What Model Are You? iPad mini vs iPad 2 vs 4th-Generation iPad

On Oct. 23, Apple announced the long-awaited iPad mini. Alongside the brand new device, the tech giant released an all-new iPad to replace the third-generation iPad. Now, you can choose between the iPad 2, the iPad mini, or the fourth-generation iPad. We have some ideas for who each model is best suited for each device.

iPad mini

The newest release from Apple, the iPad mini, is basically a smaller version of the iPad 2. It has a fast processor, decent screen resolution, 5MP back-facing camera and HD-quality front facing camera. The mini is lightweight and has a screen that is larger than a paperback book, but smaller than a textbook. When it comes to listening to music, reading books, checking emails, and visiting social media outlets, this is the perfect device. If you travel a lot and want a tablet that is compact enough to slip into the “small” pocket of your carryon bag, you’ll want the iPad mini. If the main reason you want a tablet is to read books or check email, you don’t need a large screen and this device is the perfect fit. The smaller screen isn’t affected by text-based information. It is also ideal for people who plan to use FaceTime a lot. The iPad 2’s front-facing camera is grainy and weak in comparison to the iPad mini. Additionally, the iPad mini’s video camera records in 1080P, which is better than the iPad 2’s 720P video camera.

iPad 2

Why would anyone want an outdated iPad when they could just get the newest model for $100 more? It could be due to the fact that the fourth-generation iPad is, in fact, $100 more. Maybe you want an iPad, but don’t want to shell out the big bucks. If you are on the fence about the iPad mini or the iPad 2, think about this: Do you consider yourself a gamer? Do you imagine you’ll watch a lot of movies or television shows on your tablet? Do you think you’ll use the iPad as your main source of Internet browsing? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you want the 9.7-inch iPad. The smaller sized screen is just inconvenient enough to make everything seem out of reach. I can say from experience that some of the same games that play awesome on a full-sized iPad are awkward and hard to play on a smaller screen. Sure, you can watch movies and television shows on an iPad mini, but everything will be… smaller. Imagine watching Star Wars in Portrait mode on an iPad. That is sort of like what watching it in landscape on the mini will be like. While web browsing on a mini is better than 7-inch tablets, it is still worse than using a full-sized iPad. For that matter, an iPad isn’t even as good as using a laptop or desktop computer. Most web pages are designed for a full-sized computer screen and everything has to be shrunk down to fit onto a tablet. The smaller the tablet, the more the shrinkage. If you are a heavy Internet surfer, you should definitely stick with the larger screen.

Fourth-Generation iPad

Obviously, the newest iPad is the best one. It blows the other two out of the water when it comes to graphics, screen resolution, and hardware. If you have the extra money, this model is great for the heavy gamer, graphic designers and photographers. The large screen size and Retina display is ideal for its visually stunning graphics. If you have ever been to a gamer convention, get this iPad. If you make movies with your spare time, get this iPad. If you are an artist who uses complex imaging programs on a regular basis, get this iPad. If you can afford it, get this iPad.

In Summary

People will disagree with me, but I don’t think the Retina factor is worth the extra money for the average person. If you plan on using the iPad to surf the Internet, check emails, read books and magazines, and watch movies, stick with the iPad 2 or iPad mini. The fourth-generation iPad is a workhorse. It will blow everything before it out of the water. But for some, the bells and whistles aren’t necessary.  Depending on your tablet needs, the newest iPad may be too much.

If you have the money, get the new iPad. If you are concerned with the high cost and don’t plan on using your iPad for more than casual things, like playing Angry Birds or watching The Big Bang Theory, get the iPad 2. It looks great, runs fast and won’t let you down.  If you only plan on using your tablet for reading books, checking emails, light web browsing, and talking to friends using FaceTime (or Skype), then the iPad mini is better suited for you.

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik