If you're mainly going to be recording notes, I would go with the iPad mini. You have all the power of a full-size iPad, just in a smaller and more portable package. Also, any Apps that would work for the iPad 4 will work with the iPad Mini.
I'm a student. I do plan on using the ipad mini primarily for class notes and presentations. I am the type of person that must have the latest and greatest. So, the ipad mini is a more affordable choice if you plan to upgrade to the next gen release. Portability is awesome. I can't get over the fact that this device is much more pleasurable to handle and carry around. I'm disappointed that I have more difficulty using full fingered touch typing onscreen with the smaller display. However, I can thumb in entries much more efficiently, comfortably and quickly. I have also ordered a Bluetooth Logitech keyboard for typing my notes in class ($47 on ebay new). I never used on screen typing for notes in class with the 3rd gen new ipad, so not much of a deal breaker although I miss the ability to touch type on a full screen. The lack of retina isn't a deal breaker, it keeps the weight and size down. The screen on the mini actually looks more vibrant, saturated and less jaundice (yellow) like than the retina display. Also, with the release of the igzo display next year (assuming it comes), the ipad 4 will look like a terd with the update to the 5th gen; it already does compared to the mini. The mini is gorgeous and I don't feel like I'm missing out on the screen real estate of its larger brother. I will be missing the retina clarity. The additional computing power of the 4th gen (A6x), I won't miss it, the A5 processor keeps up fine, this isn't a desktop PC. If it were, I'd be more concerned because I game on mine (i3 works fine :-) ) . Also, the touch cover on the mini is much more user friendly. It holds better to the device when on the front or wrapped around to the back (clings on). The New ipad cover did not stay connected to the back or front under its own weight. I don't feel the need to remove the cover when folding it to the back like I did with the 3rd gen New Ipad. The cover always felt more like it was in the way when on the device versus blended in. By default, I naturally purchased a 4th gen ipad thinking the mini would be inadequate. Roughly $200 back in my pock and a new ipad mini, I'm a much happier camper. That money will go towards another ipad mini when Apple releases a higher resolution screen as I do miss the crisper text. The text still look great though, so not a horrible compromise. This is a new A5 chip made with Samsung’s new 32NM process, the same as the ipad 2,4. So it runs very cool and efficiently compared to the original ipad 2 A5 chip. While this processor die has been update to a new process, you don't really get any performance gains. This has the latest hardware in regards to cameras, Bluetooth 4.0, microphones, manufacturing processes etc. Face to face chat works great. While many are saying the mini is a dumbed down version of the ipad 2, I would argue it’s not. The screen is much nicer (greater PPI) in a entirely new form factor that supports Seri. Seri is just a plus. By no means am I saying the 4th ipad gen is a horrible product. My goal is to emphasize the importance of the new form factor for my personal uses which seem equivalent to yours. I would love to have the 4th gen ipad in a ipad mini form factor; especially for consuming content with ultra-sharp phone. This would be the perfect device for me. But for now, the ipad mini meets my needs and not necessarily all of my wants. I'm not posting to debate and argue, just to help out and give a personal opinion which is unique for every individual.