iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 - Or Should You Buy an Older iPad?

Want to buy a new iPad but not sure which one is right for you? Apple revealed the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 in October, and there are now five models of the iPad you can choose from - the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, the iPad mini, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3. The price of all five has been revealed for India but many people aren't sure which model to buy.

We could just joke and say that the right iPad to buy is the 128GB iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular but actually, there are a lot of different factors to consider if you're planning on buying a new iPad. Or, just jump to the end and check out our simple infographic.

Air or mini?

The first thing you want to consider is how you're planning on using the tablet. If you're planning on using it mostly for reading books, magazines and websites, and other light usage such as social media, then the smaller sized iPad mini is a better choice.

It's much more portable, so you can carry your books everywhere with you, and the mini range is also significantly cheaper than the Air line.

Similarly, if you primary usage is going to be business related - documents, spreadsheets and calendars, then you don't really need the larger screen of the Air line, and typing short entries is easier on the mini. You can use the iPad mini to quickly look up a presentation while on the go, or for taking notes during a conference.

On the other hand, if you plan to use the iPad to watch a lot of movies, play 3D games, or making sketches, editing videos, or other creative work, then the larger screen of the iPad Air tablets makes much more sense.

Which generation?

So you've decided between the Air and mini lines, but there are still three different iPad mini tablets and two Air tablets to choose from. Picking between these would be a challenge, but Apple has also made a change in the storage sizes that actually simplifies the choice.

For one thing, we can not in good conscience recommend the 16GB iPad mini (the cheapest iPad available now). It is only slightly cheaper than the mini 2, but the hardware is significantly older, and you'll find many apps that won't run smoothly on this device.

That aside, we'd generally not recommend any of the 16GB models - ideally, you want at least 32GB and we've found that in the age of Retina displays, that even our 64GB model starts to get full pretty quickly.

Therefore, if you budget can accommodate it, we recommend picking the current generation models, which have the choice between 64 or 128GB tablets - while the previous generation is limited to 32GB models.

If you're a gamer, or plan to use your iPad for creative work like video editing and 3D modelling, then the choice is pretty simple too. You want as much power, and as much storage as possible, because your apps are going to use it all. In this case, the choice is obvious - you want the 64B or 128GB iPad Air 2, depending on your budget.

If your primary use is watching movies, you've got another choice to make - which of the two iPad Air models should you get? Watching movies won't tax the original Air, so you don't need to worry about power. But the amount of storage available on your device is going to matter.

If you use streaming services to watch your movies, then the smaller 32GB or 16GB iPad Air is a good option. If you tend to download videos and hoard them to rewatch, then you need as much storage as possible. Since the iPad Air is capped at 32GB, that means that you want to buy the 64GB or 128GB iPad Air 2.

Cellular or not?

Both the iPad Air line, and the iPad mini line, give you the option of buying a Wi-Fi model, or a Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The cellular models are significantly more expensive than the Wi-Fi only iPads - there's a difference of Rs. 10,000 for the same storage in the same generation.

With this in mind, you need to consider how you're planning on using the iPad. If you plan to use the iPad mainly indoors, then you should get the Wi-Fi version. If you'll be on the move a lot, and don't wish to share your phone's Internet connection, you'll need the cellular variant - the question is whether this is worth Rs. 10,000 to you. If not, then the Wi-Fi only model is the best bet.

If that's all too confusing, just click on our infographic below to get a streamlined set of choices to help you pick your new iPad.


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