iPad Air, or Retina Mini?

Discussion in 'iPad Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by bb426, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. bb426 macrumors 6502


    Jun 7, 2011
    Having just recently sold my iPad 4 to get its maximum value at this point in time, I'm having the dilemma of deciding between the iPad Air and the iPad mini (with Retina, when it is released).

    What makes it even more difficult is the fact that they have nearly identical specs, so essentially the only difference between the two is the screen size, from what we know now without a teardown.

    I have even gone into the Apple Store to get a feel of the Air vs. the current mini to see if I could decide, but even that wasn't enough help in making a decision. I do like the small size of the Mini, but I also appreciate the screen real estate of the Air...

    What are your thoughts? How do you feel about the Air vs. Mini? For you Mini users out there, are there any reasons why you like/dislike one or the other? What are your experiences? Any discussion is welcome (the more the better :D)

    I feel like this may help many others like me, if there aren't any other discussions on the subject. Thanks in advance.
  2. nonmonster macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2013
    My thoughts, um, Mini with retina, because I already got a laptop, no need for another big display. :p
  3. macfans618 macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2013
    Non of them, because the ios7 is really sucks. ipad 4 works well for me.
  4. JOSE891 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2012
    Las Vegas
  5. juiced118 macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2013
    Went into the apple store with the intention of comparing the air to the current form factor of the mini. My usage ranges from web surfing, email, academic notes (both typed and drawn via stylus), games and all forms of multimedia.

    The first thing that struck me about the mini, and the reason I took it back when I first got one when it was released, is that it is too small for me. Okay i understand there will be increased resolution/PPI on the screen with the new one, but that still doesn't take away the need to zoom in on web pages, I feel the air gives a far superior web surfing experience in particular.

    So I bit the bullet, bought the air and I'm extremely happy.
  6. zdman macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    I just purchased the iPad Air to replace my old iPad 2. I plan to give the old iPad 2 to my mom so we can FaceTime. I chose the iPad Air due to the screen size. My eyes are not the greatest and I like the larger typing area. Just my preference. I use my iPad for reading and surfing the web when I am at home and use it to watch movies and such when I travel.
    My wife and daughter both have iPad minis. They love them because they are small enough to fit in their purses (ok, I know, if the purse was big enough then a full size iPad would fit). For them, the convenience far outweighs the size of the screen. For me, the iPad mini would not fit in my pocket anyway, so no reason to go with the smaller size.
  7. Saturn007 macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2010
    Don't forget the Reader that's built into Safari. You'll see the icon with ragged justified lines on it-- tap that and you can get a larger text display.

    They dropped the font size control, but Accessibility, Large Text on, and select a Text size helps.

    A huge part of this depends on what you want to use the iPad for. I'd agree with other posters that the 10" larger iPads are generally better for web browsing. OTOH, the Minis are better ebook reading, one-handed use, and a more intimate experience.
  8. modelbehaviour macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2007
    It's really dependent on your needs, but personally I've just had an iPad Air delivered and I'm returning it to get the retina mini when it comes out. I'm wanting something I can cart around in my handbag to use on the train and out and about and although there's certainly no problem with the weight of the air, it still feels a bit big for reading and watching video on the train - plus, I already have a 3rd gen to use at home for things that'll benefit from a larger screen.
  9. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I'm really torn between the two as well.

    I sold my iPad 3 last week to save for the mini Retina, but as the reviews for the iPad Air came in, and as I was using my friends iPad mini, I started wondering if maybe the Air will be better choice, because my main complaint with the regular iPad was just how heavy it was.

    Since I'm short sighted, it's a bit harder to see text on the iPad mini, but maybe the Retina will help out with that.

    I want 32GB, and I think that along with a Smart Cover and case, I won't be able to afford the iPad Air anyway, and besides, I have an 11" MBA as well, so why not get something that's right in-between my iPhone and MBA? Plus, it's easier to use out and about, and hide it under a table if you're in a cafe in a bit of a dodgy area.

    Well, I'm gonna need to check out the iPad Air before I make a final decision, I still haven't actually used it so I can't really make a proper decision right now.
  10. Onno macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2013
    Same question here, I'm about to sell my old mini and was about to go for a new mini, mainly for the screen, the speed and a bit for the 128GB, but now a colleague showed his Air last Monday and I must say I'm impressed by the weight of the device.

    For on the road the mini is the best option as it just easier to carry, but for on the couch where I also use it a lot the extra screen size would be quite awesome.

    Aargh, The best option would actually be both :p
  11. jaypr macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2013
    I was all ready to go for the iPad Mini but after feeling how much lighter and smaller the Air was over the old iPads I went for that.

    I also think that if you are mainly using it in the home the Air is better, but if you have to cart it round or travel alot then the Mini may be a better bet.
  12. Moongrass macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2012
    This is an argument that tends to pop up in various forms around here (i.e. that the bigger iPad is "too big" and is for leaving at home, while the mini is for taking with you), and every time it does I have to wonder if the person making it has ever actually seen the devices in question, because this is the actual difference between the two:


    Sometimes it seems that in the minds of the people putting forth this argument they're picturing the difference between the two devices as being more like a laptop versus an iPod Touch.
  13. kazmac macrumors 603


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the silver scream
    the retina Mini

    Retina Mini for me: Cheaper, lighter and better dpi.

