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Comparing the iPad Mini vs. New iPad 4

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Pre-orders for both the iPad Mini and the 4th-generation Apple iPad started on Friday, but what if you still haven’t decided which iPad is for you? Let’s have a look at some of the most important specs so you can choose the right one for you. For starters, the iPad Mini starts at a more affordable $329, whereas the so-called iPad 4 starts at $499. That’s a $170 difference, which is no small sum of money.

Easily the most noticeable difference between the iPad Mini and the 4th-gen iPad is the size. The iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1024×768 (163ppi), whereas the 4th-gen iPad has a 9.7-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2048×1536 (264ppi), offering you four times the number of pixels on a larger display. Of course, the iPad Mini is physically smaller at 200×134.7×7.2mm and about 308 grams, compared to the 241.2×185.7×9.4mm dimensions of the iPad 4, which also weighs about twice as much at 652 grams (for the Wi-Fi only model).

Both the iPad Mini and the iPad 4 come in your choice of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of storage, and they both come in WiFi-only or with 3G/LTE support as well, though the iPad Mini uses a nano-SIM, whereas the iPad 4 has a micro-SIM. They also both get Siri. The cameras are effectively the same and they both use the new Lightning connector. The iPad 4 is the more powerful of the two with its upgraded dual core Apple A6X processor with quad-core graphics, compared to the dual core A5 in the Mini.

Assuming that you’re bent on an iPad and iOS, and you won’t let Android or Windows tablets enter the conversation, the real decision here is based on two factors: If you want something smaller and more portable, the iPad Mini is likely the better choice. If you want a little more power by way of the A6X processor and you want to have more pixels, then the Retina Display-touting iPad 4 is for you.

About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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  • Eric

    Biggest difference will be holding it in one hand and browsing the web. The ipad(3) is doable, but it def gets tiring, so you then find a page, hold it in two, then back to one to navigate. It’s akward. Big deal? no, but I can def see how a lighter smaller version would let you just stick with using one hand for holding, one hand ready to do whatever on the screen.

    Screen size and resolution? Well to be honest, my I notice very little different between my wife’s ipad2 and my ipad3. Sharper on mine reading the news? I guess. Faster on mine? Perhaps, how can you really tell? A web page loads faster? Is that the internet at the time or the device? Apps run quicker? Not really noticeable. So if the smaller ipad can hold it’s own again the ipad2 in terms of clarity, and it should be cause in theory it’s a higher density of pixels, then I think it’s going to be a nice device. Looking back, I wish I had the ipad mini vs my iPad3 because really this ipad I have is just a touch too heavy. If I’m walking around the house or outside, I prefer the iPhone because functions with one hand far better, leaving me to make coffee or whatnot with the other.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jilean.beharry Jilean Beharry

      Thanks Eric…this was very helpful for me. I found the retina display in the 3rd gen wasn’t enough for me to get the 3. Loved the fact that the mini was smaller so I could carry in my hand bag and had all the features of the 2 and more…not to mention the lower price tag. Didn’t even know about the 4th gen until I read this, but seems like I made the right choice.

    • http://twitter.com/EdinJack1 EdinJack

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  • cole

    Captain obvious.