The iPad mini has arrived — and so has our review. Just last week, Apple introduced the world to the newest member of its wildly successful tablet line, an adorable, diminutive slate with a 7.9-inch display. It even had an adorable ad to show along with it: an iPad mini joining in with a full-sized iPad to play "Heart and Soul" on the piano.

But to think of the iPad mini as a companion to the 3rd or 4th generation iPad — some kind of secondary player to the bigger version — would probably be a mistake. With a price tag starting at $329 and heading all the way up to $659 (with LTE and 64GB of storage), this isn't really a step down from the existing iPad (well, the iPad 2 at least) as much as it is a step to the side. At least, that's the impression I get. Want a big iPad that isn't too expensive? Get the 2nd gen one. Want one that you can throw in a bag or keep on the nightstand? Get the iPad mini. You fly business class and work in photography? Let me point you in the direction of the new 4th generation model.

But regardless of market positioning, the iPad mini has to be viewed in a world with a $199 Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD — two strong performers that are a far cry, at least in price, from the iPad mini. Even though Apple might want consumers to see these as separate product categories, consumers may only see that $129 gulf.

On the other hand, Apple has a lot to fill that gulf, including the absolute best software ecosystem for tablets on the planet right now. But is the iPad mini worth the stretch, or would you be smarter to save the cash and saddle up to another device?