IPad iPad mini comparison. Compared: iPad mini 6 versus iPad mini 5

Compared: iPad mini 6 versus iPad mini 5

The revised iPad mini is practically an entirely new device, but along with improvements across the board, it comes with a much higher price.

Comparing the new iPad mini 6 (left) with the iPad mini 5

It used to be that you chose the iPad mini because you wanted the smaller size. And you wanted it enough that at 399, you were willing to pay around 70 more than the cost of the regular iPad.

Now following the unveiling of the iPad mini 6, size is not the only reason to buy. Instead, the little iPad mini that could, has a bigger and better screen than before, plus it boasts a faster processor than the iPad Air 4.

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Add in that it has USB-C and it can have 5G, plus all of cameras are considerably improved, and the new iPad mini 6 is a powerful device. It could be the one device you need, but that power and flexibility comes with a higher price.

The new iPad mini now starts at 499 for the Wi-Fi-only model. If you need of all the new features, it’s certainly worth the 100 increase.- but that doesn’t get you everything.

To also get 5G connectivity, you have to pay from 649. That’s 150 more where with the previous iPad mini 5 model, adding cellular cost a little less at 130 extra.

You can choose whether to have 5G or not, though you have to make that decision at time of purchase. Otherwise, however, you are paying for all the other extra features and improvements, whether you will use them or not.

Apple ceased selling the iPad mini 5 when the new version was announced, but there are still stocks in other resellers such as Amazon. If it’s really the size of the iPad mini that attracts you, check out the exact differences between the models to see which is the better buy for your needs.

iPad mini 6 versus iPad mini 5. Specifications

USB-C means iPad mini can now connect to more devices and transfer data faster

iPad mini 6 versus iPad mini 5. Physical Specifications

If you do want a small iPad, then the iPad mini 6 is smaller than its predecessor.- mostly. And only by a little.

The latest version is actually 0.01 inches thicker than before, but it weighs 0.01 pounds less. And while its 5.2-inch width remains the same, the height is now 7.69 inches instead of 8 inches.

Even with that height change, you’d really need to see the two versions side by side to notice. And then what you’d see first is just how different the screen is.

By removing the Home button and slimmer bezels, Apple has been able to increase the diagonal screen size from 7.9 inches to 8.3. It’s not even a full half inch more, but it is noticeable, and a distinct improvement.

iPad mini 6 versus iPad mini 5. Displays

It helps that the screen is now a Liquid Retina one. While improved from the regular Retina display of the previous model, it’s still using LCD instead of OLED.

But it means the iPad mini 6 is using the same technology as the iPad Arr, and the iPad Pro. And it’s got a higher resolution than either of those, at 326ppi.

iPad mini 6 versus iPad mini 5. Cameras

It’s still not as handy, or perhaps socially acceptable, to take photos and video on an iPad mini instead of an iPhone. However, it’s a lot easier on an iPad mini 6 than a 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Which means that the camera improvements across the board with the iPad mini 6 are very welcome. That’s whether you do shoot video, or take photos with it, or it’s what you use for video meetings.

The main rear camera is now a 12MP Ultra Wide one, where previously it was 8MP Wide. It’s now able to record video in 4K instead of 1080p HD, and do so at different frame rates.

At the same time, the front camera used to be 720p. Now it’s also a 12MP Ultra Wide one, plus it’s able to shoot 1080p video.

The new iPad mini 6 has a much improved rear camera

iPad mini 6 versus iPad mini 5. General connectivity

Depending on the work you do, one improvement that may be significant, is that the iPad mini 6 uses USB-C. That means it can connect directly to more devices, such as cameras.

And it also means that data can move to and from the iPad mini much faster, assuming you’ve got a properly provisioned network.

There are speed improvements, too, with wireless connectivity. The iPad mini 6 has Wi-Fi 6, for instance, where the previous model supports the slower Wi-Fi 802.11ac.- also called Wi-Fi 5.

iPad mini 6 versus iPad mini 5. Should you upgrade?

The improvements from the original iPad mini to the second generation model were minute compared to the differences between the iPad mini 5 and iPad mini 6. That said, the new features would make the iPad mini 6 worth upgrading to from the previous model.- assuming you’ll use those features.

You will unquestionably benefit from the better and bigger display, for instance, no matter what you use the iPad mini for. But you may not care about faster USB-C data transfers.

The increased price is also presently exacerbated if you’re a new user considering whether to get the older iPad mini 5. For now, that will remain available via third-party resellers who will typically price lower than Apple.

If you are an existing iPad mini 5 user who chiefly likes this model for the convenience of its smaller size, stick with your old device.

But if you do upgrade to the iPad mini 6, you are going to have an incredibly capable device.- in a tiny package.

iPad mini 6 extended-use review – There’s no substitute for portability [Video]

I’ve been using Apple’s dramatically redesigned iPad mini for about two months now, and my biggest takeaway is that it’s a great device for reading and note taking. But as you’ll see in my iPad mini 6 extended-use review, it’s not without compromise.

