Should you get a large-screened handset over a mini tablet?

Apple iPad Mini

Apple iPad Mini


Steve Jobs was very much of the opinion that mini tablets were a waste of his empire’s time and money, but it didn’t take long for his successors to release a model for the increasingly competitive market.

The Apple iPad Mini is going up against the established heavyweights of the mini tablet world – Samsung and Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire – as well as a challenger from the old enemy, the Microsoft Surface, and as Christmas draws ever nearer, the mini tablet was is going to hot up.

A recent poll in the States indicated that 22% of Americans were contemplating a tablet, but before you say, “I’m going to sell my iPad and get on the mini tablet bandwagon!” consider whether or not mini tablet fans are barking up the wrong tree. Why not just get a large-screened mobile phone like the Samsung Galaxy S3?

We look at the pros and cons below.

How many devices do you want?

So you want a tablet that’s über-portable. That’s understandable, and the Nexus 7, iPad Mini and their ilk are certainly that. But you’re losing some of the convenience by having to carry around a phone too, especially when a modern handset will provide much of the functionality of your tablet.

If you don’t mind carrying two devices then the increased screen size of the tablet might convince you to buy one – but screens are getting larger and larger on phones. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus and HTC One X+ both rock 4.7-inch displays. Considerably smaller than the mini tablet but, maybe, but big enough to provide competitive video experiences.

Verdict – Go for the phone

What do you want to do?

It might seem insultingly obvious to say, but phones allow you to do some pretty useful stuff that tablets don’t – namely: calling people.

What’s more, while mobile browsing is far from universal in the tablet and mini tablet world, you will have no problems browsing on the go with your phone. As well as price, mini tablets are about convenience and portability, but there’s not much that’s convenient about only being able to go online when in range of a friendly Wi-Fi network.

Verdict – It’s the phone again


The critics are pretty unanimous in their opinion of the iPad Mini. It’s a great device, with beautiful design and great battery life, but it costs far too much.

Weighing in at around £300 for the 16GB version, Apple’s mini tablet is almost twice the price of its main competitors. We know how much people are prepared to pay for Apple’s trademark design excellence, but it’s still a ridiculous hit on the wallet.

The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire make much more financial sense, but when you consider that a large-screened mobile could be yours for free if you are due an upgrade, the phone again comes out on top. Obviously, if you aren’t due an upgrade, you can find yourself paying through the nose for a new phone, and the mini tablet can again look more tempting.

Verdict – Upgraders should go for the phone, otherwise it’s a tie

If you want to raise some extra money to fund the purchase of either device just Google “sell my stuff for cash” to see what options are available. Old tech might not be any use to you, but it retains its value surprisingly well. Selling it on a site like Music Magpie could leave you with a nice pile of cash just in time for Christmas.

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