I was asked my opinion on the iPad mini as a tool for librarians in research and instructional services. Since the minis were brand new, and I hadn’t even seen one yet, this was a challenge, and I relied on my fellow librarians for input based on their experiences. You gotta love list servs!
The iPad minis are almost identical to the regular iPad, except for the size. The smaller size makes it lighter and easier to transport, while maintaining the same functionality as the regular iPad. However, even though the mini has the same capabilities, it has less RAM, and is more difficult to use as a substitute for a computer, for which a regular iPad can often be quite sufficient. The resolution of the mini is significantly worse compared to the regular iPad, but for a user who does not have a regular iPad, the resolution may be fine.
The mini is better for reading, rather than doing. Librarians who use an iPad for instruction, presentations, sharing information visually, or generally creating, will have difficulty doing so on a mini. Additionally, the mini might be too small for long term use; it has been likened more to a large iPhone, rather than a small iPad.
In conclusion, iPad minis might be perfect for personal use, but for librarians using them for instructional or other work-related purposes, the regular-sized iPad would be optimal.