iPads have been a technological staple for over a decade, and though Apple started with just one model, there are now four different styles to choose between. Each iPad model offers its own unique benefits that cater to a variety of users.
This article will discuss the two opposite ends of the spectrum, the iPad mini and the iPad Pro. While there is a decent amount of overlap in overall functionality, there are also some defining differences to explore before making your decision.
The iPad mini is an ideal candidate for casual use when it comes down to it, while the iPad Pro is best for those needing a powerful hardworking companion.
The two significant aspects that make the iPad mini stand out from other iPad models are its price and size. You might want to consider the iPad mini if you’re looking for the convenience of an iPad without the high price tag. It is also excellent for commuters and travelers as it can easily store inside a bag, backpack or briefcase.
The iPad mini is a capable tablet, which we recommended to users who primarily surf the web, manage emails, read books and articles, watch videos or play various games.
This is by far the most compact iPad model at just 8 inches long, 5.3 inches wide and .24 inches thick. Still, the 7.9-inch display provides more than enough screen area, and with a weight of just .66 pounds, you’ll find it easy to transport your iPad mini on a bus, train, plane or simply tucked in your bag while out running errands.
When compared to other iPad models, the mini comes at a relatively low cost. With Wi-Fi-only options starting around $399 and Wi-Fi + cellular options starting around $529, you can get everything the iPad has to offer without breaking the bank.
Due to its small size, the iPad mini is more manageable for children to grip and handle while watching videos, doing schoolwork or playing games. You might want to consider a heavy-duty case to protect from accidental drops.
Unlike its predecessors, the 5th generation iPad mini features an A12 Bionic Chip, which has drastically improved this generation’s overall power and speed and is the same chip found in the current 8th generation iPad. This allows users to run more advanced apps such as Photoshop.
The impressive battery life on the iPad mini is the same as the Pro model. You can enjoy 9-10 hours of audio, video or internet usage on a full charge.
Another advantage over the iPad Pro is the included headphone jack. For users who still enjoy wired headphones, you won’t have to switch over to a Bluetooth version or buy any additional adapters.
The iPad mini is now compatible with the 1st generation Apple Pencil, but does not pair with the 2nd generation model. It also will not work with Magic or Smart Keyboards, though Bluetooth keyboards are still a viable option.
Yes, its small size is a positive aspect for many people, but seeing as the screen is only slightly larger than some iPhone models, it might not make sense for those who already own the iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 11 Pro Max.
For artists, designers, developers, or anyone looking to run multiple programs on a larger screen, the iPad mini may not provide the desired experience.
If you want an iPad that employs all of the latest tech, look no further than the iPad Pro. With its processing power, advanced display and plenty of other improved features, the iPad Pro is a potential candidate to replace your current computer. The screen size is on par with most laptops and is available in two sizes: 11 inches and 12.9 inches.
Essentially a do-it-all tablet, the iPad Pro can seamlessly pair with several accessories, while the lightweight design enables you to bring it with you wherever you go.
Whether you choose the 11-inch or 12.9-inch model, the Liquid Retina display features an exceptional pixel count and resolution. The large display is good for watching videos but is necessary when you need to markup documents, take notes or edit photos.
The A12Z Bionic Chip doesn’t just make the iPad Pro fast, it makes it faster and more powerful than an average laptop. This top-of-the-line iPad will keep up with the high demand of a fast-paced lifestyle.
If having a high-quality camera is essential to you, then the iPad Pro is the obvious choice. With a 10-megapixel wide lens, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and with 5x zoom capability, you can take professional photographs directly from your tablet. Not to mention you can use the custom LiDAR scanner for augmented reality apps and programs.
The iPad Pro is compatible with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, making it easy to draw, write and sketch directly on the screen. It also supports both the Smart Keyboard Folio and the newly released Magic Keyboard.
While the iPad mini features a secure touch ID, the iPad Pro utilizes facial recognition to provide the highest level of security, allowing you to confidently protect all of your important information.
With the iPad Pro you have the option to choose between 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of storage space, so you won’t run out of space anytime soon.
Though the iPad Pro sports an array of impressive features, it comes at a high price. Prices range from $799 for the 11-inch 128 GB Wi-Fi only option, up to $1,649 for the 12.9-inch 1 TB Wi-Fi + cellular version.
Not everyone needs a high-quality camera, large screen or powerful processor. By evaluating your top priorities, you can decide if this model is essential for your intended usage.
The answer is not straightforward. The iPad Pro is by far the best of the best when it comes to power, quality and functionality, but it isn’t for everyone. Many casual users will be just as satisfied with the iPad mini for everyday messaging and entertainment purposes. To choose the right model, it’s best to compare how each model’s benefits mesh with your lifestyle.
Matthew Young is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.