iPad Air & iPad Mini With Retina Display Vs. The Competition [Showdown]

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Christmas came early for Apple fans with plenty of goodies announced in the Oct 22 Apple Keynote. Aside from a free OS upgrade (yes, Mavericks is free), free apps (iLife and iWork), and upgraded MacBooks, Apple has (as expected) released a new iPad and iPad mini: the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

So far, Apple has reportedly sold 170 million iPads and is dominating 81% of the tablet market thanks to innovative design and their 475000 iPad Apps, no less. Having said that, here’s why you (still) should buy the newest versions of the iPad and iPad mini.

iPad Air

Guess what? It’s thinner, lighter, faster, sturdier and it has a new name: the iPad Air. Apple has reduced the bezels of the 9.7-inch display device by 43%, making it a copy of the current iPad mini. Compared to its predecessor, it’s 20% thinner now at 7.6mm from 9.4mm, and weighs just 1 pound, shaving off 0.4 pounds from that iPad you are holding.

ipad air

It’ll be powered by the new 64-bit Apple A7 chip together with the M7 motion coprocessor, much like the new iPhone 5s. The iPad Air will also feature MIMO technology, making its 802.11n wireless faster and with a more worldwide LTE coverage.

The iPad Air will have new Facetime HD front-facing cameras and dual microphones to capture the best sound. All of these powerful features will run with the same battery life of 10 hours. No Touch ID is reported.

Price and Availability

The iPad Air will replace the 4th Generation iPad but remain at the same price of $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi and $629 for the 16GB LTE version. The first wave of Silver & White, and Space Grey & Black (sorry, no Gold) iPad Air will ship November 1 to more than 40 countries.

iPad Air and Its Predecessor

Here is how the iPad Air stacks up against its predecessor, the iPad with Retina Display

ipad air
iPad Air iPad with Retina Display
Storage/Price (WiFi) 16GB / $499 16GB / $499
  32GB / $599 32GB / $599
  64GB / $699 64GB / $699
  128GB / $799 128GB / $799
Storage/Price (LTE) 16GB / $629 16GB / $629
  32GB / $729 32GB / $729
  64GB / $829 64GB / $829
  128GB / $929 128GB / $929
Resolution 2048 x 1536 2048×1536
Dimensions (mm) H240 x W169.5 x T7.5mm H241.2 x W185.7 x T9.4
Weight 469g, 478g (LTE) 652g, 662 (LTE)
Display Size (inch) 9.7 9.7
Processor 64-bit A7 chip with M7 Motion Apple A6X Dual-Core with Quad-Core graphics
RAM TBA 1GB
Battery Life 10 hours 10 hours
Network MIMO WiFi / LTE Wi-Fi / LTE
Back Camera 5MP iSight 5-megapixel iSight
Front Camera New FaceTime HD Camera 1.2MP
Additional Features   Bluetooth 4.0

IPad Air Vs Other 10-Inch Tablets

Let’s check out how the new iPad Air fares against the competition.

Microsoft Surface 2 (RT)

Microsoft’s new Surface 2 RT is powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core processor and runs Windows 8.1 RT. It has a 10.6" display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The Surface 2 RT has 1080p front and back cameras and comes in 16, 32 and 64 GB variants, with expandable storage via MicroSD. Microsoft claims you can run 10 hours on battery for the Surface 2.

Starts from $449 – Read a review

Nokia Lumia 2520

Fresh from the oven, Nokia’s new Lumia 2520 tablet is a 10.1" tablet running Windows 8.1 RT. It’s powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core processor and has a 1920 x 1080 display. It has a 6.7 megapixel back camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera. The battery will last 10 hours. It’s also only going to be sold through wireless carriers with 4G LTE networks.

$499 – Read a review

Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Sony’s Xperia Z is a 10.1" tablet running a modified version of Android 4.1. Its 1.5GHz quad-core processor powers a 1920 x 1200 display. An interesting feature of the Xperia Z is that it’s waterproof (!) with a rating of IPX5 to IPX7. It also supports NFC and Bluetooth 4.0, and lasts 9 hours on its battery.

$499 – Read a review

Google Nexus 10

The Google Nexus 10 has a remarkable 2560 x 1600 screen, powered by a dual-core 1.7GHz processor. It runs Android 4.3. It comes in 16GB and 32GB variants but does not have expandable storage. It support LTE either, so you’ll have to stay close to WiFi if you want to browse the Internet.The battery should last you up to 9 hours per charge.

