At Tuesday’s event in San Jose, Apple released the much anticipated iPad mini and surprised us with the fourth generation iPad. With two new iPads in the mix, it’s become much harder to decide which iPad is the best choice to buy, either for yourself or for a friend or family member.
That’s why we’ve whipped up a comparison chart with the facts about each of Apple’s tablets. In the table above, you’ll see the basic stats of each of the iPads, and how they compare to one another.
Obviously, the fourth generation iPad blows the other two out of the water when it comes to raw data. It has the Retina display and the new A6X chip, which means it is, in short, a beast of a tablet. Let’s not forget about the faster Wi-Fi, the improved camera, or the wide reaching LTE, either.
The iPad 2 and the mini are surprisingly similar, and that’s because the iPad mini uses the same internals as the iPad 2. It has the same A5 chip and the same amount of RAM, so by no means is the mini a powerful tablet.
What the mini does have, though, that the other two tablets don’t, is a diminutive size. At 7.9-inches, it is quite a bit thinner and lighter than Apple’s other two iPads, and while it is built from the same skeleton as the iPad 2, it does have a few improvements such as faster Wi-Fi, a slightly better pixel density, improved cameras, and LTE.
If you want to compare the iPad mini to the fourth generation iPad when deciding which tablet to buy, the mini is in every way the inferior tablet. Its A5 chip is two generations behind the A6X in the newest iPad, and it has half the RAM. You may not notice the performance difference between the third generation iPad and the fourth generation iPad, but you will notice the difference between the mini and the fourth generation.
Even when performance isn’t taken into account, the fourth generation iPad bests the mini simply on account of its high resolution Retina display. The 1024 by 768 screen of the mini can’t compete. The only area where the mini wins is size, but you’re sacrificing a lot of power for portability.
There’s almost no reason to purchase the iPad 2 when you compare it to the mini and the fourth generation iPad. If you have a strict budget, the iPad mini is the better tablet just because of the improvements to the camera and the wireless, and if you can spare the extra $100, the fourth generation iPad is a much better choice than the iPad 2. The only reason to go with an iPad 2 is if you want the larger screen size at the lower cost.
If you’re thinking of switching from the third generation iPad to the iPad mini, it’s a downgrade. The mini has a chip that’s slower than the A5X of the third generation iPad, and it also loses when it comes to the Retina display. Again, a small size is all that the mini has going for it.
In summary, the mini wins when it comes to size, but loses when it comes to everything else. If you want power, go for the fourth generation iPad, but if you want portability, go for the mini. We’re going to do a more in-depth comparison of Apple’s tablet lineup, so make sure to check back for more help deciding which iPad is best for you.