The best of the iPad

Apple iPad Air (2019)

Small and mighty

Apple iPad Mini (2019)

The new iPad Air (2019) offers a great choice for those looking for an all-round excellent iPad. The larger screen will appeal to more people, the A12 bionic chip offers fast performance, and the True Tone display offers more color accuracy based on the light around you. Sadly, it only supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, and only uses Touch ID but it's the best of the iPad in a familiar package.

From $499 at B&H

Pros

  • Much Larger 10.5-inch screen
  • Latest Apple A12X processing package
  • Smart Keyboard compatible
  • Supports the Apple Pencil

Cons

  • Only two storage sizes available
  • Only supports first-gen Apple pencil
  • No Face ID support

The iPad Mini is the smallest and most powerful iPad that Apple has ever made. It features Apple pencil support, a True-Tone Display and the TouchID fingerprint sensor. The Apple A12 bionic processor offers the latest in Apple processing power and means this is one powerful, yet miniature, iPad. Sadly, it doesn't have a Smart Connector so you can't use Apple's smart keyboard with it.

From $399 at B&H

Pros

  • Compact 7.9-inch screen
  • More portable form factor
  • Latest Apple A12X processing package
  • Screen is more dense than iPad Air
  • Supports the Apple Pencil

Cons

  • Only two storage sizes available
  • Not compatible with the smart keyboard
  • Only supports first-gen Apple pencil
  • No Face ID support

Apple's latest offerings inside the iPad Mini (2019) and iPad Air (2019) make both devices pretty great. It's tough to decide which one is better, but unless you absolutely need the smaller form factor, we think the iPad Air (2019) is the better choice for most people.

What's the same and what's different?

There's lots of similarities between these two products but one key differences: size. The iPad Mini (2019) offers much of the same features as the iPad Air (2019), in a smaller form factor that's better for using on the go, or as an e-book reader.

Category iPad Air (2019) iPad Mini (2019)
Cost Starting at $399 Starting at $499
Wi-Fi only Yes Yes
Wi-Fi + Cellular Yes Yes
Screen size 10.5-inch 7.9-inch
Dimensions 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.24 inches 8.0 x 5.3 x 0.24 inches
Weight 1.0 pound 1.0 pound
Storage options 64GB or 256GB 64GB or 256GB
Display Retina Retina
Resolution 2224-by-1668 pixels 2048-by-1536 pixels
Display features Oleophobic coating
Fully laminated display
Anti-reflective coating
Oleophobic coating
Fully laminated display
Anti-reflective coating
True Tone display Yes Yes
Display density 264 ppi 326 ppi
Chip A12 Bionic A12 Bionic
Apple Pencil First-generation only First-generation only
Smart Connector Yes No
Back camera 8MP 8MP
Front camera 7MP 7MP
Audio Two speakers Two speakers
Face ID No No
Touch ID Yes Yes
Colors Space Gray, Silver, Gold Space Gray, Silver, Gold

Side by side, the iPad Air (2019) and the iPad Mini (2019) are almost identical.

Both feature the A12 Bionic chip (making the Mini especially, the most powerful small iPad that Apple has ever released). Both are capable of handling the most resource-intensive apps, and with iOS 12, you can use multiple apps side-by-side (a first for the iPad Mini). The both support the Apple Pencil – which is a first for the iPad Mini line-up – although this is only the first generation Apple Pencil.

Both feature a Retina display with True Tone display which means it's easier on your eyes, and you get great color accuracy regardless of which environment you're in. There's plenty of room for apps, games, media and files as they both now come with either 64GB or 256GB of storage.

The only differences are screen size, screen density and support for the Smart Connector.

The iPad Mini is the best small tablet on the market, but has traditionally been underpowered. The iPad Mini (2019) solves all of these problems, and with Apple Pencil support, you can finally use those great drawing apps for the first time on the Mini line.

The smaller 7.9-inch screen means it's more portable and perfect for one-handed use. If you need a larger screen however, the iPad Air (2019) is an excellent choice with a 10.5-inch screen. The iPad Mini (2019) also has a slightly more dense screen so images should be a little sharper, but both of these iPads offer the excellent Retina display.

The iPad Air (2019) beats the iPad Mini (2019) overall as it supports the Smart Connector, which provides power and data for compatible accessories. This means you can use it with the Apple Smart Keyboard, which can be powered and updated via the smart connector. If you want to use a keyboard with the iPad Mini (2019), there's no smart connector so you'll need to use a bluetooth keyboard which isn't as seamless.

Who should buy the iPad Air (2019)?

If you're looking for a large-screen iPad that has a lot of the iPad Pro features at a more affordable price, the iPad Air (2019) is a great pick. The screen is lightly larger than the old iPad Air, the latest processor means it can handle all the apps you want to run, and most importantly, it supports the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. You don't get some of the bells and whistles of the iPad Pro line-up, but you get an excellent overall iPad at a much lower price.

Who should buy the iPad Mini (2019)?

If you have an iPad Mini already and want something the same size, or want a powerful iPad to use on the go, the smaller screen size of the iPad Mini (2019) is an excellent pick. It has almost all the same features as the iPad Air (2019) and is the most powerful small iPad that Apple has ever made. It doesn't have the Smart Connector, but is $100 cheaper, making it appealing if you're on a budget.

Upgraded for 2019

Apple iPad Air (2019)

Excellent performance at an affordable price

The new iPad Air (2019) offers a complete package for those who want a big screen, but don't need all the feature thats the iPad Pro offers. The 10.5-inch screen means you can see more at once, the Smart Connector allows you to connect Apple's official keyboards and you can use the first-generation Apple Pencil as well.

Small but mighty

Apple iPad Mini (2019)

Incredible performance in a compact size

The new iPad Mini (2019) is a huge improvement over the outdated previous version. The latest A12 bionic chipset offers the best performance, it now supports the Apple Pencil and the True Tone display means its less harsh on your eyes. It doesn't feature a Smart Connector so you'll need to use a bluetooth keyboard, and there's no Face ID but this is one small, and mighty, iPad.

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