iPad vs. iPhone vs. iPod touch

How does the hardware and software stack up?

At first glance, Apple's 2018 line of iOS devices—the iPad Pro (2nd generation), the iPad (6th generation) and iPad mini 4, the iPhone X and iPhone 8 series, and the iPod touch (6th generation)—appear to be similar to one another. They use the same operating system, run most of the same apps, look a lot alike, and have some of the same hardware features. So what is it—besides size—that sets them apart?

This article compares the 2018 Apple iOS lineup: iPad Pro (2nd generation), iPad (6th generation), iPad mini 4, iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPod touch (6th generation).

iPad vs iPhone vs iPod Touch
  Lifewire

Overall Findings

  iPad Pro (2nd gen)
(2 sizes)
iPad (6th gen) iPad mini 4 iPhone X iPhone 8
(2 sizes)
iPod touch (6th gen)
  iPad Pro review iPad review iPad mini 4 review iPhone X review iPhone 8 review iPad touch review
Screen size (diagonal) in inches 12.9 and 10.5 9.7 7.9 5.8 5.5 and 4.7 4
Processor A10X  Fusion A10 A8 A11 Bionic A11 Bionic A8
Price at release $799 and up $459 and up $399 and up $999 and up $499 and up $199 and up
Cameras 12 MP and 7 MP 8 MP and 1.2 MP 8 MP and 1.2 MP 12 MP and 7 MP 12 MP and 7 MP 8 MP and 1.2 MP

All these iOS devices are available from third-party sellers and the Apple refurbished site at lower prices than the original launch price. The App Store sells new iPhone 8s at a reduced price as of early 2020.

The Apple 2018 mobile lineup is full of powerful devices. The iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch deliver impressive performance and have many of the same capabilities. They all run iOS apps from the App Store, contact the internet by Wi-Fi or, in some cases, cellular connections, and can be used for communication purposes—either voice or text, depending on the device. Each one comes with two cameras and plays music.

However, there are plenty of differences between them. Size, price, and capabilities may affect your decision. We reviewed the iPad Pro (2nd generation), iPad (6th generation), iPad mini 4, iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPod Touch (6th generation) to help you make a decision.

Form Factor: It's a Three-Way Tie

iPad Pro
(2nd gen)
iPad
(6th gen
)
iPad mini 4 iPhone X iPhone 8 iPod touch
(6th gen)
Tablet Tablet Tablet
(small form)
Phone Phone Music Player

What you want in a new iOS device heavily influences which iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch is right for you. The iPhone is the only one that is truly a phone. You can use it to call anyone anywhere as long as you have a contact number and a cellular provider contract. Maybe you have a phone and are looking for a tablet. In that case, one of the iPads may be a good choice. Looking for a music player you can also game on? iPod touch provides plenty of music and gaming options.

Size and Weight: Where Are You Going to Use It?

  iPad Pro (2nd gen)
(two sizes)
iPad
(6th gen)
iPad mini 4 iPhone X iPhone 8
(two sizes)
iPad touch
(6th gen)
Size in inches 12 x 8.68 and 9.78 x 6.8 9.4 x 6.6  8 x 5.3 5.65 x 2.79 5.45 x 2.65 and 6.24 x 3.07 4.86 x 2.31
Weight  1.49-1.53 lb. and 1.03-1.05 lb. 1.03-1.05 lb. 0.65-0.67 lb. 6.14 oz. 5.22 oz. and 7.13 oz. 3.1 oz.

Size matters, and these six devices range from 12 inches to under 5 inches. Bigger may be better in some cases, but you probably aren't going to tuck an iPad Pro in a pocket when you go out. The device you use most is usually the one you keep with you all the time. Where you plan to use the device may influence your choice.

Best Display: Retina Displays Are Easy on the Eyes

  iPad Pro (2nd gen)
(two sizes)
iPad
(6th gen)
iPad mini 4 iPhone X iPhone 8
(two sizes)
iPod touch
(6th gen)
Screen
size
in inches
(diag.)
12.9 and 10.5  9.7   7.9  5.8  5.5 and 4.7 4
Screen size
in pixels
2732 x 2048 and 2224 x 1668  
 
2048 x 1536   2048 x 1536  2436 x 1125  1920 x 1080 and 1334 x 750 1136 x 640
Touch ID Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Face ID No No No Yes Yes No
3D Touch No No No Yes Yes No

All of these devices have the Apple Retina display technology, which yields crisp, beautiful images, but not all of them come equipped with Touch ID, Face ID, or 3D touch.