Although the 2021 iPad mini isn’t without its flaws, its strengths – namely, portability and pound-for-pound capability – have made it an integral part of my workflow. Should you consider making it a part of your technology stack? Is it worth the 100 price increase over the outgoing model? Watch my hands-on video as I discuss the merits of Apple’s pint-sized tablet after some extended usage.

The obvious things

The 6th-generation iPad mini is extremely small, but that is immediately obvious. The tablet is shorter than the 5th generation iPad mini, fitting into a more compact form factor, yet it features a larger screen (8.3 inches) with more resolution than its predecessor (7.9 inches).

This screen size increase inside a smaller form factor isn’t a new phenomenon for modern Apple devices, and it’s one that we’ve seen before in redesigns of the iPhone and the larger iPad tablets. The so-called edge-to-edge display makes it possible to cram a larger screen area inside a smaller surface area, which contributes to the device’s increased portability. That said, the iPad mini is slightly thicker than the outgoing model, and eschews the tapered edges that previously helped mask thickness in favor of flat edges.

Apple offers the iPad mini 6 in four hues, including the standout starlight color, which is like a subtle mix of gold and silver. Additional hues include pink, purple, and, of course, the dusty and worn-out space gray.

Video: iPad mini 6 extended-use review

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And after using the 2021 iPad Pro and now the iPhone 13 Pro Max on a regular basis, one of the things about the iPad mini that stands out like a sore thumb is the lack of ProMotion. ProMotion is Apple’s marketing name for its variable refresh rate technology, which can ramp up or scale back the display’s refresh rate according to what’s happening on screen.

One of the key benefits of ProMotion, besides less impact on battery life when the refresh rate throttles down, is the super-smooth experience when scrolling through text-heavy websites and documents. On the iPad mini’s display, the lack of ProMotion makes text appear blurry when scrolling, not to mention the so-called jelly scroll effect that’s common on LCD displays.

Of everything that the iPad mini may lack when compared to its bigger brothers, ProMotion is the feature that I miss the most by far. Even after extended usage with the iPad mini, the lack of ProMotion was still readily apparent when scrolling through text.

A solid electronic reader

At just 0.65 pounds (Wi-Fi model), the featherweight iPad mini, at 7.69 inches tall, 5.3 inches wide, and 0.25 inches thick, is a portable powerhouse. Compare that to the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s 0.52-pound weight, and it’s easy to see why the iPad mini 6th-generation is a beacon for portable productivity.

What I most appreciate about the iPad mini is just how balanced it is. The way the 0.65 pounds is spread throughout the device makes the tablet easy to hold with one hand – even with just a few fingers – which makes it work well for extended reading sessions.

Over the past two months, I’ve been using the iPad mini as my full-time reading device, using it to catch up on my Feedbin feeds, eBooks, website articles, Apple News, etc. One can debate the merits of e-ink technology found in Kindle devices over LCD technology, but this is my preferred reading device due to its wealth of capability combined with a relatively large display in such a compact and light chassis.

Writing, note taking, and artistry

In addition to reading, the iPad mini 6 is also a more capable note-taking device, thanks to the arrival of second-generation Apple Pencil support. To be clear, the previous 5th-generation iPad mini sported Apple Pencil support as well, but only for the older rounded-style first-gen Apple Pencil.

One of the biggest issues with the first Apple Pencil was that it was hard to keep up with unless you owned a case that included a for storage. The second-generation Apple Pencil features enhanced functionality, but most importantly, it magnetically attaches to the long side of the iPad mini for storage, and to facilitate pairing and recharging. Having the Apple Pencil attached to the side of the iPad mini means that it’s always available, which greatly ups the likelihood of it actually being put to use.

Unlike the bigger iPad models, the iPad mini isn’t great for long-form typing, as there’s no first-party attachable keyboard, and the virtual keyboard is way too small for long-form projects. But again, this serves to elevate the value of the Apple Pencil, which can be used for text input using iPadOS features like Scribble.

Throughout the last month, I found myself using the Apple Pencil to write notes, annotate video scripts, and create storyboards for upcoming video ideas in the Notes app. Artists may particularly enjoy having a portable digital canvas using popular apps like Procreate, Linea Sketch, Affinity Designer, and more.

Granted, the iPad mini lacks the screen real estate for someone who may want a tablet primarily for artistry, but its portability makes it a great travel companion for artists who often find themselves inspired while out and about.

USB-C flexibility

One of the biggest new additions to come to the iPad mini is the adoption of USB-C connectivity. Not only is USB-C used for recharging the iPad mini, but it also features faster USB 3.1 (Gen 1) 5Gbps connectivity for speedy offloading of photos and videos. It’s not as capable as the iPad Pro, which features faster Thunderbolt connectivity and works with a wider away of products, but even plain old USB 3.1 opens up a litany of peripheral options at more usable speeds.

