Netflix. Currently, I have an iPad Mini, and I am more interested in upgrading to an iPad Air than upgrading to iPhone 6 when it's eventually released.

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Gus2259 says:

I use my iPad 3 for the normal web surfing, reading. I also have apps that allows me to use it to design rooms, to create AutoCAD and revised AutoCAD drawings, and to edit PDF files. I use iWorks Numbers app for uses such as tracking my family cell data usage. I edit movies and photos. I have also used app to create flowcharts, and probably my most ambitious project is to edit 200+ pages of web-based documents down to the information that I'm looking for.

benlee78 says:

I have the 1st gen iPad mini, and at home it is my primary device for gaming, browsing, reading, replying to e-mails, and messaging. I only turn to my laptop if I have to do some work from home, or if the iPad is charging. I also use iWork's Numbers app to manage my monthly budget, and Readle's Documents 5 to sign and markup PDF documents.

At work, I use it to take notes in meetings (OneNote). I have also used it exclusively for note-taking at several conferences. I do, however, take a laptop... I just try to leave it at the hotel as much as possible.

Ronnie T says:

I have an iPad Mini Retina with 4LTE, 64GB. Since going to the mini, I'm using it more for almost everything because it's so mobile. I write using Pages, do spreadsheets using Numbers, and do all my email on it. Occasionally, I use my desktop for heavier tasks such as Photoshop work, but I prefer being on my iPad mini for everything else. I have a 13" Macbook Pro Retina, but I'm using it far less because I'm on the iPad Mini. I had larger iPads before the mini, but I didn't use them as much. Somehow, the mini is more conducive for work for me.

Rowanova says:

I use my iPad Air for reading news, books, web surfing, forums participation, minimal gaming, YouTube and other video content, email, messaging, and whatever else I've forgotten.
My new biz venture is a small startup, by design expecting to keep it small and flexible, so I've been using it for a lot of those purposes as well. I have several cloud storage services, Documents, Scanner and Printer Pro, a PDF app, use iWorks, and the PC mostly sits idle now. About the only time I use a true laptop these days is when I need or want the 15" screen space, or if I'm typing out larger and longer documents. Then the dedicated and full size keyboard trumps.
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iSRS says:

I have the misfit iPad, know as the first retina iPad. Got it launch day. iOS 7 had me looking at the Air, but iOS 7.1 made things right.

I use it for just about everything. Browsing, reading (books and comics and soon textbooks), Netflix, Hulu, Amazon instant, games, Numbers, on and on.

And the biggest conveniences? LogMeIn to do things on my iMac (recent/new example: can't make a subpage on OneNote for iPad but the Mac app you can, so I am working in onenote for iPad, realize I want to nest a page, pull up LogMeIn and nest the page there, sync and back to the iPad app). Second is Citrix receiver. Allows me to work from literally anywhere but putting my iPhone in hotspot mode and pulling up my work computer.

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joshrocker says:

I use my iPad 3 as laptop replacement. I still have a laptop but it's mostly an iTunes Player. I still use my laptop for heavy browsing or work. Otherwise my iPad has fully replaced it. I don't travel with my laptop anymore either. Much more convenient to take the iPad. Not having to worry about the battery is a major plus on vacation. About the only things I don't use the iPad for are taking pictures/video and music (unless I'm using headphones). The iPad has really changed my daily life and how I get things done.

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d ha says:

I too use mine more than my old MBP.
I have a mini at home that is on Maverick and everything xfers to my iPhone and my iPad.
I am using the pad at school to study and finish homework. I too set mine up with a keep board and use keynote for my teachers lectures and pages for writing or finishing paper that I started on my mini in Word and save to the cloud and complete in Pages.

I use the MBP for file server and music and a media server for PS3 and PS4 and my Apple TV.

SPS828 says:

I use my iPad for mainly YouTube twitter Web browsing and Skype

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khobia2 says:

I have a 3rd gen device. Use it for business, web browsing, tech forums, Netflix and network tv apps, email and reading.

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alexislgz says:

I use my iPad Mini for reading books, web browsing a little gaming, youtube videos, some social media and iTunes movies and of course music! Its really good light and mobile and I'm in Love with it!!

