A couple weeks ago I was selling some stuff on eBay and thought I'd just take a look to see what I could get for my iPad 3. I was intrigued by the iPad mini from the announcement, but wasn't dissatisfied with my Retina display model. I'd read a bunch of reviews and it seemed clear that folks who are generally more discerning about the display and fonts and such were choosing to move to the smaller model.
I made the switch.
I primarily use mine as a reading device with some occasional games, writing and web browsing. Though I haven't really written it or said much about it, the bigger iPad seemed too big from day one. I overlooked it because the functionality was so good, but now that there is a version that is half the weight and 30% smaller it seems ridiculous not to switch. Because of the weight and size it wasn't great holding it while using it for any length of time. I found myself propping up the old one up or using the Smart Cover to stand it on a table surface most of the time. I had kind of been considering a Kindle paperwhite for more long-form or book reading, but not anymore.
There is one observation that I haven't read elsewhere. People have mentioned that it's awkward to hold the larger iPad in one hand, but I think the reason is balance. The weight on it isn't balanced to the average hand size. All the extra weight acts as a much larger lever on your grip, making it feel a bit unsteady in your hand. The smaller mini, has the wieght of a book, or a Kindle. There is a reason that the Kindle sells so well. It really is a great form factor.
In terms of the display, I do miss the Retina quality, but not so much that I'm regretting making the switch. I was disappointed that none of the accesories were transferable. Dock, Camera connection kit, Waterfield Case and Smart Cover. All were sold with the old one. There isn't a dock for any device with a Lightning connector and I wasn't really using the camera kit. I'm still debating about a sleeve case.
I bought the Smart Cover and it really is a better design than the model for the full size iPad. They've redesigned the connection point so that it doesn't scratch the iPad, and is much more secure. I had the old Smart Cover pull off and give me a scare a couple times as I was relying on it more than I should've. Also, did I mention scratching? My only real disappointment is that it isn't available in black leather. I went with the dark gray poly as it's the closest. Black is my favorite.
I kind of knew I was ready when I found myself recommending the mini to 3 different friends. Pretty happy about the switch!