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The New Mac Mini is Still Best Choice for the Living Room

Over the years, I’ve tried to find the best device to connect to my television and enjoy entertainment. I’ve gone with the Apple TV, Roku set-top boxes, the TiVo, and countless other products. But when it was all said and done, I decided that Apple’s Mac mini was the best option for me.

The Mac mini is a cheap computer that lacks much of the power found in other Apple products. But what it lacks in power, it makes up for by delivering Web browsing and entertainment opportunities through iTunes. In many ways, it’s an ideal companion for any HDTV.

[aquote]Do you really need another drive in the Mac mini?[/aquote]

But with a new Mac mini on store shelves, some folks are undoubtedly wondering if the new device can deliver the same level of usability in the living room as its predecessor. The critics say that the new Mac Mini’s lack of a DVD drive is enough to get it disqualified as a worthwhile home-theater PC.

As far as I’m concerned, the latest and greatest Mac mini is just as good as its predecessors. Sure, it lacks an optical drive, which could prove troublesome for those who like to pop a favorite movie in a player and watch it, but let’s face it: just about every device has a DVD drive nowadays. And as long as you have an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or a DVD player, do you really need another drive in the Mac mini?

In the slight chance that you actually do, Apple points out that you can still access the optical drives of other PCs or Macs. The computer also works with the MacBook Air SuperDrive.

What’s more, the new Mac mini is far better looking than many of the competitors it faces, and would be a fine choice for anyone who wants more style in the living room.

[aquote]Apple’s latest version of the computer offers the best of both worlds – computing and entertainment.[/aquote]

But more than anything else, the Mac mini’s true appeal from the very beginning has been its software. After plugging it into their HDTVs via HDMI, the Mac mini welcomes users into the world of OS X. With the Mac mini, they aren’t limited like they are in the Apple TV, and they can perform all the same tasks on the device as they normally do on their notebooks or desktops.

Just as with older versions of the Mac mini, Apple’s latest version of the computer offers the best of both worlds — computing and entertainment.

Now, I should note that this entire discussion has left out another key component in the Mac mini’s appeal to people like me who consume a lot of entertainment in the living room: it’s cheap. For just $599, you can buy the bare-bones Mac mini and get all the features you’d likely need to improve your entertainment and productivity in the living room.

So, I’m not displeased by the new Mac mini one bit. The latest update still delivers the functionality we’re all looking for in a top-of-the-line home-theater PC, and it does so at a price we should all be able to live with.

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Windows Vs. Mac: Is The Price Debate Still Relevant?

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Whenever there’s a Windows vs. Mac debate, the question of whether Macs are overpriced inevitably comes up. Phrases such as “Apple tax” and “Windows tax” will be thrown around liberally, and if it weren’t for the distance and isolation offered by the Internet, these flame wars could well end with someone getting hurt.

But are Mac systems pricier than Windows systems? And more importantly, is the price debate even relevant? Let’s see …

Let’s begin at the beginning – Are Mac systems pricier than Windows-based systems. That means a trip to the Apple Store and Dell’s website. From what I can see, the cheapest Apple notebook is the 13” “white” MacBook, priced at $999, and the cheapest desktop system (excluding the Mac mini) is the 20” iMac, priced at $1,199.

From the Dell site the cheapest Windows Vista systems I found were the Inspiron 15 notebook, priced at $479, and the Inspiron 530e which with a 17” monitor came to $439. In both instances, the Mac offering was more than twice the price of the Dell offering.

Conclusion – Macs are dearer than Windows-based systems.

Ahhh, but wait a minute. There’s a heck of a lot of difference between the spec of the Macs I chose and those of the Dell systems.

Things aren’t as clear cut now, are they?

Put the Dell systems next to those from Apple and start using the systems and you quickly realize that the Mac systems are superior systems, while the Dell systems scream “budget!”

This gives us an interesting insight into Apple – that the company doesn’t cater to the lower-end of the market. In fact, during the company’s last investor conference call Steve Jobs said, and I quote:

“… we choose to be in certain segments of the market and we choose not to be in certain segments of the market.”

And:

“There are some customers which we choose not to serve. We don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that.”

So, Apple chooses to be in the higher-end segments of the market and chooses not to cater to the lower end. It also chooses not to serve those looking for a sub-$500 system. Apple doesn’t have a budget system, so when you compare purely on price you’re comparing Dell’s budget PCs to Apple’s mid-range systems.

