Trouble deciding: iPad mini vs iPad 2 vs Retina iPad? Do NOT get an iPad 2.

ThatsMeRight

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 12, 2009
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Hi guys,

I was just comparing the models and I made this quick sheet which contains the main differences between the $329 iPad mini, the $399 iPad and the $499 iPad with retina display (fourth generation).

As it turns out, the iPad 2 is an extremely bad buy unless you absolutely want an iPad with a 9.7" display, but are not willing to go for the $499 Retina Display model.

Here is the 'sheet' I made which, I believe, covers all the main differences between the $329 iPad mini, the $399 iPad 2 and the iPad with Retina display ($499 model).



There are three main differences for all models: pricing, dimensions & weight and the display. The pricing goes from low to high with iPad mini being the cheapest and the iPad with Retina display being the most expensive. The iPad mini is light, thin and small, while the iPad 2 is big and light and the iPad 3 is big and normal/heavy.

The iPad mini display is actually superior to the iPad 2's display. It's got the same resolution as the iPad 2, but the pixel density is higher. This means text and images look sharper and crisper on an iPad mini than on an iPad 2.

Also, there are seven other differences: chip, FaceTime, iSight and video recording, 4G LTE, dock connector and Siri.

The iPad with Retina display has the most powerful chip, while the iPad mini and iPad 2 have the same chip. In the other six areas, iPad mini scores equal compared to the iPad with retina display.

iPad 2 lags behind in those five other areas.

My buyers' advice
If you want the most powerful chip and a Retina display, go for an $499 iPad with Retina display. In any other case, I'd settle with a $329 iPad mini because the iPad mini's specs are superior compared to the $399 iPad 2's specs.

The onliest advantage of an iPad 2 over an iPad mini is its bigger 9.7" display, but in all other areas the more expensive iPad 2 lags behind the cheaper iPad mini.

Also, something to consider, the iPad mini has got a brand new design: the black one is anodized like the iPhone 5 and both models have this diamond-cut chamfer edge.

I hope this post helps someone who is having trouble deciding between an iPad mini and iPad 2. :)
 

ThatsMeRight

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 12, 2009
2,257
124
That's something you could do to, but I think they'll be out of refurbished iPad 3s soon.

I think the iPad mini is a great buy at $329. The iPad mini is superior compared to the iPad 2 (even the display) and compared to the $499 iPad it only misses the A6 chip and the Retina display.
 

seajewel

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2010
345
19
That's something you could do to, but I think they'll be out of refurbished iPad 3s soon.

I think the iPad mini is a great buy at $329. The iPad mini is superior compared to the iPad 2 (even the display) and compared to the $499 iPad it only misses the A6 chip and the Retina display.
only? those two features are basically the whole point of the iPad 3rd and 4th generation upgrades.
 

PlutoniusX

macrumors member
Mar 18, 2008
73
0
Get a used/refurbished iPad 3. The Mini is overpriced, the Ipad 2 is old and the retina ipad? Just a new processor and a lighting port.
 

ThatsMeRight

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 12, 2009
2,257
124
only? those two features are basically the whole point of the iPad 3rd and 4th generation upgrades.
Yep, but if you look at the rest of the deal the iPad mini has equal specs to the iPad 4.

It's only one real feature we are talking about and while it may be the key-selling point of the $499 iPad, I bet there are lots of folks out there who are willing to drop the '"Retina display"-requirement' for a $170 cheaper, in all ways equal functionality compared to the iPad 4, thinner, newly designed, lighter and smaller iPad mini.

It's really one thing that you are giving up: the retina display. And in return you get a smaller, lighter, newly designed and much cheaper iPad.

* And if I may add, the iPad mini's display appears to be vastly superior the iPad 2's display.
 

Vantage Point

macrumors 65816
Mar 1, 2010
1,169
1
New Jersey
Refurbs are the way to go for values. IPad3 will be a great again. I priced up my iPad2 as a refurb after the iPad3 came out for only $319 and am very pleased
 

ZBoater

macrumors G3
Jul 2, 2007
8,307
1,018
Sunny Florida
Don't forget the mini is HALF the weight. That alone is the reason I'm selling my iPad 3 for a mini. I absolutely love my iPad 3, but the mini will be able to run everything the 3 can (even Infinity Blade) without weighing a pound and a half. Holding it in bed at night for extended periods it gets heavy. This makes the mini a Nexus killer IMO.
 

Scott2345

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2012
202
0
Refurbs are the way to go for values. IPad3 will be a great again. I priced up my iPad2 as a refurb after the iPad3 came out for only $319 and am very pleased
Very true, can't see paying 329+tax for a mini when I can get a iPad 3 refurb for 379.
 

