Today, I was able to get my hands on both the iPad Mini and the Microsoft Surface. The Mall of America has an Apple store and right across the hall is a Microsoft Store. Great plan for Microsoft.
I'll start with the Surface. Junk. At least for schools or kids. It has a little tab to folds out from the back. This lets the screen stand up. I picked up the surface and, honestly, my first thought was "This little flap is going to snap off the first time a 7th grader gets it." The keyboard that was attached was flat, had no tactile response and was a goofy color.
I hope hoped that that it might be something to use in a classroom. Not so.
The Apple store almost saw me walk out with an iPad Mini today. It was perfect. The one reason I haven't bought an iPad yet is the size. It's just a bit too bulky for me to have as an always with me device. The Mini was amazing. Everything that I loved about iPad in a smaller, one-hand size.
I actually like the feel of the Mini in my hand. It has a square edge, which I prefer to the tapered edge of the full size. It felt solid.
Going in, I didn't see the value of the iPad Mini. I thought it was over priced for the size and not much more than an iPod Touch. Wrong. I can totally see the Mini as something that I can walk around the classroom with and use comfortably around the house.
Well done Apple.