Yes, Dell systems work out cheaper overall, but cheaper doesn’t mean better. Start comparing systems with a similar spec (or performance), for example, the “white” MacBook with, say, an Inspiron 13 from the Dell range, and the price difference starts to collapse ($999 vs. $820 after discount).

And bear in mind that Dell is probably the cheapest OEM out there. Compare Mac systems with like-for-like Sony, HO or Lenovo systems and the Apple rigs might actually win on price.

Side note: One significant difference between Apple and other OEMs is that you get less choice with Apple. When buying from Dell, HP, or Lenovo for example, you get the option to configure your system so you only pay for what you want. Depending on your needs, this can work out cheaper.

But do Apple prices matter? I don’t think that they do. Sure, if you’re price sensitive and you’d like to own the latest Mac but don’t have enough in the piggy bank to make that possible, then price comes into it. But when you consider that Apple is shipping some two and a half million Mac systems a quarter, it doesn’t look like your average Mac buyer is all that price sensitive.

Bear I mind that there are only so many Macs that Apple can make and ship in a quarter, and dropping the price might not increase overall sales by that much. People spend what they’re willing to spend on something, and depending on individual buyers Macs either fall into this price range or don’t.

However, what’s clear is that on the whole, Apple has priced its systems in such a way that it can both create demand and then keep up with demand, without devaluing the price of the product (a trap that Dell fell into years ago, where it cut the price of PCs so much that there was hardly any money to be made by any company, no matter what the size).

Apple has managed to maintain the image of a designer label product on what is rapidly becoming mainstream and mass market. Given it’s selling products with a pretty hefty price tag, that’s no small task under the current climate.

How To Set Up Your Living Room For Microsoft Kinect

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So you’ve decided to spring for a Microsoft Kinect (or you’re buying one as a gift, or you’re planning on getting one as a gift), eh? Congratulations! It’s great (mostly)! But here’s the thing: Not every living room can handle the Kinect, and even in the ones that can, there are some specifics you may not realize that can really make the Kinect experience better (without hacking). Here’s our guide to making sure you get the most out of this futuristic arm-flailing fun.

The Space

Your actual living room space is the most immediately important variable in setting up a Kinect, and also really the only one that can be a dealbreaker. Make no mistake: You need a large living room, in the right shape, to be able to use the Kinect at all. The Kinect requires a large rectangular space free of obstacles in front of the TV, so get comfortable with hauling your coffee table away when you want to play.

Microsoft suggests a space of six feet by six feet in front of the Kinect sensor for one player, and eight feet by six feet for two players. (The Kinect can currently only handle two players at once, though that’ll probably change in the future.) In my experience, those numbers are the bare minimum–for comfortable and spacious play, I’d recommend eight-by-six for one player and ten-by-six for two players. Get ready to shove your couch backwards and haul your coffee table into the kitchen–it’s a necessary evil of playing Kinect.

Even the bare minimum is going to disqualify a lot of living rooms, due either to shape (that long and skinny living room may be big on paper, but it won’t work here) or size. Sorry to pretty much rule out the entire island of Manhattan, but before you buy a Kinect, break out the measuring tape.

The Sensor

The sensor is an amazing piece of hardware-software synergy, and luckily, it’s actually a pretty flexible device. Its movable head allows it to aim up or down, so you have a pretty lenient set of rules as to where it can be placed. Microsoft recommends between two and six feet off the ground, either directly below or above your TV, and centered with it. In my experience, two feet above the ground might be a little low, especially if your living room isn’t enormous–it’ll be tricky for the sensor to capture both your feet and head.

Kinect Sensor Placement

Above the TV sounds great on paper, but unless you want your TV to get really friendly with a lot of duct tape, you’ll need to buy the separate Kinect TV mount, which costs $40. Luckily, the sensor works just fine when placed on your TV stand. Make sure to move it as close to the edge as possible, so its view isn’t blocked by the stand itself, and feel free to stack it on some DVD cases or whatever to give it a little extra height.

One last rule: Do not place the sensor on top of a speaker. That’s mostly aimed at those of you with center speakers, but be careful about the location of your TV’s speakers as well, if you’re using those. More about that in the “Audio” section below. Nearby speakers can screw up the Kinect’s audio sensors, and vibrations can screw up its video sensors, which would remove the Kinect’s reason for being and possibly its sense of identity. You don’t want to be responsible for the self-loathing it would feel if that happened.