Starts from $399 – Read a review

iPad Air Vs 10-inch Tablets (Summarized)

Nothing beats the table format when it comes to quick comparisons.

  ipad air
  iPad Air Surface 2 (RT) Lumia 2520 Xperia Tablet Z Nexus 10
Manufacturer Apple Microsoft Nokia Sony Samsung
Price $499 – $799 / $629 – $929 (LTE) $449, $459 $499 $499 $399, $499
OS iOS 7 Windows 8.1 RT Windows 8.1 RT Android Android 4.3
Resolution 2048 x 1536 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1200 2560 x 1600
Dimensions (mm) H240 x W169.5 x T7.5 H172 x W274.5 x T9 TBA H172 x W266 x T6.9 H177.6 x W263.9 x T8.9
Weight 469g, 478g (LTE) 676g 615g 495g 603g
Display Size (inch) 9.7 10.6 10.1 10.1 10
Processor 64-bit A7 chip with M7 Motion Quad-Core 1.7GHz Quad-Core 2.2GHz Quad-Core 1.5GHz Dual-Core 1.7GHz
RAM n/a 2GB 2GB 2GB 2GB
Battery Life 10 hours 10 hours 10 hours 9 hours 9 hours
Network MIMO WiFi / LTE WiFi / LTE WiFi / LTE WiFi / LTE WiFi
Storage (GB) 16 / 32 / 64 / 128 16 / 32 / 64 32 16 / 32 16 / 32
Expandable Storage MicroSD MicroSD MicroSD
Back Camera 5MP iSight 1080p 6.7MP 8.1MP 5MP
Front Camera New FaceTime HD Camera 1080p 2MP 2.2MP 1.9MP
Input Ports Lightning Connector USB 3.0, HD Video Out Micro USB 3.0, Micro HDMI Micro USB Micro USB, Micro HDMI
Additional Features Cover accesories TBA IPX5/7 Water-resistance, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 NFC

iPad mini with Retina display

The biggest change to the iPad mini which everyone has been asking for is finally here: Retina display. The new iPad mini with Retina display boasts a 2048 x 1536 resolution 7.9-inch display; that’s a whopping 326 pixels per inch.

ipad mini with retina

Not only is the resolution same as the iPad Air, but it’ll have the same 64-bit Apple A7 processor, M7 motion coprocessor, MIMO technology, and more worldwide LTE Coverage. Expect it to run on a 10-hour battery life.

Price and Availability

The newest version of the iPad mini with Retina display will be available starting at $399 with 16GB WiFi, and $529 with 16GB LTE version. For full prices, check out the table below. Available in Silver/White and Space Grey/Black variants, shipping for the iPad mini with Retina display will begin sometime in November.

iPad Mini and Its Predecessor

We know the newest iPad mini has Retina display but that’s not all the upgrade it got. Check out this comparison table.

  ipad mini with retina
  iPad Mini with Retina Display iPad Mini
Storage/Price (WiFi) 16GB / $399 16GB / $329
  32GB / $499 32GB / $429
  64GB / $599 64GB / $529
  128GB / $699  
Storage/Price (LTE) 16GB / $529 16GB / $459
  32GB / $629 32GB / $559
  64GB / $729 64GB / $659
  128GB / $829  
Resolution 2048 x 1536 1024×768
Dimensions (mm) H200 x W134.7 x T7.5mm H200 x W134.7 x T7.2
Weight 331g, 341g (LTE) 308g, 312g (LTE)
Display Size (inch) 7.9 7.9
Processor 64-bit A7 chip with M7 Motion Apple A5 Dual-Core
RAM TBA 512MB
Battery Life 10 hours 10 hours
Network MIMO WiFi / LTE Wi-Fi / LTE
Back Camera 5MP iSight 5MP iSight
Front Camera New FaceTime HD Camera 1.2MP
Additional Features n/a Bluetooth 4.0

IPad Mini Vs Other 8-Inch Tablets

And here’s how the new iPad Mini with Retina Display is stacking up against the competition.

Google Nexus 7 2013

The Nexus 7 2013 is a 7" tablet with a 1920 x 1200 display running Android 4.3.1. The processor is a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, with 2GB of RAM. Unlike the previous Nexus 7, the new 2013 edition has front and back cameras, 5 and 1.2 megapixels respectively. It also now supports LTE, and still has goodies such as wireless charging, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC support.