ZBoater

macrumors G3
Jul 2, 2007
8,307
1,018
Sunny Florida
Comparing the iPad 3/4 with the mini is pointless. Two different devices for two different markets. If I value size and weight over computing power and screen resolution, the price difference is moot. Retina is nice, but if all the apps that run on the 3/4 run on the mini, what's the point? Because they look sharper? Difference ain't THAT big. Sure, it looks nice, but for some being able to hold it over their heads with one hand for an hour is more important. Being able to carry it in a smaller bag is more important. And if I can run the same apps? Apple wins.
 

Dick Whitman

macrumors 6502
Oct 16, 2012
437
78
Thanks this is pretty helpful. I would never consider the thicker, most expensive iPad retina.

I'm thinking of getting the Mini but I wonder if it will be big enough for typing notes and viewing PDFs for work.

I also have an iPhone 5.
 

ZBoater

macrumors G3
Jul 2, 2007
8,307
1,018
Sunny Florida
Thanks this is pretty helpful. I would never consider the thicker, most expensive iPad retina.

I'm thinking of getting the Mini but I wonder if it will be big enough for typing notes and viewing PDFs for work.

I also have an iPhone 5.
I have the Nexus 7, and find it quite large enough to read PDFs and type notes and browse. The iPad mini screen is larger.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,907
32,241
Boston
I have the Nexus 7, and find it quite large enough to read PDFs and type notes and browse. The iPad mini screen is larger.
That's my main concern as well. I'm using a kindle which has a 6" diagonal display but the e-ink is crisp. I'm a little concerned the 1024x768 on the iPad mini may be too small.

OP - the refurb iPad 3 is a good idea, the iPad mini is a good choice if size and portability is of higher import. That is do you value a smaller 7" tablet over a larger one which has a better screen (retina)?

For me it does, but everyone's needs are different.
 

Scott2345

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2012
202
0
That's my main concern as well. I'm using a kindle which has a 6" diagonal display but the e-ink is crisp. I'm a little concerned the 1024x768 on the iPad mini may be too small.

OP - the refurb iPad 3 is a good idea, the iPad mini is a good choice if size and portability is of higher import. That is do you value a smaller 7" tablet over a larger one which has a better screen (retina)?

For me it does, but everyone's needs are different.
Exactly, if your one that travels allot and has the need to take the iPad out the house then the mini is a good call, but in my case my iPad will just stay home and used for the family. that's why I chose a 16GB iPad 3 refurb over the mini its just 50$ more and it performs much better and has a retina display. I have no need to take it out of my house. cant see myself buying a mini for 329+tax when I can get a 3 for 379, I think its a no brainier.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,907
32,241
Boston
My iPad 1 stays in the house precisely because its so large. I'd rather bring my kindle on the train. What I dislike about the kindle is the lack of lighting which they added in the paperwhite model. The iPad mini does more then the kindle so I'm leaning towards that over a new kindle device.
 

ReallyBigFeet

macrumors 68030
Apr 15, 2010
2,934
100
If your main uses are browsing, reading and watching videos, the Mini may really be the "best iPad yet." Far superior to the iPad 2, and the smaller screen makes things quite sharp when compared to the iPad 2.
 

ThatsMeRight

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 12, 2009
2,257
124
Thanks this is pretty helpful. I would never consider the thicker, most expensive iPad retina.

I'm thinking of getting the Mini but I wonder if it will be big enough for typing notes and viewing PDFs for work.

I also have an iPhone 5.
This might help you: the iPad mini's got 163 ppi, so that means icons and text will be at least as big as they are on an iPhone 5. Since the UI is scalable, and text is too, you might even see bigger slightly bigger text characters.
 

Dick Whitman

macrumors 6502
Oct 16, 2012
437
78
This might help you: the iPad mini's got 163 ppi, so that means icons and text will be at least as big as they are on an iPhone 5. Since the UI is scalable, and text is too, you might even see bigger slightly bigger text characters.
Interesting and yeah at this point I think I've ruled out the larger iPads. iPad 2 is basically the iPad 1 but in a thinner design with a faster processor. The resolution on both the 1 and 2 are pretty horrible. My dad's letting me borrow his iPad 1 for a week to see how I like it and honesty going from an iPhone 5 retina screen to the resolution of an iPad 1 screen is very noticeable.

But I still wouldn't consider the iPad 3 or 4 because of the $500 price tag and the design, which is beginning to feel dated. I don't like how the iPad Retina is heavier and thicker than the 2. Apple will very likely take the beautiful design of the Mini and eventually translate it for the larger iPad. I'd rather wait for that.

Even so, I've found that the size of the iPad isn't ideal for reading in bed or being totally portable. I think the Mini will be great because it's a more practical size in many respects and it's still very affordable. My only complaint would be that there's no retina but since it will have the same resolution as the 1 and 2 only in a smaller form I would think that the screen should look significantly sharper.

But this is also why I want to definitely see one in person before making my final decision.

Like I said I have an iPhone 5 right now so I know I wouldn't use an iPad all that much. What I would use it for however would be for viewing PDFs and PPTs, reading books, surfing the web when on Wifi. Most importantly I wouldn't have to carry around huge work manuals because I would instead have them on my iPad Mini.
 

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