The Light

Again, Microsoft really came through here: The Kinect is remarkably flexible in terms of operability under various lighting conditions. That’s not to say that there aren’t things you can do to help it out a bit, of course. Your enemies in this case are natural light (as usual, am I right, nerds?) and halogen light. Try to avoid having either natural or halogen light on the players while in play, and obviously don’t shine light directly onto the sensor itself.

Bad Light!

Like vampires and gamers, Kinect fears natural sunlight.

Kinect works best in dim, but not dark, conditions, with even lighting throughout. If you have big windows, shade them during the day, and don’t light up your living room like a dentist’s office at night. The reason to avoid utter darkness is simply for fun’s sake–the Kinect will definitely recognize gestures in the dark, which is good for controlling movies. But dim lighting is the best compromise for the gleeful awkwardness of playing Kinect: You want to be able to see your fellow players, but you don’t want harsh clinical light to make their every move even less flattering.

The Video

The video side of the home theater setup is much less important. The Kinect works best, in general, with a modern HDTV, simply because it’s an Xbox 360 peripheral and was designed for one. The specifics–LCD vs. plasma, 60Hz vs. 120Hz, Samsung vs. Not Samsung–don’t really matter any more than usual. Just remember that you’ll be in a different viewing position: You’ll probably be moving your couch backwards (if you can), and you’ll also be standing rather than sitting, so your TV might seem smaller and lower. That’s not to say you need a big honking TV, but if you’re using one that’s a bit small for your room in its pre-Kinect state, you might end up squinting a bit.

The Audio

Audio is a little trickier than video. The Kinect will force you to do what seems like an unnecessarily exhaustive audio setup when you first plug it in. But it is not unnecessary! The Kinect’s voice recognition feature may end up being ultimately as useful as the video sensors, and it’s important to get it right. The setup does a pretty good job of calibrating itself, but it’s too polite to lecture you about your home theater setup. That’s what I’m here for.

Kinect Microphone Calibration

If you’re using the speakers in your TV, stop. Don’t do that anymore. Not only are they almost universally lousy, but they’ll make your Kinect experience (not to mention your TV, movies, and music experiences) suffer. Go buy some kind of stereo. The Kinect works best with either a stereo (two-channel) or Dolby 5.1 surround sound setup. Don’t let me pressure you into dropping an extra grand on audio equipment, but a decent used receiver and a couple of speakers, or even one of those home-theater-in-a-box setups frantically flogged on Black Friday, will do you very well here.

5.1 systems feature a center speaker that should be placed just about where the Kinect sensor should be placed. Do not place the sensor on top of the center speaker, even if it balances really nicely or matches perfectly. Having a sound source that close to the Kinect’s four microphones will dramatically undermine its ability to separate human voices from other sounds, and thus make it much harder for the Kinect to understand you.

If you’ve decided to disobey my very clear directions to go buy a reasonable stereo and stop living like a caveman, note where your TV’s speakers are and try to place the Kinect sensor away from them.

The Outfits

The optimal outfit for playing Kinect is a full-body, non-reflective leotard in a neutral color. (A scuba suit can work in a pinch.) But even though our bodies are all beautiful in their own way, they’re mostly not, and there are perfectly suitable apparel alternatives that won’t scar the retinas of other people in the room. Really, just try not to wear shapeless clothing–the Kinect sensor relies on being able to pick out limbs and joints, so don’t wear a poncho or a cape or a garbage bag or anything else that obscures your shape.

Dress Nicely for Kinect

The Kinect is also able to detect faces (which is both cool and creepy, but that’s a point for another day), so don’t wear anything that covers your face. If, on the other hand, you are a burglar who is breaking into a Best Buy to steal some stuff, and you want to try out the Kinect because maybe you’ve heard so many great things about it in such publications as PopSci, and you want to sneak into and out of said Best Buy undetected with your loot–well, without making judgments (is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your etcetera?) or assuming anything about the attire of curious technophile thieves, you both can and should wear a ski mask. Because if you don’t and the Kinect recognizes your face and the police find you because of your oversight and there’s a headline sometime next week reading “High-Tech Burglar Caught by Microsoft Kinect,” I will definitely write about it, and I’m liable to make fun of you, which might damage your self-esteem or confidence in your illicit career choice or professional pride.

All that being said, normal clothing generally works fine.

Happy Kinecting!

The Best Antivirus Options For Mac

As a macOS user, you’ve probably heard that your computer doesn’t need an antivirus to protect it from malware. Unfortunately, that’s nothing more than a myth that was debunked a long time ago. 

