iPad Mini Comparison: Do You Actually Need The Newest Model?

As major retailers gear up for the rush of holiday shopping, the news has been buzzing with Black Friday sales for the iPad mini 3. However, shoppers can also save by having a thorough understanding of the end user’s tech needs. While you might be hankering for a 128 GB iPad mini 3, it doesn’t mean that it’s a sensible fit for a gift recipient’s lifestyle. Let’s take a step back from the hype of the iPad mini 3 release, examine the three generation options, and consider the users that could benefit from each model.

iPad mini 3

This devices is almost identical to the iPad mini 2, except it comes with different color options, Touch ID, Apple Pay compatibility, and a 128 GB capacity option. In this ForbesiPad mini model comparison, Gordon Kelly explains, “…while a storage bump and Touch ID will tempt some, selling last year’s technology at the same price (at least with the 16GB entry level) is going to frustrate.”

iPad mini 2

This model is just $50 more than the original iPad mini, but its display quality and processing performance take an enormous leap upward. The iPad mini 2 boasts a 64-bit A7 chip, a M7 coprocessor, and a Retina display, making it a great gaming and media creation tool. Interestingly enough, the display, processing, camera, and battery specs are pretty much identical between the iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3 models. So unless you desperately need a mobile device with Touch ID, Apple Pay, or additional capacity, you could save $100 by going with an iPad mini 2 rather than the latest model.

iPad mini

The original iPad mini isn’t out of the game yet. Apple only sells the 16 GB version of this entry-level model, so this device could be ideal for users who don’t have extensive local media libraries, stream most of their entertainment from the web, or mostly browse smaller files, like digital books. The iPad mini doesn’t have a Retina display, so you would get the extremely sharp resolution of later generation iPad mini models. The original iPad mini also uses an older CPU and GPU with the A5 chip, so it wouldn’t be ideal for gaming and process-intensive app experiences. But the price is sweet for the holidays, starting at a $249 retail price. This could be an excellent buy for end users who just want to check email, browse websites and social networks, stream media, and read digital publications.

Image credit: Laineema’s Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0, cropped version of original photo