iPad (5th Gen) vs. iPad Pro 2 vs. iPad mini 4

Which do you need?

The release of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro 2 alongside the 2nd generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the iPad (5th generation), and the iPad mini 4 gave users a choice of three models in four sizes of iPads. Which iPad is right for you? Size matters, especially when it comes packed with a powerful processor, but sometimes, smaller is better. We reviewed the iPad (5th generation), iPad Pro 2, and iPad mini 4 to help you make a decision.

iPad 5th gen vs iPad Pro 2 vs iPad Mini 4
  Lifewire

Overall Findings

iPad Pro 2 iPad (5th generation) iPad Mini 4
12.9-inch display
10.5-inch display
9.7-inch display 7.9-inch display
A10X chip A9 processor A8 processor
12 MP rear-facing camera 8 MP rear-facing camera 8 MP rear-facing camera
7 MP front-facing camera 1.2 MP front-facing camera 1.2 MP front-facing camera
64, 256, and 512 GB 32 and 128 GB 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB
High-end price Entry-level price Midrange price
Four speakers Stereo speakers Stereo speakers

These iPads differ in size, speed, price, camera specifications, and the number of speakers. All the models are upgradeable to iPadOS 13, so they are workhorses that can do anything most people need.

The two sizes of the 2nd generation iPad Pro are designed for productivity, but they make excellent home devices as well. They are the top of the line iPads, and their prices reflect that. The iPad (5th generation) is a solid entry-level iPad that is the lowest priced of the bunch. The iPad mini 4, although the oldest, is still capable of impressive performance in a compact package.

Best Performance: No Contest Here. iPad Pro 2 Dominates

iPad Pro 2 iPad (5th gen) iPad mini 4
A10X chip A9X chip A8 chip
M10 motion coprocessor M9 motion coprocessor M8 motion coprocessor

The refresh of the iPad Pro lineup brings a 6-core processor that is 30% faster and has 40% more graphical performance than the original iPad Pro (which was already as fast as most laptops). As Apple's flagship iPad, it doesn't disappoint. The iPad (5th generation) with an A9X chip and iPad mini 4 with an A8 chip can't keep up with the Pro in speed.

Best Price: iPad (5th Gen) Is the Most Affordable

iPad Pro 2 iPad (5th generation) iPad mini 4
High-end price. Entry-level price. Midrange price.
$649 and up
at release.
$329 and up
at release.
$399 and up
at release.
About $469 and up refurbished. About $219 and up refurbished. About $309 and up refurbished.

The iPad (5th generation) and iPad mini 4 cost hundreds of dollars less than the iPad Pro 2. If you don't need the power, speed, and graphics capability of the Pro, you can save money with either of the smaller models. The iPad (5th generation) is the cheapest way to get into an iPad. You don't need the fastest processor and biggest screen to check emails, read books, and visit your favorite social media sites.

What doesn't the iPad (5th generation) have? It isn't compatible with the Apple Smart Keyboard or the Apple Pencil accessories. However, except for a few specialized apps, the iPad can run the same software and has all the basic features, including the ability to multitask by bringing up multiple apps on the screen at the same time.

If you're in the market for a smaller iPad you can tuck into a purse or pocket, the iPad mini 4 is also a great value.

Best Display: iPad Pro 2 Doesn't Disappoint

iPad Pro 2 iPad (5th generation) iPad mini 4
12.9-inch display
10.5-inch display
9.7-inch display 7.9-inch display
2732 x 2048 @ 264 ppi
2224 x 1668 @ 264 ppi
2048 x 1536 @ 264 ppi 2048 x 1536 @ 326 ppi
Fingerprint resistant coating
Wide color display
ProMotion technology
True Tone technology
Anti-reflective coating
Fingerprint-resistant coating Fingerprint-resistant coating

It may cost more, but the display on the second generation iPad Pro is worth every penny. The wide color display, along with True Tone technology and ProMotion technology, make it the best-looking iPad display ever. That doesn't mean that the display on the iPad (5th generation) and iPad mini 4 are substandard. They aren't. They can't keep up with their big brother.

Best Cameras: iPad Pro 2 Wins Easily

iPad Pro 2 iPad (5th gen) iPad mini 4
12 MP rear-facing 
7 MP front-facing
8 MP rear-facing
1.2 MP front-facing
8 MP rear-facing
1.2 MP front-facing
6-element lens 5-element lens 5-element lens
Digital zoom up to 5X    

You may not take photos with your iPad like you do with your phone, but if you need it, the camera is there—both the rear-facing camera for snapping pics and the front-facing camera for video chats and selfies. The 12.9-inch and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro models come with a 12-megapixel back-facing camera and a 7-megapixel front-facing camera.

Other Specs: iPad Pro Edges Out Its Competition

iPad Pro 2 iPad (5th generation) iPad mini 4
4 speakers 2 speakers 2 speakers
64, 256, and 512 GB 32 and 128 GB 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB
Wi-Fi and
Wi-Fi+Cellular
Wi-Fi and
Wi-Fi+Cellular
Wi-Fi and
Wi-Fi+Cellular
9-10 hour battery 9-10 hour battery 9-10 hour battery
Apple Pencil compatible    

Apple increased the entry-level storage to 64 GB for both sizes of Pad Pro 2, which is plenty for most people. The fast processor helps future-proof the iPad Pro.

The iPad (5th generation) is the easiest-on-the-wallet entry into the iPad world. If you are curious and don't have high expectations, it is a good value for the lowest price.

Why consider an iPad mini 4? The smaller size means the iPad mini 4 can fit into many purses and pockets, which gives it a certain amount of portability that can't be matched by the other iPad models in Apple's lineup. While this might seem like a small difference, the more you have your iPad with you, the more you are likely to use it.

Final Verdict

The clear winner in just about every category—except the price—is the iPad Pro 2. Its performance can't be topped, and the display is stunning. For power users who can afford it, the iPad Pro is the obvious choice. Amateur and professional artists can appreciate the creative advantage an Apple Pencil accessory adds to the iPad Pro lineup. The addition of a compatible keyboard turns the Pro into a laptop substitute.

The iPad Pro is targeted at productivity, but it makes a great family iPad. The iPad Pro's four speakers combined with the large screen size make for an engrossing movie-watching experience for one person or an entire family.

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