Steve Jobs famously said that 7-inch tablets were ‘dead on arrival’. Yet Apple has now launched the 7.9-inch iPad Mini. The question is, which is the best tablet size; 10-inch or 7-inch?
I was lucky enough to get my hands on the iPad 4, along with its little brother, on the day they were released. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so took them home to have a play.
We happened to be having a fireworks party that weekend, so the house was full with family and friends. Surprisingly, the tablet that got the most attention over the course of the weekend was the iPad Mini. Everyone, including my nine-year-old cousin, wanted to play with the Mini, leaving its larger counterpart gathering dust. Some might say it’s because this is the first miniature iPad, but I like to believe it’s because smaller tablets have more charm.
7-inch vs 10-inch tablets
The iPad Mini has fast become my favourite member of the Apple family. It’s small enough to slip into a bag (or large pocket!) and it’s comfortable to hold in one hand. So if you’re crammed into a commuter train, as I am every morning, you can comfortably hold it in one hand while gripping the rail with the other. And at 307g it won’t make your wrists ache either, which is something I find happens quite quickly when I’m clutching on to the full-sized iPad.
However, I do see the case for larger tablets. At the moment they tend to have better screens. Both the iPad 4 and the Google Nexus 10 have the sharpest displays around – and their bigger screens are also better for watching films and playing games.
So if you’re thinking about splashing out on a tablet, you’ll need to decide on the size that fits you best. Here are some pointers that might help:
Buy a 7-inch tablet if…
You want to save some money: the iPad Mini comes in at £270 making tablets more affordable for more people. And if you’re not an Apple fan, you can buy a great Android tablet for under £200.
You’re a commuter: if you’re often out and about and travel on crowded public transport, smaller tablets are super portable and might suit you better.
You want an ebook reader with a bit more oomph: 7-inch tablets are more comparable in cost and size to e-readers, so you could read your books on something that has a bit more flexibility and is arguably of more use.
Buy a 10-inch tablet if…
You want to work on your device: the bigger screen makes typing emails and documents easier. Plus, if you pick Microsoft’s Surface tablet, you’ll have an office on the go, with apps such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint pre-installed.
You’re a movie fan: films always look better on bigger screens, so the larger tablets win hands down here.
You mainly want to use it at home: if you’re not going to lug the device around, you won’t find the unwieldy size such an issue.
For my needs, a smaller tablet is definitely best – portability is what counts for me and you certainly get that with a little 7-inch device. But maybe a 10-inch tablet suits you better?