iPad vs. iPad mini


As a lover of the iPad, it is very difficult for me to admit that purchasing the iPad mini has made me think it’s the size the iPad should have been in the first place. I’ve now been using my iPad mini for a week and it simply makes so much more sense as a proper mobile device. The apps are the same and the feel is the same, it’s just half the weight and much more portable in your handbag, not that I have one!

In landscape view, the iPad’s keyboard feels pretty much the same size and with a condensed screen of the same resolution the pictures and various things are much crisper. The original full-sized iPads with a case around them were virtually the same weight as a small coffee table book. The new iPad mini really feels like a normal book in your hand and you look a lot more normal in public when reading.

As an upgrade from my iPad 2, the extra features in these new devices have been very useful already. For example, this entire blog post has been dictated to the new microphone dictation feature on the keyboard. This new feature makes very few mistakes and has been very useful in churning out large pieces of writing. It has also been very nice finally having a proper camera, with all 5 megapixels. I would say that not having the Retina screen is actually a benefit as it increases the relative power of the iPad with its new A5 processor not having to process all those extra pixels. To be honest, looking at photos and films seems the same to me.

I find that with creative apps the workspace or paper can be zoomed in on and so haven’t really noticed any difference having a smaller screen. You do have to be slightly more careful when making clicks on webpages but again you can zoom to solve this problem.

Everybody I have handed it to to have a play with has immediately said they want one and would swap it their full-sized iPad. I also feel that students, particularly at primary school, will prefer the size. I have always felt that primary school children would struggle long term, working continuously with a full sized iPad, due to its weight.

Just one negative
A smaller size means a slightly weaker wireless pickup and your school will need a good wireless coverage for it to receive full signal. Saying that, I’ve not had any problem in my school or in cafes. I’ve just noticed that I generally have two bars on my wireless icon rather than my usual three.

The iPad mini is still an iPad, just more portable, flexible and less intrusive in the classroom. I thought the iPad was the perfect student accessory but the iPad mini has proved me wrong.


  • Feels more natural to hold
  • Better cameras
  • Even less intrusive in the classroom
  • Better for reading
  • Dictation and Siri
  • Less weight means less RSI issues

One extra great experience was the complete iCloud backup transfer from one iPad to the other – Amazing! All apps, files, data and settings – all over wireless at school. I love Apple!

17 thoughts on “iPad vs. iPad mini

  1. I guess the remaining issue may be around the use in primary schools as a collaborative device.. That is a shared screen with 2 or 3 others… I know the solution is an Apple TV… But more thinking of small groups.. Suspect that it may be too little.. But will reserve judgement…

    1. With the 16gb mini’s price running parallel with the new iPod touch, it will be the answer for 1 to 1 primary schools. Pictures and movies look great on it with the pixels condensed. My wife and I have both developed a little RSI in the fore arm with the iPad 2 and will appreciate the weight loss! :-)

  2. Hi, Tom – Curious about your comment RE: state testing consortia. Wonder if you have a reference for this that might indicate why a 7″ tab might be a poor choice for state testing. Not saying I disagree but would love to see the rationale for eliminating a form factor.

    1. After posting this I got these 2 tweets:

      @joshuakoen said: “For US Schools, iPad mini might be great but screen resolution does not meet minimum @PARCCPlace requirements, so, Nope”

      @tvanderark said: “great comparison of #iPad v mini, but 7″ tabs won’t be supported by state testing consortia”

      But I don’t know the details behind their statements.

  3. E-learning has become common to transfer skills and knowledge. EF Englishtown has made a new development in online learning with their latest ipad application. Through this latest application student can turn their iPads into a live classroom which sounds very exciting. The idea of virtual education is still not very mature in eastern world but western world is more technology friendly and well equipped with digital mode of learning.

  4. Hi, what do you think about the size of the iPad mini for a 10-year-old’s hands? I was planning to get an iPad 2 for my daughter, however she prefers the iPad mini. She’ll use games and YouTube, obviously. She’ll also use iMovie for AGSM (American Girl Stop Motion) videos, WordPress app for her blog, and iWork for school. I’m most concerned with iWork. Have you experienced children’s hands fatiguing with the mini or full-size? I’m not worried about Retina displays. Functionality and usability trump the display for her first iPad.

    Thanks for your response!

    1. Any fatigue issue is much greater with the full size iPad, especially in the hands of a young person. Students find the mini a lot more practical as student life is generally quite mobile and already involves carrying stuff around. Hope that helps.

      1. in reference to the post and reply above about iPads v’s iPad minis – do you think ch’n collaborate ok using an iPad mini as well as a full size? looking at minis for school for ch’n aged 5 – 12

      2. From my limited experience of group viewing of a single iPad mini, I would say that people don’t notice any difference and made no comment about difficulties,

      3. Thanks, iPad4Schools. I ended up getting the iPad mini for her last night (she LOVES it). it fits in her hands well and it doesn’t look like there will be a problem. (We “used” the mini on-and-off since it came out, testing it in her hands at Apple stores and other resellers. She never complained after usage then, either.)

  5. I have been advocating the iPad mini instead of the iPad since I purchased my mini over a year ago. The H&S concerns (RS, fatigue, broken toes etc.) and the ergonomics just makes common sense!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s