Best for most

iPod touch 7

More sophisticated

iPad mini 5

For younger children, or children who are more likely to damage an electronic device, the iPod touch 7 is a better "starter" device. Your child can listen to music, watch videos, play games, and FaceTime with grandma and grandpa.

From $199 at Apple

Pros

  • Less expensive
  • Compact
  • Comes in six colors
  • Comes with headphones

Cons

  • No Apple Pencil compatibility

For an older child or one who's into more serious video games or art, the iPad Mini 5 would be a better choice. With a larger screen, faster processing chip and Apple Pencil compatibility, the iPad Mini 5 is a more sophisticated device.

From $384 at Amazon

Pros

  • Larger screen
  • Apple Pencil compatible
  • Starts at larger capacity
  • Faster processor

Cons

  • Pricier

As a mother who has raised three children, I've seen what does and doesn't work for kids and tech. Handing over your own precious iPhone is a test of nerves while buying your children their own devices is expensive. So, you want to make the right choice. You really can't go wrong with either of Apple's entry-priced offerings. Which one you choose will depend on several factors, including the age of your children, what they'll be doing with the device, and how careful they are with their devices.

If you're not sure your child will handle an electronic device with the utmost care (even after a frustrating video game loss,) I'd pick the less expensive iPod touch 7 as a starter device. If your child is a bit older and more experienced and careful with electronics, the iPad mini 5 is more likely to please.

Know your child

Both devices have a lot to offer. Both are compact devices that are perfect for home or travel. They have a beautiful Retina display and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera for the budding photographer. Plus, they offer 1080p HD video recording for future YouTubers to hone their skills.

The iPod touch 7 stands out for its substantially lower price point. Plus, it comes with headphones, so you don't have to hear Vamparina and friends. It's tiny, which is great for tiny hands. You get your choice of six colors, which may or may not matter once you put a case on it. But the iPod touch 7 isn't just for little kids; it also makes a great second device for tweens or teens so they can leave their more expensive devices at home. However, if your child is prone to losing things, the iPod touch is easier to lose because of its diminutive size. In fact, my daughter, who is very careful and rarely breaks things, lost her first iPod touch when she left it in a rental car on vacation.

The iPad mini 5 would be my pick for a tween or older child who already has a proven track record of caring for delicate electronic devices. It's definitely a more sophisticated device with a faster processing chip, better front-facing camera, longer battery life, and Apple Pencil compatibility. The iPad mini 5 is a better gaming device as well as better for creating art. You also have the option to purchase a cellular-enabled iPad mini 5, so your child can access the internet anywhere.

One more specification that is important to consider is the amount of storage you need on the device. The iPod touch starts at 32 GB while the iPad mini starts at 64GB. Yes, 32GB will be plenty of storage for games, some music, and a few videos. But if they plan to download and store a lot of videos, that amount will be eaten up pretty quickly. The next storage level available on the iPod touch is 128GB, which will mean a $100 price bump. The iPad mini starts at 64GB of storage, which gives you a bit more wiggle room.

iPod touch 7 iPad mini 5
Colors available Six Three
Capacities available 32GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB
Size 4.86-by-2.31-by-0.24 inches 8.0-by-5.3-by-0.24 inches
Weight 3.1 ounces 0.66 pound
Screen 4 inches 7.9 inches
Retina display Yes Yes
Apple pencil compatible No Yes
Headphones included Yes No
Chip A10 Fusion Chip A12 Bionic Chip
Camera 8-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video recording 1080p HD 1080p HD
FaceTime camera 1.2-megapixel 7-megapixel
FaceTime video 720p HD 1080p HD
Siri Yes Yes
Cellular model available No Yes
Video playtime time on single charge eight hours 10 hours

The iPad touch 7 and the iPad mini 5 are two of the best entry-level devices Apple has ever offered. Just about any child would be thrilled to receive either one. The most important thing is knowing your child. Only you can know if he or she is better off with a smaller, less expensive device or if they are ready for a larger, more expensive device.

Our pick

iPod touch 7

Cheaper and smaller

Apple's lowest-priced iOS device is a great all-around choice. The iPod touch 7 offers a lot of functionality in a tiny package.

Better for older kids

iPad mini 5

More sophisticated

The iPad mini 5 is a more sophisticated device with a faster processor and Apple Pencil compatibility. It also has a substantially larger price tag.

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