Should you buy an iPad mini 3 in 2020?

iPad mini 3 and red iPod touch
iPad mini 3 and red iPod touch (Image credit: iMore)

Should you buy an iPad mini 3 in 2020?

Best Answer: No, you shouldn't buy an iPad mini 3 because the device has been discontinued since 2015, and it is pretty hard to find. If you need a small iPad mini, but you're on a budget, then it may be better to buy an iPad mini 4. However, we recommend purchasing the latest iPad mini 5. It's faster and more feature-rich than its predecessors, including first-generation Apple Pencil support.The latest and greatest: iPad mini 5 (opens in new tab) ($399 at Apple)If you're on a budget: iPad mini 4 (opens in new tab) (From $309 at Apple)

It's impossible to find a new iPad mini 3 these days

iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 and iPhone 6 Plus

iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 and iPhone 6 Plus (Image credit: iMore)

One of the biggest reasons why we don't recommend buying an iPad mini 3 in 2020 is because you aren't going to be able to find one to purchase, at least not brand new. You may find some leftover stock at retailers like Best Buy (opens in new tab), but these are pre-owned and definitely not brand new.

However, if you are looking for an iPad mini 3 because of the price, then you'll have better luck with iPad mini 4. That's because Apple is still selling these in its refurbished online store, and they start at about $309 for the highest capacity (128GB) Wi-Fi only model. You can even still find the iPad mini 4 at other authorized resellers. But if you don't mind spending a little more, then the iPad mini 5 is definitely the best iPad mini you can purchase right now.

iPad mini 5 is small and mighty with powerful new features

iPad mini 5

iPad mini 5 (Image credit: iMore)

The iPad mini 5 comes with the A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, making it much faster than the previous iterations with A8 and A7, respectively. You can also get the iPad mini 5 in up to 256GB storage capacity, a bump up from both the iPad mini 3 and 4's 128GB.

And while there isn't much difference in terms of physical appearance between the three models, the iPad mini 5 is the first of the mini line to have a Retina Wide Color display with True Tone. So, it looks better in different lighting situations and is easier on the eyes.

The iPad mini 3 also only had a 5MP Wide camera. While both the iPad mini 4 and 5 have an 8MP Wide camera, the iPad mini 5 also has a 7MP front-facing camera, versus the 1.2MP found on both the iPad mini 3 and 4 models.

The most significant advantage that the iPad mini 5 has, though, is the support for the first-generation Apple Pencil. This is the first model of iPad mini that can use an Apple Pencil, so you can take handwritten notes and draw with great precision, including tilt and pressure sensitivity. The Apple Pencil is also easy to pair (and charge) since all you need to do is plug it into the iPad mini's Lightning port.

iPad Mini

iPad Mini (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

However, while the iPad mini 5 is pretty much a smaller version of the seventh generation iPad (the same internals and Apple Pencil support), it lacks the Smart Connector that the 10.2-inch iPad has. This means that the iPad mini 5 cannot use Apple's Smart Keyboard and must rely on Bluetooth keyboards only, much like the previous generations.

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.