To help you better decide between the two models, we’re taking a closer look at the 2021 iPad mini and 2020 iPad Air.
Design and Screen Size
The iPad Air and iPad mini feature a familiar design. The screen takes up the entire front of the tablet. The iPad Air screen measures 10.9 inches while the smaller iPad sports an 8.3-inch screen. Both feature True Tone technology that will adjust the screen temperature depending on the lighting.
On top of both iPad models is a large power button that also doubles as a Touch ID sensor. Because of the smaller nature of the iPad mini, the volume control buttons are next to the power button.
A small magnet on the side of both tablets allows you to charge and keep the optional second-generation Apple Pencil ready to go.
Instead of a Lightning plug, both tablets sport a USB-C connector for charging and to connect to additional accessories like a hard drive.
One substantial difference to note is that the iPad Air features a Smart Connector on the rear, something lacking on the iPad mini. The Smart Connector is used to connect to Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio. The iPad mini is still compatible with Bluetooth keyboards.
Front and Rear Cameras
If capturing video and photos is important, the iPad mini has some great advantages.
The front camera of the smaller tablet is a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide camera with support for the great Center Stage feature. That will keep you in the frame even if you move around during a video call. It also features 2x zoom out and the ability to capture extended dynamic range for video at up to 30fps.
The iPad Air has a front FaceTime HD camera that can capture 7-megapixel photos along with video.
On the rear, the tablets feature the identical 12-megapixel wide camera. But the iPad mini also has a quad-LED True Tone flash to better capture images in low-light conditions.
Another difference between the two tablets is the available cellular connectivity. The iPad Air offers LTE connectivity while the iPad mini is compatible with faster 5G networks.
If you live somewhere with strong and fast 5G coverage, that’s a big plus if you’re interested in purchasing a cellular-enabled model.
A15 Bionic vs. A14 Bionic Processor
Because of being introduced after the iPad Air, the iPad mini features the A15 Bionic processor. The larger tablet uses an older A14 Bionic processor.
In day-to-day use, there probably won’t be a noticeable difference between processor speeds.
Color Options and Price
Both the iPad mini and iPad Air are available in a number of great hues. You choose from an iPad mini in space gray, pink, purple, and starlight. The larger iPad Air is available in five color options—space gray, silver, green, rose gold, and sky blue.
The iPad mini starts at $499 for a 64GB Wi-Fi version. The 256GB model is $649. For the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, you’ll pay $649 for the 64GB model and $799 for the larger version.
For the iPad Air, the 64GB Wi-Fi model is $599 with the larger 256GB model clocking in at $749. You’ll pay $130 more for the Wi-Fi + Cellular models.
Finding the Best iPad Model For Your Needs
No matter whether you choose the iPad mini or iPad Air, both tablets are tailor-made to keep you up and running for years to comes with a number of great features.
And if you’re set on the on iPad Pro, you’ll need to decide whether the 11-inch or 12.9-inch model is for you.