Should you go with iPad or iPad mini?

By Rahul Dowlath | Apple

When Apple introduced the original iPad, they positioned it as a device bridging the gap between smartphones like the iPhone, and ultra-portable laptops like the MacBook Air. It made sense, then. It was a fitting gadget, bringing the Internet into your hands, making ebooks popular and prompting many media companies to seriously consider the effect of digital content.

So when the iPad mini was announced in late 2012, it confused the issue a little. Here was a tablet in the 7″-range, a size that Apple had previously sworn not to produce. The reason, of course, is to keep themselves relevant in the onset of Android devices. But this leaves many prospective iPad users at a crossroads: which iPad do I get?

Let’s weigh the devices based on features:

iPad mini:

  • same screen resolution as iPad 2 (non-retina)
  • 7.9″ screen size
  • A5 processor

iPad 4:

  • Retina screen
  • 9.7″ screen size
  • new A6X processor (faster than iPhone 5)

Looking at those basic stats, it’s obvious that the iPad 4 is the winning contender. But there is one thing to take into consideration: experience and need. For some people, the very screen size of the mini is desirable: it’s portable enough to be the size of a regular book (making e-reading a lot more ergonomic) and yet still large enough to comfortably enjoy a movie on. And it receives just the same battery time as the regular iPad: 10 hours.

Of course, in due course, Apple will undoubtedly release an iPad mini with Retina screen. But, as with laptops, desktops and mobile phones, the decision on which iPad to get is based largely on what you intend to do with the iPad. If you want a perfect balance between content creation and consumption, and can’t get away from the beauty of the Retina screen, then the new iPad 4 is probably your best bet. But if you want to read a lot, travel often and want a tablet that can easily fit into your bag, the mini is a likely choice.

One thing remains constant, though: they both run iOS, and with it, the App Store. This alone makes either iPad desirable. The amount of apps on the store, and the quality of the apps thanks to Apple’s mysterious developer-screening process, means that content on both devices is world class. Couple that with precision engineering and distinct design aesthetic, and the iPad and it’s smaller sibling, the iPad mini, are devices that will continue to shake the mobile world.

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About the Author

I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.