I finally got around to doing a direct, side-by-side comparison of typing on an iPad mini and a full-sized iPad to help in my deliberations about which model to upgrade to from my iPad 2.
The logistics of that were more complicated than they would be for most folks because I live in the outer boonies of rural Nova Scotia, and none of my local neighbors, friends, or acquaintances has an iPad of any sort that I know of…except for my doctor, and he’s very busy.
However, today I visited my “local” (50 miles one way) Apple authorized reseller, which had on display running demos of an iPad mini and a 4th generation iPad with Retina display next to each other, which happen to be the two models currently at the top of my shortlist of upgrade candidates.
I was able to spend as much time as I needed trying out typing on either machine, and the takeaway was as follows.
- It is definitely possible to to type efficiently on the iPad mini’s virtual keyboard in landscape mode (my preferred orientation), and I would imagine that anyone used to typing on an iPhone would find the mini luxuriously expansive.
- That said, typing on the 9.7-inch iPad screen is easier, perhaps partly because that’s what I’m used to with my iPad 2.
- However, I’m not a touch typist. My wife, who is a touch typist, was with me and declared both virtual keyboards hopeless. She’s an iPad skeptic who prefers her ancient G4 PowerBook, but I think the iPad would grow on her if she gave it a chance—albeit probably with an external BlueTooth keyboard, which, unfortunately, her favorite Das Keyboard isn’t.
- Unfortunately, half an hour on a couple of store demos typing demo sentences and clicking links is still not really adequate to convince me one way or the other. It would or will take doing a few days of production work on an iPad mini to really determine if it’s too much of a compromise size-wise, although I do find the smaller form factor preferable in many ways, and the price is of course more reasonable than for a full-sized iPad.
Below is a a visual demo by Zollotech’s Aaron Zollo of typing on an iPad mini keyboard.