What ipad should i buy?

The holidays are coming and I’m sure the iPad will be present on everybody’s wish list. Parents, kids, grandparents are hoping to get their hands on one… But which iPad should I get?  That is the burning question this year!!! How do I know which one to choose?


iPad 2, iPad Mini, iPad with Retina Display… Why so many models? Which one is the right one for me?

The answer is… It depends.

Today I’ll be discussing about the different iPad models and I’ll try to clarify some key points to help you decide which one to buy.

Applicable to:
iPad versions: iPad 2, iPad mini, iPad with Retina Display
iOS versions: iOS 6 and up

Size Matters?

(Appearances can be deceiving…)

The iPad mini is 7.87 inches by 5.3 inches and weighs 0.69 pounds (around 312 grams). The iPad with Retina Display is 9.5 inches by 7.31 inches and weighs 1.46 pounds (around 662 grams). The iPad 2 dimensions and weight are similar to iPad with Retina Display.



If you are looking for something very light that you can carry in your purse or bag while commuting to work, then iPad mini could be the right for you.

I had an iPad mini in my hands the other day and it really feels very light and easy to hold. If this is aspect is important to you, I strongly recommend that you head down to the store and grab both the iPad mini and regular size iPad in your hands to see how they feel.


(To be or not to be… crystal clear)

Both the iPad mini and the iPad 2 have a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. The thing is the iPad mini has a smaller screen and more pixels per inch (163 ppi) vs the iPad 2 with 132 pixels per inch. The more pixels per inch, the sharper the image to the human eye.

You can compare those to the iPad with Retina Display which has 2048 by 1536 pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi). Yes, you understood right, the iPad with Retina Display has the highest resolution of the three.

Do you really need such high resolution?

If you are going to use the iPad to just browse the web, send and receive emails and listen to music, probably not.

If you are going to be editing pictures or video, playing high end games or drawing and painting on your iPad, then definitely the higher the resolution the better.

Cellular and Wireless

 (24/7 or only at home, coffee shop and library?)

I take the iPad wherever I go. I connect through Wi-Fi whenever a Wi-Fi network is available. But sometimes, Wi-Fi networks are not available or open to the public and I still need to connect to the Internet maybe to check emails or look up something. Then I turn on the Cellular Data.

The first thing you need to decide is whether you need to be able to connect to the Internet with your iPad everywhere you go. Of course you have to take into account your budget since paying extra for Cellular capabilities is not enough. You will have to pay extra each month for a data plan.

Are you going to be using your iPad mainly at home? Is this going to be your kids’ iPad for games and learning apps?

Then you probably don’t need the Cellular Data and you can skip this feature and save some $$.

Are you always on the road for work? Do you need to be connected at all times? Can’t wait to Tweet or check your Facebook updates?

Well, it looks like you do need Cellular Data and get ready to invest some more $$ plus the data plan.

There’s different Cellular data technology out there. The iPad 2 comes with 3G. iPad mini and iPad with Retina Display support 3G, 4G and LTE (Long Term Evolution). This means iPad mini and iPad with Retina Display have newer technology. If you need Cellular data you are better off buying newer technology (iPad mini and iPad with Retina Display).


(Like it or not… facing reality)

The Connector is used to charge your iPad and to transfer data between the iPad and your computer.

Earlier this year, Apple introduced the new Lightning connector with the iPhone 5. This means that from now on all Apple mobile devices will come with this type of connector. Whether we like it or not, the 30-pin connector is old technology and will gradually disappear.

Lightning connector

30 pin connector

The iPad mini and iPad with Retina Display come with the new Lightning connector. The iPad 2 has the old 30-pin connector.

Tip: If you already own several 30-pin cables from previous devices, there’s a lightning to 30-pin adapter that you can get to keep using those cables.

Cameras and Video Recording

(HD or not HD, that is the question)

Are you going to be taking lots of pictures and/or shooting videos?

iPad mini and iPad with Retina Display have a front camera with 1.2MP and a rear camera of 5MP for pictures. The resolution on iPad 2 is lower. The front camera has VGA resolution and back camera with 960 by 720 pixels for pictures.

In short, the iPad mini and iPad with Retina Display have better cameras than the iPad 2. If pictures and video is what you are aiming for, go for the mini or the iPad with Retina Display.


(The brain inside)

The chip or microprocessor is the brain on your iPad. It is the one in charge of executing the apps that you run. The faster the processor, the faster the iPad runs. Both iPad mini and iPad 2 have the Dual-core A5 processor while the iPad with Retina Display has the Dual-core A6X with quad-core graphics.

A6X is better and faster than A5. If you don’t care about the iPad size and you have the extra money, it’s probably better to go for the iPad with Retina Display.

If money is an issue or you just want to make an entrance into the iPad world, both iPad mini and iPad 2 are good options.


 (Apps, songs, videos, pictures)

The iPad mini and iPad with Retina Display come in 3 storage sizes 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The iPad 2 used to come in 3 storage sizes as well but nowadays it’s only available in 16GB. The storage size determines the amount of apps, songs, pictures and videos that you can store on your iPad at any time. Bigger storage sizes are usually better but of course they come at a higher cost.

If you are just trying to enter the iPad world or if this is the tablet your kids are going to be playing with, you could get by with 16GB.

If you can spend the extra $100 bucks, you are way better with 32GB. This is what I have today on mine and I’m happy with it. I don’t feel restricted and I have enough space available not counting the cleanup of apps and pictures I should have done some time ago…

64GB is great if you can afford it and if you plan to keep your iPad for a long time.

So ???

( What should I buy ???)

Try to make up your mind about the size. Once you do, it will be easier to decide about the mini or the regular size iPads.

Do you really need to be connected 24/7? Answer this question and you’ll know whether to get the Wi-Fi or Cellular data/Wi-Fi model.

Remember, the newer the technology most likely the better.

Every case is different and there’s no one size fits all conclusion. I have tried to give you insights on each of the iPad features so you can make your own informed decision.  Whatever you decide, I hope you have fun with it!

iPad on Amazon:

Apple iPad Mini MD532LL/A (32GB, Wi-Fi, White)

Apple iPad with Retina Display MD514LL/A (32GB, Wi-Fi, White) NEWEST VERSION

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