It’s 2017 and Apple just released a brand new 9.7-inch iPad at an incredible $329 price. Plus, new models of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are due out very soon. The iPad Mini 4, however, has remained unchanged since 2015. The only parts about it that have changed is the price and the storage space. Everything else is still very much an iPad Mini 4.
Currently, Apple sells the iPad Mini 4 in two flavors: a Wi-Fi model with 128GB of storage for $399 and a Wi-Fi plus cellular model with 128GB for, you guessed it, an additional $130. However, that base Wi-Fi model is $70 more than the brand new 9.7-inch iPad. Is there any reason left to buy an iPad Mini? Here are four to discourage that purchase.
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Not a Big Enough Size Difference from iPhone
Once upon a time Apple sold iPhones that had displays of either 3.5 inches or 4 inches. While the 4-inch iPhone SE is still around, this primarily stopped with the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. Apple’s flagship phones to this day have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays.
The iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch display. If you use a Plus-model iPhone, buying an iPad Mini only gets you an additional 2.4 inches of diagonal space. It’s clearly a modest improvement, but if you already have a big iPhone, it doesn’t make much sense to get a small iPad.
When you buy an iPad Mini 4, you are getting an old tablet.
Get your money’s worth and buy a device that increases the contrast between the two. That would be a 9.7-inch iPad or even 12.9-inch for creatives. A larger difference in size ensures each device has its own purpose in your life so you don’t feel like you wasted money by having both.
I sold my iPad Mini once I bought my iPhone 7 Plus solely for that reason. The iPhone 7 Plus is big enough for me to not need an iPad Mini. Considering sales of iPad Mini keep declining yet iPhone sales are rising, it’s fair to assume most people feel this way too. That includes smaller 4.7-inch iPhone owners.
It’s Old… Like Really Old
When you buy an iPad Mini 4, you are getting an old tablet. It’s running on Apple’s A8 processor, which debuted in the iPhone 6 all the way back in 2014. It’s not nearly as fast as the A9 in the new iPad, A9X in the 2016 iPad Pro or A10 Fusion in the iPhone 7.
Most of the other specs are on par with the new 2017 iPad like the first-generation Touch ID sensor and 8MP camera without flash. Still, an iPad Mini in 2017 is getting you a nearly three-year-old processor not even close in speed to Apple’s latest devices.
Spending Less Would Get You More
On par with the last point, spending less money gets you a better iPad pretty much across the board. A $329 iPad gets you a speedier A9 processor and a bigger display at 9.7 inches. Perhaps bigger isn’t always better, but considering you have more room to work with in a form factor that isn’t dramatically larger, I say it’s a good thing.
iPad Mini is officially niche.
The only area where iPad Mini truly outshines is in storage. The iPad Mini 4 is the cheapest way to get 128GB of storage in any Apple device. That essentially makes it perfect for people who need 128GB of storage, are on a budget, and also need a form factor smaller than 9.7 inches.
iPad Mini is officially niche since that is not a large group of people.
Spending A Bit More Would Get You Way More
On the flip side, you only have to spend a little bit more money to get a dramatically better device. An extra $30 gets you that same 128GB of storage in the larger and newer iPad, complete with the faster A9 processor and brighter display.
Let me also go out on a limb to paint a different picture. Many folks are quick to write off refurbished iPads, but there is almost no reason to buy brand new if refurbished is available. They almost always look brand new, come in the same packaging, and carry the same warranty. They’re fixed up and inspected to ensure they work like new too.
If you’re thinking the chances of getting a dud aren’t worth it, keep in mind there is also a chance of getting a dud when you buy something brand new. Sometimes things new or refurbished just don’t work and it’s no one’s fault.
Many folks are quick to write off refurbished iPads, but there is almost no reason to buy brand new.
All of that kept in mind, a refurbished 9.7-inch iPad Pro is only $419 on Amazon right now. That’s just $20 more than the iPad Mini 4 new out of the box. The iPad Pro is a better tablet in every way: it’s faster, has a better display, has better cameras, has LED flash, has newer Touch ID, and supports pro accessories like the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil.
Unless you’re a niche customer in need of an iPad Mini and nothing else, there is no good reason to buy one. If you’re even considering a larger iPad, at this point, it’s best to just get what’s larger and newer.