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Apple iPad Mini with Retina display (2) vs Apple iPad Mini: What’s different?

This evening Apple unveiled its second generation iPad Mini; a 7.9-inch tablet which carries the all-important Retina display upgrade, amongst others.

Unlike all of Apple’s annual iPad updates, the price doesn’t stay the same for the iPad Mini with Retina display – not the iPad Mini 2, remember! In case you’ve been wondering what makes the second better than the first, here’s a full rundown of the improvements and differences.


iPad Mini with Retina display: 7.9-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 resolution, 324 pixels per inch

iPad Mini: 7.9-inch, 1,024 x 769 resolution, 162 pixels per inch

As the name suggests, this is the key upgrade and one that tech fans the world over had hoped would be a feature in the original iPad Mini before it came out. Apple skimped on the display the first time around and allowed the likes of Google and Amazon to since launch Full HD devices with much sharper displays. Now it has caught up and launched a small tablet with a resolution that’s higher than your Full HD TV.

Processing power

iPad Mini with Retina display: 64-bit Apple A7 + M7 coprocessor

iPad Mini: 32-bit Apple A5

In terms of processing power, the new iPad Mini absolutely blows its predecessor out of the water. Along with the display we were slightly disappointed with the A5 chip in the iPad Mini, but it did the job. The A7 chip boasts quadruple the processing performance and a whopping tenfold improvement in graphics power, so gaming should be a joy. Thankfully battery life is still at the 10 hour mark, too.

Just like the iPhone 5S, the A7 chip works in partnership with the new M7 coprocessor that collates information from movements to work with a new breed of fitness app. We’re not convinced anyone will be taking their iPad Mini to the gym though.

Slightly thicker and heavier

iPad Mini with Retina display:  200 x 134.7 x 7.5 mm, 331g

iPad Mini: 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm, 308g

It’s really nothing and perhaps won’t be noticed by the majority, though the iPad Mini has put on a little bit of weight – 23 grams and 0.3 millimetres of thickness, to be precise.

More storage

iPad Mini with Retina display: 16, 32, 64, 128GB

iPad Mini: 16GB

The new iPad Mini with Retina display brings a new storage option: 128GB. Apple is also ditching the 32GB and 64GB versions of the original iPad Mini and will only sell the 16GB version going forward.

Faster wireless

Both the iPad Mini and iPad Mini with Retina display use dual band Wi-Fi but the new model also adds MIMO, which means there are two antennas inside which allow the tablet to quickly switch between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi spectrums to ensure a constant speedy connection. There’s also 4G LTE connectivity available on the Wi-Fi + cellular models.

Price hike

iPad Mini with Retina display: Starting at £319 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only

iPad Mini: Started at £269 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only (now £249)

Presumably thanks to the Retina display and new M7 processor, the iPad Mini with Retina display starts at £319 – £60 more than the iPad Mini did originally. Prices go up to £659 for the 128GB Wi-Fi + cellular model – previously the top end 64GB iPad Mini with Wi-Fi + cellular was £529.

Apple has left the release date of the new iPad Mini rather vague, with the tagline of ‘Coming later in November’ sitting on the site. Pre-orders can be made through the online Apple store right now, though you’ll have to sit on your hands and wait for an email from Apple about the shipping dates.