Tech

iPad Mini 3 vs. iPad Mini 2: Is it worth the upgrade?

By April Taylor , Oct 17, 2014 10:01 AM EDT

Apple's new Retina iPad Mini 3 is now official, boating Touch ID, Apple Pay, and a new gold color option, but is it enough to make it worth the upgrade?

Despite the new additions, the new-generation iPad Mini with a Retina display is essentially not very different compared to its predecessor. While the iPad Mini 2 came with notable upgrades over the original iPad Mini, this year's iPad Mini 3 seems to have more modest updates.

To get a better idea of how the new iPad Mini 3 stacks up against its predecessor, here's a comparison of the key aspects of both tablets.

Display

The iPad Mini 2 launched last year gave the iPad Mini series the display it should've boasted right from the start. The iPad Mini 3 makes no improvements in this department, however, coming with the same IPS panel as the iPad Mini 2, i.e. a 7.9-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, at a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi).

Body

In terms of appearance, the iPad Mini 2 came as one of the most compact slates on the market, measuring 7.87 x 5.3 x 0.29 inches (200 x 134.7 x 7.5 mm), which just so happens to be the exact size of the new iPad Mini 3. In other words, the iPad Mini 3 doesn't sport any notable improvements in this department either, albeit for the new color scheme borrowed from the iPhone's palette.

Touch ID

One aspect that does feature notable improvements is security, as the iPad Air 3 finally comes with Apple's much-touted Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Touch ID uses biometric technology to allow users to safely unlock their device, as well as make secure purchases. The iPad Air 2 launched last year does not feature Touch ID, nor the new Apple Pay, as the new-generation iPad Mini 3 does.

Processor

This department may bring disappointment to some, as the new iPad Mini 3 boasts no great improvements under the hood compared to its predecessor. Both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 pack an Apple A7 processor and M7 coprocessor, albeit the new model should come with a few tweaks here and there.

Camera

The iPad Mini 3 comes with a 5-megapixel iSight camera, as did the iPad Mini 2, as well as a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera. New software features, however, aim to improve the camera experience on the new iPad Mini 3, adding neat treats such as Face Detection, video stabilization, new shooting modes such as burst selfies and slow-motion videos, and more.

Storage

The iPad Mini 2 came in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions, and Apple also added a 128GB version. The new iPad Mini 3 now comes in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB configurations, with no 32GB model.

Connectivity

The iPad Mini 3 comes with Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Blutooth 4.0, and optional LTE. Considering that it didn't gain the ac Wi-Fi standard as the new iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 3 remains identical to the iPad Mini 2 in this department.

Battery life

When it comes to battery performance, the iPad Mini 3 again seems to be unchanged compared to its predecessor. The iPad Mini 2 delivers up to ten hours of video playback, music, or web browsing, as does the new model.

Operating system

Lastly, the new iPad Mini 3 ships with the latest iOS 8.1 out of the box, while its predecessor shipped with iOS 7 on board. The iPad Mini 2 can be easily upgraded, however, so no big changes grace this department either.

Bottom line

in conclusion, the most notable changes and improvements the iPad Mini 3 has to offer compared to its predecessor are Touch ID functionality, Apple Pay, and a new gold color option. Other than that, the new iteration is mainly the same as the iPad Mini 2, which means that many may consider that it's not worth the upgrade. For more information about the iPad Mini 3, head over to the product page at this link.

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