Steve Jobs once said that seven inch tablets are "dead on arrival." So how does Apple’s new 7.0-inch iPad mini measure up to life in the real world?

At first glance, the mini looks like an iPhone 5 on steroids. It’s as if a designer stuck a straw into an Apple iPod Touch or iPhone and blew in until it reached the desired size. 

Picking it up, it’s as easy to hold as a small pamphlet. The device is well-weighted to hold in one hand alone, although you’ll end up using both hands for a prolonged period of reading, or when watching a movie.

Flick on the mini and what’s immediately noticeable is the screen resolution. The display isn’t as sharp or gorgeous as the screen on the full-size iPad with Retina Display.

First-time iPad mini owners won’t really notice a difference. But anyone used to a Retina Display will spot the change in resolution is like going from watching a movie on Blu-Ray to watching it on DVD. Images aren’t as sharp and crisp.

Behind the screen sits an A5 processor. Again -- it’s not the speedy A6X chip lurking inside Apple’s newest full-size tablet. Unless you’re playing games or running intensive apps, it’s unlikely to be a deal breaker here. The mini has enough horsepower for most mainstream tablet tasks, like browsing the web, catching up on email and creeping your friends on Facebook. 

Personally, the mini’s smaller form factor is too small for my liking – but it is conveniently small. I was easily able to read a magazine on it while waiting in line at airport security. And the claimed 10-hour battery life didn’t have me worrying about bringing the charger along on a weekend getaway.

Admittedly, it’s been a hit with my fiancé who loves how easily it could fit into her purse. And many other strangers swoon over the mini when I’m using it in public.

With a starting price of $329 for the 16 GB model, the mini has created an attractive way to enter Apple’s tablet ecosystem – which is brimming with an app selection that has Android still in its rearview mirror.

If screen resolution and size aren’t a priority, the mini is a good bet. But some consumers will want to go big or go home with a 10-inch tablet that offers more real estate for enjoying apps and media.