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  • iPad Air and iPad Retina Mini Buying Guide
Technology Articles > Gadgets > Tablets > iPad Air and iPad Retina Mini Buying Guide

If you wandered into any bookstore or electronics store lately, you've probably seen a shiny lineup of new iPads. You may even be inclined to purchase one. But, trying to figure out which iPad is right for you can be confusing - and sales people rarely help!

Let's take a look at the new iPad options, so that you can walk into a store with confidence knowing which iPad you want to purchase. Here's your complete iPad buying guide.

Things in Common

The iPad Air, Retina iPad Mini both have:

FaceTime HD Cameras
1.2-megapixel photos
720p HD video
Apple A7 processors
iSight cameras (5-megapixel photos and 1080p HD video)
WiFi capabilities
Bluetooth 4.0
Various outputs

As you can see, both of these iPads have almost identical parts.

Pricing Differences

Even though both of these iPads are identical inside, the pricing is far from the same.

iPad Air: $499 (16GB of space)/ $929 (128GB)
Retina iPad Mini: $399 (16GB) / $829 (128GB)

Why the $100 dollar difference? If both iPads have the same components inside, why should there be any difference in price at all?

Why the Air is More Expensive

What's the difference between the Air and the Retina iPad? It's all about the size of the display. There are no differences where parts are concerned, but the iPad Air is bigger. Now, this may seem like a small detail, but the size of your iPad matters more than you may think.

The iPad Air is: 9.7 inches
The iPad Retina Mini is: 7.9 inches

Because of its size, the iPad Retina Mini is lighter than the air. If you're looking for a tablet based on portability, the Retina Mini is easier to carry around - but you won't get as big of a screen display.

Is Size or Weight Important?

The Retina Mini weighs in at .73 pounds. The iPad Air weights just 1 pound.

Does it matter which one you choose?

Here's how I would shop for an iPad:

1. What are you going to do with it? If you plan on watching a lot of movies or playing mostly games, the larger Air is a better option. If you just want to use your tablet for casual reasons, you will be happy with the Mini.

2. Price. Price matters when it comes to buying a gift or a gadget to use daily. If you're going to replace a laptop with your tablet, go for the more expensive one. If you just want a bigger screen, $100 isn't a huge leap.

On the flip side, both of these tablets are identical where power and functionality are concerned, so maybe you will want to save that $100 and buy the less expensive iPad. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preferences, but no matter what any sales person tells you - the only difference between the iPad Retina Mini and the iPad Air is size. That's it.

Which iPad will you buy? Got one already? Like it? Hate it? Let me know!