Dan Frommer writes about his experiences with the smaller iPad after nearly a year with it:
The major difference between the iPad mini and my original iPad, purchased in 2010: I’m still actually using this one every day, almost a year after I bought it.
That wasn’t the case for my big, bulky first-gen iPad. As I wrote in a February, 2011 re-review, also after 300 days: “The main thing you need to know about my iPad right now is that I’m not sure where it is.” Ouch. The main thing you need to know about my iPad mini right now is that it’s here next to me, and I’ve already been using it a bunch today. I also fell asleep reading it last night, and almost every night last week.
Like many others, I love the Mini's form factor. It just feels great — but no Retina, yuck!
Currently, I'm torn as to which iPad to get next: another full-size model or the Mini. Using my iPad 3 as a laptop has been a wonderful experience, mainly because of the large Retina display. But I'm not a fan of its size and weight, and I don't like that it runs pretty warm after prolonged use. Thus, I don't do as much reading on it as I'd like, so my Instapaper queue gets neglected. On the other hand, the Mini's size and weight make it great for reading, but I worry about its utility as a writing device given the smaller screen.
At this point, my tentative plan is to get a Retina Mini whenever Apple ships it. Alternatively, I'm going to pay close attention to what changes are made to the big iPad. If Apple can bring the size and weight down enough to make it "Mini-like", then I'll opt for that instead. Realistically, the big iPad is better for me considering my vision, but I want it to be thin and light enough to comfortably hold for reading as well.
This is but one reason why I'm so pumped for the next few months.