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 how do the older models compare with each other?
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 last year in October (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 makes the comparison between the iPad mini 2 and the original iPad mini a bit more interesting. Here’s what you need to know if you’re deciding between the iPad mini 2 and the original iPad mini.
The iPad mini 2 and the original iPad mini are nearly identical from the outside, as they’re the same size with similar designs. The iPad mini 2 is a bit heavier simply because of the improved components and the newer Retina display, but overall, outer looks remain the same across both devices.
Once you turn on both devices and take a look at the screens, that’s where there’s a major difference. The iPad mini 2 comes with a high-resolution 2048×1536 Retina display, while the original iPad mini only rocks a 1024×768 resolution. Many users will still like the original iPad mini’s display, but once you check out the iPad mini 2’s Retina display, you won’t be able to go back.
As for the camera, both tablets sport the same 5MP sensor on the rear camera, as well as the same 1.2MP front-facing camera, although the iPad mini 2 is capable of shooting panoramic shots, as well as zooming in during video recording, but those probably aren’t huge deal breakers.
While there are minimal differences between the design of the two tablets, it’s where the performance sees a massive fork in the road. The iPad mini 2 comes with Apple’s A7 processor, while the original iPad mini comes with the inferior A5 processor.
The difference in these two chips is huge. The A5 is actually the same chip that’s inside of the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s, which are two devices that are just past their minimum accepted performance level, mostly thanks to iOS 8 making these older devices fairly sluggish.
Both tablets have the same 1GB of RAM, so there aren’t any major differences in that department, but it’s mostly the processor speed and the general newness of the iPad mini 2 that makes it leap ahead of the original iPad mini.
While the iPad mini 2 used to be a whole $100 more than the original iPad mini, that has since changed. The iPad mini 2 starts at $299, while the original iPad mini is priced at only $249.
That $50 difference isn’t a big one, and considering that the iPad mini 2 is leaps and bounds better than the original iPad mini, we’d say paying the extra $50 is very much worth it.
However, if you’re looking to save a bit of cash, the original iPad mini isn’t a terrible tablet by any means, as it’s still a great tablet for casual users who will only use it to browse the web, check email, and play only a handful of casual games.
Then again, for only $50 more, you can grab the iPad mini 2, which is better performance-wise in every category, and you’ll quickly notice the difference between the two devices after you play around with it for a bit.
Furthermore, the iPad mini 2 will last a lot longer than the original iPad mini, which probably won’t get iOS software updates for too much longer, seeing how old of a device it’s becoming, so if future-proofing is something that’s important to you, the iPad mini 2 may be your best bet.