iPad mini vs. iPad 4th Generation

“Should I buy the iPad mini or the iPad 4th generation?”

This is a question shoppers are already asking as they try to decide between the new 7.9-inch iPad mini and the 9.7-inch iPad fourth generation with a faster processor and new Lightning connection.

In this iPad mini vs. iPad comparison, users can figure out which of the new iPad models is the best fit for their needs. The iPad Mini and the iPad 4th generation are both new, but each come with strengths and features that should help make the decision easier.

The new iPad mini is shown next to a full sized model at an Apple event in San Jose

iPad 4th generation vs. iPad mini (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

iPad shoppers can pick the larger iPad 4th generation for a faster processor and bigger screen, or opt for a lower cost, lighter iPad mini with a smaller display.

Release Date

The iPad mini release date and the iPad 4th generation release date are both set for November 2nd. The iPad 4th generation and mini pre-order start on October 26th. No set time is available, but Apple typically starts the pre-order process at midnight Pacific, 3 AM eastern.

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iPad Mini release date

The iPad mini release is set for November 2nd.

The iPad mini with 4G LTE and iPad 4th gen with LTE won’t arrive for until two weeks later in mid November. In short, both iPads will arrive in stores and online at the same time, so users don’t need to make a buying decision based on the release date.

Users may have trouble finding the iPad mini in stock for the next few weeks, as we may see more demand for the smaller iPad mini, from users that did not purchase an iPad previously.

Design

Apple designed the iPad mini with the same looks as the iPhone 5, while the iPad fourth generation maintains the iconic iPad design.

The iPad mini is available in black or white, and for the first time on an iPad, this color option carries over to the back of the tablet. Like the iPhone 5, the back of the black iPad mini carries over through the rear of the device. Apple uses a familiar silver aluminum back on the white iPad Mini. The iPad fourth generation is available in white or black with a silver back for both models.

A visitor looks over the new iPad mini at an Apple event in San Jose

The iPad mini offers a new look, in a smaller package. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

The iPad mini is 23% thinner and almost 50% lighter than the iPad fourth generation. The smaller iPad features a new design, with more gradual curves on the edge of the device than the iPad fourth generation. The iPad mini features a dual speaker design like the iPhone 5, while the larger iPad maintains the single speaker opening.

iPad fourth gen design

The iPad fourth generation, looks like the “New iPad” from March.

All of the new iPad models include magnets to automatically wake the iPad from sleep while used with compatible cases and magnets to connect the Smart cover to the iPad.

Display

The display is one of the most noticeable differences when comparing the iPad mini vs. the iPad fourth generation. The new iPad uses the same 9.7-inch Retina Display as the last iPad, with a 2048 x 1536 resolution.

iPad Retina Display

The iPad fourth generation features a higher resolution Retina Display.

The iPad mini boasts a smaller 7.9-inch display with a 1024 x 768 resolution. This is the same resolution as the iPad 2, but with a higher pixel density. The higher pixel density could deliver a slightly improved display, but the iPad mini does not include a Retina Display.

iPad Mini display size

The iPad Mini features a 7.9-inch display.

The smaller size translates into a more portable product, but users give up nearly 2-inches of screen, something that users may notice when watching movies on the iPad mini. Both displays are 4:3, so expect letterboxing for HD videos on either device.

Since the iPad doesn’t allow user to multitask, users should pick the screen size that best fits their viewing, gaming and portability needs.

Specs

The iPad mini uses an older processor and forgoes the Retina Display to keep prices in check. The biggest item that shoppers will want to look at is which storage size they want to buy, and that is the same across both devices.

Here are the iPad fourth generation specs

  • 9.7-inch Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 resolution (264 ppi)
  • Apple dual-core A6X processor with quad-core graphics
  • 16GB/32GB/64GB Storage
  • 5MP iSight camera/FaceTime HD Camera
  • 42.5-watt battery
  • 1GB of RAM

And here are the iPad mini specs.

  • 7.9-inch IPS display with 1024 x 768 resolution (163 ppi)
  • Apple dual-core A5 processor
  • 16GB/32GB/64GB Storage
  • 5MP iSight camera/FaceTime HD Camera
  • 16.3-watt battery
  • 512MB of RAM (Likely)

Apple promises 10 hours of battery life on both devices, and as the spec tables show, there are only a few differences in these devices.

Camera

The iPad mini and iPad fourth generation use the same cameras. Each of these tablets includes a front facing FaceTime HD camera capable of 1.2MP photos and 720P video.

iPad Mini camera breakout

The iPad mini and iPad share a camera.

On the rear is a 5MP iSight camera with autofocus, face detection, a five element lens and ƒ/2.4 aperture. Apple did not release photo samples or video samples from these new iPads, but users shouldn’t plan on taking iPhone 5 level photos, or replacing a point and shoot.

The iPad mini’s smaller size makes it a better photo companion, but at nearly 8-inches by 5 inches, it is a rather large camera.

Software

Apple includes iOS 6 on both new iPads, and both of these devices ship with Siri and dictation, both of which require an Internet connection to work.

The video below highlights new iOS 6 features on an iPhone, many of which are also available on the iPad mini and iPad fourth generation.

Siri can answer questions, open apps and more on both of the new iPads. The video below shows many of Siri’s iOS 6 features.

Carriers

The iPad mini and iPad fourth generation are available on Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. This is the first time a Sprint iPad is an option for consumers, though Sprint is still tight-lipped on plans for the iPad and iPad mini.

iPad mini carriers

iPad mini and iPad carriers in the U.S.

AT&T and Verizon offer pay as you go plans for the iPad, and users on a family share plan can add an iPad Mini with 4G LTE to a plan for $10 a month.

The iPad mini uses the same nano SIM found in the iPhone 5, and the iPad fourth generation uses a Micro SIM like the previous iPad.

Price

The iPad mini starts at $329 for the WiFi only 16GB model, while the larger iPad fourth generation with 1GB of storage and WiFi only is $499. Full pricing breakdowns are below.

iPad MiniHere is how the iPad mini pricing looks.

  • iPad mini 16GB Wi-Fi Only -$329
  • iPad mini 32GB Wi-Fi Only – $429
  • iPad mini 64GB Wi-Fi Only – $529

And, the 4G LTE models.

  • iPad mini 16GB 4G LTE – $459
  • iPad mini 32GB 4G LTE – $559
  • iPad mini 64GB 4G LTE – $659

iPad Fourth Generation pricing.

  • iPad 16GB Wi-Fi Only -$499
  • iPad 32GB Wi-Fi Only – $599
  • iPad 64GB Wi-Fi Only – $699

And, the 4G LTE models.

  • iPad 16GB 4G LTE – $629
  • iPad 32GB 4G LTE – $729
  • iPad 64GB 4G LTE – $829

Users looking to upgrade or trade in their iPad for an iPad Mini should check out, how to sell your old iPad.

 

Comments

  1. jack says

    So Apple crippled the iPad mini with less than HDTV (1920×1080) display so it wouldn’t compete with iPad. How smart is that?

    • Hunter says

      They can’t multitask but instead pause the apps in the background to reopen later. It is not real multitasking like on a desktop computer or laptop.

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