With a single USB-C cable you can easily connect external drives, microphones, audio interfaces, and more. Having this sort of flexibility present in the I/O removes workflow roadblocks associated with iPads sporting Apple’s slow and outdated Lightning connector. Especially for photographers and videographers, who regularly offload photos and videos, the presence of the ubiquitous USB-C connector makes a huge difference in productivity.

iPadOS 15 should also not be overlooked in this area, because it features an upgrade to the file transfer interface, with Finder-like time remaining statistics that are clearly inspired by the Mac. Having better insight into in-progress file transfers is priceless when transferring large files to and from the iPad mini.

Camera and video

The 12MP ƒ/1.8 camera on the iPad mini 6 presents a significant improvement over the 8MP ƒ/2.4 camera in the iPad mini 5. Not only does the camera feature a 50% boost in resolution, but it also gathers more light, resulting in cleaner photos and videos with less noise. The small size of the iPad mini makes it easier to shoot with than larger iPads. I don’t regularly take photos or videos on my iPads, but in a pinch, and more importantly, with the right lighting conditions, it’s quite doable.

Like its direct predecessor, the iPad mini 6 Liquid Retina display maxes out at 500 nits of brightness, meaning that it doesn’t support HDR video playback. This won’t be a big deal for most people, but for me, someone steeped in HDR workflows, it’s one of the first things I noticed about the iPad mini’s display, and it’s still something I miss after extended usage.

The lack of brightness capability also means that HDR videos shot on an iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 cannot play back in full HDR luminance when viewed on the iPad mini 6. Again, this probably isn’t a huge deal for the majority of people, but it will be quickly noticed by people who care for such things.

Regarding the camera, one of the most impressive technologies is support for Center Stage with the front-facing camera. Center Stage, which is specifically designed for video calls like FaceTime and even third-party apps like Zoom, automatically pans the camera to keep you centered in the frame. As you move about the frame, the camera moves with you, and as multiple people appear inside the frame, the camera will zoom out to ensure that each subject is well represented.

ipad, mini, compared, versus

Obviously, there is no moving camera with variable focal length inside of the iPad mini, so Apple makes the Center Stage effect happen via a wider camera, clever software tricks, and machine learning powered by the A15 Bionic’s faster Neural Engine. It starts with the new ultra-wide 12MP camera with 122-degree field of view, compared with the wide-angle 7MP camera found in previous iPad mini models.

Thanks to the huge increase in the field of view and greater resolution, Center Stage can capture a larger scene area and use machine learning to digitally pan around the frame without a drastic loss in resolution. Although I was sure this feature would be a gimmick when I first tried it on the iPad Pro, I ended up loving it. It lends a dynamic look and feel to video calls that make them feel less static and robotic, and I especially appreciate this during the video call renaissance that the world has gone through recently.

Everything else

In the past, I’ve usually started my iPad reviews by raving about the performance and talking about the latest system on a chip. However, after using the iPad mini for well over a month, specs tend to take a back burner, and overall usability comes to the forefront.

The iPad mini 6 is a major step forward in performance over the 5th-generation model. And, as mentioned, the iPad mini is indeed slightly faster than its larger brethren, the iPad Air.

With the A15 Bionic’s slightly increased GPU performance over the A14 in the iPad Air, most Apple Arcade games run great, but almost no one should buy the iPad mini solely as a gaming machine. Considering that the entry-level iPad mini with 64GB of storage costs as much as modern-day flagship consoles, it’s not a good buy for that purpose. However, if gaming is a secondary use case, the iPad mini makes for a solid portable gaming machine, especially for those who subscribe to Apple Arcade.

For watching videos and even editing videos via apps like iMovie and LumaFusion, the iPad mini 6, with its 8.3-inch display, provides a better experience than an iPhone 13 Pro Max, for instance. But the iPad mini is only available in either 64GB or 256GB configurations, which can quickly fill up when working with high-fidelity ProRes video. Couple that with the 500 nits max brightness, and it’s clear that Apple thinks serious video editors should opt for its pro-designated tablets instead.

A few other things: There are stereo speakers, which are available when the device is oriented into landscape mode. The speakers are nowhere near iPad Pro level, but they are good enough for such a pint-sized device. You do, however, lose access to the 3.5mm headphone jack found on the previous iPad mini. While this omission won’t affect most users, if you have a tried-and-true workflow that depends on the headphone jack, it’s something to take into consideration before purchasing.

5G connectivity is also an option, although I purchased the Wi-Fi-only model. Apple charges a hefty 150 premium for 5G capability, which I couldn’t justify based on how I’ve been using my iPad mini. With that being said, there’s a certain sense of freedom that you get from a cellular-enabled iPad, not to mention a faster 5G cellular-enabled iPad. If you plan on using your mini on a regular basis while traveling, opting for the cellular model makes perfect sense.


The iPad mini 6 is hands-down the best portable tablet on the market today. It’s a portable device that can pretty much do everything well, but it isn’t necessarily amazing in any one area. For example, it’s a wonderful reading device because of its large screen and lightweight, balanced design, but it suffers due to the lack of ProMotion. And the screen is larger than the iPad mini 5, but there’s no jump in screen fidelity, color, or brightness.

