iPad Pro vs. iPad Air 2 vs. iPad mini 4: Which iPad should you buy?

iPad Pro - heroWith the debut of the iPad Pro, Apple is adding yet another iPad model to its tablet lineup. The Pro version will be sold alongside the new iPad mini 4, the iPad Air 2, the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2. It’s an eclectic lineup and one that is worth a closer look.
ipad-mini-4-hero

Size Matters

The biggest differentiator between the devices is their screen size with the iPad mini models measuring 7.9-inches, the iPad Airs coming in at 9.7-inches and the iPad Pro breaking the mold with a 12.9-inch display. As we have mentioned in the past, the iPad mini is great for stashing in your bag and using it on the go, while the iPad Air is for media consumption, drawing and editing media files. This trend is even more true with the iPad Pro, which excels at editing and media playback due to its large screen. Drawing and editing is easier, but it comes with a cost and that is portability. The iPad Pro is big enough that you just can’t drop it into any bag and go. Unless you have a dedicated bag or case solution, the iPad Pro is more an at-home or at-work device.

ipad-pricing

Pricing

Another criteria that separates Apple’s current iPad lineup is pricing. Not surprisingly, the iPad mini models are the least expensive with a starting price tag of $399 for the base 16GB WiFi-only version of the iPad mini 4. The same 16GB version of the iPad Air 2 costs $499, while the entry-level iPad Pro starts at $799 for a 32GB WiFi-only configuration. As it has been in the past, the WiFi + Cellular model costs $129 more than its WiFi-only counterpart. The 128GB iPad Pro WiFi + Cellular is the premium configuration with a price tag of $1079.

iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3

Specifications

Use the handy table below to compare the hardware specifications of Apple’s most recent iPad models, including the iPad Pro, the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 4.  Let us know in the comments which iPad model you prefer and why.

Color, Capacity, and Price

iPad Pro iPad Air 2 iPad mini 4
Space, Gray, Silver, Gold Space, Gray, Silver, Gold Space, Gray, Silver, Gold
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
32GB — $799

128GB — $949

16GB — $499

64GB — $599

128GB — $699

16GB — $399

64GB — $499

128GB — $599

Wi-Fi + Cellular Wi-Fi + Cellular Wi-Fi + Cellular
128GB — $1079 16GB — $629

64GB — $729

128GB — $829

16GB — $529

64GB — $629

128GB — $729

Display

iPad Pro iPad Air 2 iPad mini 4
12.9‑inch (diagonal) LED‑backlit Multi‑Touch display 9.7‑inch (diagonal) LED‑backlit Multi‑Touch display 7.9‑inch (diagonal) LED‑backlit Multi‑Touch display
2732‑by‑2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi) 2048‑by‑1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi) 2048‑by‑1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi)

Chip

iPad Pro iPad Air 2 iPad mini 4
A9X third-generation chip with 64-bit architecture

Compared to A7:

CPU: 2.5x faster

Graphics: 5x faster

RAM: 4GB

A8X second-generation chip with 64-bit architecture

Compared to A7:

CPU: 1.4x faster

Graphics: 2.5x faster

RAM: 2GB

A8 second-generation chip with 64-bit architecture

Compared to A7:

CPU: 1.3x faster

Graphics: 1.6x faster

RAM: 2GB

M9 motion coprocessor M8 motion coprocessor M8 motion coprocessor

FaceTime HD Camera

iPad Pro iPad Air 2 iPad mini 4
1.2MP photos 1.2MP photos 1.2MP photos
720p HD video 720p HD video 720p HD video
FaceTime video calling over Wi‑Fi or cellular FaceTime video calling over Wi‑Fi or cellular FaceTime video calling over Wi‑Fi or cellular

iSight Camera

iPad Pro iPad Air 2 iPad mini 4
8MP photos 8MP photos 8MP photos
1080p HD video 1080p HD video 1080p HD video
Autofocus, Video stabilization, Face detection and more Autofocus, Video stabilization, Face detection and more Autofocus, Video stabilization, Face detection and more

Cellular and Wireless

All iPad Pro models All iPad Air 2 models All iPad mini 4 models
Wi‑Fi (802.11a, b, g, n, ac); dual channel (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi‑Fi (802.11a, b, g, n, ac); dual channel (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi‑Fi (802.11a, b, g, n, ac); dual channel (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
MIMO MIMO MIMO
Bluetooth 4.2 technology Bluetooth 4.2 technology Bluetooth 4.2 technology
Wi-Fi + Cellular Wi-Fi + Cellular Wi-Fi + Cellular
GSM/EDGE GSM/EDGE GSM/EDGE
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B
UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, DC‑HSDPA UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, DC‑HSDPA UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, DC‑HSDPA
LTE LTE LTE

Touch ID

Fingerprint identity sensor built into the Home button Fingerprint identity sensor built into the Home button Fingerprint identity sensor built into the Home button

Apple Pay

Pay with your iPad using Touch ID within apps Pay with your iPad using Touch ID within apps Pay with your iPad using Touch ID within apps

Power and Battery

iPad Pro iPad Air 2 iPad mini 4
Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi‑Fi, watching video, or listening to music

Up to 9 hours of surfing the web using cellular data network

Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system

 

Weight and Dimensions

iPad Pro iPad Air 2 iPad mini 4
Height

12 inches (305.7 mm)

Height

9.4 inches (240 mm)

Height

8 inches (203.2 mm)

Width: 8.68 inches (220.6 mm) Width: 6.6 inches (169.5 mm) Width: 5.3 inches (134.8 mm)
Depth: 0.27 inch (6.9 mm) Depth: 0.24 inch (6.1 mm) Depth: 0.24 inches (6.1 mm)
Weight (Wi-Fi): 1.57 pounds (713 grams) Weight (Wi-Fi): 0.96 pound (437 grams) Weight (Wi-Fi): 0.65 pound (298.8 grams)
Weight (Wi-Fi + Cellular): 1.59 pounds (723 grams) Weight (Wi-Fi + Cellular): 0.98 pound (444 grams) Weight (Wi-Fi + Cellular): 0.67 pound (304 grams)

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