iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad 2, what features you can expect from each, what uses we’d recommend them for, and a little on the all-important price factor too.
It was only in 2010 that Apple first introduced iPad, and since then the device has evolved in every way, becoming the biggest selling tablet in the process. iPad Air, the most recent addition to the line-up (from late 2013), is at the top end of the spectrum, with a great-looking Retina display, while iPad mini and its iPad mini with Retina display sibling are slightly smaller versions. You can also still get hold of the slightly older Apple iPad 2, which is a great option if you want to keep your costs down.
That’s a lot of tablets to choose from, and that’s before you even think about whether you need Cellular data support or are happy with just WiFi, or had a think about what storage capacity you’ll need (iPad storage ranges from 16GB to 128GB). Oh, and the most important consideration of all: what colour should you go for?
To find out which is right for you, have a read of our comparison below, or alternatively get in touch with us for advice, or just have a click around on our site to compare different iPad models.
Apple iPad Air
iPad Air is Apple’s lightest and most powerful of the larger devices, and is where the Retina display and speedy processor really come into their own. 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the 4th gen iPad (weighing in at half a kilo), iPad Air is more portable, and its A7 processor and 64-bit architecture give it a significant performance boost. The Retina display’s 2048×1536 pixel resolution (264 pixels per inch) is higher than that of an HD TV, which makes for crisp photos and text. And all with a ten hour battery life!
We’d recommend for… Multimedia content. Consuming high quality HD video and images are where iPad Air’s Retina display and speedy processor really come into their own.
– Buy iPad Air 16GB here – From £317 (£380.40 inc VAT)
– Buy iPad Air 32GB here – From £384.50 (£461.40 inc VAT)
Apple iPad mini/iPad mini with Retina display
If you’re after something even more portable, you’ll want to look at Apple’s iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display. These measure just 7.85″ compared to the 9.7″ screen size of iPad Air and iPad 2, so they’re both more portable and a bit more comfortable for one-handed use (reading iBooks and using FaceTime, in particular). The iPad mini with Retina display, for a slightly higher price tag (for the 16GB base model you’re looking at a difference of about £70), ramps up the resolution from 1024×768 pixels to the same 2048×1536 pixels you get from iPad Air too, for a better reading and viewing experience.
We’d recommend for… Portability. With its smaller size, Apple iPad mini is perfect for using on the go, and especially reading iBooks.
– Buy iPad mini 16GB here – From £203 (£243.60 inc VAT)
Apple iPad 2
iPad 2 comes with a 9.7″ display with 1024×768 pixel resolution and an A5 processor chip, packing in great features for consuming and creating content. You get back and front-facing iSight and FaceTime cameras for capturing photos and video, and it’s ready for Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 7, which includes tons of useful creativity and productivity apps. You can also pick up some great deals on iPad 2 (see below!).
N.B. One thing to note is that iPad 2 uses Apple’s 30-pin USB cable and charger, rather than the Lightning port that you get with iPad Air and iPad mini, so this could be something you’d like to think about if you’re looking at peripherals to use with it.
We’d recommend for… All uses. Apple iPad 2 is the most affordable option for any buyer who wants a 9.7″ tablet, but also wants to keep costs down. It can easily handle most tasks and is packed with features.
– Buy iPad 2 16GB WiFi here – From £261.50 (£313.80 inc VAT)
– Buy iPad 2 16GB WiFi and cellular here – From £344.50 (£413.40 inc VAT)
Next, you’ll need to think about…
iPad comes with storage iterations of 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB (iPad mini without a Retina display only comes in 16GB variations), and which you should opt for really depends on what you’re going to be using iPad for. Note that iPad doesn’t support SD cards or expandable storage. If you’re a musician or music aficionado, working with or viewing lots of HD video, or just an app buff and think you’ll need access to large numbers of storage-intensive apps, your media and content is soon going to start taking up a lot of space.
The size of content can vary a bit, but generally an HD movie can be around 3-4GB for HD quality or 1-2GB for standard definition, a TV episode could be anything up to about 2GB in HD (around 1GB in SD), and a standard audio LP around 500-600MB. A few examples of apps could vary from Angry Birds (35.5MB) to Facebook (52.7MB) to Apple’s iMovie video app (635MB).
Of course, once you’ve bought your content from Apple’s iTunes or the App Store, you can save everything to the cloud for backup. That means you don’t have to have all your content on your device at once, and can sync certain content with your iPad as you choose.
WiFi or WiFi + Cellular
The Cellular models are a little more expensive as they let you connect to WiFi and also use data wirelessly on a SIM card in the same way as you do with a smartphone. The WiFi model, as you would imagine, needs to be in range of a WiFi network to be able to access the internet. As a very rough guide, there can be around £80-£100 difference between the two models, so it’s worth thinking about when you’ll need to be using data. The Cellular version will also come with the additional cost of a data plan or a pre-paid SIM, which are usually upwards of £10 per month.
Last but not least, colour. iPad 2 comes in white or black varieties, iPad mini in white and silver or black and slate, and iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display are available in the more futuristic-sounding space grey or silver. What you choose ultimately boils down to personal taste. If you’re a beige fanatic, or simply must have a device to match your stylish hot pink upholstery, there’s always a wide range of iPad cases and covers to suit you too.
That’s about the long and short of it, but if you still can’t make up your mind as to which iPad is right for you, please do feel free to get in touch! Give the team a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.
By Shariff Ibrahim
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