If you’re in the market for a new antivirus package for your Mac, there are a few things to consider before you choose one. Aside from the price factor, you should have a look at other considerations like the malware detection rate, the user interface, and the scan speed. 

Table of Contents

To make the choice easier for you, we selected the best antivirus software for Mac including both free and paid options. 

Some links in this article contain affiliate links, which help us pay our writers. Please consider using the links here if purchasing.

Do You Need An Antivirus For Mac? 

Getting an antivirus for Mac is not essential, but recommended. Your Mac has a way of protecting itself thanks to its Unix-like operating system. Among the tools that macOS uses to protect itself from malware is the anti-malware scanner Xprotect which runs in the background and the Gatekeeper which scans any unknown applications that can potentially harm your PC. 

You can also reduce the risk of getting your Mac infected by following basic security protocols. 

Update Your Mac Regularly

One of the most basic security measures you can take to protect your Mac is to keep it updated. Your Mac will normally prompt you to do it when a system update is available. However, you can check for updates manually. 

Don’t Install Suspicious Applications

Installing software from an unknown source can also lead to infecting your computer. To be on the safe side, try to only use apps from the App Store or the ones signed with a developer certificate.

Another good practice is to get rid of Adobe Flash as it can also be a source of viruses. Most websites don’t use Flash anymore, and if you ever need to, there are still ways to play Flash files in your browser. 

Use a VPN

Using a VPN service can effectively help you avoid catching malware on your Mac. That’s especially relevant if you’re someone who often connects to public WiFi networks and hotspots. 

Some antivirus packages include a VPN, so you don’t have to buy or download it separately. After all, despite following all the security practices mentioned above, getting an antivirus program for your Mac can be still worth your money and time. Even if it just gives you peace of mind. 

Top Free Antivirus Options For Mac

If you’re looking for a basic malware removing tool without any premium features like a VPN access or a personal firewall, you’ll be okay with free antivirus software. 

The following are some of the best antivirus options for Mac.

Price: Free. Premium starts at $99 per year, but use our link and it’s 50% off.

Avast Security For Mac is a great option for anyone looking to install a program once and forget worrying about malware for good. Avast allows you to run full-system scans or targeted scans on specific parts of your system, like a specific drive, folder, or even a single file. You can also schedule automatic scans to run at certain times when you’re away from your Mac. 

Avast has both free and paid premium versions. The premium features include detecting ransomware and real-time WiFi security alerts. 

Price: Free. Premium usually starts at $39.99 per year, but use the link and get it for $29.99.

Price: Free. Premium starts at $30 per year.

For those looking for an option with extra features but still not willing to pay for them, Sophos Home is the best solution. This antivirus is packed with useful attributes which you don’t always find in premium versions. That includes real-time protection, browser filtering to block potentially dangerous sites, and parental controls to supervise your children’s internet use. 

Even the free version of Sophos Home allows you to use it on multiple (up to three) Mac or Windows devices. You can also get premium if you want add-ons like ransomware protection, and an option to cover up to 10 devices to protect the whole family. 

The Best Paid Antivirus Options For Mac 

If you don’t mind spending a little on antivirus software and you feel like the free options aren’t enough to remove stubborn malware, try one of the following premium antivirus packages. 

Price: Starts at $19.99 per year.

If you’re concerned about your Mac’s security but don’t want to pay a fortune for antivirus, check the Bitdefender Antivirus first. It comes with a variety of handy features like ransomware protection, blocking of suspicious websites, and anti-phishing protection. 

Bitdefender also helps you maintain your privacy while surfing the web. As a part of the antivirus package, you get access to Bitdefender VPN. 

Price: Starts at $29.95 per year.

Trend Micro Antivirus For Mac is also one of the top performers when it comes to malware protection. The app’s top features include social media protection that keeps the data you share online safe, email filtering for detecting scams, and extensive parental control options.

The main downside here is that Trend Micro allows you to use the antivirus software on only one device. If that’s not a deal-breaker for you, look no further. 

Price: Starts at $39.99 per year.

Norton 360 is the premium all-in-one antivirus service that offers multiple layers of protection and online privacy. Depending on the plan that you choose, you can cover up to 5 devices and up to 100GB cloud storage to backup your PC. 

Other perks you get with Norton 360 include strong malware protection, an intelligent firewall, password manager, and even dark web monitoring. The latter means that Norton will notify you if any of your personal information is found on the Dark Web.  One of the biggest perks though is the access to Norton Secure VPN that’s included in your antivirus package. 

