iPad Air or mini? It depends on what you do

EENY, MINI, MINY, MOE: Choose the new bigger iPad Air (right) if you think you are going to do work on your tablet, and the iPad mini (left) if you are just reading and watching movies.


    Nov 18, 2013

    iPad Air or mini? It depends on what you do

    The New York Times

    APPLE is now selling the new iPad mini, the smaller brother of the pleasing iPad Air.

    Somehow, Apple has squeezed all of the Air's capabilities into the mini - and, by doing that, it has made the process of choosing an iPad easy.

    Both the mini and Air have a high-resolution screen that Apple brands Retina, the identical computer processor that will open apps and load Web pages noticeably quicker than past iPads, the same front and back cameras and two antennas to pick up weak Wi-Fi signals.

    The batteries in the devices will easily last 10 hours under intense use, like downloading videos, and several days on lighter use, like reading a book.

    The only difference is the size. The mini's screen is 7.9 inches on the diagonal, compared with 9.7 inches for the iPad Air. It weighs about 340g, 110g less than the Air.

    The mini can be held so comfortably in your hand and slipped so easily into a bag or pants pocket, you'll find yourself carrying it nearly everywhere you go.

    As in previous versions - and this is true of every colour screen tablet - there is considerable screen glare, so you may have problems reading in bright sunshine.

    But rest this tablet on your chest in a dark room and you are in a private cineplex.

    So how do you choose between these two tablets, which are still the best ones on the market? The mini is US$100 (S$125) cheaper in all configurations. It starts at US$400 but can go as high as US$829. (The previous version of the mini is still being sold, starting at US$300.)

    To decide, ask yourself: What will you use it for? Is it just for fun - reading and watching movies? Then get the mini.

    But if that is all you are going to use it for, also consider the Amazon Fire HDX. It has a vivid 7-inch screen, though it is longer and narrower than the mini. It lacks the huge catalogue of apps and the games of the iPads, but it is also cheaper, starting at US$244 if you don't mind seeing ads; US$300 if you want to avoid the ads.

    But if you think you are going to do work on your tablet - typing in particular - consider the bigger version.

    The mini is not a product you truly need, like, say, a smartphone. But it is such a fun and useful device, you will quickly become convinced that it is.