Apple iPad mini versus the iPad 2: Which iPad should you buy?

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December 7, 2012, 4:07 IST

Sameer Mitha

Apple iPad mini versus the iPad 2: Which iPad should you buy?

Apple recently entered the 7-inch tablet market with the launch of the iPad mini. It’s needless to say that the device is impressive and if you are a part of the Apple ecosystem you will want one.

A sense of confusion however does arise when deciding on which is the right iPad for you. If you want a smaller more portable device then the iPad mini seems right. If you want a larger display and more screen real estate, the 9.7-inch behemoth seems perfect.

Apple’s iPad 2 is still available in the Indian market and is a killer product if you are looking for a great tablet experience around the Rs. 20,000 - Rs. 25,000 price point. So here, we take a look at which is the tablet for you based on various criteria of utility. We battle it out between the iPad 2 and the iPad mini.

Specifications

Let’s start by taking a quick look at the specifications of the two tablets.

Model
iPad 2
iPad Mini
Chip

A5 (Dual-core Apple A5 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip)

A5 (Dual-core Apple A5 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip)

Display

9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
1024-by-768 resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)

7.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
1024-by-768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch (ppi)

Camera

FaceTime camera
VGA-resolution photos
VGA-resolution video
FaceTime video calling over
Wi-Fi

Back camera
960-by-720 photos
Autofocus

FaceTime HD camera
1.2MP photos
720p HD video
FaceTime video calling over
Wi-Fi or cellular
Face detection
Backside illumination
iSight camera

5MP photos
Autofocus
Face detection
Backside illumination
Five-elements lens
Hybrid IR filter
ƒ/2.4 aperture

Video Recording

720p HD video recording

Tap to focus while recording

1080p HD video recording

Tap to focus while recording
Video stabilization
Face detection
Backside illumination

Wireless Connectivity

Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology

Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 4.0

3G/4G
Only 3G
4G
Connector
30-pin
Lightning
Battery Life

Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi‑Fi, watching video, or listening to music
Up to 9 hours of surfing the web using cellular data network
Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system

Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi‑Fi, watching video, or listening to music
Up to 9 hours of surfing the web using cellular data network
Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system

Siri
No
Yes

Weight and Dimensions

Height:
9.50 inches (241.2 mm)
Width:
7.31 inches (185.7 mm)
Depth:
0.34 inch (8.8 mm)
Weight (Wi-Fi):
1.33 pounds (601 g)
Weight (Wi-Fi + 3G):
1.35 pounds (613 g)

Height:
7.87 inches (200 mm)
Width:
5.3 inches (134.7 mm)
Depth:
0.28 inch (7.2 mm)
Weight (Wi-Fi):
0.68 pound (308 g)
Weight (Wi-Fi + Cellular):
0.69 pound (312 g)

Price

Apple iPad 2 (16GBWi-Fi): Rs. 24,500
Apple iPad 2 (16GBWi-Fi + 3G): Rs. 32,900

Apple iPad Mini (16GB Wi-Fi): Rs. 21,900
Apple iPad Mini (16GB Wi-Fi + 3G): Rs. 29,900
Apple iPad Mini (32GB Wi-Fi): Rs. 27,900
Apple iPad Mini (32GB Wi-Fi + 3G): Rs. 35,900
Apple iPad Mini (64GB Wi-Fi): Rs. 33,900
Apple iPad Mini (64GB Wi-Fi + 3G): Rs. 41,900.


From the above specifications we can see that the power under the hood of both the devices is essentially the same. Where the two differ is in the other specifications. The iPad mini has a higher pixel density on the display, but it isn’t Retina and the difference essentially will not be distinguishable by the naked eye.