Get Extra Protection For Your Computer

Even if you use all the security tools available on your Mac and follow the protocols, you still should never assume that your Mac is safe from malware. No matter which operating system you run, getting that extra layer of protection for your computer in the form of an antivirus is still a good call. 

Opera Vpn Vs. Nordvpn: Which Is The Better Choice For 2023?

Opera VPN Vs. NordVPN: Which Is The Better Choice For 2023?

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VPNs are becoming more and more popular as the internet evolves and people want to take their online security to the next level.

Opera VPN is free and already built-in on all Opera browsers.

NordVPN is one of the most secure and popular VPNs with extra features to ensure total security.

As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, people are valuing their online privacy and security more and more. One of the best ways to keep your data safe while browsing the web is with a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A VPN encrypts your web traffic by creating a secure connection between your device and a private VPN server. This connection shields users from third-party tracking and cyber-attacks.

Not only do VPNs protect browsing activity, but it also allows users to change their location to anywhere in the world for access to geo-restricted content.

However, every VPN service offers different features and functions. This article will take a look at Opera VPN and NordVPN and compare their features so you can determine which is the best for your needs.

Is VPN safe?

Reputable VPNs are entirely safe and secure. A good VPN will protect user data and include the highest level of security so even the most skilled hackers can’t breakthrough.

However, users must be careful with what VPN they choose as fake VPNs are circulating that are scams and compromise user data. Users should make sure that the VPN they’re using is reputable and high-quality. Check out our top suggestions for the best VPNs for Windows 10.

Opera VPN vs. NordVPN: Which is better? ➡ Features

With Double VPN, users’ data is routed through two VPN servers instead of one for an extra layer of encryption. This feature makes devices secure and is recommended for users who work with sensitive information. However, enabling Double VPN can slow down web surfing speed.

The VPN Kill Switch with NordVPN is a security measure that will automatically block internet access on devices if users lose connection for any reason. The connection will remain blocked until the encryption is restored.

Opera VPN is a fast and free VPN service that’s already built into Opera browsers. There is no registration required and users can access it straight from their browser.

When enabled, Opera VPN will automatically connect users to the fastest server relative to their location for an optimal browsing experience. However, Opera VPN only works with Opera browsers and will not protect users outside of their browser.

➡ Accessibility

Opera VPN is free for all and offers unlimited bandwidth. Anyone with an Opera browser has access to the VPN without needing to sign-up or pay hidden fees.

Opera VPN is also available for mobile devices with an Opera browser installed. Users can also customize the VPN to only work on private tabs.

With the NordVPN mobile app, users can ensure their mobile devices are secure. The app is available for both Android and iOS. NordVPN protects users whether they’re using a home network, public Wi-Fi, or a mobile network.

NordVPN allows users to connect up to 6 devices at once with one account. Users can even use the VPN on smart TVs. However, NordVPN is not free and operates on a monthly subscription basis of $11.95 / month.

➡ User privacy

NordVPN is known for its top-notch security and privacy and ensures total anonymity while browsing. With its strict no-logs policy, NordVPN never collects user traffic as it passes through its servers.

With military-grade encryption, users can trust that their data is secure with NordVPN. This VPN is not free, but that means the company doesn’t get revenue from anything but its subscription. So users can rest easy in the fact that NordVPN never sells user data.

Even though it’s a free service, Opera VPN is secure, but NordVPN offers a higher level of privacy protection.

➡ Performance

Opera VPN doesn’t offer as many servers as NordVPN meaning it doesn’t have access to as many countries. Opera VPN only allows users to choose from three regions: the Americas, Europe, and Asia. That means Opera VPN isn’t the best for targeting a specific country to get past any geo-restrictions.

Because Opera VPN isn’t weighed down by a ton of servers, it runs a lot faster than other VPNs and doesn’t affect browsing performance as much.

NordVPN, on the other hand, offers servers in 59 countries and is much more successful at bypassing geo-restrictions. Users can pick a server based on the country rather than region.

Browsing and download speed is reduced slightly with any VPN, and NordVPN is no exception. Most users, however, don’t notice the speed decrease unless they are on a fast network. NordVPN is ranked as one of the fastest VPNs and doesn’t affect video streaming.

➡ Opera VPN vs. NordVPN: Final verdict

While Opera VPN has smaller servers and less extensive features, it’s a great option for those on a budget and only does casual browsing. It’s light and simple for everyday browsing using Opera. Because Opera VPN is free, it only offers the bare minimum when it comes to security.

