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What Size iPad Mini Should I Buy?

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The new iPad Mini is finally here, which means its time to decide which model to buy, if any. Like previous iPad models the iPad Mini comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB varieties. Everything else remains the same, but each storage option is best for a different sort of user.

iPad users range from those who just want a tablet to browse the web and maybe read books to users who want to play a lot of games and watch movies. Because of its size the iPad Mini isn’t as well suited to some tasks like photo and video editing as the iPad is. There are still plenty of uses that might require more storage, however.

Before deciding which size is right, it’s best to figure out how you’ll use the iPad Mini.

ipad-mini

The new iPad mini.

Reading

With a 7.85-inch screen the iPad Mini is a great size for reading books through iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Nook, or any other eBook app. It’s also great for reading magazines like Wired and The New Yorker.

iPad Mini books

Books from Apple and Amazon et al. only take up a few megabytes at most so users can fit a lot of them in any iPad Mini. Magazines, however, tend to take up a lot of space (at least 100MB per issue). It’s not a problem for users who don’t have a lot of other apps, but the issues can add up quickly.

Movies

Like any iOS device the iPad Mini is great for watching movies and TV shows. The screen is a bit smaller than the iPad, but that arguably makes it better for tighter spaces like airplanes. Those movies can take up a few gigabytes each, however, so users who plan on keeping a lot of movies on their iPad Minis should consider a larger storage model. An HD movie rented or purchased through iTunes usually requires 4GB of storage to download.

Music

Alone each MP3 or AAC only takes up a few megabytes of data, but music libraries are usually several gigabytes in size. Some users prefer to have their entire music collection (or most of it) with them at all times, which might mean they need a larger iPad Mini. Users with iTunes Match, Spotify, or another streaming option probably don’t need to larger size, however.

Apps

iPad mini Gaming

Games can take up a lot of space on any iOS device.

Not every user will have a lot of apps and games on their devices, but they can still take up a lot of space on the iPad Mini. After Apple introduced the new iPad and iPhone 5 apps started getting bigger to fit those screens. The iPad Mini can’t take advantage of all the extra pixels used in the Retina Display version of iPad apps, but the data is still there, taking up a lot of space.

Games in particular can take up a lot of space. Games like Infinity Blade and Horn can run close to the 2GB cap Apple puts on the App Store. Just a few games of that size will fill a 16GB model very quickly.

Which Model Should I Buy?

16GB Model

This model is for users who will mostly use their iPad Mini for reading books or magazines. These users can also fit some music and maybe a movie or two on the device if needed, but iBooks and Amazon Kindle are the two most used apps. These users don’t need much space, so 16GB of storage is likely enough for them.

The 16GB model is also great for users who stream most of their content. Users who stream iTunes Match or Spotify to their tablet for music and only use Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime Video for movies and TV shows. The 16GB can fit a few apps or some locally cached media, but they won’t need much because everything comes from the cloud.

This may also be a good size for users that plan to use the iPad Mini along with an iPhone and an iPad.

32GB Model

ipad mini wireless

Streaming content means the iPad mini needs less storage space

This is likely the most popular model of the iPad Mini for users who have a few apps, music, and movies on their tablet. It won’t store everything, but users can travel with a good portion of their favorite songs, a number of apps and games and maybe some video content.

64GB Model

This model is for users who want to carry everything around with them. They’ll have most of their music library on the iPad Mini, up to 10 or more movies, and a few apps to round it out. These users don’t want to delete a lot of content off their iPads, or always want a plethora of options of what to watch, play, read, or listen to.

Shawn is a tech junkie who spends most of his time reading and writing about it. You can follow him on Twitter, @shawn_i.

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