iPad 2 vs. iPad Mini 2

A battle of the entry-level Apple tablets

Despite both having a "2" stuck at the end of their name, the iPad 2 and the iPad Mini 2 are very different tablets. They are still iPads, of course, so they perform the same basic functions, but while the iPad Mini 2 still performs with style and grace, the iPad 2 slogs along like yesterday's technology trying to keep up with today's features—for a good reason. The iPad 2 is two-and-a-half years older than the iPad Mini 2, which in tablet terms is a very long time. We've reviewed the two iPads so you can make a confident decision about which is right for you.

iPad 2 vs iPad Mini 2

Overall Findings

iPad 2
  • Two and a half years older than iPad Mini 2.

  • Non-retina display,

  • Less expensive than iPad Mini 2.

iPad Mini 2
  • Much newer technology than the iPad 2.

  • Retina display.

  • Less affordable than iPad 2 but worth it.

Generations: Both Are Discontinued. One Is Obsolete

iPad 2
  • Discontinued and obsolete. Apple no longer upgrades the OS.

  • 1024x768 display resolution.

  • 720p back-facing camera.

  • 9.7-inch screen.

iPad Mini 2
  • Discontinued but not obsolete.

  • 2048x1536 Retina display.

  • 5 MP back-facing camera.

  • 7.9-inch screen.

The original iPad Mini debuted alongside the iPad 4, but it used the same technology as the iPad 2. This allowed the first Mini to be priced initially at $329, which was quite a bargain compared to the $499 entry-level price of the full-sized iPad. The iPad Mini 2 was released alongside the iPad Air with a price tag of $399, and it contained much of the same technology as its bigger brother.

The iPad Mini 2 is more than six times as fast as the iPad 2. The graphics processor is almost three times as fast, which is necessary because the iPad Mini 2 has a 2048x1536 Retina display compared to the iPad 2's old 1024x768 display, so the graphics processor must do more work to run the higher quality screen. The iPad Mini 2 has double the random access memory (RAM) used for running applications, and the 5-megapixel back-facing iSight camera on the Mini 2 is vastly superior to the 720p camera on the iPad 2. 

The only thing the iPad 2 has going for it compared to the Mini 2 is the larger screen, and that is only a benefit if you prefer the 9.7-inch form factor. At 7.9-inches, the iPad Mini series is bigger than the 7-inch Android tablets. It is both big enough to operate with ease and small enough to hold in one hand while manipulating it with the other.

Age Matters: Tech in iPad Mini 2 Much Newer

iPad 2
  • Launched in March 2011.

  • Discontinued in March 2014.

  • Secondhand price lower than iPad Mini 2

iPad Mini 2
  • Launched in November 2013.

  • Discontinued in March 2017.

  • Secondhand price higher than iPad 2.

The iPad 2 is no longer in production, so the only way to buy one is through a friend or services such as eBay or Craigslist.

Both the iPad 2 and the iPad Mini 2 are still sold second-hand on eBay, with the iPad Mini 2 usually being more expensive. Even with the price differential, the iPad Mini 2 is the far better deal. The technology running the iPad 2 is considered outdated, and the device is considered obsolete because Apple no longer supports updates for its operating system. 

Final Verdict

Hands down, the iPad Mini 2 is the better buy. It is newer and much faster. The superior Retina display is easy on the eyes. Although both models are disabled, Apple still issues updates for the iPad Mini 2 operating system.

Both iPad models can be found occasionally on eBay and similar sites. Either of these devices still makes a good iPad for a child.