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Sitar_noise says:

Here's how I use my ipad air (upgraded from an ipad 2) in order of frequency:

Reading: digital comics, books, articles saved on instapaper, some light web searches (I have a desk job so its not where I do most of my web searching/reading), some social media

Games: while commuting or on the couch

Video: while cooking, or streaming to the apple tv or controlling it

Documents: Keynote (I edit lectures for a class I teach), Pages, Numbers, Marking assignments when away from home

Lights: we have some Hue bulbs in the living room and are slowly going to add more. Although this task is split with the iphone

Illustration: I mostly use Paper, sometimes Brushes

mapping: very occasionally, mostly when the iphone is too far too reach

Am I alone in using an iphone as a second screen? It's often how I multitask when away from my imac.

Ninotschka says:

I also use my iPhone as a 2nd screen.

T-Will says:

iPad Air
- Sheet music library
- RSS News Feed (Feedly)
- Light internet browsing
- Basic Numbers spreadsheets

Kage#AC says:

What app do you use for the sheet music library?

Rodrigo Alves de Brito says:

I have an iPad mini (1st gen) and I use it for quick internet browsing, YouTube videos, controlling the AppleTV, checking emails and listening to music while cleaning the house.

bigjoe7757 says:

I used my ipad 2 every day since it's release but due to is weight and size was tough to bring everywhere with me, now that I got an iPad mini retina it goes everywhere. I have not used a laptop in years thanks to my iPads, I really don't think there is anything that I couldn't accomplish on my ipad that I would need a laptop for and now with the Apple TV and chromecast I'm just about done with my htpc. It really is a great device, at this point I could never go back to not having one. As far as listing what exactly I do with it, documents, movies, FaceTime, home automation, shopping, surfing the web and Remote Desktop. And I'm always looking for new things to try.

saynt j says:

I have an original iPad 64GB with cellular data. It's so big and heavy compared to the new iPad Air that I use the OG iPad as a doorstop, paperweight, boat anchor, and to occasionally straighten out my children and lippy wife.

GreenDize12 says:

It's funny. When I first started using the iPad, it was really more of a novelty device rather than a Necessity. I traded the iPad 3 for a Mini, only to return it a month later because at one point I was only really using it to cope with my sleep anxiety. My mom had an iPad 2 so that solved that problem and I was without a Tablet without a year. And honestly, I didn't even reconsidered getting one. Then around the time iPad Air came out, I was in a situation where I actually had money to Spend. I saw how beautiful the iPad Air was and I figured: "Why not, it is lighter, and had a much more beautiful design." So I went with a 32GB Space Grey with T-mobile LTE (Now AT&T LTE).

Going back was honestly one of the best decision I have made. Somehow with the iPad Air, this thing went from sometime I almost regret wasting money on, to a device that my school and work life completely revolve around. I am honestly quite surprise that 32GB is doing the trick. I use it for Almost everything!!! All my textbooks are on it, in addition to the Manga I read, It is my Music player, I use it to watch my iTunes movies on it (via the AV Adapter), play games, design any flyers and keynote presentation (Although Microsoft office is still 20X better for that stuff). Is is Jailbroken so I can customize it anyway I want and play emulators with it. With Line, Skype, and FaceTime VoIP apps, I actually, in a sense, use it as a phone and Text those without an iOS device. And of course, I still use it to cope with my sleep anxiety.

Although I barely use my iPhone nowadays, my Only reason for not getting rid is because for business purposes, it is a necessity because I can't exactly give people a number to call me via VoIP. Also, I still need my MacBook Pro in case I need to do stuff or play more intense games on Windows 8, or for my Downloaded movies and Music on OS X Mavericks for Sync the iPad to.

But I am also starting use the free storage spaces of Dropbox (5GB), OneDrive (7GB!), Google Drive (25GB!!), and Box (50GB!!!) because I only store so much into 32GB that I have to resort to streaming all these movies from cloud storage apps. What my Roku 2 is to my entertainment, my iPad Air is to almost everything else.

tekenza says:

I used to need to carry around a laptop and tether to a phone but those days are long gone. My LTE iPad 3 is a workhorse. I use it every single day for remote server administration (Jump Desktop app best $20 I ever spent), email and web browsing. I almost gave up on it and replaced with an Air when iOS 7.0 came out because of the performance, but 7.1 has brought it back to life.

