I’ll be honest, when Apple’s iPad mini first showed up at the TechnoBuffalo offices, I found it difficult to muster up any sort of excitement for the device. An iPad that was merely smaller, and had sub-par specs to boot, left me feeling pretty indifferent about its existence. I’m perfectly happy with my full-sized iPad 2, so why would I want to go smaller? And then I held it.

Really, the design is, as per usual for Apple, immaculate. The build quality and materials are unrivaled, without question, and in such a small package, it feels even better than the iPad we’re used to. It feels like this is how the iPad should have been all along. If only the screen was high resolution.

If you’ve ever seen the screen of a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD, the iPad mini’s pales in comparison — it’s laughable. That’s easily the most disappointing aspect of the device. For those who haven’t really feasted their eyes on a newer iPad model or the aforementioned iPad mini competitors, the lower res screen isn’t that big of an issue. Videos look fine, and browsing the Web is perfectly passable. Apps, too, look a-ok.

But the entire package is wrapped up so succinctly that my worries about the screen give way to the mini’s combo of build and software. Not only that, but its ecosystem is still unmatched by the competition, giving potential buyers a huge reason to jump onto the Apple bandwagon.

I haven’t quite concluded how I feel overall about the device — this is merely a first impression. I’m going to give the iPad mini a few more days, and then I’ll stamp my name on a full review. So far, things are going quite well.