The iPad Mini – It doesn’t suck! – Device Comparison Grid for Kids’ Tablets

| November 3, 2012 | 7 Comments

I was skeptical as I purchased my 4th iPad, the new iPad mini on Friday when it arrived at my local Apple store. I was expecting lower performance or at least to be unimpressed by the smaller screen size. But in the end, this could be one of the best holiday gifts this season, especially for children.

Overall, the iPad mini is great for reading, including book apps and has access to a sea of iPad content for education and gaming. The smaller size can be a downside for video (especially since the iPad Mini lacks the retina display & processor of the latest iPad), and this tablet may not be ideal for advanced gaming experiences, but is more than enough for most users.

To see more about our thoughts about the iPad for educational content overall compared to Android, please read: The new iPad vs Nook Color vs Kindle Fire: Who has the best family tablet? and iPad vs Nook vs Kindle vs Nexus? The Tablet Wars Heat Up …

You can also see our updated device comparison grid, including our ratings of content selection & prices for education and reading apps for the iPad Mini, full size iPad 2/3, Nook Color, Kindle Fire, and Nexus 7.

Tablet Comparison Grid

Our handy grid, comparing the iPad Mini, full size iPad, Nook Color, Kindle Fire & Nexus 7 Tablets for Kids & Educational Use (click image for full table)

What we liked:

Great in portrait mode for reading and light enough to hold like a paperback for hours

Easier to handle for children, almost as if it was built as the “iPad for Kids”

Nice stereo sound & most iPad apps function beautifully, so access to lots of great content

Nice size for school or other education use in particular

Great size for travel, very portable, unlike full size iPads

What we didn’t like:

Processor is slower than new iPad

Screen resolution is lower than other new Apple devices, which can make text harder to read, especially on a smaller device

New charger not compatible with older iPads (although easier for users of iPhone 5 & other new Apple devices)

A bit too large to slip into a pocket or small purse, like the smaller Android tablets

What’s new:

Size – 7.9 x 5.3 – larger than other ‘small’ tablets like Kindle Fire & Nexus

Weight – .68 lbs (less than 1/2 the weight of latest iPad)

Thickness – .28 lbs (possibly the lightest tablet on the market)

New plug + Access to Siri (unlike iPad 2) 

Same resolution for cameras (front 720p & rear 1080p) & video capability as newer iPads

What’s old (similar to iPad 2):

Same processor as iPad 2

Same screen resolution as iPad 2

All buttons, settings, apps & iOS the same as current full size iPad


Any questions?

Category: All About Apps, iPads in Education, Tablet Buying Guides

About the Author ()

Carisa Kluver is the the editor of, an iPad children's book review site. She has a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and an MSW from the University of Washington. Before starting this project, she was a school counselor, health educator and researcher in child & maternal health.

Comments (7)

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  1. Alesha says:

    Thanks Carisa, I was surprised they priced it so high. I was hoping more like $200 – $250 max. We won’t be buying one. Might be the first “apple” product we didn’t run out and get.

  2. Kim Wiggins says:

    This is very interesting and just what I wanted to know! Don’t forget about the price! However, it seems comparable to the iPad2. Overall, the whole device seems just like the iPad2 except for the size. Is that accurate?

    • Yes, in many ways it is ‘just like the iPad 2′ although it has stereo speakers and double the resolution for the rear facing camera which is great for taking pictures. It is much lighter as well as smaller, making it perfect for kids.

  3. Mim Bizic says:

    I bought a new iPad mini yesterday, and like you, Carisa, was not disappointed at all. In fact, I was THRILLED that my new iPad educational story app developed for the iPad works beautifully on the new iPad as well!

    If you get a chance, please check it out! POWER OF THREE. iPad only…..
    Our local Beaver County newspaper called it “delightful–and useful–app for kids of elementary school ages. The writer, Michael Pound, also said, “The story is charming, but that’s not all that’s going on in the Power of Three. There are “Easter eggs” hidden everywhere (he meant little surprises!), presidential trivia and the ability to type and participate in the class that will keep the kids engaged. ”

    His favorite part he said was hearing my voice, Pittsburgh accent and all, providing the narration, as he said I am relentlessly encouraging…. “There’s a Mr. Rogers quality in both her voice and her message, one I think parents and kids will find delightful.”

    He ended with, “in a nutshell: I enjoyed Bizic’s Power of Three app and at $1.99, in the App Store, I think its worth a look.”

    I hope you agree! It’s very difficult to promote the app without spending more than you earn… so I’m trying my best to get the word out this way. I have a great accompanying website where teachers, students and parents can extend their learning….. from Tic-Tac-Toe games to Sports, to Science, to ———- all with the number THREE! :-)

    Do let me know what you think! And thanks so much for the opportunity to share it with you.
    Faith/Hope/Charity…… a great THREE to remember!

  4. Mim Bizic says:

    I’m embarrassed as I wrote Claris instead of Carisa! I hope you will change that for me!

  5. Margareta says:

    The Nexus 7 starts at only $199 for its 16 GB Wi-Fi model, and goes up
    to $299 for the 32 GB, HSPA+ model, which lists AT&T as its only carrier option.
    The second condition, because of that, is solved conveniently.
    i – Pad mini is slightly bigger than most of the other tablets in this segment that usually settles for 7.

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