Two months ago, Apple introduced two new products to its tablet lineup. The iPad mini with Retina display, and the iPad Air. Now the question to be answered is, what sets these two apart?
The iPad Air retains its 9.7 inch display that it has had since the first iPad in 2010. Inside it has the newest processor (A7 with an M7 co-processor for you curious geeky types) and runs iOS 7. It is rated for 10 hours of batter life and has an updated design with thinner side bezels than its older counterparts. The iPad Air got its name from shedding a lot of weight from last year’s iPad model, if you go for the wifi only model, and you should, it weighs in at exactly one pound. Otherwise known as, “I can read with this thing while laying in bed and not worry about dropping it on my face” weight. Convenient, really.
On to the iPad mini, it has… all of the same things. No, really. It shares the processor, screen resolution, battery life, and styling with its larger sibling. Differences here can be summed up in one word, size. It seems that Apple doesn’t want people looking down on the mini because it is slower, or has less clarity in the display than the Air. Which, they shouldn’t. The resolution is exactly the same as the Air, but since it is in a 7.9 inch display the clarity is actually higher and touches on the same numbers as the iPhone has had since the iPhone 4 with 326 pixels per inch. They aren’t lying when they say content consumption is gorgeous on these little devices.
So, which should you get?
There isn’t a clear winner here, at least not in the sense of one being considerably better than another. If you plan to do a lot of typing on the virtual keyboard, the Air may be your best bet with more screen real estate to work with. If you aren’t planning to write a novella on it. I would say go for the mini and either save $100 or get the 32GB model for the same price as the 16GB iPad Air.
Additionally, I do not recommend the Cellular+Wifi versions to most people because, most people don’t need it. It’s an added expense for them and it winds up laying dormant. If you know you need it, get it. If you’re on the fence, think long and hard about that extra $130 and tying yourself to a carrier, not by contract but by the fact that each iPad can only work on the carrier you choose when you purchase. That and the fact that most phones can broadcast a hotspot should make it very easy to live without it on your iPad.