An iPad Mini as the Best Moleskine Notebook for Graduate Students?

iPad Mini and Moleskine

Since the Apple iPad Mini media event on October 23, I have been debating if I should stick to my iPad or replace it with an iPad Mini. Especially, reading this review by Megan Lavey-Heaton on TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) tempted me to reconsider an iPad Mini and to open up my wallet for it. Here are some thought on this new iPad monster.

1. The not-so-Retina Display is actually good.
Many reviews like this one by the Verge point out the iPad Mini’s not-so-Retina, lower-resolution display. When I went to an Apple store last week, I tried an Apple Mini and I did actually notice the resolution difference between my iPad (3rd generation) and an iPad Mini. This impression lingered while I was playing with it at the store, but I am guessing that I would eventually get used to the lower-resolution display.

Indeed, an iPad Mini has a decent display. This short article by Gizmodo led me to check the display rest by RepairLabs. Here is the YouTube video showing the test:

Based on this test result, iPad Mini has a much higher resolution display than the 2nd generation iPad, but this display is not as good as Retina. For those who have never used Retina displays, an iPad Mini’s display looks great. I can’t remember exactly where I read this, but this review was pointing out that playing and watching HD videos will be still fine on an iPad Mini, so for those of us who are already used to Retina displays, we could easily get used to iPad Mini’s not-so-Retina display very quickly.

2. The size and weight of an iPad Mini is like a paperback.
Although I knew that an iPad Mini is smaller and lighter than a regular iPad, the size and weight of an iPad Mini surprised me when I actually held it in my hand. It weighs 0.68 lb (308 g) and it is as light as a typical paperback and less than half of the iPad’s weight (1.44 lbs [652 g]). I often read articles on my iPad, and my wrists feel sore after holding it for a long time. The feather-light weight Mini version will definitely make a big difference when you need to keep holding it while reading articles, books, or magazines on your iPad.

As Lavey-Heaton happily voices, “it fits in my purse,” an iPad Mini is much smaller than a regular iPad. The front area of an iPad Mini (7.87 in [200 mm] x 5.3 in [134.7 mm]) is about 40% smaller than that of an iPad, and the height of an iPad Mini is just a little taller than the width of an iPad by 0.54 in (14.3mm). And yes, an iPad Mini is 0.9 in (2.2 mm) thinner than an iPad as well. This size is a little bigger than the smaller size of a paperback (A-format: 4.33 in [110 mm] x 7 in [178 mm]), but it is most likely smaller than the majority of paperbacks B-format: 5.12 in x 7.8 in [130 mm x 198 mm]; C Format: 5.31 in x 8.50 in [135 mm x 216 mm]).1 This feather-light iPad Mini will feel like just another paperback in your bag!

3. The price is the issue… or not.
For those of us who have been using and buying Mac for a long time, we know that we are paying premium prices for Apple products. With this mentality, iPad Mini’s staring price of $329 seems decent. Since some rumours were indicating that the potential price could be $299 before the media event, $329 was a little disappointing. For me, an iPad Mini is to an iPad as an iPod Touch is to an iPhone. If the price of an iPad Mini had reflected this relationship, it would have been about $213, which seems too cheap for the capacity of an iPad. Obviously, an iPad Mini has better speed and performance than an iPod Touch, whose starting price is $299, so I guess it really makes sense that an iPad Mini costs $329.

4. An iPad Mini can replace a Moleskine notebook.
As you can see in the above image, an iPad Mini is as big as a large-size Moleskine notebook. (I tried to print out the image of an iPad Mini at real scale and the printout ended up being a few millimetres short, though.) Many people who use Moleskine at school must be using it as a tool to create and develop great ideas (and to take notes), and an iPad Mini can definitely replace a Moleskine physically and functionally. Although I have never liked writing on my iPad with a stylus, we can engage with an iPad Mini in a Moleskine way by using great apps like Penultimate and Notability. If you want to stay loyal to Moleskine, you still have the option of using the Moleskine Journal app. You can even take a picture of your old Moleskine and use it as your wallpaper, or put an iPad Mini in a case like DODO case Classic!

At this moment, my iPad is still working fine, so I will most likely to wait until my iPad Mini fever goes away. For those who have already bought ones or planning to do so, I am jealous of you!




4 thoughts on “An iPad Mini as the Best Moleskine Notebook for Graduate Students?

  1. Pingback: A Follow-Up to “An iPad Mini as the Best Moleskine Notebook for Graduate Students?” | Unruled Eyes | Masaki Kondo's Blog

  2. Pingback: Let’s Use an iPad (Mini) as a Moleskine Notebook – Part 2: DODOcase and Moleskine Covers for iPad | Unruled Eyes | Masaki Kondo's Blog

  3. Masaki,
    Great article about the the ipad mini as I have one but never got to utilizing it for my Phd purposes. I am returning to my dissertation work after a gap of two years, and was exploring apps for note taking purpose. Do you have any suggestions for apps that I might find useful ? I’ve always struggled with a stylus, and consistently preferred a regular notepad and pen.

    • Hi Ajay,
      I’m so sorry it tookme quite a while to get back to you. I’ve personally given up using a stylus to take notes on my iPad Mini, but Adonit’s Jot Pro seems worth a try if you’re still looking for a good stylus. These days, I uses my iPad Mini mainly as a reading tool—I read and annotate articles and e-books. If I take notes on my iPad Mini, I use WriteRoom and import it to Scrivener via Dropbox.

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