iPad Air vs. Retina iPad mini: Benchmarks, Display, Performance, Battery compared [Video]


While last year’s iPad mini was a couple of generations behind the larger iPad in terms of hardware internals, this time virtually the only difference between the Retina iPad mini and the iPad Air are their screen sizes. Both have an A7 chip, a 2048 x 1536 pixels Retina display and almost the same physical design.

But as it turns out there are some differences between the two devices, which could help you make a decision as to which iPad to buy. In this post we highlight some of these differences and similarities.

Size is the biggest difference between the two devices, with the Retina iPad mini’s display measuring 7.9 inches diagonally, and the iPad Air’s display measuring 9.7 inches diagonally. The both have the same resolution 2048 x 1536 pixels, but the Retina iPad mini’s display has a pixel density of 326ppi while the iPad Air has a pixel density of 264ppi.

ipad size comparison

The boot time of the two devices is nearly the same, but due to the differences in the clock speeds of the two iPads, the iPad Air scores higher than the Retina iPad mini in Geekbench 3.

ipad benchmark comparison

App and game launch times, website load times were nearly the same in both the iPads. Battery consumption too was nearly the same, with a 57 minute episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix with full brightness consuming 13 percent and 12 percent on the Retina iPad mini and iPad Air respectively.

The speaker on the iPad Air was noticeably louder than the Retina iPad mini, although that won’t make much of a difference to most people who use earplugs or external speakers with their iPads. There’s also some difference between the display saturation of the two iPads, with the iPad mini’s screen showing washed out colors on certain occasions.

Here’s an 11-minute long, detailed comparison video, covering the physical design, display, performance, benchmarks, boot times and the battery of the two iPads.

The Retina iPad mini starts at $399, $100 cheaper than the iPad Air, which starts at $499. Which one did you or will you choose to buy? Let us know in the comments below.