Which Budget iPad Is Right for You?

If you want to step up to one of Apple’s latest iPads, you have two budget options: the iPad (10th generation) and the iPad mini. Both tablets come at a very similar price point, have a modern design, and are great tablets.

But while these devices have their similarities, they deliver slightly different iPad experiences. So, if you’re having trouble deciding, here’s how the iPad (10th generation) stacks up against the iPad mini.

Price: Both iPads Are Great Budget Picks

The iPad (10th generation) and the iPad mini are both great budget iPads. The 10th-gen iPad starts at $449, while the iPad mini retails at $499. That’s a big discount compared to the iPad Air, which starts at $599, or the iPad Pro, which will set you back $799 minimum.

To be fair, Apple still sells the older 9th-gen iPad for $329. But most users are probably going to want to skip it. It sports a design that’s starting to feel ancient and is powered by an outdated processor.

That means the iPad (10th generation) and the iPad mini are the most affordable iPads most people should consider buying.

Design: Big Screen vs. Little Screen

Image Credit: Apple

With the release of the iPad (10th generation), Apple finally modernized the entry-level iPad. Apple updated the 10th-gen iPad with a larger 10.9-inch screen and ditched its predecessor’s big chin and forehead bezels. The company also finally got rid of the iPad’s Home button and moved Touch ID to the Lock button at the top.

All these changes make the 10th generation iPad feel much more like a premium product and bring it in line with models like the iPad Air and iPad Pro.

Similarly, the iPad mini also features a near-bezel-less display and a Touch ID sleep/wake button. But the biggest difference between these two tablets is dthe isplay size. When compared to the iPad (10th generation), the iPad mini sports a smaller 8.3-inch screen.

Power: Which iPad Is Faster?

Editing video with an iPad mini
Image Credit: Apple

At the heart of the iPad (10th generation), you’ll find the A14 Bionic processor. While it was a beast in its day, it’s a few years old now. Although the base iPad features an older processor, it still manages to blow most Android tablets out of the water.

On the other hand, the iPad mini has the newer A15 Bionic chipset inside. That’s the same processor that powers the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus. Because the iPad mini shares the same processor as some of Apple’s newest devices, you can expect to handle almost any task without breaking a sweat.

But if you’re all about speed, remember that neither the iPad (10th generation) nor the iPad mini comes with Apple’s top-end M1 or M2 chipsets. However, both tablets should be able to keep up with most of your daily needs.

Although both tablets are fast, the iPad mini has a more powerful processor than the 10th-gen iPad, so expect it to run faster and last you a bit longer.

Portability: Taking Your iPad on the Go

Woman using an iPad (10th generation)
Image Credit: Apple

If you’ve used the iPad Air or iPad Pro, the 10th-gen iPad is around the same size as those devices. That means it can fit wherever the other premium models can—pretty much all backpacks and laptop sleeves. And because the device weighs just a little over a pound, you can toss it into your bag without feeling weighed down.

But when it comes to portability, the iPad mini beats the 10th-gen iPad, hands down. Its smaller size makes it feel like a go-anywhere, do-anything device. In fact, the device is so portable that some people have wondered if you can use an iPad mini as your phone.

The iPad mini’s smaller size means you can take it to many more places. People are putting the iPad mini in their pockets, taking it on planes, and even using it as their car’s infotainment system.

Gaming: Handheld Gaming vs. Mobile Console

Gaming on an iPad mini
Image Credit: Apple

For many people, the iPad mini is the ultimate portable gaming device. The iPad mini’s form factor straddles the line between a big phone and a small tablet. That size makes it feel right at home in your hands. That means you can hold the iPad mini for long periods without getting tired, making it the perfect way to get a big-screen experience while playing your favorite mobile games.

Because the iPad (10th generation) is bigger and heavier than the iPad mini, most people will find it awkward to hold for a long duration. The 10th-gen iPad can still be a great gaming device, but it’s more suited to be used as a display with a controller.

Although it’s not as great as the iPad mini for mobile gaming, pairing the iPad (10th generation) with services like Xbox Cloud Gaming can be a great experience.

Accessories: Which iPad Has Better Gear?

iPad (10th generation) with Magic Keyboard Folio
Image Credit: Apple

One of the biggest differences between these two iPads is the available accessories. Along with the redesigned 10th-gen iPad, Apple also released the Magic Keyboard Folio, which adds features like a trackpad, stand, and full keyboard. That means you can use the iPad (10th generation) like a laptop, which adds a ton of functionality to the device.

Apple hasn’t released an official keyboard case for the iPad mini. So, if you want to turn your iPad mini into a mini laptop, you’ll have to use a third-party solution. But unlike the 10th gen iPad, the iPad mini has full Apple Pencil 2 support. That means you can magnetically clip the Apple Pencil 2 to the side of the iPad mini and charge it wirelessly.

Strangely, the 10th-gen iPad isn’t compatible with the Apple Pencil 2. Instead, you’ll need to use the older first-generation Apple Pencil with the Lightning connector. But because the iPad (10th generation) is equipped with a USB-C port instead of Lightning, you’ll need to use an awkward dongle to charge it—which costs extra.

Pick the Right Budget iPad for You

Choosing between the iPad (10th generation) and the iPad mini really comes down to what you want to do with your device.

If you’re looking for a big-screen tablet experience on a budget, the 10th-gen iPad could be an excellent option. But remember that it isn’t compatible with some of Apple’s best iPad accessories, like the Apple Pencil 2.

That said, if you’re looking for a small tablet that packs a ton of power and versatility, you can’t go wrong with the iPad mini.

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