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iPad vs. iPad Mini: Which is better?

The biggest difference between the Apple iPad and the Apple iPad Mini is the size. The iPad Mini’s screen is 7.9 inches, while the iPad’s screen is 10.2 inches.
The biggest difference between the Apple iPad and the Apple iPad Mini is the size. The iPad Mini’s screen is 7.9 inches, while the iPad’s screen is 10.2 inches. (BestReviews)

iPad or iPad Mini?

If you’ve decided it’s time for a new iPad, you may have a hard time choosing between the iPad and the iPad Mini.

Apple iPads and iPad Minis are very similar tablets, although this wasn’t true prior to Apple’s 2020 revamp of its original iPad. Apple is a standout name in the tablet market, and their iPads deliver the exceptional performance you would expect from Apple.

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The biggest difference between the iPad and the iPad Mini is the size of the tablet. The iPad has a 10.2-inch screen, compared to the iPad Mini’s 7.9-inch screen. This is the primary factor to consider because, if you are looking to add an iPad to your tech lineup because your smartphone’s screen seems too small to stream a show or a read an eBook, an iPad Mini won’t feel as if you are gaining much in terms of screen size.

In the end, what you plan to use your tablet for — gaming, streaming television shows, reading books, storing photos and so on — may all be factors that will help you decide which iPad is the right choice for you.

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What does the Apple iPad do?

The Apple iPad, which starts at just $329, is the most affordable iPad on the market when compared to the iPad Pro and iPad Air. The basic iPad comes with 32GB or 128GB of storage, which may feel limiting to some. But the powerful processor, Smart Keyboard connectivity and overall price point make the Apple iPad a viable choice for anyone who wants a standout tablet at a decent price.

Apple iPad pros

  • The iPad has a 10.2-inch screen, making it a great size for reading an e-book or streaming your favorite TV show.
  • If you prefer to use an external keyboard to type on your iPad, this model is compatible with Apple's Smart Keyboard, which can be purchased separately and makes typing a note or email on the iPad feel more like typing on a laptop.
  • If you like to use a stylus with your tablet, it works well with Apple Pencil (1st generation), a popular Apple accessory.
  • There are two storage sizes: 32GB or 128GB.
  • You can connect it to your phone, earpods, external keyboards or other optional accessories via Bluetooth.
  • When fully charged, it can last up to 10 hours if you are streaming videos or surfing the internet.
  • A standard lightning cable charges the device and is included with your purchase. You can also use this cable to charge your iPhone 6s or later model.

Apple iPad cons

  • If picture quality is important to you, the simple iPad may not measure up. The picture is the least crisp of any iPads currently on the market.
  • There is no anti-reflective coating, and, when used with direct light, you may get a glare on the screen.
  • The selfie camera is not up to par. While the rear camera is 8 megapixels, the front-facing camera is only 1.2 megapixels, compared to 7 megapixels in other iPad models. If you plan to use your iPad for selfies, this is a major drawback.

What does the Apple iPad Mini do?

The Apple iPad Mini is the smallest in class, weighing 0.66 pounds with a screen that measures only 7.9 inches. Its size alone makes it easy to fit in a purse or large pocket, and its A12 Bionic Processor, the same one you'll find in the iPad and iPhone XR, means that this iPad Mini packs a lot of power into its small size. The starting price is less than $400, meaning the iPad Mini is an affordable powerhouse tablet with a great set of features.

iPad Mini pros

  • Featuring a 7.9-inch screen, the iPad Mini is the smallest iPad on the market.
  • It weighs less than one pound, making it easy to put in your pocket or toss in a purse.
  • Because the iPad Mini has a high number of pixels per inch, its picture is crisp. Although the iPad Air boasts the highest picture resolution of any iPad on the market, the iPad Mini also has a great picture, and the resolution is better than with the basic iPad.
  • Takes great photos with its high-resolution 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.
  • Unlike the regular iPad, this one has a 7-megapixel selfie camera, meaning you can also take great selfies.
  • Offers 64GB or 256GB storage capabilities.
  • With its anti-reflective coating, you won't get a reflection, which, in turn, makes it easier to use in direct light or outside in sunlight.
  • It features 10 hours of battery life when fully charged.
  • Comes with a lightning cable and charger, the same charging cable used with all iPhones currently on the market.

iPad Mini cons

  • It has the lowest resolution of all available iPads.
  • It is the only iPad to not support Apple's Smart Keyboard, a popular optional external keyboard for your iPad.
  • The iPad Mini's screen size is less than two inches bigger than Apple's newest iPhone. If you don't like streaming shows or gaming on your phone because the screen is too small, this might not feel like much of an upgrade.

Should you get the Apple iPad or the Apple iPad Mini?

The Apple iPad Mini is the better bang for your buck if you are after an iPad with decent storage size, crisp picture resolution and a compact size. The iPad Mini also has high-resolution cameras that will allow you to capture stunning photos with both the forward- and rear-facing cameras.

However, if price point is your bottom line, the basic iPad is still a great option, as long as you don’t plan to use the iPad for storing a large number of photos or downloading a significant number of apps.

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Stephanie Jarrett is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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