Only a half of a day left before the iPad Air goes on sale. While this update makes Apple’s 9.7-inch tablet the best one ever, it is not necessarily the right one for you. Especially since recent advanced reviews have pointed out that the iPad mini with Retina display will be a direct competitor to the full-sized tablet, plus it costs a few hundred dollars less.
Why buy an iPad if you can get the same screen quality, same processor speed, and same iOS ecosystem for less? It depends on what you plan on using your Apple tablet for. We’ve got some advice to help you decide.
Think about your tablet needs. Are you more likely to use an iPad to check email, read blogs, browse the Web, and post on Facebook? Or do you think you will be using the tablet to watch movies, edit photographs, and play high-quality graphics game?
If your mobile entertainment needs are restricted to such activities as reading books, making online purchases, and playing casual games like Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies, then you should think about getting an iPad mini. The Retina display is technically better than the iPad Air (pixel density combined with tablet screen size) and the processor is just as fast. The two devices are nearly identical in every way, except size. So, if you don’t need the larger landscape, there is no need for the bigger iPad.
However, if you plan to use your iPad to make and record music, watch movies, edit photographs, and hardcore games, like XCOM or Call of Duty then you should invest in the full-sized iPad. You will want the extra screen space. Even though these apps work for both the iPad and iPad mini, it is much easier to work with a 40-track recording app on a 9.7-inch screen then it is on a 7.9-inch screen.
When it comes to productivity and business, you could go either way. The iPad mini will work fine for creating and editing documents that you share with others through various document-sharing apps. However, productivity apps like Calendars 5 and MagicalPad HD make better use of the additional landscape.
If you are an artist and plan on using your tablet to sketch ideas, or even paint a full picture, don’t go with the smaller model. You will be better off getting the iPad Air. Its screen size is more conducive to exploring and expressing creativity.
If you are planning on using your device for playing music publicly using a deejay app, the iPad mini will be perfect. Although apps like DJ Rig and djay 2 offer a huge selection of features, they make good use of minimizing the on-screen clutter, so a smaller screen won’t hurt your experience.
Books and magazines can be enjoyed on either screen. The words are not shrunk down on an iPad mini. You will still have a great reading experience. In fact, I think reading on an iPad mini is better than an iPad because it can be held in one hand so much easier.
If you are itching for a new tablet and are thinking that, the only reason you might buy an iPad Air tomorrow is that you don’t want to wait any longer, MacNN just caught word that Target has the iPad mini with Retina launch date set for Nov. 21 on their website. While this may be an error or a presumption from Target and not official information, we can assume that Apple will probably have at least a short run of the smaller sized tablets available by that date.
To summarize, if you plan on using your tablet for simple stuff, like posting on various social networking sites, reading blogs, and playing casual games, then the iPad mini is right for you. If you are a heavy gamer, like to watch movies on your mobile device, or plan on producing your next record on a tablet, invest in the iPad Air for the larger screen landscape.