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Home / News / Apple iPad Mini – and five other gadgets that are better small

Apple iPad Mini – and five other gadgets that are better small

As Apple's mighty iPad looks set to hit the shrink ray, we take a look at a few other pieces of tech that have improved after getting a nip and tuck

Apple’s iPad Mini is scheduled to be unveiled tomorrow, hoping to make a dent in the portable tablet market by upsetting the likes of the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD. With the functionality of iOS 6 in packaged in a 7in sweet spot, the iPad Mini could very well blaze up Christmas lists this year with its expected cheaper price tag. Here are a few other gadgets which have improved as they’ve lost the pounds.


When Steve Jobs first slipped the original MacBook Air out from a manilla envelope in 2008, it rang the death knell for the slow and clunky netbook. Its groundbreaking lightweight and razor-thin design, coupled with an SSD that booted in record time, made it the go-to choice for stylish speed and portability. With Ultrabooks now providing plenty of options for the Windows faithful, the days of laptop-induced shoulder ache are thankfully over.


Technically you could argue that the bigger the TV, the better. But screen size aside, there’s no denying the appeal of a slim LED set over the big, black and clunky CRT/plasma behemoths of old. No longer do you need a crane to reposition your telly. No longer do you need reinforced walls to mount them. And no longer do you need to stare at boring black, bezel-marred rectangles. With the likes of Sammy’s super sexy silver ES8000 knocking around, we could never go back to boring tellies.

MP3 players

Show a modern teenager a Walkman or a Discman and they’ll probably snort at the fact that such chunky devices could provide only an album’s worth of tracks. Little do they know the wonderment created by the first iPod and the feeling of walking around with a thousand songs in your pocket. Apple’s little white rectangle changed the way we listened to music and paved the way for the likes of the iPhone, iPod Touch 5G and miraculously thin iPod Nano.

Compact system cameras

Starting with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras have proven that you don’t need an SLR the size and weight of a portly infant to take detailed, quality stills. With different lenses and plenty of adaptors for manual lenses, compact cam-beating sensors, electronic viewfinders and improved portability, compact system snappers are here to stay, despite the protests of SLR purists.


Remember the days when you wore phones on your shoulder? Well, most of us at Stuff don’t, but we do remember the very first portable mobiles like the Motorola StarTAC – a black flip phone with all the charming looks of an industrial accident. Then came the RAZR, whose 13.9mm thin shell wowed us with its alien-like sleekness. Fast forward to 2012 with the likes of the 7.6mm iPhone 5 and even the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with its 5.5in screen and 9.4mm shell, and you’ll realise that those skinny jeans of yours have some smartphone designers to thank.

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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home