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 ($399 at Apple)If you're on a budget: iPad mini 4 (From $309 at Apple)
It's impossible to find a new iPad mini 3 these days
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, 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
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.
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.
Small but mighty
The iPad mini 5 is the same as the latest regular iPad, but smaller. You get the same A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, Wide Color Display with True Tone, and 1st-generation Apple Pencil support. It only lacks a Smart Connector.
A good budget iPad
The iPad mini 4 is still available refurbished from Apple. It's still good for the basics, but the display doesn't have Wide Color and True Tone, nor does it have Apple Pencil support. However, the price is right.
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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.