iPad vs. iPad Mini: Which is better for you?

iPad Help, Tips & Tricks
// August 26, 2013

This is a big deal. Do you want size, Retina display, and power? Or do you want something lightweight, handy, and simple? Do you want to spend well over $500 or are you more interested in staying around the $350 range? These are all questions to consider when making the decision on which iPad to purchase.

The specifications won’t reveal everything, so when it comes down to purchasing an iPad, you really only have to consider one thing: What are you going to be doing with your iPad?. To answer that, here’s a comparison of a few things one might do on an iPad:

Web browsing / Reading
Because the iPad with Retina display has such a high resolution, browsing websites is easier on that iPad. You might find yourself occasionally zooming in on news websites and other content-heavy websites. The iPad Mini is very formidable in viewing websites, but the iPad with Retina display definitely takes the cake in this battle. Regarding reading, whether it be a text or novel, the iPads are pretty close in terms of functionality.

iPad and iPad mini comparison front

The iPad with Retina display has twice the processing power and 4x the video processing power, making this the clear winner for very graphic games. If you want to play a racing game or an RPG on an iPad, you will probably want the bigger screen and more power the iPad with Retina display has to provide. If you are just playing Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja, you can get plenty of power and size out of the iPad Mini.

Movies and TV
This really comes down to personal preference. You will get plenty of high definition with the iPad Mini. If you are in bed watching, you might consider using the iPad Mini as it is lighter and smaller for easier viewing. The iPad with Retina display really does not offer many advantages for watching TV and movies as 1080p is still the highest resolution, which is supported by both iPads.

You can be very productive on either iPad. The iPad Mini has a smaller screen, yes, but it will run Pages, Keynote, and other productivity apps just as well as the iPad with Retina display. The iPad with Retina display is bigger, so that might make it easier to type on and see larger excel files, but anyone who plans to do a ton of typing on an iPad is likely to buy a keyboard, which levels the playing field for both devices.

iPad and iPad mini comparison back

Photo / Video
The iPad Mini and iPad with Retina display both have the same front and rear cameras. If you plan on taking photos or videos or doing a lot of video chatting, you will actually find the same functionality on either iPad. One might think that the iPad with Retina display is better for these tasks, but in reality, it is not because you will get the same resolution photos and same frames per second of videos on both iPads. The only advantage to the iPad with Retina display is that you can import larger, higher-quality photos from DSLR cameras and edit/view them in stunning Retina display resolution. Overall, this is probably a wash.

Specifications to consider

iPad Mini


Size7.87 x 5.3 x .28″ @ 0.68lb9.5 x 7.31 x .37″ @ 1.44lb
Rezolution1024×768 @ 163ppi2014×1536 @ 264ppi
ProcessorDual-core A5Dual-core A6x
w/Quad Core Graphics
Priceprices start at $329prices start at $499


This comparison is the most basic comparison of the iPads. In reality, these are the only four differences between the two iPads. After reading the above comparisons for the tasks you are most likely to do and check out this simple specification comparison, you will be able to make a more educated choice on which iPad to purchase. If you plan on doing lots of heavy gaming, the iPad with Retina display is by far the best option. If you plan mostly to just consume content, whether it’s photos, audio, or video, the iPad Mini is probably the better value. The question always is not what you want, but what do you need? If you need the larger Retina display, it is absolutely worth the $170 price premium. If you do not need it, then the $329 iPad Mini is your best bet.

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