Apple iPad mini with Retina Display (iPad mini 2) vs Apple iPad mini
When the Apple iPad mini first came out, it featured the slim bezels and narrower thin looks currently being used by the Apple iPad Air giving the mini the advantage in terms of design. At the time, many users were wondering why the Apple iPad mini didn't have a Retina screen, with many guessing that this and other features would come in the next generation of iPad mini touchscreen tablets. Well, they were right as the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display or iPad mini 2 packs a much denser pixel density and higher resolution screen. It also offers several hardware upgrades, but do these additional features make the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display the better choice? Should you buy the Aple iPad mini with Retina Display even though you may already have an Apple iPad mini? Read our comparison between the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display vs the Apple iPad mini for a full analysis on what your choice should be.
Design - No change except for the Retina Display
Lining up both the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display next to the Apple iPad mini shows that both are identical in terms of design. The initial slim bezel and narrow look have not been changed. However, at 7.2mm thin, the original iPad mini is actually thinner than the iPad mini with Retina Display, which is 7.5mm thin. It is also lighter as the iPad mini weighs in at 308g compared to the iPad mini with Retina Display which weighs 331g. Other measuerments like height and width remain the same though. While the iPad mini with Retina Display is heavier and thicker, it is still a very lightweight and easy to carry about tablet. The only discernible difference is the Retina Display which offers a much higher 324 ppi pixel density than the 162 ppi pixel density of the original iPad mini. On the Retina Display screen images, text and video are sharper, clearer and just pop more than the other 7.9-inch screen despite the 768 x 1024 pixel resolution screen on the iPad mini already being quite sharp and clear already.
While thicker and heavier the overall design of the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display remains the same except for the Retina Display
Tech Specs and Features - Faster 64-bit processor and Wifi
A quick look at our Technave.com comparison tool reveals that the new Apple iPad mini with Retina Display now has a faster 1.3GHz dual-core Cyclone processor with Apple A7 chipset and quad-core PowerVR G6430 graphics. An additional M7 coprocessor helps the 64-bit A7 chipset handle all the accelerometer and other sensor data, which helps make the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display more energy efficient. Graphics-wise the PowerVR G6430 is a lot more powerful and compatible with OpenGL ES 3.0 for even more detailed graphics. Granted, there aren't many games or apps which are both 64-bit and use OpenGL ES 3.0 but this will change soon as more apps like this appear. In comparison the iPad mini only uses a dual-core A5 chipset which is 5 generations older than the A7 processor in the iPad mini with Retina display. In addition, the iPad mini with Retina Display packs in 1GB of RAM and 16GB to 128GB of storage while the iPad mini just has 512MB of RAM and 16GB storage options (the Malaysia store currently has the iPad mini in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage options, but this could change when the official pricing comes out). Connectivity has also been improved with a better dual-antenna MIMO design (faster and better wiFi) and even more LTE bands for the iPad mini with Retina Display. Other specs like the 5MP rear camera have not changed but the iPad mini with Retina Display can do 3X zoom which the iPad mini cannot. Like the Apple iPad Air, the iPad mini with Retina Display also does not have a Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
The most obvious tech spec differences between the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display and Apple iPad mini are highlighted above
Performance - the iPad mini with Retina Display is 5x more powerful
Since the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display has the same tech specs as the Apple iPad Air, it offers similar Geekbench 3 scores of around 2643 while the Apple iPad mini chugs along at a mere 496. This easily makes the iPad mini with Retina Display more than 5x more powerful than the iPad mini. If benchmarks aren't your thing, a simpler way of putting it is that on the iPad mini with the Retina Display it only takes seconds to load an app which would take minutes on the iPad mini. Both tablets are relatively lag free but the hardware on the iPad mini with Retina Display is clearly faster and more capable. Battery life is more or less the same at more than 10 hours, perhaps because the iPad mini with Retina Display packs a larger battery. More exhaustive battery tests have yet to be done but the iPad mini with Retina Display still has a few more minutes battery life than the iPad mini.
The performance for the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display is nearly identical with the Apple iPad Air
Price - Possibly an RM350 Difference
While we have yet to get official pricing for the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display, the Malaysia pricing of the Apple iPad mini 16GB WiFi version has gone down by RM50 from RM999 to RM949. Currently the US pricing for the 2 Apple iPad mini tablets is $299 (RM952) for the 16GB Apple iPad mini WiFi version and $399 (RM1270) for the 16GB Apple iPad mini with Retina Display WiFi version. This could mean that the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display will be priced at RM1249 or RM1299 for a nearly RM350 price difference between the two tablets. This price could change either higher or lower but we don't expect to see the official price until the end of November 2013 or the end of 2013.
With the current RM949 price of the Apple iPad mini, the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display is expected to cost about RM300 to RM350 more
Conclusion - Well worth the price
Looking at the comparisons above it seems like a nobrainer. If you are choosing between the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display and the Apple iPad mini, the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display is clearly the better option. You only pay about RM300 to RM350 more for a more powerful and up-to-date tablet with more memory that is future proofed for 64-bit apps and OpenGL ES 3.0 games. Even if you already have the Apple iPad mini, we also recommend an upgrade to the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display. While the newer tablet is thicker and heavier you get a much faster tablet with a much better display and nearly the same ease of use and portability. The WiFi on the newer tablet is also faster and you have even better LTE compatibility than before, making the Apple iPad mini with Retina Display well worth the extra amount of money you pay for it.