What’s the difference between the iPad mini, iPad and iPad Pro?
The most obvious difference between the iPad mini and other models in the iPad family is is, of course, its size; with a 7.9-inch display, it is significantly more compact. It also not quite as powerful as the larger iPads - though it’s no slouch and is still fast enough for the latest apps and games.
This table shows key specifications for the various types of iPads currently available:
|iPad Pro 9.7||9.7 inch, 2048x1536 res||32GB, 128GB, 256GB||A9X 64-bit, M9 coprocessor||Silver, Gold, Space Grey, Rose Gold|
|iPad Pro 12.9||12.9 inch, 2732x2048 res||32GB (Wi-Fi only), 128GB, 256GB||A9X 64-bit, M9 coprocessor||Silver, Gold, Space Grey|
|iPad||9.7 inch, 2048x1536 res||32GB, 128GB||A9 64-bit, M9 coprocessor||Silver, Gold, Space Grey|
|iPad mini 4||9.7 inch, 2048x1536 res||128GB||A8 64-bit, M8 coprocessor||Silver, Gold, Space Grey|
Are there different versions of the iPad mini?
Since the original iPad mini there has been the iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and now the latest version, the iPad mini 4. While each has had various upgrades along the way they all share some core features: a 7.9-inch screen and non-expandable internal memory between 16GB and 128GB.
At present, the only officially available model produced by Apple is the iPad mini 4. Older models were available as refurbished deals in the past, but the networks no longer have any remaining stock for these offers.
Should I buy a refurbished iPad mini?
A refurbished iPad is one that has been returned within the 30-day cooling-off period, or due to a fault. It is then repaired or prepared for resale and offered at a cheaper price.
Refurbished deals can be great value. In many cases, the devices will look good as new. But always check you’re getting a warranty in case of problems.
Do I need to get an iPad mini with a SIM card?
In order to use a mobile broadband SIM with an iPad mini you must have a version which supports a SIM card. Otherwise, it will be limited to Wi-Fi only.
All iPad mini with mobile broadband packages you see listed on Broadband Genie are for the versions with SIM card support.
I already own an iPad mini - can I use a mobile broadband SIM?
There are SIM-only deals which you can pair with any suitable iPad, but if your iPad does not have a SIM card slot you have a Wi-Fi only model and these cannot be used.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get mobile broadband but you will need to choose a mobile Wi-Fi dongle deal instead. These provide mobile internet connectivity over Wi-Fi and will work with any iPad, or any other device which supports Wi-Fi. You can also use a Wi-Fi dongle to share the connection with multiple devices at once.
Which SIM card do I need for the iPad mini?
All versions of the iPad mini require a nano-SIM card. If you purchase an iPad mini with mobile broadband, or a SIM-only deal, the correct SIM card will be included.
What’s the best network for the iPad mini?
Signal strength is absolutely crucial to getting fast mobile broadband so the most important factor when selecting a network is looking at which has the strongest signal in the areas where you will be using it most often.
Click the network logos to access the official coverage check tools and find out which network has the best availability in your area:
Should I buy an iPad mini or contract or pay upfront?
iPad mini deals are available with a contract or pay-as-you-go (PAYG) deal.
When it comes to the mobile broadband part of the equation, the key difference is that PAYG requires regular top-ups, making it better suited to occasional use. Contract deals usually provide more data for the money, but since you’re committing to paying the monthly fee for up to 24 months it’s best for those who are going to use it frequently.
The other major difference is the setup cost. With a contract deal, you’ll often pay a relatively small amount initially (or perhaps nothing) with the remaining cost of the iPad mini spread over the contract. But PAYG deals require you to pay the full price in one lump sum.
Contract deals can be a good way to spread the cost, but check the overall price for the length of the contract as you may be paying more compared to buying an iPad mini and SIM-only deal separately.
How do I compare iPad mini offers?
We want you to be happy with the deal you choose so we’ve designed our comparison tables to make it easy to quickly filter offers and locate the best package.
First, always check network coverage using the coverage checker links above. Once you’ve found a network that has good coverage, use the comparison table filters to include particular features that matter - and exclude things you don’t want - to narrow down the options. The table can then be sorted by things such as data limit and price.
iPad mini deals are changing all the time so if you don’t see anything suitable right now keep checking back. And keep an eye out for special offers which could save even more.
What should I look out for to get the best iPad mini deal?
Not sure where to begin when comparing iPad mini packages? Here are a few pointers to help you on your search.
The ‘pay now’ column on the comparison table shows up much you’ll have to pay when signing up for the package. Some contract deals may be very cheap or free, but the cost will be added to the monthly price.
Contracts may be one month (rolling monthly, or “no contract”), 12 months, 18 months or 24 months. Typically, the longer the contract the more data you’ll get for the money, but you are committing to paying for the service for the entire term, and early cancellation may be expensive.
The monthly price displayed is for the cost of the data package and, if applicable, a fee for the iPad mini itself. Stay within the data limits and your monthly price will not change.
This affects how much you can use the internet each month. It’s important to choose a data limit that closely matches your requirements otherwise you could end up paying too much or being hit with extra fees for exceeding the cap (unfortunately there are no networks offering unlimited usage, though some of the most expensive packages have very high caps). Read our mobile broadband data usage guide for more information on selecting the right data limit.
The quoted "up to" speeds are a best-case scenario and realistically it’s not going to achieve these very optimistic figures. But the iPad mini is a 4G device so you can still expect very fast speeds when connected to a 4G network.