Apple iPad Air vs iPad mini 2: What's the difference?

Last week Apple announced its two new tablets for the upcoming season, the 9.7-inch iPad Air and its smaller sibling, the iPad Mini 2. A large proportion of customers can’t distinguish these two gadgets, in terms of which matches their needs.

And indeed it is a rather difficult procedure to decide which one to opt for since both devices feature same tech specifications. They pack the same screen resolution, same latest gen A7 chip, camera capabilities, storage options, connectivity features, hardware quality and look; you get the gist. Basically, what’s different here is the body and screen size. What someone has to do in order to figure out which one works for him; is put them head to head in their natural environment. Mobility.

Fundamentally, tablets constitute an alternative option to laptops. Their core functionality is to serve the consumer everywhere he goes. An on the go personal computer with touchscreen, if you will.

Though, it’s not the most workable thing to carry around a 9.7-inch device with you throughout your day. Despite the fact that it is extremely lightweight and thin, there is no way to fit it in your pockets. It’s not feasible to hold it in your hands for the entire day either. Hence you need to put it either to your backpack or to a laptop-alike case with wraps resting on your shoulder.

But in the end, if you had to do the above to bring it with you, why not use your laptop instead or your 11-inch ultrabook, which exhibits a larger display, faster processor – probably alongside with 64-128 gigs of SSD – and a physical keyboard which is always more convenient to type on?

ipad-air

To sum it up, the iPad Air certainly showcases a great selection of features compared to other tablets, and in conjunction with its stellar hardware and display, it’s one of the best options currently in the market. If you ask me though, like all the 10 to 11 inch form factors, the device simply is a nice to have addition to your gadgetry desk. Since I purchased it back in April of 2011, my first gen iPad is sitting on the top right hand side of my office for quick access to Twitter, Facebook and Google plus notifications.

To put in a simpler to comprehend the way, the 9.7-inch edition of the iPad line up is like a supercar. You don’t need one, but you have to have one. How are you going to make use of the 700 plus horsepower of a Ferrari Berlinetta when you always are in the middle of a traffic-jam? You have to find a race track to feel the power that the V12 engine packs in.

Reaching to a conclusion, the 9.7-inch iPad is something nice to have while walking around the house or while enjoying the summer sun on the beach, to check-in with the social networking platforms you use, do some gaming and web browsing. Watching your favorite series on Netflix whilst lying on the bed before going to sleep is a plus.

It’s all about the form factor

What about the Mini though? The feature that it was primarily missing, was a higher res display, and since that was put in rest with this year’s integration, it’s the best option you can make.

The 7.9-inch form factor is big enough to undertake a selection of tasks yet small enough that can fit in a large pocket, like the one in the interior of your jacket or the one you usually find in military uniforms.

apple ipads

In terms of specs, as mentioned above, they are identical to the ones the iPad Air spec sheet features; hence it houses a great deal of power. The Mini 2 serves its purpose. It is easy to carry it with you during the day, without the contribution of a travelling case or backpack, and it fairs pretty decently for a business-man usage, including writing emails and documents, file or money transfer and a bit of photo and video editing as well. Exactly what the iPad Air can do, but this time, you can accomplish the above on the go.

Overall, from my standpoint, if you need a tablet that can consult efficiently in your work whilst being away from the office that would be the iPad mini. If you desire a tablet just for the sake of having one and not actually making use of it, then you should definitely go ahead and pick up the 9.7-inch form factor iPad which sports a larger display. It’s on you.

Here’s a toe-to-toe spec-sheet rundown for the new iPads

iPad Air iPad Mini 2
Display 9.7-inch (2048×1536 resolution) 7.9-inch (2048×1536 resolution)
PPI 264ppi 326ppi
Processor A7 chip with M7 motion coprocessor A7 chip with motion coprocessor
RAM 1GB 1GB
Rear camera 5MP iSight camera 5MP iSight camera
Front camera 1.2MP 1.2MP
Video recording 1080p HD video recording 1080p HD video recording
Capacity 16/32/64/128GB options 16/32/64/128GB options
Dimensions 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.29 in 7.87 x 5.3 x 0.29 in
Weight (WiFI model) 1 pound (469 g) 0.73 pound (331 g)
Connector Lightning Lightning
Battery Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Siri Yes Yes
3.5mm jack Yes Yes
Colors Space Gray, Silver Space Gray, Silver
Price (16GB WiFi) $499 $399

2 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article Orest, very detailed and great points made. To me, it seems weird to compare these two tablets as they cater for different audiences, I see the Mini being for people that want a cheaper option in a smaller factor but the full size one being for people that want a complete iPad experience. I was underwhelmed by the refreshed iPad Mini because without the retina display, not much has changed. The iPad Air, however, is actually really great and it’s insane how Apple have made it only 500 grams now as well as some great internals and since Apple is a vertically integrated company, I’m sure iOS 7 will just fly on the tablet and no lag or force closes a la Android. Was interesting to hear your thoughts on whether a tablet is really needed though, I still question that myself and I think they’re more of a convenience than a necessity. Keep up the great work 🙂

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