Best Camera: Size Loses to Convenience

  iPad Pro (2nd gen) iPad (6th gen) iPad mini 4 iPhone X iPhone 8 iPod touch (6th gen)
Camera, back and front 12 MP, 4K HD video and 7 MP, 1080p video 8 MP, 1080p HD video and 1.2 MP,
720p HD video
8 MP, 1080p HD video and 1.2 MP, 720p HD video 12 MP, 4K HD video and 7 MP, 1080p HD video 12 MP, 4K HD video and 7 MP, 1080p HD video 8 MP, 1080p HD video and 1.2 MP, 720p HD video
Portrait mode No No No Yes Yes No
Wide angle  No No No Yes Yes No
Telephoto No No No Yes No No

The two iPhone models both have 12-megapixel back-facing cameras and 7-megapixel front-facing (selfie) cameras. The cameras are superior to the other devices in this comparison except for the iPad Pro, and who's going to carry around an iPad Pro to use as a camera? The majority of people need a camera with them all the time, and that means either of the iPhones is the best choice here. The iPod touch is also mobile and equipped with two cameras, but the resolution can't keep up with the iPhone cameras.

Compatibility: Which Apple Extras Do You Use or Want

  iPad Pro (2nd gen) iPad
(6th gen)
iPad mini 4 iPhone X iPhone 8 iPod touch (6th gen)
Apple Pay In-app only In-app only In-app only Yes Yes No
Apple Watch No No No Yes Yes No
Apple Pencil Yes Yes No No No No
Animoji No No No Yes No No

Dreaming of an Apple Watch? Then you need an iPhone to control it. Mesmerized by the Apple Pencil? It works only on select iPads. Only care about music and apps? iPod touch may meet your needs.

Other Specs: Details Matter

  iPad Pro (2nd gen) iPad (6th gen) iPad mini 4 iPhone X iPhone 8 iPod touch (6th gen)
Processor A10X Fusion A10 A8 A11 Bionic A11 Bionic A8
 GPS Wi-Fi+ Cellular models only Wi-Fi+ Cellular models only Wi-Fi+ Cellular models only Yes Yes No
Capacity 64, 256, and 512 GB 32 and 128 GB 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB 64 and 256 GB 64 and 128 GB 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB
Battery life (in hours) 10 Wi-Fi, 9 4G LTE 10 Wi-Fi, ​9 4G LTE 10 Wi-Fi, ​9 4G LTE 12 internet, 21 talk, 13 video, 60 music 13 internet, 21 talk, 14 video, 60 music, 12 internet, 14 talk, 13 video, 40 music 8 video, 40 music
Network Wi-Fi, optional 4G LTE Wi-Fi,
optional 4G LTE

 
Wi-Fi,
optional 4G LTE

 
Wi-Fi, 4G LTE
 
Wi-Fi, 4G LTE
 
Wi-Fi

Battery life may not be as interesting as cameras, but it—and other specifications—can affect your decision. Whether you want a Wi-Fi-only device or prefer Wi-Fi + cellular, you can find the right fit. As far as storage goes, you have plenty of choices there as well.

Final Verdict

When it comes down to decision-making time, concentrate on your needs. If you need a phone (or want an Apple Watch), then you only have two choices in this group: iPhone X and iPhone 8. The iPhone 8 is an excellent entry-level smartphone, and the price is much less than its big brother. The cameras on both phones offer cutting-edge technology. However, if you're familiar with iPhones and can afford the X price, you won't be disappointed with this powerhouse.

Anyone who wants a small-form tablet can't go wrong with the iPad mini 4. Graphics professionals and power users tend to go with the iPad Pro. For most, the iPad 6th generation offers plenty of power and options at a reasonable price.

The iPod touch is the best choice for anyone who doesn't need a phone but wants a small music player or gaming device. It isn't as powerful at the other iOS devices, but it isn't as expensive either, and it provides access to Apple's world of apps, games, and music.

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