Since the iPad 4 (iPad Retina) and iPad mini are very similar, this article will only go over the important differences. Anything not mentioned about these two iDevices can be interpreted as a similarity between them.

Price and Capacity

The iPad mini sells in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models priced at $329, $429 and $529. The iPad Retina on the other hand sells for $499, $599, and $699. In addition to the iPad Retina selling in 16-64GB models, it also has a 124GB model priced at $799.


Storage capacity is not expandable on any iPad. So once you get a certain size, you can never upgrade it. You would have to buy an entirely new iPad.


The iPad mini does not have a Retina display. It has a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels with a pixel density of 163. Since its pixel density is so low, if you put your eyes close to the screen you will be able to identify individual pixels. The iPad Retina’s screen on the other hand has a pixel density of 264 and a resolution of 2048 by 1536. Its pixel density is so high that no matter how close you examine its screen with the human eye, you will never be able to see an individual pixel.


If you use a Retina display for a couple of days and then switch to a non-Retina display, you will quickly tell the difference. If Retina is really important to you then you should probably consider getting the iPad Retina over the iPad mini.


The iPad mini has a dual-core A5 processor while the iPad Retina has a dual-core A6X processor. However, the difference is not discernible to the average user. Any iPad app in the app store will run on the iPad mini. The iPad Retina does have a better graphics processor (a quad core graphics processor), but once again, no one is going to really notice the difference. The Apple commercials advertise their iPad mini as being “There’s less of it, but no less to it.” Well they are right. Other than the non-Retina display and smaller size, the iPad mini basically does just as good as the iPad.


The iPad mini’s dimensions are 7.87 x 5.3 x .28 inches, with a weight of .68 pounds while the iPad’s dimensions are 9.50 x 7.31 x .37 inches. Depending on your size preference, the iPad mini may feel better than the iPad Retina in your hand. The iPad mini is way easier to hold up when watching a movie or browsing the net. It is also significantly less thick and fits better in your hand.


Using the onscreen keyboard in a portrait layout would obviously work a lot better in the iPad. If you’re going to do a lot of typing though, you should get a bluetooth keyboard. So technically you shouldn’t compare the virtual keyboards of these iPads, because using them for typing a lot isn’t really optimal.

While a thickness difference of .9 inches might seem like nothing, it’s a lot when you use the full-sized iPad Retina on a daily basis.


If you think a better screen and slightly better processor deserves an extra $170, then by all means you should buy the iPad Retina.

Personally I would buy the iPad mini instead of the iPad Retina model. This is because the iPad mini is big, but not big enough to be uncomfortable in your hand, it’s $170 cheaper, and it gets the job done just as well as the iPad Retina. Sure, Retina looks good, but I’m not obsessed with it. Half the time you stream movies on your tablet they will be in 720p (from Netflix or YouTube). 720p looks just as good on a non-Retina display as on a Retina display. So I’m not too concerned with that.

The deciding factor between the iPad mini and iPad should be size, and whether small (and $170 cheaper) is good or bad for you. For me, the smaller iPad mini is perfect.