Users cannot pick specific locations with Opera VPN, so if you’re trying to access UK Netflix from France, Opera VPN can’t help you with that. However, Opera VPN is significantly faster than the average VPN and doesn’t affect surfing speeds.

If you’re someone who deals with sensitive information and needs extra layers of protection and security, then NordVPN is the way to go. It requires a monthly fee, but it goes above and beyond to ensure your entire device is protected.

With access to servers in 59 countries, users can use NordVPN to get past geo-restrictions and access content only available in certain countries. It does slow browsing speed, but not significantly.

So, the decision is up to the user and their needs to determine the best VPN. Opera VPN is free, fast, and secure, but doesn’t offer the same level of protection and features as NordVPN.

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Review Roundup: The Retina Ipad Mini Verdict Is ‘Pricey But Best Small Tablet Ever’

A Retina display may have been some time coming on the iPad mini, but the general verdict appears to be that it was worth the wait.

Many are querying the price, especially now that the full-size iPad Air is so much smaller and lighter than its predecessors, and costs just $100 more. But if portability is key, reviewers seem every bit as impressed by the iPad mini as I was by the Air.

Read on for the conclusions from five early reviews … 

CNET bemoans the price and lack of Touch ID, but finds it otherwise perfect:

The good: The iPad Mini with Retina Display adds an excellent high-resolution display that rivals the iPad Air’s, a far faster A7 processor, and tops it off with improved Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity, with battery life that’s as good or better than in last year’s Mini.

The bad: A starting price of $399 places it well above the small-tablet competition, and adding more storage or LTE makes it even more expensive. It lacks the innovative Touch ID fingerprint sensor that the iPhone 5S sports.

The bottom line: The new iPad Mini somehow shrinks down the iPad Air into an even more compact package, sacrificing nearly nothing. It’s more expensive than before, but it’s also the perfect smaller tablet.

Gizmodo loves the screen, though not the speakers or the price:

This year’s iPad mini is, after a short time playing with it, picture perfect […]

Yep! There it is. That’s the one. The new iPad mini has finally, blessedly, gotten a display that can keep up with last year’s Android tablets. This is exactly what it should have been all along […]

The speaker placement is still terrible for doing anything that requires a landscape orientation. your palm can’t help but cover them up, everything is muffled, you can’t avoid it, it is bad […]

$400 for a 16GB model. That’s… disappointing. Especially since its direct competitors—with their own bright and shiny displays—are now more than $150 cheaper. That’s a lot of coin, especially for a feature that it should have had in the first place […] It may still not be a deal, but it’s finally free of any dealbreakers.

The original iPad mini blew us away, but we were also clear on the improvements we wanted to see, and Apple has taken steps to make the iPad mini 2 with Retina even more attractive.

Faster, prettier and more featured, the new iPad mini is everything we hoped it would be. Although there was nothing that we didn’t expect, it should be noted that this is a tablet that ticks every box.

The price is higher again as Apple, like Amazon and Google, looks to step away from the razor-thin margins of last year’s budget tablets, but on our early look alone, we think Apple has once again eased ahead in the mid-size slate space.

The Verge says it doesn’t matter whether you buy the Air or the mini, you can’t lose:

To those people, I say: go for it. You can’t lose. I’d buy a mini for myself, because I love having something that doesn’t take up much space in my bag and that I can wield even on a crowded subway. But the mini is now so beautiful and so immersive that you’ll never want to look away from the screen, and the Air now so portable and usable that you’ll rarely need to put it down. The mini used to be the lesser one, the reductive one, the one you bought if you couldn’t fit or afford the iPad. Now it’s just the smaller one.

Wired says Apple was late delivering an iPad mini with retina display, but that it’s what it was waiting for:

This is the iPad mini we’ve all been waiting for.

When the first generation iPad mini debuted last year, it was a terrific product. Apple’s first stab at a smaller tablet looked more far more elegant than the competition, managed to squeeze a larger 7.9-inch display in a traditionally 7-inch tablet form factor, and featured remarkable battery life. But its 1024 x 768 resolution display was a major let down compared to the Retina displays on the iPhone and full size iPad, as well as the growing number of HD screen-sporting Android tablets […]

The iPad mini is exactly the type of product we expect from Apple. Stunning good looks, a display so high resolution it’d take a magnifying glass to pick out the pixels, and unparalleled performance. This is the smaller iPad that should have debuted last year, but hey, better late than never.

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