As most reviews will tell you, last year’s iPad mini didn’t quite live up the hype. The device paled in comparison with the Nexus 7, which delivered a higher resolution display with more pixels per inch, a more powerful processor, and double the amount of RAM. To make matters worse, the original iPad mini was more expensive than the Android alternatives.
Apple has recently announced a new iPad mini, dubbed the “iPad mini with Retina display.” It is supposed to fix the shortcomings of the first release, and as the “Retina” moniker suggests, the Cupertino giant has updated one of the most disappointing hardware features of the original model. The new slate has been improved in many areas, yet the burning question remains: should you upgrade to the newer generation? Let’s find out.
It Only Looks the Same
When comparing the original iPad mini with the new model, one thing that you’ll definitely notice is the fact that the design hasn’t really changed. While the new flagship iPad Air has received a lot of changes in terms of design (by adopting the same design language as the iPad mini), the 7.9-inch slate remains almost identical.
However, once you go past the visual cues, you’ll notice that the new iPad mini boasts several much-needed updates. The 7.9 inch-display now boasts a resolution of 1536 x 2048, resulting in a pixel density of 324 pixels per inch. That’s a huge step up from the original 768 x 1024 screen of the original, which delivers a mere 162 PPI density.
In addition, the new slate will arrive with 1 GB of RAM instead of 512 MB, and in terms of storage, the new tablet will also be retailed with 128 GB of on-board storage – as well as the regular 16/32/64 GB.
Dig deeper under the hood and you’ll find a powerful and brand new Apple A7 dual-core 1.3 GHz processor that takes advantage of its 64-bit architecture, as well as a PowerVR G6430 graphics chip. In contrast, the older model features a rather underwhelming 1 GHz Apple A5 chip and a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU.
Aside from these key differences, the hardware remains largely unaltered. Both tablets feature 5 MP main cameras, each with a resolution of 2582 x 1944, complemented by 1.2 MP secondary shooters on the front. Software-wise, the new iPad mini will hit the market with iOS 7 out of the box, but Apple has already launched the iOS 7 update for the original model, so there’s virtually no difference between the two.
Another interesting aspect is that, while the original iPad mini offers support for international LTE bands, the new model covers an even wider range of bands. This may be another reason why you should consider an upgrade, but it depends on your needs, and of course, your location.
Should You Upgrade?
We’ve previously discussed about whether or not it’s worth the upgrade from last year’s iPad 4 to the new iPad Air, and the conclusion was that there are very few reasons to consider purchasing the newer model, as long as you do happen to own the 4th generation iPad in the first place.
However, the situation is slightly different with the minis. The new 7.9-inch tablet has received noticeable improvements over the original model. While the design remains the same, the iPad mini went through much needed revamps under the hood. The new display alone makes a huge difference, while the new A7 processor and the amount of RAM seal the deal.
The original mini is still a decent slate, and if you’re happy with it, then there’s no real reason why you should aim for the newest model. However, assuming that you were already considering an upgrade and you were unsure as to whether or not it’s worth the effort, then the answer is yes – The new iPad mini is a noteworthy step up from its predecessor.
As for those of you who don’t own the original iPad mini but are pondering which model you should buy, then once again, the iPad mini with Retina is definitely the better choice, assuming of course that you’re willing to pay an extra $100 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi-only model. More so, the original variant is offered with only 16 GB of storage, whether it’s the Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + cellular model. As such, the new iPad mini also comes with more storage options – for those willing to pay quite a bit more for it.
How many of you are rocking the original iPad mini? Are you considering an upgrade? Do you think it’s worth it? Don’t hesitate to answer these questions by leaving a comment below.