Apple announced and unveiled the iPad mini 3 back in October, serving as the successor to the now-called iPad mini 2. The original iPad mini still remains in Apple’s iPad lineup, but even with the newer iPad mini 3, here’s why the iPad mini 2 is still the best deal.
The Cupertino-based company didn’t spend a lot of time talking about the iPad mini 3 during its announcement, and that’s probably because the new tablet remains largely unchanged from the iPad mini 2.
The iPad mini 2 was released in October 2013 (then called the iPad mini with Retina display), and it was a huge upgrade from the original iPad mini in every single way, coming with a way faster processor, better display, and pretty much everything else.
However, at that time, the now-called iPad mini 2 was fairly expensive, ringing in at a starting price of $399, while the original iPad mini was a whole $100 cheaper, so the performance-to-price ratio was certainly justified for both tablets, but this time around, things are a bit different.
The iPad mini 2 and the original iPad mini are now both cheaper, and with the newer iPad mini 3 out, it’s a no-brainer which iPad mini model you should buy. Here are three reasons why the iPad mini 2 is a great deal.
While the iPad mini 3 is a newer device and comes with the convenience of Touch ID, that’s really all it has going for itself. The gold color option and the fingerprint sensor might look enticing, but it’s also $100 more than the iPad mini 2, which is practically the same tablet.
The iPad Air 2 received a generous upgrade from the iPad Air last year, coming with performance improvements across the board, including the new A8X processor, which is a 64-bit chip that offers 2.5x faster GPU performance and 40% faster CPU performance than the A7 processor that’s in the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2.
Improvements have also been made to the iPad Air 2′s camera, now featuring an 8-megapixel sensor that can record 1080p video, compared to the 5-megapixel sensor of the older model. We’re not sure if this new camera is the same camera that’s in the iPhone 6, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
The iPad mini 3 received exactly zero of these upgrades. Instead, the smaller tablet still comes with the same A7 processor as the iPad mini 2, as well as the same camera and display. It’s not even thinner and lighter than the iPad mini 2. It’s the exact same tablet, save for Touch ID and the gold color option.
This makes the iPad mini 2 that much more enticing. It’s a great-performing tablet with a beautiful display and capable cameras.
The iPad mini 2’s $299 starting price tag is a steal for what you get. If anything, the launch of the iPad mini 3 should have been overshadowed by the generous price drop of the iPad mini 2, which was previously priced at $399.
That $100 price drop puts the iPad mini 2 in affordable territory for many buyers. For $299, you’re getting a great tablet, even if it doesn’t include Touch ID or a gold color option. It’s blazing fast and comes with that awesome Retina display.
In any case, if you absolutely have to have Touch ID on your iPad, by all means spend an $100 for that privilege, but we’re guessing that most users can wisely use that money elsewhere and stick with the iPad mini 2.
iOS 9 Compatibility
The iPad mini 2 is a year-and-a-half old, but it still very active in Apple’s iPad lineup, and we should expect it to last for a couple more years at least.
While we’d be surprised if the original iPad mini received iOS 9, the iPad mini 2 is a tablet that we can assume will receive updates to iOS 9, stretching its support from Apple by another year. iOS 9 will most likely be announced at WWDC later this spring and will likely launch to the public in the fall alongside the iPhone 6s.