The iPad (5th Gen) vs the iPad Pro 2 vs the Mini 4

Which is the Right iPad For You?

The entire iPad family: Pro, Air and Mini. Image © Apple, Inc.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro now gives us four different sizes for the iPad, and with new updated specs, the iPad Pro series is now faster than ever. But which one is right for you? Size actually does matter, especially when it comes packed with a more powerful processor, but sometimes, smaller is actually better. We'll take a look at the newest Air, Mini and the all-new iPad Pro.

29 Things (and Counting) That the iPad Can Do

The iPad Pro 2

We might as well start with the latest and greatest from Apple. The refresh of the iPad Pro lineup not only brings 6-core processor that is 30% faster and has 40% more graphical performance than the original iPad Pro -- which was already as fast as most laptops -- it also brings both models in line, with both the 12.9-inch and the 10.5-inch models sporting a 12-megapixel back-facing camera and a TrueTone display capable of displaying a wide color gambit, which gives them theatrical quality. Apple has also increased the entry-level storage to 64 GB for both sizes, which is plenty for most people.

The iPad Pro is targeted at productivity, but it actually makes a great family iPad. The Pro has four speakers, one at each corner, which gives it excellent sound. When this is combined with the bigger screen size of the 12.9-inch model, it makes a great movie-watching experience. And the fast processor helps future proof the iPad Pro.

The downside? The 10.5-inch model starts at $649 and the 12.9-inch model has a $799 entry-level price tag.

The iPad (5th Generation)

After two models, Apple has dropped the "Air" moniker from the 9.7-inch model. And with the release of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the "5th Generation" iPad is now the only 9.7-inch iPad in production.

But while the name may have changed, this is still mostly an iPad Air 2. The biggest difference between the two is the inclusion of the Apple A9 processor, which is the same processor in the iPhone 6S and gives it a slight boost in performance compared to the iPad Air 2.

One confusing part of this iPad is Apple tagging it as the "5th generation" iPad despite the fact that the iPad Air was the 5th generation iPad and the iPad Air 2 was the 6th generation. Companies have often used version numbers as a marketing strategy, although usually the higher the number the better. It's probably easiest to just call this one the 2017 iPad.

While it doesn't compare in performance to the Pro line of iPads, this newest iPad is almost half the price, with an entry-level price tag of just $329. It's actually less than the entry-level price of the iPad mini 4, which makes it the cheapest way to step into an iPad.

What doesn't it have? The iPad Pro line of tablets is compatible with the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil accessories. They sport 12-megapixel back-facing cameras compared to the 8-megapixel camera on the 2017 iPad and have a "True Tone" display. However, except for a few specialized apps, the $329 iPad can run the same software and has all of the basic features, including the ability to multitask by bringing up multiple apps on the screen at the same time.

The iPad Mini 4

The iPad Mini 3 goes down in history as the worst upgrade to an iPad ever. The only difference between the Mini 2 and the Mini 3 was the addition of the Touch ID sensor, which in no way made up for the price difference.

But the iPad Mini 4 is not the same disappointment. In fact, the iPad Mini 4 is virtually the same iPad as an iPad Air 2, only in a smaller size. The only real difference is the use of the same A8 chip found in the iPhone 6 instead of the tri-core A8X chip found in the iPad Air 2. This makes the iPad Mini 4 almost -- but not quite -- as fast as the iPad Air 2.

However, the iPad Mini 4 does have a distinct disadvantage.

The entry-level price of $399 is actually more than the newest 9.7-inch iPad. This price tag does come with 128 GB of storage compared to the 32 GB of storage that comes with the entry-level 9.7-inch model, but you can upgrade that iPad to 128 GB of storage for $429.

So why get a Mini 4? Size. The smaller size means the Mini 4 can fit into a medium-sized purse, which gives it a certain amount of portability that can't be matched by the other iPad models in Apple's lineup. And while this might seem like a little difference, the more you have your iPad with you, the more you are likely to use it.

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