EPJS says:

I'm always on my iPad, the 10-hour battery life for me is only half a day of use. I've reserved my imac usage for only video and photo editng. I even write books on the iPad, and got pretty good at typing on the glass screen.

ba_hamilton says:

I run a POS program on mine to help me run my bar and restaurant.

ndogdrumz says:

I bought my first iPad (2nd gen Mini) and I like it. I'm still getting use to holding it where it doesn't feel awkward and all those little things. I love the portability and ease of use that they provide. I threw an OtterBox (like my iPhone) on it so I could take it more on the go. It is easier to watch YouTube and browse the web. Those really are my main things I use it for. Now with the bigger display iPhone 6 rumors, I'm not sure if I will keep my iPad or trade it in to upgrade to a new MacBook. The iPad is easier to carry around as apposed to a Mac. Ever since the iPad 2 came out, I needed to get one. After years of anticipation and saving up, I finally go one, and I have to say I am impressed. Its great having the iCloud triangle (iPhone, Mac, and iPad) have all my things across each device when I need it. Needless to say, I will be using it for everything and anything.

YourMobileGuru says:

iPad Air mostly for media consumption.

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applemaximus says:

I got given an iPad1 when the retina come out and my boss upgraded.
At first I thought it would have little use.

My situation may be a bit odd, I do my work on high end Macs; I edit Film and TV.
But edit suites tend to be islands; not connected to the internet, and tightly controlled to protect the data.
So I always carried a Macbook to view scripts, email, send and receive files, surfing the net, and preparing images sometimes.
Over a year I found more apps that filled in what my Macbook would do, and one day I just left the Macbook at home and carried a much smaller bag to work.
Reading scripts by holding a tablet, or putting it below a keyboard is much nicer, and scrolling with fingers is much quicker. Everything seemed nicer and more natural with an iPad.

Now I have an iPad Air, and it really means I have ditched my Macbook permanently.
It sits at home as a back up / archive station.
My iPad is for everything else personal and business (apart from the big editing and effects stuff).
I have even started to edit video in iMovie and Pinnacle on iPad too; rough mock ups, or to quickly show what a scene might do, and naturally for all my home movies.
To those who suggest editing video on an iPad is not enough, have not worked on the early versions of Avid. A good suite is really needed for big jobs, but an on the go light editor that fits in your hand is amazing stuff.

To finally ditch my Macbook I have a special set up:
I have a bluetooth keyboard that sits at work permanently by my desk for longer text input; at home I go totally free. I love the Seagate Wireless Plus drive, and the USB camera kit is a must; so I can get media into and off the iPad quickly, and not fill my 128 Gb all the time.
I have 'Files Connect' that can connect to SMB and AFP servers, '8 player' seems to stream from any media server, LogmeIn & Teamviewer for control away from home, Smart Office 2 because Pages just does not yet properly display tables in MSWord docs. And naturally iMovie, Pinnacle Studio, Laminar Pro, PhotoWizard, Crop & Zoom, Emulsio. Video Grade, Actual Pixels, Autostitch, iMediaShare, Filmic Pro ....

Marius Flint says:

I'm translating books eng to pl

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mvpilot172 says:

I'm a pilot, use it in the cockpit for charts and manuals. I use it on the ground with company apps. I replaced my heavier laptop while I travel away from home on flights. It was my gateway drug to Apple, all iOS house now.

JAL Payen says:

If my calculations are correct, well let's see......excluding holidays, Saturdays and Sundays, and the times I must use the office's Windows PC..... hmmm..... I guess I have been using it around 2000 hours a year at work, Monday thru Friday, since March 2012.

Nothings beats the iPad as a productivity tool, at least in my case.

SETUP:
iPad 3 4G LTE
Logitech K760
Otterbox Defender (white/grey)

fritzdoss says:

At home: coffee table reader, FaceTime, Apple TV remote, eBay, banking app. Travel with it for same purpose, but always bring the MBP in case I need to do something that requires a full blown browser.

At work: able to walk around the job site on wifi and inventory/order through vendor portals or apps.

nolhayes says:

I had no real use for my 128gb iPad 4 which is why i sold it and got my rMBP. Between that and the iPhone I have it all covered.
Now with regards to the iPad I used it most while on vacation to play music and watch movies while away from home. But otherwise it was for games, reading blogs, subscriptions to magazines (which turned out horrible) and just general browsing. All of which I can do on the iPhone.