The cameras on the iPad mini too have been bumped up when compared to the iPad 2. The iPad mini also supports 4G-connectivity and Siri where as the iPad 2 has only 3G. The iPad 2 is available in only the 16GB storage variant where as the mini is available in all, 16, 32 and 64GB storage capacities.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the difference between the two tablets:

Form Factor

If you are looking for a tablet that will slip into your pocket and will be more portable then you should go in for the iPad mini. In terms of its design, it essentially looks like a love child of the new iPod 5th gen and the iPad. The iPad mini is a lot more comfortable to hold and operate with one hand.

If you want the full tablet experience, then the iPad 2 is a better option. Sure, it has a larger form factor, but that also brings with it a 9.7-inch display giving you a lot more screen real estate to work with. The downside to the large form factor of the device is that you need to use both hands to use it comfortably.

Screen Quality

Both the tablets have an IPS panel making the displays really vibrant and gorgeous. Both have the same resolution as well – 1024 x 768. The difference is that the iPad 2 has a 9.7-inch display and the iPad mini has a 7.9-inch display. This affects the pixel density. The iPad mini has a slightly higher pixel density, but the difference isn’t enough for the naked eye to notice. It isn’t Retina, but it is quite good nonetheless.

Camera

Most people don't use the rear camera of a tablet; it’s nice to see that it is more than a gimmicky add-on. In the iPad 2, it was a gimmicky add-on and was mostly useful if you wanted to show someone something during FaceTime. The fron-facing FaceTime camera on the iPad 2 was a bit disappointing as well.

Coming to the iPad mini, the 720p HD FaceTime camera makes video calling a lot crisper. It also has a 5MP rear camera with face detection, backside illumination, five-element lens, hybrid IR filter and ƒ/2.4 aperture. It is needless to say that the camera on the iPad mini is not only better but also may actually give you some reason to use it.
If a camera in a tablet is important to you, the iPad mini is the way to go.

Battery Life

Both the devices are at a tie here as Apple claims that both will last for up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi use and 9 hours on cellular network.

Browsing and Reading

This is a very subjective decision, so we will just tell you the pros and cons of each device and leave the decision making up to you. The pros of the iPad mini are that you can whip it out of your pocket anytime and start browsing the Internet on a 7.9-inch screen. In terms of browsing, there will be lesser content on display and you may have to use the safari reader to enjoy reading text.

For the iPad 2, you have the advantage of a larger display that will display more content and zooming in will be less.

Here the choice is entirely yours depending on your preferred screen size. Although you should know that Apple claims that the iPad mini has improved Wi-Fi connectivity. If you are someone who users it for everyday browsing, then you will not notice much difference in the performance of the 2 devices.

Videos and Gaming

Personally, here we think the iPad 2 is a winner. The larger display means that you have more screen space to enjoy media consumption, web browsing, and full touch apps. The performance of both the devices is roughly the same. They support the same media formats and the quality of the display is the same. But it is a lot more fun playing games like Angry Birds Star Wars, Need For Speed, Cut the Rope, Infinity Blade and more on the bigger display.

Connectivity

The iPad 2 has the older 30pin dock connector where as the iPad mini has the Lightning dock connector. As of today, there are more accessories available that are compatible with the iPad 2 and if you want to connect the iPad mini to an older docking station, you will need a converter. However, that may not be the case in the future. Apple product docking stations in the future will come with a Lightning connector and we hope to see some accessories make an appearance at CES 2013. If you have Apple accessories suck as a music dock, car charger and more already, then you may want to stick with the iPad 2. If you are new to the ecosystem or want your device to be a little future proof, then you may want to take a look at the iPad mini.

The Lightning dock connector is also a part of the iPod touch 5th gen as well as the iPhone 5 and is 80% smaller than the previous 30pin connector. Not much of an advantage.

Which is the iPad for you?

Well, it all boils down to your preference:

  • If a large display is what you are looking for and 16GB storage space meets your requirement, then you can take a look at the iPad 2.
  • If 4G speeds, a smaller display, more storage and a better camera are what you want, then the iPad mini is the device for you! Simple isn’t it?

 


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