Starts at $229 – Read a review

Amazon kindle Fire HDX

The Kindle Fire HDX is a tablet designed specifically for Amazon’s content delivery service. Thus, it has a 1920 x 1200 display and a fast 2.2GHz quad-core processor to make sure that your videos and music play smoothly. It comes in 16, 32 and 64GB variants, great to store all your media. And to make sure you can enjoy your movies on the go, the Kindle Fire HDX’s battery will last up to 11 hours on a single charge.

Starts at $229 – Read a review

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.0 has a 1280 x 800 screen and a 1.6GHz quad-core processor running Samsung’s take on Android 4.1.2. It only comes in a 16GB version, but has a MicroSD port for expandable storage. It supports Samsung’s S-Pen technology and has an infrared blaster, so you can use it as a remote control for your TV.Samsung claims up to 8 hours of battery life from the Galaxy Note 8.0.

Starts at $359 – Read a review

Lenovo Miix2

Lenovo’s Miix2 is an 8" tablet running Windows RT 8.1. It has a 1280 x 800 screen and a Bay Trail-T Quad Core processor. It’s only just been announced, so details are scarce, but we know it’s going to come in both 16 and 32GB variants and support Bluetooth 4.0.

Starts at $299 – Read a review

LG G Pad 8.3

LG’s G Pad 8.3 is an Android tablet with an 8.3" 1920 x 1200 screen. Like the Kindle Fire HDX, it has a 2.2GHz quad-core processor. It has a MicroSD port for expandable storage to add to the 16GB it comes with. However it doesn’t have a sim tray and thus only supports WiFi.

$349 – Read a review

iPad mini with Retina Display Vs 8-inch Tablets

Again, here is the table format to help you check out how the iPad mini with Retina display fares against the competition.

  ipad mini with retina
  iPad mini with Retina display Nexus 7 2013 Kindle Fire HDX Galaxy Note 8.0 Lenovo Miix2 LG G Pad 8.3
Manufacturer Apple ASUS Amazon Samsung Lenovo Lenovo
Price $399 – $699 / $529 – $829 (LTE) $229, $269, $349 $229 – $409 $359, $399 $299, $249 $349
OS iOS 7 Android 4.3.1 Fire OS Android 4.1.2 Windows 8.1 Android 4.2.2
Resolution 2048 x 1536 1920 x 1200 1920 x 1200 1280 x 800 1280 x 800 1920 x 1200
Dimensions (mm) H200 x W134.7 x T7.5 H200 x W114 x T8.65 H128 x W186 x T9 H210 x W135 x T7.8 H215.4 x W131.6 x T8.9 H216 x W126.5 x T8.3
Weight 331g, 341g (LTE) 290g, 299g (LTE) 303g, 311g (LTE) 331g 349g 338g
Display Size (inch) 7.9 7 7 8 8 8.3
Processor 64-bit A7 chip with M7 Motion Quad-Core 1.5GHz Quad-Core 2.2GHz Quad-Core 1.6GHz Quad-Core Bay Trail-T Atom Quad-Core 2.2GHz
RAM TBA 2GB 2GB 2GB TBA 2GB
Battery Life 10 hours 9 hours 11 hours 8 hours TBA TBA
Network MIMO WiFi / LTE WiFi / LTE WiFi / LTE WiFi / TLE TBA Wi-Fi
Storage (GB) 16 / 32 / 64 / 128 16 / 32 16 / 32 / 64 16 16 / 32 16
Expandable Storage MicroSD TBA MicroSD
Back Camera 5MP iSight 5MP 5MP 5MP 5MP
Front Camera New FaceTime HD Camera 1.2MP 720p HD Camera 1.3MP 2MP 1.3MP
Input Ports Lightning Connector Micro USB Micro USB Micro USB Micro USB Micro USB
Additional Features Wireless charging, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC Bluetooth S Pen, IR Transmitter Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth

Wrap Up

For what it’s worth, Apple’s new iPad Air is certainly for the one who had held out on previous iPads. If you are going to get your first Apple product, the iPad Air is the one to get. The upgrades and new look and that price is the perfect combo, making this the ideal tablet to get.

Apple was a latecomer to the 7- to 8-inch tablet game, but has redeemed itself with it’s new iPad mini with Retina display. There are alternative tablets out there with HD resolution but what Apple has done to this iPad mini, shrinking down the iPad Air resolution display to the 7.9 inch display is simply remarkable.

Author:

Brian is a Mass Communication graduate with a passion for everything related to technology, minimalistic designs, and every kind of gadgetry.

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