My colleague Alex Colon outlined the differences between Apple’s two newest iPads earlier today. On paper, the devices are extremely similar: The same chip, screen resolution, storage options, choices for LTE and camera sensors are in both of the new iPads. The biggest variances are in the screen sizes, the actual device size and weight of each, and the $100 difference in price.
When I had some hands-on time with both the new iPad Air and iPad mini with retina display earlier this week I immediately thought: “Uh oh. I’m not so sure which I’d buy.” Seriously, I think the choice for some is going to be difficult because the bigger iPad Air isn’t that much bigger than the iPad mini when compared to the prior iPad model.
That’s because the new iPad Air is physically smaller than the last iPad model. That can make a difference when it comes to carrying the device around. I’d never argue that the larger iPad Air would be considered more portable than the smaller iPad Air, but slimming the device down does bring a little more size parity to the two tablets.
Here’s a mockup to see the size difference, although you can’t truly appreciate it without actually holding both devices together. Note that you can stack the images atop one another and move them around; when doing so, I see that the iPad mini itself is nearly the same size as the iPad Air screen size.
Remember too, the last iPad actually weighed 1.44 pounds or 650 grams. The new iPad Air? It’s just one pound, which is equal to 450 grams. That’s a pretty large weight deduction, and means the iPad Air weight is actually closer to the iPad mini — 0.73 pounds or 331 grams — than its own predecessor.
I typically prefer smaller slates but the two new iPads are closer than ever in size and weight, making me strongly consider the iPad Air for its larger display. Part of my decision criteria may not apply to you, however: My eyes are getting worse and I’m now wearing bifocals. Of late, I find myself preferring larger screens although I’m still very partial to high-resolution displays.
Given the similarities between the two then, which are you planning to buy? Take our poll and chime in on the comments with your reasoning. I think Rene Ritchie at iMore.com made an astute Twitter comment yesterday for those on the fence on which to buy, saying “iPad mini for portability, iPad Air for productivity.” That’s a good starting point, but the decision is still going to be a difficult one for some.