Apple announced and unveiled the iPad mini 3 yesterday, serving as the successor to the now-called iPad mini 2. The original iPad mini still remains in Apple’s iPad lineup, but how does it compare to the latest model?
The Cupertino-based company didn’t spend a lot of time talking about the iPad mini 3, and that’s probably because the new tablet remains largely unchanged from the iPad mini 2.
The iPad mini 2 was released last year around this time (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 camera, better display, everything.
However, the upgrade from the iPad mini 2 to the iPad mini 3 is practically non-existent.
The newer 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 same exact tablet, save for the addition of Touch ID and a gold color option.
In any case, though, how does the iPad mini 3 stack up against the original iPad mini?
This is actually a really easy question to answer, as the differences are astronomical. The iPad mini 3 and the original iPad mini are pretty much the same size with a similar designs. The iPad mini 3 is a bit heavier simply because of the improved components and the newer display, but overall, outer looks remain the same across both devices.
It’s where the performance of the two tablets sees a massive fork in the road. The iPad mini 3 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.
Another big difference between these two tablets is the display. The original iPad mini sports a 1024×768 display, while the iPad mini 3 has double the resolution at 2048×1536. This makes the iPad mini 3’s screen much more crisp and detailed than the original iPad mini, and if you were to put the two tablets side-by-side, the difference in the display quality would be incredible.
Other than design and performance, price is probably one of the biggest factors when deciding which tablet to buy. The iPad mini 3 starts at $399, while the original iPad mini starts at just $249, making the original model the cheapest iPad that Apple has ever sold.
Of course, if you’re looking for better performance, the $399 iPad mini 3 might be your tablet of choice, but we actually recommend getting the iPad mini 2 if you plan to go this route. It’s $100 cheaper and it’s pretty much the exact same tablet as the iPad mini 3, except for Touch ID and the gold color option, which are features that aren’t really worth the 25% markup in cost anyway.
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.
In any case, while the iPad mini 3 isn’t a huge upgrade from the iPad mini 2, it still stands as a huge upgrade over the original iPad mini, which is at its lowest price ever, and will only continue to get cheaper. In fact, you can buy refurbished iPad minis for as low as $209 right now.