Should You Upgrade to the Apple iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display?


Should You Upgrade to the Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display?

Upgrading to the Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display...

Key Features of the iPad Mini with Retina Display
  Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display
Operating system
  • iOS 7
Processor
  • A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor
Memory
  • 1GB
Display
  • 7.9-inch / 2,048 x 1,536 pixels / IPS
Camera
  • Rear: 5-megapixel with autofocus, f/2.4 aperture, backside illumination and five-element lens
  • Front: 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD
Storage
  • 16/32/64/128GB
Connectivity
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi‑Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth v4.0
Dimensions
  • 200 x 134.7 x 7.5 mm
Weight
  • 331g (Wi-Fi) 341g (4G LTE)
Battery
  • 6,471mAh

Obviously the big upgrade for the iPad Mini with Retina Display is its 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution Retina Display. This is the same resolution as the iPad Air, but thanks to the smaller screen size, results in a much higher 326 pixels per inch (ppi), compared to the iPad Air's 264 ppi.

This immediately puts the iPad Mini with Retina Display at the top of the 7-inch tablet display rankings, boasting a slightly better display than both Google's Nexus 7 (2013), and the recently released Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7, both of which utilize 1920 x 1200 pixels resolution displays, resulting in 323 pixels per inch.

Design-wise, not much has changed with the iPad Mini, although, like the iPad Air, it will now be available in Space Gray and Silver. Due to the display, the iPad Mini with Retina Display is about 0.3mm thicker than the first gen iPad Mini, measuring 7.5mm. It's also slightly heavier at 331g for the WiFi model and 341g for the 4G LTE version.

Like the iPad Air, the iPad Mini with Retina Display will be getting the same 64-bit A7 processor as the iPhone 5S.

...From a First Generation iPad Mini

While the first generation iPad Mini is just a year old, the new iPad Mini with Retina Display provides a huge jump in display resolution and clarity. While we haven't gotten our hands on a review unit yet, just take a look at the difference between a 1024 x 768 pixels resolution iPad 2 (which is the same as the first generation iPad Mini) and a third-generation iPad with 2048 x 1536 pixels resolution Retina Display (which is the same as the iPad Mini with Retina Display):

Surprisingly, Apple also put its A7 processor in the iPad Mini with Retina Display, which will not only provide a massive jump in processing power (remember the first generation iPad Mini has the same A5 processor as the iPad 2) but will also give it a degree of future proofing against Apple's gradual shift towards a 64-bit ecosystem. With only a negligible 0.3mm increase in thickness and 29g increase in weight, upgrading to the iPad Mini with Retina Display should be a no brainer.

...From a Non-Apple Tablet

If you have a 7- or 8-inch Android or other type of non-Apple tablet and want to move over to the iPad Mini, as with the iPad Air, now is a great time. The iPad Mini with Retina Display boasts the best display out of any 7 or 8 inch tablet, and is also the only 7-inch tablet with a 64-bit processor. While some manufacturers are starting to catch up to Apple with their smartphone designs, Apple is still the undisputed leader in tablet design and build quality and the iPad Mini with Retina Display looks to continue that.

If you're coming from a Nexus 7 (2013) or Kindle Fire HDX, while there isn't that much difference in terms of screen clarity with the iPad Mini with Retina Display (the difference is just 3 ppi), as we mentioned with the iPad Air, it's worth noting that Apple is the only manufacturer that has apps specifically designed for its tablet devices (there is no difference between Android apps, as they scale to different screen sizes to suit both smartphones and tablets).

Pricing and Availability

If you've made the decision to upgrade, the iPad Air will be available in Singapore sometime in November (unfortunately, no official release date has been set yet).

Apple and it's official retailers will be offering the following recommended retail prices:

  Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display
(Wi-Fi)

Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display
(Wi-Fi + 4G LTE)

16GB $548  $728 
32GB $688  $870 
64GB $828 $1008 
128GB $968 $1148