Best Budget iPad: iPad mini or iPad?


So you have decided to get on board the tablet bandwagon, and want a device that gives you more display space than your trusty phone and is less bulky than your notebook. Well, the tablet is your best option. And in tablets, as we keep saying, there is again really one brand: the iPad. Yes, we do wish Android would come out with better tablets but at the time of writing, the best rival to an iPad is well, another iPad. Of course, if budget is not a constraint, then you can simply go for the iPad that suits you best (check our iPad buying guide at, but if you are – like so many of us – on a tight budget, then your choice will really fall between the iPad (the basic model) and the iPad mini. Which of the two is the better option? Let us find out.

Which looks better?
Do looks matter to you? Then we have to say that the iPad mini wins it. Neither of the two iPads looks revolutionary, and both have glass in front and metal at the back, but the Mini just seems to be sleeker and at 6.1 mm is much slimmer. It also seems to have slightly narrower bezels on the sides, although both have large bezels above and below. We think the mini looks better.

Which is more portable?
Well, the name gives it away, doesn’t it? The iPad comes with a 9.7-inch display as compared to the 7.9 inches one on the iPad mini. The iPad is, therefore, much larger. It is about 240 mm long, 7.5 mm thin and weighs 469 grammes. Compare that with the mini which is 203.2 mm long, 6.1 mm thin and weighs 300.5 grammes. The mini is small enough to slip into an overcoat pocket even.

Who has the display edge?
A tablet is basically a large display. Now both devices have retina displays with 2048 x 1536 resolution, but there are differences. The mini has a True Tone display for better colours and brightness, and also as it is a smaller display, it has greater pixel density, which means sharper images and text. However, the bigger display of the iPad means it is simply better for watching videos and playing games. What’s more, the iPad is big enough for two people to view content on it – the iPad mini is very much a one person device. It really depends on what you need, we think. In sheer quality, the mini seems better, but the size of the iPad can make a difference.

Which has better hardware?
The iPad mini wins this easily. It comes with an A12 Bionic processor, the same seen on the iPhone XS and XS Max, while the iPad comes with the older A10 Fusion. The A10 is a very good chip but is not quite in the league of the A12. The mini also comes with 64 GB and 256 GB storage options, while the iPad has 32 GB and 128 GB options. Both tablets have 8 megapixel rear cameras, but selfie lovers might prefer the 7-megapixel front shooter of the iPad mini as compared to the more basic 1.2 megapixels one on the iPad.

Any software differences?
In a word, none. Both run iOS 12 at the time of writing, and both handle it very well indeed. The mini might do better, considering its better processor, but in terms of pure software, both tablets are even steven. No clear edges here.

Which is better for games and films?
You want to do a lot of reading and Web browsing? We would vote for the iPad mini and its richer display. But when it comes to gaming and watching videos, the bigger display of the iPad wins the day. Both tablets have dual speaker sound, so that round is also relatively even.

Which is better for regular work?
It really depends. If you want to end up using the tablet almost like a notebook, then we think the iPad has a bit of an edge. The bigger display means you also get a bigger onscreen keyboard to type away and also you can see more on preview screens when switching between tasks. The mini is great for using on the move, though, thanks to its smaller form factor.

Which does the Apple Pencil work better with?
A tough call. If you like to sit and write or scribble, the iPad and its bigger display would seem the better option. Want to stand and write or scribble as you walk around, the mini it is.

Which costs lesser?
On the surface, the iPad. It starts at Rs 28,000 while the mini starts at Rs 34,900. However, it needs to be remembered that the basic model of the iPad comes with 32 GB storage while that of the mini has 64 GB. That said, the price differential between the two is enough for someone to buy a basic iPad and an Apple Pencil and still go only slightly above the price of the iPad mini.

Which should I buy?
If performance is really a big deal, the iPad mini’s better processor should make the difference for you. However, if you are looking at just a very good tablet and want to save as many bucks as possible, the iPad is definitely a terrific option. It is not too far behind the mini in most departments, and you can use the money saved to grab an Apple Pencil or a nice Bluetooth keyboard to go with it!



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