Great overall iPad

iPad Air (2019)

Powerful features, compact size

iPad mini (2019)

The iPad Air (2019) provides users with high-end performance at a mid-level price. You get a larger 10.5-inch screen, a faster A12 Bionic chip for improved processing speed, higher capacity storage, and True Tone display. It's also the first non-Pro iPad to include the Smart Connector. But it still lacks Face ID and can only support the first-generation Apple Pencil.

Starting from $500 at Amazon

Pros

  • 10.5-inch screen
  • A12 Bionic chip
  • Up to 256GB storage capacity
  • Supports Smart Connector
  • True Tone display

Cons

  • No Face ID support
  • Only works with first-generation Apple Pencil

The new iPad mini (2019) basically packs in most of the same things as the new iPad Air (2019), but it's in a much more compact and smaller form factor. The A12 chip gives it three times the performance and nine times faster graphics than the previous generation. It's also the first iPad mini to support the Apple Pencil. Unfortunately, it still uses Touch ID and doesn't have the Smart Connector.

Starting from $399 at Amazon

Pros

  • Compact 7.9-inch screen size
  • A12 Bionic chip
  • 256GB storage capacity
  • Supports Apple Pencil
  • Screen 25 percent brighter
  • True Tone display

Cons

  • No Smart Connector support
  • No Face ID support
  • Only works with first-generation Apple Pencil

When you look at the iPad Air (2019) and iPad mini (2019), they both have very similar features on paper, with a few exceptions and the fact that one is more small and compact.

Let's break it down

Apple's latest offerings for the iPad Air (2019) and iPad mini (2019) are both pretty great, making it a little tough to decide which one is better. However, unless you absolutely prefer the smaller form factor, we think the iPad Air (2019) is the better pick.

iPad Air (2019) iPad mini (2019)
Cost From $499 From $399
Wi-Fi Only Yes Yes
Wi-Fi + Cellular Yes Yes
Storage capacity 64GB or 256GB 64GB or 256GB
Screen size 10.5-inch 7.9-inch
Dimensions 9.8-by-6.8-by-0.24 inches 8-by-5.31-by-0.24 inches
Weight 1 pound 0.66 pound
Display Retina Retina
Laminated Yes Yes
Antireflective coating Yes Yes
Wide color display (P3) Yes Yes
True Tone Yes Yes
Chip A12 Bionic A12 Bionic
Apple Pencil First-generation only First-generation only
Smart Connector Yes No
Front-facing camera 7MP 7MP
Video recording 1080p HD 1080p HD
Rear camera 8MP 8MP
Audio Two speakers Two speakers
Face ID No No
Touch ID Yes Yes

When you view them side-by-side, the iPad Air (2019) and iPad mini (2019) are very similar.

They both feature the A12 Bionic chip (a surprise to mini fans), so they're both capable of fast processing power and can handle resource-intensive apps nicely. They also both have support for the Apple Pencil, which is a first for the mini line. However, keep in mind that they both only work with the first-generation Apple Pencil. Both of them also have True Tone, so you get great color accuracy no matter what environment you're in thanks to the ambient light sensor. There's also plenty of room for media, games, and files since they both come in 64GB and 256GB varieties.

The only real differences come down to the screen size and support for the Smart Connector.

If you prefer larger screens to display more information at once, then the iPad Air is the way to go with the 10.5-inch screen. But if you prefer the small and compact form factor of the mini, but want a capable machine that's packed with some nice features, then the iPad mini is what you need.

Don't forget that the iPad Air (2019) also has a Smart Connector, which provides power and a data connection to certain smart accessories. For example, you can use Apple's own Smart Keyboard with the iPad Air, which doesn't require batteries and can be updated through the iPad itself via the Smart Connector.

Who should buy iPad Air 3?

If you want an iPad that's packed with a lot of powerful features similar to the iPad Pro, but for a lot less, then the iPad Air (2019) is a good pick. The screen got a nifty upgrade in size, the A12 Bionic chip means faster performance, and you can now have a Smart Connector for those cool accessories like the Smart Keyboard. It even supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, giving you a comprehensive iPad experience at a mid-level price.

Who should buy iPad mini 5?

If you prefer the small and compact form factor of the mini series, then you should definitely pick up the new iPad mini (2019). It packs in a lot of the same features as the new iPad Air (2019) (sans Smart Connector) and is also $100 cheaper.

Our pick

iPad Air (2019)

High performance, mid-level price

The iPad Air (2019) is a great upgrade from the previous generation. The screen is now slightly larger, the A12 Bionic chip means faster processing, the display features True Tone to help reduce strain on the eyes and provide color accuracy depending on your environment, and there's Smart Connector support. Plus, you can use first-generation Apple Pencil with it as well. Maybe we will see Face ID included next year.

Less is more

iPad mini (2019)

When you prefer the mini size but want powerful features

The new iPad mini (2019) is very similar to the new iPad Air (2019), but in a smaller package. It has the same A12 chip for better performance, True Tone display, first-generation Apple Pencil support, and also comes in 64GB and 256GB storage capacities. The only thing it's missing is the Smart Connector.

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