From a certain distance, the lack of Retina Display doesn't become that big a factor, especially for apps and games.
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The Mini's backside. Flat and aluminum.
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Mini on top of the bigger fourth-gen iPad. There's a big size difference.
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The iPad Mini's 5-megapixel rear camera and 1.2-megapixel front camera aren't showstoppers, but they're just as good as the ones on the larger iPad and can shoot 1080p and 720p video, respectively.
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Games and apps with smaller icons still work well, even with thick fingers like mine. Seen here: Ticket to Ride, an excellent board game port.
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The iPad Mini works with most iOS 6 features, including Siri and Maps with 3D Flyover.
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The iPad Mini's a pretty great little gaming tablet. The hand feel is a lot better for virtual joystick controls. Seen here: Real Racing 2 HD.
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Video-playing on the Mini means you'll have to deal with letterboxing for most movies and shows, but videos look similar to the way they do on the iPad 2.
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Lap typing isn't bad, either. I wouldn't want to write a book on it, but it's suitable for quick e-mails.
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The Mini's best killer apps: graphic books and apps like this DK dinosaur encyclopedia.
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In the box: the Lightning cable and its AC charger are exactly like the iPhone 5's. No larger brick necessary.
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Lightning and the iPad Mini. You know the routine.
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Reading an issue of the New Yorker. The aspect ratio and 7.9-inch screen size are perfect for digital magazines, provided you can live with the lower pixels-per-inch compared with on the Retina Display iPad, Kindle Fire HD, Nook HD, and Nexus 7.
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iOS family photo, 2012. Fourth-gen iPad on the left, iPad Mini in the middle, and little baby fifth-gen iPod Touch on the right.
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Thumb-typing's far easier on the Mini than on the larger iPad. That's because it's more like a big iPod Touch.
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The aluminum edges and thin, flat design make the Mini feel more like the iPod Touch's recent evolution than the larger iPad.
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Typing, especially with the Smart Cover, isn't bad at all. Just expect to do more finger-tapping than full-on laptop touch-typing.
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The iPad Mini with Smart Cover makes for a very appealing, if expensive, picture frame.
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Yes, the Mini is thin. It's the thinnest of the 7-inch tablet crop this year, although it's also wider and longer than most.
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The Smart Cover is all-polyurethane this time.
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The Smart Cover works like its larger version, but with one less folding flap.
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A look at the edge and rear camera lens.
Photo by: James Martin/CNET
At 0.68 pound, the Mini's very easy to hold in one hand...although I wouldn't suggest doing it by the corner.
Photo by: James Martin/CNET
The iPad Mini in black has a slate-colored aluminum back.
Photo by: James Martin/CNET
Web browsing on the Mini. The amount of screen space feels generous for its size.
Photo by: James Martin/CNET

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