iPad Air vs. Retina iPad Mini 2: 3 Ways the 9.7-Inch iOS 7 Slate Easily Beats its 7.9-Inch Apple Sibling

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By Erik Pineda | December 9, 2013 2:41 PM EST

When the first iPad Mini was released in late 2012, it romped its way to the top and dislodged the original iPad as the world's preferred tablet. Many wondered: Will the 9.7-inch tablet form-factor remain relevant?

The answer came a year later as Apple defied the so-called compact tablet trend and reinvented its game-changing iPad. For the fifth build, the tech giant put together powerful components that were deftly squeezed into its signature metallic tablet casing that simply overwhelms the rivals.

In the iPad Air, the 9.7-inch screen was maintained but not the bulk and heft of the former builds. In a sense, Apple read the writings on the wall - that tablet users want their iPads sexier and portable at the same time. So the tech titan had the iPad revised, radically.

And the iPad Air delivered, making up for what were lacking when the first iPad Mini materialised. The unnecessary was ditched while the features that pulled great sales number were further enhanced.

Instantly, reviewers were sold. CNET said the Air is now breathing hard on iPad Mini, showing off its superlative characters while proving that big-screen is also portable. Gotta Be Mobile concluded that the bigger iPad is simply spectacular and Apple will have a hard time outclassing this latest build.

As for BGR, the tech site declared that "the iPad Air is undoubtedly among the best there is. All things considered, it is the best. Hands down."

And to sum up their collective findings one month after the iPad Air was unleashed, here are the three areas where the bigger iPad really showcases its glittery capabilities, literally dwarfing over the second 7.9-inch iPad Mini edition

Portable and mobile but productive still

No doubt, the biggest plus that can be attributed to the new iPad is its screen size. Last year it was the iPad bane as more shoppers picked up the smaller iPad Mini. But that is not the case anymore as Apple's reengineering works gave the impression that while the Air has a 9.7-inch viewer, there was no compromised at on it being a portable and mobile tablet.

And with its screen more sprawling than the Mini 2, the extra inches translate to better productivity, which indeed is premium to a great deal of slate users. Of course, the amusement factor was not lost in the redesign. In fact, entertainment in the iPad Air moved in a higher level, which brings us to the next topic.

Sleeker build with the same immersive Retina display rendition

The first iPad was sexy enough and it only got sexier in the fourth iteration. But the problem was, the iPad Mini introduced another sleek concept so for some months, the sexy iPad 4 was eclipsed.

But that is not the case in the fifth iPad. If sexy would prompt consumers to plunk down some cash, then the iPad Air is a winner. True it is a bit wider and taller than the Mini 2 but it is slimmer because the make is well distributed.

It appears too that 9.7-inch is the sweet spot to best handle Retina display panel, which in the Mini 2 is slightly compromised. In short, the iPad Air is better cooked up, inside and outside, reflective of the best that Apple engineers can serve out.

High-end components and top-notch value

Apple made sure that the iPad Air delivers the right mix of specs and features. It has a 64-bit dual-core processing chip, which means that it is not only faster than the iPad 4 - it is also forward-looking like the iPhone 5S before it. Noteworthy to mention again is Retina.

Sure these things cost, which explains the $500 starting price tag. But when users consider that they would extract years of fun and productivity from the iPad Air, then there is no argument that they're getting top-line value for every dollar. The iPad Air is no cheap but so does the service and features that it comes pack with.

And there is one solid bonus in picking out the iPad Air over the Retina-toting iPad Mini 2 this Christmas. The bigger tablet is readily available while there is no assurance if the Mini 2 will come in steady supply for the holidays.

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