Apple unveiled its latest iPad Mini 2 and iPad Air tablets in October. The iPad Air originally dominated the headlines, offering business buyers a streamlined new design and host of upgraded internal specifications.
However, with the iPad Mini's UK launch now upon us, business interest has turned to the Air's smaller sibling. To help businesses know which iPad is right for them, we've broken down the two tablets' key specifications.
iPad Mini 2: 200x135x7.5mm, 331g
iPad Air: 240x170x7.5mm, 469g
As you would expect given their names, the iPad Mini is smaller than the Air. The only differentiating factor is that the Air has a more updated design, with Apple having worked hard to make it look every bit as sleek and light as its similarly branded line of laptops. The Mini, by comparison, has a fairly similar design to older iPad models.
iPad Mini 2: 7.9in, 2048x1536, 326ppi Retina display
iPad Air: 9.7in 2048x1536, 263ppi Retina display
Both the iPad Air and iPad Mini come with Apple's Retina display technology. However, thanks to its smaller dimensions the Mini's display has more pixels per inch, which means icons and text should appear slightly crisper on the Mini. Both tablets have in-plane switching (IPS), which is designed to improve clarity and colour balance.
iPad Mini 2: iOS 7
iPad Air: iOS 7
Both the Mini and the Air run using Apple iOS 7. This is no bad thing as the operating system is Apple's most secure to date, with 41 security upgrades and fixes. This, combined with recently made free Apple apps, such as Pages, means both the iPads should be great productivity boosting tools.
Despite its positive points, many users have lodged complaints about iOS 7, arguing its smaller fonts and updated menu systems make it more difficult to use. Some have gone so far as to report suffering motion sickness when using iOS 7 devices. Apple has worked to fix a number of these issues in its recent iOS 7.0.3 update.
iPad Mini 2: A7
iPad Air: A7
Both the iPad Mini and Air run using Apple's brand new A7 chipset. Apple claims the chipset will offer users faster speeds and improved power efficiency. Having tested the chipset during our iPad Air and iPhone 5S reviews, we found there is some truth to Apple's claim. For this reason we're expecting similar top-end performance from the new Mini.
iPad Mini 2: 5MP iSight rear and 1.2MP HD FaceTime front
iPad Air: 5MP iSight rear and 1.2MP HD FaceTime front
The Air and Mini come with identical camera setups, and they should offer reasonable, but not great performance. While usable in regular light, image quality on the Air's camera rapidly deteriorated when shooting in dim conditions.
iPad Mini 2: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
iPad Air: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Both tablets come with the same storage options, though the iPad Mini is the cheaper of the two. The WiFi-only 16GB Mini costs £319, going up to £559 for the 128GB version, and £659 for its WiFi and 4G-enabled equivalent. Air pricing starts at £399 for the basic WiFi-only 16GB model and goes up to a massive £639 for the 128GB and £739 for the WiFi and 4G-enabled 128GB version.
iPad Mini 2: 10 hours
iPad Air: 10 hours
Apple lists both iPads as having 10-hour battery lives. In the past we've found Apple's quoted battery lives are, in general, accurate. This means both the Mini and Air should last longer than the average tablet off one charge.
On paper both the Mini and Air offer top-end performance, featuring identical A7 chipsets and running on Apple's latest iOS 7 software. But despite having a smaller form factor, the Mini does have a slightly crisper display and is up to £80 cheaper. This means the iPad Mini could be a better option for businesses on a budget.
Check back with V3 later for a full review of the Apple iPad Mini.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
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