By Khurram Aziz | Nov 07, 2012 08:56 AM EST
November marks the release of Apple's fourth and fifth generation tablet computer simultaneously, the iPad 4 alongside the iPad Mini.
In many respects, the 7.9-inch iPad Mini is a stripped-down version of the iPad 2, built on the same dual-core A5 processor and 512MB of RAM. It's being launched with an eye on rivals Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire - both 7-inches tablets - in a bid to tap a market looking for a lighter and cheaper tablet.
However, it's no match for the iPad 4 in hardware capabilities. So anyone looking to choose between the two versions of the tablet will need some good reasons to pick the smaller model. Here are the top five reasons why you should go for the smaller model:
The obvious benefit of a slimmed down tablet is that the device is much easier to carry and hold in use. This makes the iPad Mini a far more practical device for tasks such as reading ebooks or browsing the Internet.
At 9.7-inches, the iPad 4 has its benefits too. For one, the 2,048 x 1,536 pixels Retina display, which packs 264ppi is, is far better for watching movies than on the Mini's 1,024 x 768 pixels display with only 163ppi resolution.
However, for other common tasks, such as taking photos or using the face-time feature, as well as playing two-handed video games, the Mini's size has a clear advantage. As does the fact that it's less than half the weight of the iPad 4.
If the form factor isn't going to swing your decision, then perhaps the price difference will. The Mini starts at $329 for the 16GB Wifi version, going up to $459 with 4G. That's quite cheap, when compared to the iPad 4, which starts at $499 for 16GB with Wifi and goes up to $629 with 4G.
Admittedly, the price point pales in comparison to the other 7-inch offerings, such as the Nexus 7 (which you can get for $250) and the Kindle Fire (starting at only $199). However, Apple has never gone after the lower end of the market, and what you're getting with a Mini is a completely redesigned and updated iPad 2 experience, which in many ways surpasses the iPad 3.
Better for video games
Despite its slower processor and less-crisp display, the iPad Mini is, in fact, better for gaming than the iPad 4. The main reason is its size.
At 7.9-inches it's more comfortable to hold in two hands using the virtual buttons presented on-screen for most games, providing an experience akin to playing the Sony PSP or Nintendo 3DS XL. This is especially true in landscape mode where it becomes difficult to hold the iPad 4 as a gaming device.
You could even argue, with the extra screen size, the Mini is more suited to gaming than both the Sony and Nintendo devices.
Feels more like a portable camera
Let's be honest. Using the regular iPad as a hand-held camera is a thoroughly awkward experience. The size of the screen makes it almost impossible to view your pictures unless you hold the device at arm's length.
That problem remains with the iPad 4. However, the iPad Mini is much more suitable as a camera. The 5-megapixel camera is more than good enough for taking quick snapshots and 1080p video recording, and the 1.2-megapixel front camera is equal to the iPad 4 with its FaceTimeHD capability.
Use apps designed for both the iPad and iPhone
The iPad Mini comes with the same iOS 6 you get with the iPad 4 and iPhone 5. The fact that it sits between the two in size means it's perfect for running apps designed both for the larger and the smaller devices.
Apps designed for the iPhone, which look overblown on the 9.7-inch iPad, look great on the Mini, as do those apps designed for the bigger tablet. For many, that will be a deal maker.
The iPad 4 is a superior device when it comes to raw hardware, and the fact that it has Retina display gives it a clear edge over the Mini. It's better for video, it's smoother and more powerful. However, the Mini works for the budget-minded consumer looking for a highly portable device that can be used to read, to type, to take pictures, and to enjoy the full range of apps available in Apple's iOS ecosystem.
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.