iPad 4 or iPad Mini?

Planning to buy an iPad?

If you are thinking to join the Apple world of tablet computers, you probably have already thought about whether it should be a Mini or a ‘regular’ iPad.

iPad4 and iPad Mini

In this article, I give some potentially helpful information for your choice: I present my personal experience owing both devices.

My Experiences

The iPad is regularly use are a 16GB iPad 4 with WiFi only, and an iPad Mini with16GB + 3G/GPS module. My analysis is therefore based on these devices.

First of all, the iPad Mini is indeed “every inch an iPad“. If you are using the iPad Mini, you won’t notices that anything is missing. All iPad apps run perfectly. Even Siri is available. And, surprisingly, despite the smaller screen, it never feels too small.

Handling is where the iPad Mini shines. Its reduced size and weight will come in handy in many situations:

  • You can hold it in one hand for a long time without getting tired. The iPad 4, in contrast, quickly starts feeling heavy, thanks to the bigger battery required for the retina display.
  • When writing notes, an email, or a message, the size factor clearly favours the iPad Mini. It’s much easier to hold it with two hands and use the two thumbs for writing – they will much easier reach those keys that are in the middle of the screen.
  • Because it’s lighter and smaller, you will more often find you taking it on your trips. Therefore, you can use it in more situations, which will make it more useful – in particular if you invest into a 3G / GPS upgrade.

Graphics is where the iPad 4 shines. It’s retina display provides an amazing viewing experience. The screen is far more crisp. Once your eye got used to the 264 pixels per inch (ppi), other displays start to look disappointing. Also, when running apps for the iPhone in double-size, the iPad 4 displays them much smoother than the iPad Mini.

Regarding processing speed, the iPad 4 features a faster processor. If you put both devices next to each other and start an activity on both devices at the same moment, you will see that the iPad 4 is a tick faster than the iPad Mini. However, during normal use you will never think that the iPad Mini is slow. The iPad 4’s A6X processor with quad-core graphics might come in handy for hardcore games, but I haven’t yet felt a significant performance difference.

The amazing display of the iPad 4 come with a caveat: it requires a lot of energy, which in consequence creates a lot of heat. You will find the iPad 4 becoming hot much more often than the iPad Mini.


The decision strongly depends on what is important for you. I would slightly favour the iPad Mini, since all-in-all it’s more useful due to its form factor. However, if your main use for the iPad will be the couch, the iPad 4’s retina display makes it the better choice.

Of course, these are all my personal experiences and opinions. For your specific case, other factors might be more important. Yet, The conclusion matches with the reviews appeared on About.com, The Telegraph, and ZDNet.

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