How Big Is the iPad Mini and How Much Does It Weigh?

Shopper holding iPad mini box

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The iPad Mini is Apple's answer to 7-inch Android tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus, but its 7.9-inch display makes it slightly larger. The extra fraction of an inch may not sound like much, but it actually adds around 35 percent more viewing space (29.6 square inches versus the 21.9 square inches of a typical 7-inch tablet).

The iPad Mini's screen is also geared toward a 4:3 display ratio, which is better for apps and especially web browsing — most web pages are designed for a 4:3 ratio display. In contrast, Android tablets tend to have a 16:9 ratio, which is the standard wide-screen dimension and is best for displaying video.

The original iPad Mini measures, in inches, 7.87 by 5.3, with a depth of 0.28. Amazingly, the Wi-Fi version weighs just over a half pound — about the weight of a week-old kitten.

The iPad Mini 2 and the iPad Mini 3 have similar heights and widths, but owing to a big upgrade in processing speed, they are slightly thicker (0.30 inches) and weigh slightly more (0.73 pounds). So think about a 10-day old kitten. The lineup went on a diet with the iPad Mini 4. With a depth of only 0.24 of an inch, it is skinnier than the original iPad Mini and weighs slightly less, coming in at 0.66 pounds.

If your hands are of average size, you'll see the tips of your fingers poking out the other side of the iPad Mini if you hold it in the palm of your hand with your thumb running along the side. The iPad Mini is almost twice as wide and about 20 percent longer than the largest iPhones. It's a very portable tablet that you can use comfortably with one hand, resting the iPad Mini in your palm and looping your thumb around the side. 

The iPad Mini's 7.9-inch Display and Touch ID

The original iPad Mini had only a 1024 x 768 resolution, but starting with the second generation, the iPad Mini sports a 2048 x 1536 retina display. This matches the resolution of the larger iPad Air, and because it is the same resolution on a smaller display, it has a higher pixel density. This means displays are slightly clearer when viewed at the same distance, although at these high screen resolutions, you really have to concentrate to discern any difference. 

The iPad Mini gained a Touch ID fingerprint sensor starting with the iPad Mini 3. It does not have the near-field communications (NFC) required to actually pay at stores, but Touch ID has a number of great uses beyond just as a payment switch. Perhaps the best use for it is bypassing the lock screen so that you don't have to put in your passcode every time you want to use the iPad.

Is the Original iPad Mini Still a Good Buy?

While the iPad Mini 2 was released just a year after the original iPad Mini, it constituted a huge jump in technology. The iPad Mini 2 has the same basic dimensions as the original, but it also includes the retina display screen and a processor that clocks in at least eight times faster than the iPad Mini. This means the iPad Mini 2 will last much longer than its predecessor.

As of June 2018, you can buy a used or refurbished iPad Mini 2 for around $225 — so to make the original iPad Mini a worthwhile buy, you would need to spend no more than $150. Even at that price, you might be better off spending the extra money on the upgraded version.