Is the iPad Mini the Perfect Holiday Gift?

In a recently conducted Nielsen survey, 36 percent of kids aged 6–12 said that the item that they wanted most for the holidays was an iPad mini.

Adults and consumers over the age of 13 also had a high desire for a mini, at 11 percent, putting Apple’s tablet in the top ten most wished for gifts this season.

There’s a good reason that the iPad mini is at the top of so many Christmas wish lists this year – it’s small, it’s portable, it’s light, and it’s the perfect size to fit in a hand. After all, it weighs just 308 grams (just over half a pound) and is only 7.2 millimeters wide.

Though it has a much higher price tag than its competition, the mini offers a bigger display, a high quality camera, and an impressive battery life. Apple’s mini also comes with an important feature that you won’t find in the Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire HD – Apple’s rich app and content ecosystem.

There are more than 700,000 apps in the App Store right now, which means you can find an app for almost anything. There are also a whole slew of fantastic games that you just won’t find on Android. Apple’s also able to offer movies and music through iTunes and books through iBooks.

The mini definitely has shortcomings in addition to the entry level $329 price tag, including a low resolution display and the lack of the Retina screen that the third and fourth generation iPads sport.

As the owner of an iPad mini, I’ve found it easy to overlook the screen’s resolution in favor of the small size, which honestly, is amazing. There’s a certain feeling of awe when you pick up an iPad mini. We may not have easily accessible jet packs or flying cars, but the mini feels like the future.

If you want to delight your children or impress your spouse with a fantastic gift this year, you honestly can’t go wrong with the iPad mini. The size makes it easy for kids to carry around, and though the price is higher than comparable tablets, it is cheaper than other Apple offered options.

You could spend your money on a few toys that will fall by the wayside in a matter of weeks, or get a mini, which will be a hit all year round. Does your husband really need another tie and sweater? An iPad mini is a gift that can be used for so many things – games, news, magazines, organization, and e-book reading, thanks to the size.

Children and people who have not owned an iPad before will not know what’s missing when it comes to the screen, but even some of us who have used the Retina iPad prefer the more compact size of the mini.

If portability isn’t an issue, you might want to check out one of Apple’s other tablets (we have a handy comparison guide here). The Retina screen and the internals of the fourth generation iPad make it a beast of a tablet, but it’s got a higher price tag and a larger size. As an owner of both a Retina iPad and a mini, it’s the mini that I carry around more often.

The iPad mini is a great gift, but if you plan on giving one, make sure to purchase early. The mini is still back-ordered for two weeks, which means you should order now. You may also be able to snag one by using the Apple Store app to reserve one for in-store pickup after 10 p.m. Apple posts new in-store stock each day at that time, so if you log in right at that time, you’ll have one by the next day.

Make sure to pick up an App Store gift card too, so your giftee can download apps and games right away. Giving it to a child or a spouse? You can even pre-load apps on the tablet, so it can be used for hundreds of things right out of the box.

Is the iPad mini on your holiday wish list this year? Will you be gifting one? Why or why not?

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli