iPad Air 2 vs iPad Mini 3: How do Apple’s two newest iPads stack up against each other?

ipad air 2 vs mini 3 ipadspec

It wasn’t long ago Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage in Cupertino, California to announce the new iPhones. At a recent October event, Apple announced two new iPads, a lineup of new iMacs, and unveiled its new OS Yosemite. Now that the dust has settled on Apple’s second big event in two months, we’ve analyzed each of the company’s new additions to its iPad lineup.

Each iPad features unique upgrades over its predecessors — however minimal for the Mini 3 — so we’ve stacked the two up against each other to see where the two models differ.

iPad Air 2


iPad Mini 3

Size 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 (in) 7.87 x 5.3 x 0.29 (in)
Weight 0.96 lbs 0.73 lbs
Display 9.7-inch LED multi-touch display 7.9-inch LED multi-touch display
Resolution 2048 x 1536 2048 x 1536
Operating System iOS 8.1 iOS 8.1
Storage 16, 64, or 128GB 16, 64, or 128GB
Processor Apple’s A8X chip and M8 motion coprocessor Apple’s A7 chip and M7 motion coprocessor
RAM Not announced yet Not announced yet
Camera Front 1.2MP, Rear 8MP Front 1.2 MP, Rear 5 MP
Video Front 720p, Rear 1080p Front 720p, Rear 1080p
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, Bluetooh 4.0 Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, Bluetooh 4.0
Sensors Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor,barometer, and Touch ID Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor,and Touch ID
Battery Up to 10 hours of web surfing, watching videos, or listening to music Up to 10 hours of web surfing, watching videos, or listening to music
Charger Lightning connector Lightning connector
Marketplace Mac App Store Mac App Store
Price 16GB – $499, 64GB – $599, 128GB – $699 16GB – $399, 64GB – $499, 128GB – $599

Power and Productivity

Both the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3 run Apple’s current operating system, iOS 8.1, which promises the most user-friendly interface and a new set of features. Users of either tablet have the ability to utilize Apple’s Continuity feature, its upgraded messaging system, as well as the company’s new Family Sharing mode. Where these iPads truly begin to differ is in regards to each tablet’s processors.

Apple included its new A8X chip in the Air 2, compared to the A7 chip in the Mini 3. The A8X chip is 40 percent faster than the A7 and boasts 2.5 times faster graphics than its predecessor. Additionally, the M8 motion coprocessor chip in the Air 2 packs all the same sensors as the Mini 3’s M7, but now features a new barometer that measures steps, distance, and elevation. Overall, the Air 2 has the more powerful processor and graphics unit. However, both models boast the same length of battery life, giving users up to 10 hours of Web surfing, video watching, and music listening. Both tablets now feature Touch ID sensors, as well as the ability to use the new Apple Pay system in apps.


Aside from its weight, the iPad Air 2 trumps the Mini 3 in every design category. It packs a bigger screen (9.7 inches to 7.9 inches), is 1.3 inches wider, and is slightly thinner than the Mini 3. It’s obvious the Mini 3 wasn’t expected to best the Air 2 in any of its design specifications, so the Air 2’s edge in this category should come as no surprise. The Air 2 does come standard with a fully laminated display and an antireflective coating, both of which remain absent on the Mini 3. Simply put, if you want a bigger screen go with the Air 2; if you want a more compact tablet, opt for the Mini, though you might want to buy the second-generation for $100 less instead (the only new spec on the Mini 3 is Touch ID).


Only the iPad Air 2 saw significant upgrades with its camera, as Apple decided to upgrade its rear facing lens from 5 to 8 megapixels. Moreover, Apple gave the Air 2 the ability to shoot slow-motion video, as well as the option of using Burst Mode while taking photos. The iPad Air 2’s A8X processing chip features a built-in image signal processor, which also makes it more advanced than the Mini 3. For starters, its improved face detection technology allows for the camera to keep more faces in focus while snapping photos. The Air 2’s iSight camera also boasts upgraded noise reduction, which means all of your photos should turn out clear and sharp. Both iPads have the ability to shoot 720p video with the front-facing camera and 1080p video with the rear-facing camera.

