Interface and Functionality

Yup, they’re both running iOS 8.1 – so nothing is different, except that we have more room to work with on the iPad Air 2.

This one should be quick and straight to the point, just because both tablets are running the same exact software experience - iOS 8.1. Looking around the two interfaces, there’s certainly nothing different about them – with the exception that there’s more room to work with on the iPad Air 2, thanks to its larger display.

And with that in mind, it makes the iPad Air 2 the supreme choice when it comes to doing heavy productivity work. From typing up long emails, to editing a spreadsheet file, everything is undoubtedly easier to manage with the larger iPad. Then again, we’re still able to the same kind of work with the iPad mini 3, but of course, we’re a bit more cautious in the way we proceed with certain things – like using the on-screen keyboard in landscape, seeing that its layout is significantly more cramped.

In terms of multimedia consumption, you can’t go wrong using either of them – albeit, size is yet again the deciding factor. Watching videos is more ideal with the larger screen of the iPad Air 2, but for some folks, they would prefer the iPad mini 3 over its sibling when it comes to reading. Ultimately, though, the experience is identical with the two.

Processor and Memory

Superficially, the two tablets respond well to basic tasks, but the newer chip in the iPad Air 2 propels it to greater heights when it comes to gaming.

Who knows what the exact reasoning behind it is, but Apple did not upgrade the processor inside of the iPad mini 3. That’s unfortunate, obviously, because it doesn’t quite exhibit the same gaming performance seen over on the iPad Air 2. Powered by a 64-bit based dual-core Apple A7 chip with 1GB of RAM, the iPad mini 3 on the surface produces the same responsiveness with basic tasks as the beefier triple-core 1.5GHz Apple A8X processor with 2GB of RAM that’s powering the iPad Air 2. When it comes to gaming, however, there’s no comparing the two, as the iPad Air 2 screams loudly over its sibling.

Apple has followed a new direction with its mobile products this year, where both tablets here are available in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities. That’s a wide range to choose from, but it’s a variety we appreciate.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Apple iPad Air 2 62856
Apple iPad mini 3 35513
Sunspider Lower is better
Apple iPad Air 2 303.3
Apple iPad mini 3 443.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Apple iPad Air 2 52.2
Apple iPad mini 3 22.7
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Apple iPad Air 2 24.1
Apple iPad mini 3 8.9
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Apple iPad Air 2 1880
Apple iPad mini 3 999
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Apple iPad Air 2 1811
Apple iPad mini 3 1373
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Apple iPad Air 2 4488
Apple iPad mini 3 2478

Internet and Connectivity

Size, that’s the sole differentiator when it comes to the web surfing experience with Safari on both iPads. Their performances, not surprisingly, are identical in the way that pages load very quickly, rendering is done instantly on-the-fly, and that navigational controls exhibit that tight and responsive feel. Donning the larger panel, we have more room to work with on the iPad Air 2 – making it the preferred option for the experience.

The set of connectivity features in tow with the tablets here are identical. Therefore, they offer aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi.



1. Sauce2

Posts: 199; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Where's the late crowd at! 3am and no one to "discuss" these articles with!

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5695; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Not really much to discuss with theses two IMO If you want more portability get the Mini, if you want more power get the Air

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Not sure why Apple scrimped on the SoC for the mini. Regardless, the mini trails the 6+. The mini is now Apples red-haired step child. Don't be surprised if 2014 edition mini sales are off from mini sales in 2013.

3. leenwen

Posts: 6; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

I really want a Apple product, but I don't have the money to afford it. I just can afford a chinese phone. And Chinese phone is not bad, but very cheap.

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 31092; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

What about Craigslist, other 3rd party sites? Are they more expensive in China?

6. lithium451

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

"The set of connectivity features in tow with the tablets here are identical. Therefore, they offer aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi." According to Apple website and Phonearena device page the Mini 3 does NOT have 802.11ac wi-fi.

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