It’s also a powerful mobile video solution, but it lacks the higher-end storage tiers, more capable Thunderbolt connectivity, and HDR playback.

One thing I failed to mention was battery life, which Apple touts as being all-day capable. I don’t use my iPad mini in that way for hours on end, but a single charge has regularly lasted me for several days of intense reading and note-taking. I was more than satisfied with the battery life, and I think if you’re reasonable in your expectations, you will be as well.

The one area where the iPad mini particularly excels is in its note-taking capability, largely thanks to the support for the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil, which attaches magnetically to the side of the tablet. But with that said, it lacks the screen real estate that some artists and note-takers might desire.

All in all, the iPad mini is an amazing device for portability, and it’s really the only option for those looking for a portable tablet with class-leading software support, that can do pretty much everything that its more powerful brothers and cousins can do. However, with that portability comes compromises in various areas. Personally speaking, I’m more than willing to live with those compromises, because there’s nothing that comes close to the iPad mini in a comparable form factor.

Because of the iPad mini’s portability, I found that I was more willing to take it with me while traveling, because why not? It can easily fit inside my glove box or center console when not in use. I can even fit it easily inside of an oversized coat Because of its size and weight distribution, I also find that I prefer to use it over the iPad Pro when reading in bed.

Even if you already own the 5th-generation iPad mini, I think it’s a worthwhile upgrade. You get a much faster tablet, support for a much better pencil, a larger display, and 5G connectivity as an option. That makes the iPad mini 6 a pretty good upgrade over the older mini models.

What are your long term thoughts on iPad mini 6? Sound off down below in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев with your thoughts.

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iPad vs iPad Air vs iPad mini vs iPad Pro: Which should you buy?

When Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPad, you only had one 9.7-inch model to choose from. Over the years, though, Apple expanded the lineup to include the ultra-portable 7.9-inch iPad mini and the ultra-productive 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Now, the 9.7 is finally, truly gone, and in its place, we have five different sizes stretched across five different price points — Entry-level 10.2-inch iPad 8, mid-range 7.9-inch iPad mini 5, 10.9-inch iPad Air 4, and high-end 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros. And, of course, all the color, storage, and cellular options for each.

And… it can seem like a lot. I get it. I totally get it. But it doesn’t have to be. Keep reading, and we’ll quickly, simply hone things down to the best iPad for you.

Go Deeper

I’m only skimming the details here. For far deeper dives, check out my specific reviews for all of these iPads.

ipad, mini, compared, versus

The iPad Flow

OK, so, picking your next iPad. Apple used to do grids, but I prefer flows. You start at the beginning, and you stop where it makes sense.

  • If you just want an iPad, you can take pretty much anywhere and do pretty much anything with, then you have the new normal, the new baseline, the new 10.9-inch iPad Air 4, starting at 599.
  • If you absolutely have to have an iPad but you just can’t or won’t pay that much for it, then you have the 10.2-inch iPad (2020) — no adjective added, starting at 329
  • If maximum portability is most important to you, and you’re not only willing but eager to give up some screen size to get it, then there’s the 7.9-inch brand new iPad mini 5, starting at 399.
  • If you want more power and performance but still a good amount of portability, and premium is no problem, then there’s the newly redesigned 11-inch iPad Pro (2020), starting at 799.
  • And if you demand not only power and performance but the biggest screen you can get, you can go all the way up to the newly redesigned 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2020), starting at 999.

That’s still five stops on the flow, with room to fuss with the options in between them, so if you still need help making up your mind, let’s dive a little deeper.

iPad Air 4: So close to pro

If you need an iPad and that’s all you really know or care about, if you’re just starting out with tablets or looking to upgrade after a few or many years, if you just want to be able to do everything that an iPad can do, from reading to watching to communicating to working to playing, get the new iPad Air.

If you’ve got a previous iPad Air, or you’ve just been paying attention to the lineup, the first thing you’ll notice is the design. The iPad Air has taken on the flat sides of the current iPad Pro and the near-edge-to-edge display surrounded by even bezels. The Home button is gone, but Touch ID remains, housed now in the sleep/wake button near one of the corners of the device. It also comes equipped with USB-C, replacing the Lightning connector as the single physical port on the tablet.

It’s got a 10.9-inch, wide gamut, Retina display, with TrueTone ambient color temperature matching, which is slightly bigger than the original iPad. It also comes with Apple’s brand new A14 Bionic chipset, two stereo speakers, a 7-megapixel, 1080p front-facing camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 12 megapixel, wide color f/1.8 rear camera that’s capable of recording 4K video at 24fps, 30fps, and 60fps.

You can get it in Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue. You can choose either 64GB or 264GB of storage, and with just Wi-Fi or with Wi-Fi and cellular, so you can connect or share that connection from anywhere.

It’s also compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil, Logitech Crayon, Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, and Magic Keyboard for iPad for drawing and typing. They do increase the up-front cost but also the functionality.

In other words, the iPad Air can do everything a modern iPad needs to do, starting at 599.