Price and Availability

Preorders for both the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 begin October 17, with shipments to follow shortly thereafter. The iPad Air 2 comes with either 16GB of storage for $500, 64GB for $600, or 128GB for $700. Similarly, the Mini 3 comes in a 16GB version for just $400, 64GB at $500, or 128GB at $600. If preordering online isn’t your thing, Apple plans on making the Air 2 and Mini 3 available in its retail stores starting October 24. Many retailers and carriers will also offer the new iPads.


Apple has yet again improved its impressive line of tablets and continues to dominate the industry. While the iPad Mini 3 sees very few upgrades over its predecessor, the iPad Air 2 is a significant improvement in nearly every category. Its upgraded processing chip, top-tier camera, improved Retina display, and the inclusion of Apple’s new Touch ID put the Air 2 at the top of the tablet class. If you’ve got the extra dough, we recommend splurging for the iPad Air 2; it won’t disappoint.


Walmart drops a killer deal on the Apple iPad Mini 4 tablet

The Apple iPad still reigns supreme in the tablet market, and the pint-sized 7.9-inch iPad Mini is the perfect everyday carry companion. Now’s the perfect chance to score a deal on the last-gen iPad Mini 4 before it’s gone for good.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.

Add style and functionality with the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases

No tablet should be without protection, especially an expensive one. Check out our picks for the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases, so you can add some protection, functionality, and style to your new device.

Apple iPads and iPad Pros get price cuts up to $150 on Amazon

In the market for a new iPad? Now might be the time to buy -- Amazon has discounted a range of iPad models, including the 10.5-inch, 11-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, plus the standard iPad.

Solve a galaxy of problems with a simple reset of your S10

If your Samsung smartphone is acting up, then you may want to try resetting it. We'll show you how to overcome simple issues with a soft reset and also how to tackle bigger problems or prep it for sale with a factory reset.

Step into Childish Gambino’s musical universe with the Pharos AR app

Childish Gambino seems to be on a mission to take over everyone's smartphones. Now you can experience his musical and visual universe through his new Pharos AR app, available on Android now and iOS soon.

Before buying a Fitbit, check out these Garmin fitness trackers under $100

The Apple Watch is a great fitness tracker, but it's not cheap. Thankfully, there are plenty of fitness trackers under $100, and they offer many of the same features. Here are the best fitness trackers under $100.

iFixit's teardown might show the reason the Galaxy Fold keeps breaking

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.

Need a minute to yourself? Buy some alone time with the best tablets for kids

Looking to keep those tiny fingers and brains busy? Tablets aren’t just for grown-ups, and many are kid-friendly! Here's our list of the best tablets for kids, with parental controls and plenty of tempting features to satisfy your…

Bigger isn’t always better: 5 of the smallest smartphones worth buying

Phones are getting larger and larger, but what options exist for the small-of-hand, or people who just want a phone they can use one-handed? In a world of phablets, some of the smallest smartphones can still pack a punch.

Waze vs. Google Maps: Which map app should you be using?

Waze and Google Maps are two of the most popular apps for those looking for turn-by-turn navigation, yet there are some notable differences to point out. Here, we examine both to decide which offers the best feature set.
Health & Fitness

Google’s redesigned Fit activity tracker is now an iOS app

Google Fit has landed for iOS. The activity tracker offers the same clean design that arrived with the major revamp of the Android version a year ago, with features such as Move Minutes and Heart Points also included.

Stunning photo shows Honor 20 will get the full Moschino designer treatment

Honor will launch the Honor 20 on May 21, at an event taking place in London. A special Moschino version will also be revealed, potentially with a Lite version, and perhaps even another model also showing up on the day.

Leak says Huawei will supply 5G equipment to the U.K., but with a caveat

A leak from the U.K.'s National Security Council says Huawei has been approved to supply certain 5G infrastructure equipment, but not the core components related to secure aspects of the network.