I was very reluctant as to whether or not buying the iPad mini. The reason that I bought it was because I wanted to used an operating system other than android with a wide variety of apps, i.e. Apple. Apple products i believe are too restrictive as to what you can do in terms of their products (make them your own). With that said, this iPad mini has turned out to be one of the best things i have EVER BOUGHT!
Its wide variety of apps allows you to have so much fun on your device. Before I bought the mini, i didnt believe that there would be as many free apps in comparison to the Google Play store (I own a Galaxy S3 that I adore). The thing that I enjoy most about the App Store is that almost all of the apps found in it are there because they belong, unlike the Google Play store that has a vast collection of apps, some of which are very underdeveloped, for lack of a better word.
I will say that if you are a heavy Microsoft Office user as myself, you will DEFINITELY need to buy Pages (word processor), Keynote (powerpoint maker), and Numbers (excel), all of which are $9.99 each. Being a collge student, i prefer to use the Notes application already included to take notes during most of my lectures.
I really believe that the iPad Mini is REALLY OVERPRICED! The only reasons that i actually bought one were that I needed a portable device that was lighter than my current laptop and that i was very tired of using the Anroid Operating System. I needed to use something new. If you really want a tablet in the same ballpark as the iPad mini but you're on a budget, i would encourage you to buy the Nexus 7. Otherwise, i would definitely recommend this to everyone
There was absolutely no way that i would buy any of the accessories that i needed for my new iPad from Wal-Mart. Everything was WAY too expensive when i went. Instead, i ran to Amazon and ordered a case with a keyboard for $34.99 (in comparison to the Belkin keyboard/case at Wal-Mart for $79.99), a quality screen and back protector for $14.99 (in comparison to Wal-Mart's $27.99), and a stylus for $8.99 (didn't find any at Wal-Mart). You can definitely find cheaper styluses out there for much cheaper, but i felt that they wouldn't last as long.
One thing that people tend to ignore about multimedia players nowadays is their sound quality. Personally, this is at the top of my list. The presets built into the EQ of the iPad are fairly decent (even with the customizable EQ settings for the S3, the music player is horrible. I had to buy Power Amp which has been the best app I've bought so far). With that said, I would recommend you to invest in a good pair of earphones because the iPad doesn't come included with them. If you like a nice bass sound with your music but aren't willing to bay more than $50, i recommend skull candies. If you want a quality pair under $100 with a nice bass kick but still keep a balanced treble, buy the Klipsch Image™ S4. If you are willing to dish out $150 or more, I really do encourage you to but the Audio Technica QuietPoint® ATH-ANC7b. These headphones are active noise cancelling (meaning that they block out sound better) and have an amazing balance of sound to them.
BUY THE IPAD MINI! It's an amazing product if you need an alternative to carrying your laptop around. I dont believe you can quiet replace your laptop though because the ipad doesn't allow you to see certain things on the internet (one of the many restrictions Apple has placed on it). You still need a computer to sync your files to and to import media off of. Try to not get the 16 GB iPad mini (i ran out of room on the 1st day with a movie, a couple songs, and 16 downloaded apps)