The iPad Air 4 (2020) brings an almost full-on, pro-level feature set (and design) with it for a lower price. That makes the new everyday iPad perfect for just about everyone.

iPad (2020): The budget option

If you need a first or new iPad and price is the essential feature to you, if you’re a student or a teacher or just want an iPad to work and play with part-time, something that does all the iPad stuff but just doesn’t cost as much, get the iPad (2020).

The design remains the same from the previous model: the screen is smaller, standard rather than wide color, with no TrueTone, so it can look slightly blueish or yellowish-white depending on the lighting, and non-laminated, but it’s every bit as high resolution. And even though it’s physically smaller, it’s ever so slightly heavier than Air. It also has an older A12 Bionic processor, a Lightning connector, Touch ID, two stereo speakers, a 1.2 megapixel, 720p front-facing camera, and an 8 megapixel, standard color, f/2.4, also 1080p rear camera.

You can get it in silver, space gray, or gold, with 32 or 128GB of storage, and with just Wi-Fi or with Wi-Fi and cellular. It’s compatible with the 1st generation Apple Pencil, Logitech Crayon, and the Apple Smart Keyboard, as well.

Savings. Sure, you get less, but if you don’t need more, you’re also going to pay a lot less — starting at just 329.

The new entry-level iPad has everything last year’s had, plus a bigger 10.2-inch display, and optional gigabit LTE and Smart Keyboard support.

iPad mini 5: The ultralight

If you love everything about the iPad Air but just want something smaller, something you can tuck away into a jacket or, sure, even the back of your non-skinny non-hipster jeans, that you can easily take everywhere and do… well… most things with, then check out the new iPad mini 5.

The iPad mini 5 has almost all the same stats as the iPad Air 3 — wide gamut, Retina display, Apple’s A12 Bionic chipset, 3GB of memory, a Lightning connector, Touch ID two stereo speakers, a 7 megapixel, 1080p front-facing camera, and an 8 megapixel, wide color f/2.4, also 1080p rear camera.

And yeah, you can also get it in silver, space gray, or gold, with 64 or 264GB of storage, and with just Wi-Fi or with Wi-Fi and cellular, so you can connect or share that connection from anywhere. And it’s compatible with the 1st generation Apple Pencil and Logitech Crayon, so you can do all your drawing, markup, note-taking, and precision editing.

The iPad mini 5 doesn’t have a Smart Connector like the Air, so you can’t get a tiny Smart Keyboard to go with it, though it’ll still work with any standard Bluetooth keyboard.

It packs all of that previous Air tech and performance in device with a 7.9-inch display that only about 2/3rds as much as the Air. That means it’s got almost everything that’s great about the new iPad Air, just in new iPad mini shrunken size — starting at 399.

Judge it not by its size, for A12 is its ally.

If you don’t just want less expensive, but you also want smaller, the iPad mini 5 (2019) delivers almost the full iPad Air 3 experience at a fraction of the size, weight, and price.

iPad Pro (2020): The Powerhouse

If you need a new iPad and you want it for real work (TM) (C) (R), if you’re a pro photographer, videographer, audio producer or engineer, designer or musician, if time is money and power is worth a premium, then you want the iPad Pro.

The iPad Pro (2020) has the same design as that old iPad Pro: bezel-free with Face ID. So there’s no Touch ID sensor like the other models, but authentication for most things on the iPad Pro doesn’t require additional action.

You also lose Lightning, Apple’s — can I call it venerable yet? — iOS connector in favor of the more Mac-like, and increasingly standard USB-C connector.

And… there’s no gold finish option because pros are way too serious for that.

You still have a ProMotion display that can dynamically ramp down to save power and up to 120Hz for silky smooth scrolling. Apple’s A12Z Bionic system-on-a-chip isn’t a significant upgrade from the A12X, featuring one additional graphics processing core, but there’s a new thermal system, allowing the chip to sustain higher performance for longer. Given the performance of the A12X, this can only mean good things. All models of the iPad Pro (2020), 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB, now have 6GB of RAM, which was restricted to the 1TB model of the 2018 iPad Pro. It’s a bit more performance headroom for everyone.

You’ve also got four speakers, a hallmark of the Pro line, and now two cameras, a 12-megapixel wide-angle unit at f/1.8, and a 10-megapixel ultra-wide camera at f/2.4. These cameras can record video at 4K at 60 frames-per-second. And of course, there’s the TrueDepth camera on the front that makes up the Face ID apparatus.

You’ve also got LiDAR, Light Detection and Ranging, in the camera module. This is a new sensor that can scan the environment around it (up to five meters away) to aid in augmented reality applications. It allows for better placement of AR objects and features like object occlusion, which allow virtual items to behave realistically and remain in place when behind real-world items.

You can get Wi-Fi or cellular, and the new iPad Pro also supports Apple’s new, second-generation Pencil, which connects magnetically to the side of the iPad Pro and charges inductively, has a new soft-touch finish, and you can tap it to change tools or do other, simple toggles.

It also has a new, simpler Smart Keyboard, which also protects the back of the pad.

