The iPad Air releases on November 1st and the iPad Mini Retina (or iPad mini 2, if you prefer the nomenclature) sometime later. The iPad Air comes at $499 while the retina iPad mini is priced $399 (which is a full $70 more than what the iPad mini cost during the time of its launch).
For those who are very specific about their needs and what they want from the tablet they're going to buy, there is no doubt. But for the rest who aren't sure which iPad to turn to, the iPad Air vs. Retina iPad mini debate continues to rage.
The iPad Air is pretty much the same iPad that Apple has been improvising over the years with the only difference being in the weight (or more precisely, the lack of it) and the processors. Of course there are several other changes but the ones that hit hard matter most.
The retina iPad mini is no different from the iPad mini original either. Again, the resolution and the processors make all the difference.
Consumption Vs. Creation.
The iPad – both the iPad and the mini – are usually taken to be devices of consumption: you read books, you read articles on websites, you read email, you watch videos and movies and you listen to songs/podcasts etc. You see pictures. And you do FaceTime/Skype or communicate. All of this is consumption. You don't create stuff – or at least, not as much as you do on a computer/PC.
But within an iPad Air vs. iPad mini 2 comparison, I think the iPad Air holds much more room for creation/work. If you use your iPad for business, for mission-sensitive apps and for much more than watching cat videos, the larger one is probably the one that will come in handy.
The iPad mini 2 is capable of doing all that but the 7.9″ screen does come in the way when you feel like you could do with a little more room. But if the most important thing you do on your iPad is FaceTime, watching videos and reading emails, the iPad mini 2 should fit your bill perfectly.
Spec-wise, both the gadgets have a lot in common. A7, 10-hour battery, iOS 7, app-compatibility, etc.,
If $100 makes a huge difference in your monthly expense sheet, you're going to have no qualms about getting the smaller iPad. As the saying goes, don't overshoot your budget.
The iPad mini 2 costs $399 – a full $100 less than the iPad Air. The addition of retina display has raised the bar for iPad mini 2. The original iPad mini was priced $329 at the time of its launch. Technically, the criticism for the pricing should be quite amplified now but I haven't seen the narrative yet. Nevertheless, one dollar shy of $400 for a mini-tablet is often disconcerting a thought.
The greatest advantage that the iPad Air offers is the real-estate which opens doors to lots more possibilities. While the iPad mini 2 will not completely turn you away from your laptop, the iPad Air has that strange capability. Most iPad users (and even Android tab users) have reduced the time they spend on their laptops (and even desktops) by 50%. It's a strategic advantage and if an extra $100 doesn't actually come in the way, the iPad Air would be a better choice.
Will Portability Matter Anymore?
No. With the kind of specs you have on iPad Air and the iPad mini which is already thin as a feather, portability and mobility do not matter. Both the gadgets are almost equally easy to carry around, to keep safely tucked inside the confines of almost any bag that you carry and are very swift.
What's Your Take?
So which one are you going to buy?