We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
iPad Reviews
15,669 Reviews

iPad Air vs iPad mini 2 with Retina display comparison review: Which new iPad should you buy?

Wi-Fi: £399 (16GB), £479 (32GB), £559 (64GB) and £639 (128GB). Cellular: £499 (16GB), £579 (32GB), £659 (64GB) and £739 (128GB)

Manufacturer: Apple

Want to buy a new iPad, but a little confused as to which one is right for you? Fret not: our iPad Air vs iPad mini 2 with Retina display comparison review will help you decide.

iPad Air vs iPad mini 2

Apple has recently launched two new tablets, the 9.7-inch iPad Air (5th generation) and the 7.9-inch iPad mini 2. Here is where we compare the two tablets in our iPad Air vs iPad mini 2 comparison review. For further detail, see our pieces iPad Air 5th generation release date, specs and new features and iPad Air and iPad mini 2 price in the UK.

The latest round of revamped Apple tablets sees the iPad unmoved and unfazed by the challenge from Android’s offering of budget tablets. The iPad Air and iPad mini 2 are premium tablets, with a premium feature set and build quality. See also: Apple iPad mini 2 Retina vs iPad mini comparison review.

iPad Air vs iPad mini 2: Price

Apple does not get involved in price wars with other manufacturers, its tablets are high-end devices and as such warrant high-end prices. (See also: New Nexus 10 2 (2013) vs iPad Air specs comparison review.)

The iPad Air is the more expensive of the two tablets with prices starting at £399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model and £499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi and cellular device.  Both the Wi-Fi only and cellular iPad Air’s price rises by £80 each time the storage capacity doubles (so higher capacities are better value).

The iPad mini 2 with Retina display starts at £319 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model and £419 for the Wi-Fi and cellular device. The price rises by £80 as the storage option doubles also.

 

16GB

32GB

64GB

128GB

iPad Air Wi-Fi

£399.00

£479.00

£559.00

£639.00

iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi

£319.00

£399.00

£479.00

£559.00

iPad Air Wi-Fi and cellular

£499.00

£579.00

£659.00

£739.00

iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi and cellular

£419.00

£499.00

£579.00

£659.00

iPad Air vs iPad mini 2: Design and build

The obvious difference between these two iPads is the size, the iPad mini is designed to fit in your hand easily and therefore is smaller and lighter than the iPad Air.

Both iPads have are constructed from aluminium and have exactly the same placement of physical buttons and cameras. So the only question you need to ask yourself here is which size iPad you want. From our time with the devices we were impressed by how solid and secure both iPads felt in the hand.

 

Size (mm)

Weight (g)

iPad Air

240 x 169.5 x 7.5

469

iPad mini 2

200 x 134.7 x 7.5

331

iPad Air vs iPad mini 2

iPad Air vs iPad mini 2: Screen

The big news here is that Apple has equipped the new iPad mini 2 with a Retina display; the previous iPad mini had a below-par screen in comparison. The interesting thing now is that both the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 have the same pixel count, despite the iPad Air’s screen measuring in at 9.4-inches compared to the 7.9-inches of the iPad mini 2. The result is that the pixel density of the iPad mini 2 is greater than that of the iPad Air, with 342ppi playing 264ppi.

Both screens look great and are incredibly responsive to the touch, but we have to give this round the iPad mini for the amazing pixel density that cannot be ignored.

 

Size (inches)

Resolution

Pixel density

iPad Air

9.7

1536 x 2048

264

iPad mini 2

7.9

1536 x 2048

324

iPad Air vs iPad mini 2: Processor, Storage, Camera, Connectivity and software

From here on in comparing the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 is a pretty pointless exercise. The rest of the specs are exactly the same and from our time with the two devices it was impossible to tell any difference in terms of tablet performance.

Both tablets have the top of the range Apple A7 processors; are available to buy with Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity; 5Mp rear-facing and 1.2Mp front-facing cameras; have iO7 presinstalled and come with iLife and iWork at no extra cost.

There is one difference to note, though: the Wi-Fi only versions of both tablets lack a GPS receiver. This is included only in the Wi-Fi and cellular models.

Read our iPad mini with Retina display hands on review and iPad Air (5th generation) review to find out more about the two Apple tablets.

iPad Air vs iPad mini 2

iPad Air vs iPad mini 2: specs comparison

 

iPad Air

iPad mini with Retina display

Processor

Apple A7

Apple A7

CPU

Dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone

Dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone

GPU

PowerVR G6430

PowerVR G6430

Primary camera

5 MP

5 MP

Facetime camera

1.2 MP

1.2 MP

Wi-Fi

802.11 a/b/g/n

802.11 a/b/g/n

Cellular

2G/3G/4G

2G/3G/4G

Operating Sytem

iOS 7.0.2

iOS 7.0.2

Battery

Li-Po (32.4 Wh)

Li-Po (23.8 Wh)

Apple iPad Air Expert Verdict »


Apple iPad Air 16GB Wi-Fi with 9.7 inches retina display in space grey reviews verified by Reevoo

Apple iPad Air 16GB Wi-Fi with 9.7 inches retina display in space greyScores 9.2 out of 10 based on 629 reviews
1.39 GHz Apple A7 processor (ARMv8-A, dual-core) with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor
PowerVR G6430 graphics
9.7in (2048 x 1536-pixel) LED-backlit Multi-Touch IPS display, 264ppi
iOS 7
16/32/64/128 GB flash storage
dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 4.0
optional 4G LTE modem and Nano-SIM card slot, with A-GPS
1.2 Mp FaceTime HD front camera, 720p video
5 Mp f2.4 iSight rear camera, 1080p video
dual microphones
stereo speakers
Lightning dock connector
three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, digital compass
32.4 Wh fixed lithium-polymer battery
USB power adaptor
240 x 170 x 7.5 mm
469g (Wi-Fi only model) or 478g (Wi-Fi plus cellular model)

The iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 are at the very top of the heap in terms of tablet design and performance. There only real significant difference other than the size of the devices is that the iPad mini 2 squeezes in more pixels per inch to its display than the iPad Air, other than that the choice you have to make is whether you prefer a 9.7-inch or a 7.9-inch iPad


IDG UK Sites

Best January sales 2015 UK tech deals LIVE: Best New Year bargains and savings on phones, tablets,...

IDG UK Sites

Chromebooks: ready for the prime time (but not for everybody)

IDG UK Sites

Best Photoshop Tutorials 2014: 10 inspiring step-by-step guides to creating amazing art,...

IDG UK Sites

Complete guide to iPhone and iPad settings: Get to know iOS 8 Settings UPDATED