And it again comes in both 11-inches, which is similar in overall size to the 10.9-inch Air, and 12.9-inches, which is the biggest iPad canvas you can currently get, but, thanks to the new design, doesn’t feel that way anymore.

It’s literally maximum iPad starting at 799 for 11-inches and 999 for 12.9-inches.

iPad vs. iPad Air vs. iPad Pro vs. iPad mini: iPad Buying Guide

With four different iPads covering a variety of sizes and ranging from 329 to over 2,000, there are plenty of excellent Apple tablets to choose from. That’s a good thing, but how do you decide which iPad is the right fit for you?

Do you just want to watch videos and use a few apps or are you looking for something that can be a laptop replacement or a creative tool? Use our handy iPad buying guide to get the right Apple slate for your needs and budget.

The iPad Air 5 is still arguably the best iPad for most users, bringing the M1 processor and optional 5G in a more affordable package than the iPad Pros. However, the newly announced iPad Pro 2022 or iPad 2022 could tip the scales away from the iPad Air 5, but we’ll have to see once we get them in for review. At first blush, the new iPad Pros don’t seem like a significant upgrade over the previous models for most users, but the new iPad 2022 may be a spoiler for the Air as it bridges the gap between the base iPad 2021 and the iPad Air 5.

If you’re in the market for a new iPad right then you should take a look at the best iPad deals as there are often excellent discounts on the previous models in the wake of a new iPad launch.

iPad Pro vs. iPad Air vs. iPad mini vs. iPad: Compared

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The iPad lineup is made up of four families: the iPad Pro, the iPad mini, the iPad Air and the iPad. But as you drill down to the individual models, you’ll find plenty of variety in specs, features, and prices. Here’s a quick breakdown.

Common Features

All iPads provide access to more than 1 million apps optimized for the big screen, which is far more than what Android or Windows devices offer. You can also expect a high-quality aluminum unibody design and a bright and crisp display.

The tablets all come with iPadOS. As with the iPhone the software support from Apple is second to none and you can expect at least 5-6 years of software updates regardless of which model you select.

Also note that all iPad models can be ordered with 4G LTE or 5G capability, which allows you to get online when you’re out of Wi-Fi range. If you’re an iPhone user you may want to forgo the added cost for the cellular iPad and the associated plan as the personal hotspot feature works fairly seamlessly, but it’s a nice option to have.

Reasons to avoid

Simply called the iPad, this 10.2-inch slate is the most affordable Apple tablet, with a starting price of just 329. Despite its lower price, the iPad has plenty of premium specs, including a 2160 x 1620-pixel Retina display, a speedy A13 Bionic processor, Apple Pencil support and dual 8-MP / 12-MP cameras. It comes in 64GB or 128GB capacity.

This model is actually staying around following the release of the iPad (2022) as the new iPad is making the jump to a 449 starting price. Now it earns it with a bump to a 10.9-inch display, an A14 Bionic processor, improved cameras, a USB-C port, and a more modern design that eliminates the home button, but the iPad (2021) is going to remain a strong affordable option.

Best For: Because of its relatively low price and generous screen size, the iPad is a great choice for media consumption, gaming, social media and some light productivity. Although the iPad mini 4 is a better size for small hands, many parents will prefer the iPad’s lower price when choosing a slate for their kids. College students on a budget will also find this model appealing.

Reasons to avoid

The more portable, purse-friendly tablet in the iPad family, the iPad mini is a great handheld device. It features an 8.3-inch display and an A15 chip.

Best For: If you like to read on the couch, in bed, or on the go, the iPad mini is a great size for books, especially comic books. Its relatively small screen makes it easy to type quick social media posts or send off emails, during one-handed use or while standing up. The mini is the best size for kids, but parents may prefer to get the less-expensive iPad.

Reasons to avoid

This 599 iPad Air looks to provide the best mix of pro and consumer features at a price that won’t hurt too much. With support for the current Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard, it can be your next 2-in-1, acting as a laptop when you need to be productive.

The biggest differences between it and the entry-level 329 iPad are its larger 10.9-inch screen and blistering fast M1 processor. It also mirrors the iPad Pro with USB-C charging and while it would have been nice to get Face ID, the fingerprint sensor is fast and moving it to the side button gives the Air thinner display bezels and a more modern iPad Pro design.

Best For: Overall, the iPad Air is a great option for most people who aren’t on such a tight budget but don’t need the niche features that make the iPad Pro so expensive. The only reason to consider the upgrade to a Pro now that the Air also features the M1 processor, are the superior cameras, Face ID, and the larger 120Hz displays.

Reasons to avoid

This is what happens when you take the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, increase its screen, shrink its bezels and swap its home button out for Face ID. Oh, and then there’s the Ferrari engine under the hood: Apple’s unbelievable M1 processor still flies in the 2021 iPad Pros.

The iPad Pro 2021 is for the same crowd as the previous models: those without a budget who want the absolute best tablet on the market, as well as professionals and enthusiasts using intensive apps for content creation or editing. Unless Apple changes direction and turns the iPad Pro into a true laptop replacement, the market for this tablet will remain limited.

