The Difference Between the iPad 2 and the Mini 2

A Battle of Entry-Level Apple Tablets

The iPad Mini © Apple, Inc.

Despite both having a "2" stuck at the end of their name, the iPad 2 and the iPad Mini 2 are two very different tablets.  They are still iPads, of course, so they perform the same basic functions.  But while the iPad Mini 2 still performs with style and grace, the iPad 2 slogs along like yesterday's technology trying to keep up with today's features.  And for good reason.   The iPad 2 is two-and-a-half years older than the iPad Mini 2, which in tablet terms is a very long time.


Compare All iPad Models

The iPad Mini 2 Is an iPad Air, the iPad 2 Is Almost Obsolete

The original iPad Mini debuted alongside the iPad 4 but used the same technology as the iPad 2.  This allowed the first Mini to be priced at $329, which was quite a bargain compared to the $499 entry level price of the full-sized iPad.   The iPad Mini 2 was released alongside the iPad Air with a price tag of $399 and contains much of the same technology as its bigger brother.   

The Mini 2 is over six times faster than the iPad 2.  The graphics processor is almost three times as fast, which is good because the iPad Mini 2 has a 2048x1536 "Retina Display" compared to the iPad 2's old 1024x768 display, so the graphics processor must do more work to run the higher quality screen.   The iPad Mini 2 has double the random access memory (RAM) used for running applications and the 5 MP back-facing iSight camera on the Mini 2 is vastly superior to the 720p camera on the iPad 2.


The only thing the iPad 2 has going for it compared to the Mini 2 is the larger screen, and that is only a benefit if you really want the 9.7-inch form factor.  At 7.9-inches, the iPad Mini series is bigger than the 7-inch Android tablets.  It is both big enough to operate with ease and small enough to hold in one hand while manipulating it with the other.


Buy a Refurbished iPad Mini 2 From Amazon

Should You Just Skip on the iPad 2? 

Probably.  But the one thing we haven't discussed here is price.   The iPad 2 is no longer in production, so the only way to buy one is through a friend or services like eBay or Craigslist.   The iPad Mini 2 can still be purchased from Apple at $249 for the WI-Fi version.  You can buy a refurbished model for $229 and buy a used iPad Mini 2 for even cheaper.  

The iPad 2 is selling for around $80-$100 on eBay while the iPad Mini 2 goes from $160-$200.  Even with that price differential, the iPad Mini 2 is the far better deal.  The technology running the iPad 2 is now 5 years old and Apple may soon make it obsolete by no longer supporting it for future operating system updates.   But the iPad 2 will be support the latest operating system, so it still has a little life left in it, and the $80 spent will still run the vast majority of apps in the App Store.   The iPad 2 also makes a good iPad for a child.

A Guide to Buying a Used iPad

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