Torres Juan Camilo says:

I mostly use it in my car as entertainment unit. iPad 4 with data (no 4g on the road where I live) I Prefer using the ipad to my cars built in NIT or iPhone. Wider screen than the iPhone, it allows me to have things at hand ( like In a tesla) I position it in an almost perfect spot ( created Ad hoc for it) comfortable enough if I need to write a word or two, not a problem to switch apps or. Lose them but use Siri mainly. Ask for songs or saved radio stations. I listen/ watch podcasts a lot ( subscribed podcasts and interaction with Siri is perfect)

When at home use it mainly to read emails and watch videos / movies. Loooove my Ipad!

Ninotschka says:

Predominantly for photo editing as I'm a journalist and hate Photoshop. I much prefer editing with Photogene etc on my retina iPad. Other than that, everything I would use a netbook or MacBook Air for: email, web browsing, RSS, note taking, reading books, scheduling calendar appointments, task management, the odd game. The only thing I prefer to do on my Mac is file management and writing articles, but I have a Bluetooth keyboard and Byword and Evernote sync between my Mac, iPad and iPhone so I can also write on the go if I want.

Luke DeWitt says:

I play in a band, and we use an old iPad 1 as a MIDI module at our shows. We connect a controller to it with the Camera Connection Kit, and send audio out through the headphone jack. It's super reliable, we get great sound, and the whole setup saved us a lot of money.

When the iPad isn't in use on stage, we've got it set up on the merch table, playing our music video for people who want a sample of our CD.

Kage#AC says:

I have an iPad 1 that I use mostly for media/browsing. Lately I've started using it to mark up my scripts for stage directions (Notability) but I need to get a better stylus. Hoping I can get a newer iPad this year so I can get an active stylus to use.

applelex says:

Media consumption, games, browsing the web and some work related tasks but it's more or less a toy for me.

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Eric Stallings says:

Its my portable porn machine.

Posted via the Android iMore App on my Nexus 5!

Jaee Young says:

I've been using iPads from the first gen to the now air. I use mine for illustrations and designs and move finish work to my Mac for clean up. I do speak to text to create documents and do pretty much all my reading from my iPad. As like now I watch TV via. iPad to ITV, while updating my FB and reading my flip board or CNN app. I even use my ITV and pages or google docs and speach to text and do doc's on the big screen rather than using my Mac. I kinda rethink how I do things I went from always being in front of my Computer to now using my iPad for pretty much everything ( TV, drawing, music, reading etc). I even have a app that works with my google voice so I can make phone calls with a local number and send text ass well. Yes I really do everything with my iPad. But things like coding and finish work towards designs I don on my Mac. However I've findings ways to work around that too.

CptPierce says:

I use my iPad for personal use only, and I can't quite imagine daily life without it (returning to a laptop, that is)... I use it for surfing the web, social media, e-mail, reading books, watching movies and TV (both pre-bought series and streaming broadcasts). I use it for journaling, photo retouching, FaceTime with family. I use it in bed, when I do the dishes, on my sofa, on the porch, in the hammock. And it makes a close to perfect vacation partner :)

StormTwo says:

I have a non retina iPad mini upstairs that's used strictly for Pandora (always have music pumped thru the house). Then downstairs I have an iPad Air and retina mini I use all the time. My laptop rarely gets used anymore.

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xianshell says:

I never take my MacBook Pro anymore when I travel for business. The iPad is all I need.

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wky21 says:

In office, my iPad is a support device for my computing work. When Mobil it my main access to work, etc...taking notes during meeting, checking my work planner, creating reminder when necessary, google when in doubts, browsing or reading while waiting and so on. When at home, it my TV to all movies while I do all major things on my Mac. In bed, either music control or TV to bed. Perhaps I really can't live without this great device anymore.

Bruno Deserto says:

I use mine all the time. I use it at home, at work for making some tests for students, yes, I know I would be a lot faster using a laptop but I am tired of carrying suck a bulky with me all the time. The iPad Air does it all for me and I don't even have a keyboard yet. I rarely use my laptop because once you are used to retina you don't want anything below than that. Berry goes on forever it is just a fantastic device. If it is true Apple is going to release a 12.9 inch iPad this is going to my next one along with the iPad Air 2, of course.

torrado Williams says:

I have not Apple ipad mini but I wish I have because I love Apple products. Apple introduce very innovative technology which has no comparison