The iPad Pro (2022) adds a faster M2 processor and Wi-Fi 6E support in both models, but those are the only significant upgrades, so if you can find a good deal on an iPad Pro 2021 then you shouldn’t be worried that you are missing out on much. Most users will never touch the upward limit of even the M1-powered iPad Pros performance.

Best For: Creative pros who love their styluses, want a smaller device and push their iPad to the limits. Also, pros on a budget will go for this model, as it’s just as fast and capable, but starts at 200 less and its 179 Smart Keyboard Folio is 20 less than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s keyboard cover.

We compared all 5 current iPad models on price, features, storage space and more. Here’s a full guide to help you decide which one to buy.

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  • There are currently five different versions of the iPad available: The classic iPad, the iPad mini, the iPad Air, and two iPad Pro models.
  • Although the five iPads can run nearly all the same apps, they come in different sizes, at different prices, and with different accessories.
  • Here’s an in-depth guide comparing all five versions of the iPad, looking at price, screen sizes, features, and more.

It’s been more than a decade since Apple unveiled the very first iPad. Since then, the tablet has come a long way — and split off into five separate versions.

Right now, Apple sells five versions of the iPad in a new condition: The classic iPad, the compact iPad mini, the thin iPad Air, the high-end iPad Pro 11-inch, and the premium iPad Pro 12.9-inch. They all run the same operating system (iPadOS), but each have their own quirks and features.

If you’re looking to buy a new iPad, it’s easy to lose track of which model is which. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on all five iPad versions, so you can decide which one is right for you.

iPads compared: Specs at a glance

Screen size

1.05 pounds (lbs) for Wi-Fi model, 1.06 lbs for Wi-Fi Cellular

Space Gray, Starlight white, Pink, Purple

Space Gray, Starlight white, Pink, Purple, Blue

Internal chip

12 megapixel (MP) rear Wide camera, 12MP front Landscape Ultra Wide camera

12MP rear Wide camera, 12MP front Ultra Wide camera

12MP rear Wide camera, 12MP front Ultra Wide camera

12MP rear Wide camera and 10MP rear Ultra Wide camera, 12MP front Ultra Wide camera

ipad, mini, compared, versus

12MP rear Wide camera and 10MP rear Ultra Wide camera, 12MP front Ultra Wide camera

Camera features

4K/60 FPS video recording, automatic video stabilization

4K/60 FPS video recording, automatic video stabilization

4K/60 FPS video recording, automatic video stabilization

4K/60 FPS video recording, automatic video stabilization, 2x optical zoom, Portrait mode, ProRes video recording

4K/60 FPS video recording, automatic video stabilization, 2x optical zoom, Portrait mode, ProRes video recording

Battery life

Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi or watching video

Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi or watching video

Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi or watching video

Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi or watching video

Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi or watching video

Apple Pencil version

Apple Pencil (1st generation)

Apple Pencil (2nd generation)

Apple Pencil (2nd generation)

Apple Pencil (2nd generation)

Apple Pencil (2nd generation)

Other notable features

Touch ID, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G support

Touch ID, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G support

Touch ID, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G support

Face ID, Wi-Fi 6E and 5G support, Apple Pencil Hover, four speaker audio, USB-C Thunderbolt support

Face ID, Wi-Fi 6E and 5G support, Apple Pencil Hover, four speaker audio, USB-C Thunderbolt support

Storage options

128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1 terabyte (TB), 2TB

128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB

449, 599 for Wi-Fi model; 599, 749 for Wi-Fi Cellular

499, 649 for Wi-Fi model; 649, 799 for Wi-Fi Cellular

599, 749 for Wi-Fi model; 749, 899 for Wi-Fi Cellular

799, 899, 1099, 1499, 1899 for Wi-Fi model; 999, 1099, 1299, 1699, 2099 for Wi-Fi Cellular

1099, 1199, 1399, 1799, 2199 for Wi-Fi model; 1299, 1399, 1599, 1999, 2399 for Wi-Fi Cellular

iPads compared: Sizes and screens

The biggest differences between the five iPad versions is their size.

Like the name implies, the iPad mini (6th generation) is the smallest of the bunch. It’s got an 8.3-inch screen with a 2266×1488 px resolution, and its body is about 7.7 inches tall, 5.3 inches wide, 0.25 inches thick. The Wi-Fi model weighs 0.65 pounds, and the Wi-Fi Cellular model weighs 0.66 pounds.

The next biggest is the iPad Air (5th generation). It has a 10.9-inch screen, and a resolution of 2360×1640 px. It’s 9.74 inches tall, 7.02 inches wide, and 0.24 inches thick, and it weighs 1.02 pounds or 1.03 pounds.

Next in line is the newest iPad (10th generation), which is just slightly larger than the Air. It’s also got a 10.9-inch screen with a resolution of 2360×1640 px, but it’s 9.79 inches tall, 7.07 inches wide, 0.28 inches thick, and weighs 1.05 pounds or 1.06 pounds.

