iPad mini With Retina Display vs iPad mini: Worth the Upgrade?

Dubbed the “iPad mini with Retina Display,” Apple's sequel to the iPad mini bumps up the 7.9-inch display’s resolution to a crisp 2048 x 1536, the same as the brand new iPad Air. Unfortunately, that increased sharpness comes at a much sharper price: $399 even as Apple cut the price on the original mini to $299. Is the new mini worth an extra $100 ? Here’s a full spec rundown to help you decide:

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1 Row 0 - Cell 2
Row 1 - Cell 0 iPad mini with Retina DisplayiPad mini
Starting Price$399$299
CPU64-bit A7 with M7 motion coprocessorDual-core A5
Display7.9 inches/ 2048 x 15367.9 inches
OSiOS 7iOS 7
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours continuous web browsing10:33 continuous web browsing
Size7.87 x 5.3 x 0.29 inches7.87 x 5.3 x 0.28 inches
Weight0.73 pounds0.68 pounds
Front/Rear Camera1.2-MP (720p HD)/5-MP1.2-MP (720p HD)/5-MP

Aside from the beefier, 64-bit processor and sharper panel, the iPad mini with Retina display is essentially the same as its predecessor. The new mini even sports the exact same dimensions while weighing just .05 pounds more. What those crisper visuals and more powerful A7 chip will get you is access to high-end mobile games, like "Infinity Blade 3" and "Call of Duty: Strike Team," in the form they were meant to be played. And this is just the beginning for Apple's entry into 64-bit tablet computing--surely developers will invent new ways to take advantage of the added performance in the months ahead.

If you're looking for a more manageable form factor in which to play the latest mobile games or watch HD movies, then the iPad mini with Retina display is your ticket. But all you need is a lightweight slate to handle your iTunes music, play "Words with Friends" and update Facebook, you can save $100 and get last year's iPad mini for $299. 

Joe Osborne
Joe Osborne joined the Laptopmag.com staff in 2013, focused on improving LAPTOP’s already stellar review coverage and original benchmark tests. With a B.A. in Journalism from Temple University, Joe has covered the games and tech scenes through reviews, hands-on previews, news, interviews and more for outlets like PCMag and AOL’s Games.com.