    The original mini was perfect except for the resolution which was brutal on my myopic peepers. I am looking forward to a much better experience this time around.
  14. FrankB1191 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2013
    I had a Mini and iPad 4, before I bought an Air on Nov. 2. The iPad 4 saw little use because of its weight, and the Mini was my main tablet for the past 7 months. The Air has replaced the Mini 100%, and I view it as a Mini with a larger display. Thinner , lighter, and much better edges give the Air a completely different feel than the older iPads. Its larger keyboard is an advantage over the Mini, at least for me.

    The Mini and Air display the same amount of text, so text size is going to be significantly smaller on the Mini. Nexus 7 owners say that tablet's higher resolution makes smaller text more readable, but larger text and high resolution is even better.

    My Mini would fit into the front pocket of a pair of Dockers, and the Air won't...... although I haven't tried.....hmmm.

    EDIT: Just stood up, and the Air goes into Docker pocket about halfway. :D
  15. bb426 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jun 7, 2011
    Lots of useful feedback here!

    It seems like I'm not the only one torn between the two as I suspected. I think that so far, I've concluded that I'm going to have to go see the retina mini in person when comes out, to see if it sells itself to me over the Air. It will be interesting to see the increased pixel density in person. :cool:

    I am really starting to more heavily consider the Air, simply because of the comments about the totally different browsing experience compared to other devices and the mini. But, I have great vision, so that will not be the reason for my decision. (However, I do really like to do some basic photo editing on the full size iPad... I've never tried on the mini, so I don't know how that might be.)

    The only other question that has not been addressed is cellular capability. Is the extra $129 and wireless subscription worth it, in your opinion, for those who have used it/are using it? I was frequently without wifi when I used my iPad out and about, and for that reason I was always disappointed that I did not get the cellular version.

    My decision will probably ultimately have to do with the end price. I just don't have a ton of money to shell out for an iPad, unforunately :(
  16. Onno macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2013
    One of my friends went for the Air so I compared them this morning. I was almost convinced to go for the Air, but compared to the mini the interface size is too big after using a mini for a year. Size and weight are quite nice, but the size of the interface is the deal breaker for me.
  17. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    I really want to try the mini now ... Easier to deal in the crowded trains every day on the way from and to home. I tried the iPad Air in one-hand-grip but it's a tad too big.
  18. SusanK macrumors 68000

    Oct 9, 2012
    Wireless issues on Mini

    I have an iPad mini. The wireless is disappointing. The first one was exchanged for the current one. The WiFi is slightly better but not satisfactory.

    Short range, dropped signals. Not great for away from home as I can't always get close to the router as I do at home.
  19. RickTaylor, Nov 10, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013

    RickTaylor macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2013
    This is the sort of question no one can answer for you. What do you want more: portability or a larger screen?

    That said, I own the current Ipad mini and love it, and if I were upgrading I would get the new retina version. For me, the size is just perfect. It slips into my jacket pocket and I carry it everywhere, almost forgetting it's there when I'm not actually using it, and yet it's large enough to display pdf files legibly (I do have good eye sight though).

    Edit: Oh, and for me the cellular is definitely worth it, if only because I use my Ipad mini as a GPS. The larger screen makes it much more useful in that capacity than a smart phone. And having access to the Internet even when Wi Fi isn't available is very nice.
  20. bambooshots macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2013
    I got the mini because it's less intrusive to use at work and it fits on my cluttered desktop better.

    I had the iPad 1 for a few years and I was never really ahoy with how big it was.
  21. jetmaster114 macrumors member

    May 4, 2012
    I just exchanged my mini w retina display for an Air. I loved the feel of the mini but text and graphics are significantly smaller on the mini. I got serious eye strain in one day. I went to the store and compared side by side. If you are young and have good eyes go for the mini if you are so inclined. But if you are an old guy like me you might want to go for the Air. Yes it costs $100 more but so do eye exams!
  22. jasmine84 macrumors member


    May 16, 2007
    Toronto ON
    Such a tough decision! For me I feel like the iPad mini will be too close in size to my iPhone 5... If I could manage with a mini I could probably not even bother with a tablet and just use my phone. I had an iPad 2 but sold it. I'm thinking the Air is going to be the one.... just need to gather enough money to actually get one. :p
  23. VTECaddict macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2008
    The actual difference between the two is the mini fits in most of my jacket (and white coat) pockets whereas the Air does not. Hence more portable. It doesn't look like it side to side but it really does make a huge difference in portability.
  24. Sym0 macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2013
    The mini was a gimmick to me but I still wanted. After touching the Air I just knew that's the one. The mini is cool but too close in price to the Air so the I went for bigger. Glad I did because it is as easy to use and slightly better specs.

    My wife wants the mini and I said I'd get her one for Xmas so that is ok by me. I'll have both in the house then.
  25. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    There is a huge difference in usability between the rMini and iPhone5. Especially anything reading text related. If all you're doing is looking at photos and listening to music and are generally happy with the way apps are presented on an iPhone then the Mini won't make much difference. But try doing anything Internet related on an iPhone vs a Mini, or reading an eBook. No contest what's better.

    If you're comparing rMini with Air, then the Air is just better in every single way, with the one huge exception of portability. It's like bringing a legal pad vs a steno pad to a staff meeting. If given the choice of both I'd grab the steno pad every time. Taking out a full sized iPad Air on the metro screams "steal me" so much more than a Mini. Overall, despite it's lighter weight compared to last year the Air is is still significantly more unwieldy than a Mini, solely due to its larger dimensions.

    Oh, and the Mini is cheaper, too, by about $100. If you're getting a cellular iPad then you can basically double your storage for the same price (32GB Air with LTE and 64GB rMini with LTE are identical in price)

    It's a tough decision. I'd suggest trying both at a store first. Having it in hand before deciding can make the difference.

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