Finally, we have the iPad Pro, which actually comes in two different sizes.

The first is the iPad Pro 11-inch (4th generation). It has an 11-inch screen with a resolution of 2388×1668 px. It’s 9.74 inches tall, 7.02 inches wide, 0.23 inches thick, and weighs 1.03 pounds or 1.04 pounds.

The second is the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th generation). It has a 12.9-inch screen with a resolution of 2732×2048 px. It’s 9.74 inches tall, 7.02 inches wide, 0.23 inches thick, and weighs 1.03 pounds or 1.04 pounds.

Every iPad version also comes in a different selection of colors:

ipad, mini, compared, versus
  • iPad (10th generation): Silver, Pink, Blue, Yellow
  • iPad mini (6th generation): Space Gray, Starlight white, Pink, Purple
  • iPad Air (5th generation): Space Gray, Starlight white, Pink, Purple, Blue
  • iPad Pro (both sizes): Space Gray, Silver

iPads compared: Internal hardware

Every iPad version runs using a system-on-a-chip (SoC), essentially meaning that all of the iPad’s core functions — displaying images, playing sounds, launching apps, you name it — are handled by a single chip at the center of the device.

But although they all use a SoC, each iPad uses a different chip to do this.

Despite being one of three new releases, the iPad (10th generation) actually uses the weakest chip of the five: The A14 Bionic, originally released in 2020. It’s the same chip used on the iPhone 12, and although it’s not a top-of-the-line chip, it’s pretty powerful for the price.

The next most powerful chip is found in the iPad mini, which uses the upgraded A15 Bionic. It holds a deeper neural AI network than the A14, and independent tests show that it’s about 8% to 10% faster overall.

Next in line is the iPad Air, which uses the Apple M1 chip. Unlike the A14 and A15, the Apple M1 isn’t made for smartphones — it’s specifically designed for iPads and Macs. This means that the Apple M1 is much more powerful than its predecessors. It has an 8-core CPU, can handle better graphics, and has more RAM memory.

But more powerful than all of them is the iPad Pro. Both iPad Pro sizes feature the Apple M2 chip, which is the newest and most advanced chip Apple uses in any of their products. Apple claims that the M2 has an 18% faster CPU and 35% stronger GPU compared to the M1.

iPads compared: Camera

There isn’t much difference between each iPad’s cameras.

All five iPad versions have a 12MP Wide camera on the back, and a 12MP Ultra Wide camera on the front.

Notably though, the standard iPad’s front camera is located in a different spot that makes video calls easier. The iPad Pro models also have an extra 10MP Ultra Wide camera on the back.

In terms of on-device features, every iPad supports video recording at 4K quality, up to 60 frames per second. You can also turn on automatic cinematic video stabilization, great for action shots.

The iPad Pro models feature some extra on-device features too. You can use the iPad Pro cameras to record ProRes videos, which are extremely high quality but don’t take as much storage space. The iPad Pro front camera also has a Portrait mode for better selfies, like you’ll find on iPhones.

Lastly, while every iPad offers 5x digital zoom, the iPad Pro models allow 2x optical zoom as well. This lets you zoom in without losing image quality.

iPads compared: Battery

Despite being different sizes and having different internal chips, Apple claims that every iPad has the same amount of battery life.

According to Apple, each iPad will last for up to 10 hours if you’re using Wi-Fi, and up to 9 hours if you’re using cellular data.

They all charge using USB-C.

iPads compared: Other notable features

As mentioned, every iPad uses USB-C. But the iPad Pro models have an upgraded USB-C port that also supports Thunderbolt connections. This means that you can connect your iPad Pro to an external display, and transfer data and power faster.

The iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Air use Touch ID to let you unlock the device, while the iPad Pro uses Face ID instead.

Every iPad model supports Wi-Fi 6, the latest Wi-Fi standard — the iPad Pro models even support Wi-Fi 6E, which is even faster. And if you’re using a Wi-Fi Cellular model, they support 5G too.

Every iPad supports the Apple Pencil, but only the iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pros let you use the newer Apple Pencil (2nd generation). The standard iPad still uses the original Apple Pencil (1st generation) — and if you bought your original Apple Pencil before October 2022, you’ll also need an extra adapter to use it with that iPad.

Speaking of the Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro models also include a feature called Apple Pencil Hover. This lets your iPad display a small dot on the screen when your Apple Pencil’s tip is near, showing you exactly where on the screen you’re about to tap before you tap it.

iPads compared: Price

Like all Apple products, the amount you’ll pay for an iPad depends not only on what model you’re buying, but also how much internal storage space you want.

You can buy the iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Air with 64GB or 256GB of storage. The iPad Pro models, meanwhile, can come with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1 terabyte (TB), or 2TB.

But things get even more complicated when you factor in that every iPad comes in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Cellular versions.

Here’s a breakdown of how much every iPad costs with every amount of storage, separated into both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Cellular charts.


iPad (10th generation)

iPad mini (6th generation)

iPad Air (5th generation)

iPad Pro 11-inch (4th generation)

iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th generation)

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