HELP! Which iPad Should I Buy?

Apple recently annoucned the new iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina (coming in late November) and announced that they would continue to sell the iPad 2 and the original iPad Mini. While the announcement brought excitement about the new products, it has also brought confusion and left a lot of consumers asking: “Which iPad should I buy?” Well here’s a little guide that might help.

For starters, I wouldn’t recommend going for one of the older models: iPad 2 or the original iPad Mini. While the lower prices of these units might be tempting, you’d miss out on some features that are worth the additional investment. The iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina both sport A7 chips and Retina displays. Not to mention the sleek new size on the iPad Air.

If you’re wondering what makes the A7 chip and Retina displays so great, let me give you quick rundown. The A7 chip sounds like a lot of techie mumbo jumbo but it actually delivers much faster performance and improved graphics and visual effects. As for the Retina display, if you don’t believe me, take a stroll down to your nearest Staples computer department and ask them to show you the difference. I bet you won’t need anymore convincing.

So now that we’ve gotten the matter of the old models out of the way, what about the new ones? Well, this is where it gets a bit trickier and I’ll have to default to the good old “different strokes for different folks” adage.

Basically, it comes down to size. The new iPad Air is slimmer and lighter but it’s still a sizeable device at 9.4” by 6.6”. The Mini on the other hand, is nice and compact at 7.87” by 5.3”. The question here is, do you prefer a larger screen or a compact form factor?

The next big decision is storage size. Again, the answer here is different for everyone but with the multitude of cloud storage solutions available to us, you might need less storage than you think. If you’re always connected and can access your cloud solutions most of the time, it might be safe for you to go with the 16GB. If you’re a road warrior who’s often stuck in situations without a network and need to store files, movies, music, and photos directly on your device, you should probably consider going for one of the larger capacity models.

Both the iPad Mini with Retina and the iPad Air offer Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + Cellular options. If you have a smartphone with an ample data plan, I recommend going for the Wi-Fi only option and using your phone as a hotspot when Wi-Fi isn’t available. If however, you’re still sporting a vintage Nokia with Snake on it, you might want to spring for the Cellular enabled option with a data plan.

And finally, colour...I’m partial to silver myself but I don’t think you need a tech expert to help you make that decision.

By Mike Agerbo

November 12, 2013