iPad mini review of size vs. iPad 3, 4 and iPhone 5

By Daniel Chubb - Nov 5, 2012

We couldn’t understand why Apple would want to create an iPad mini sized at 7.9-inches, and thought something nearer 7-inches would be better considering how close the iPad mini is in size to the 10-inch iPad 4 and iPad 3. This all became clear after spending some time with the iPad mini over the weekend when doing our review, and considering we’ve owned every iPad since the first generation and loved the 3rd generation, it is a big deal to feel like moving to the iPad mini full time.

It is much easier to hold the iPad mini in one hand and if you’ve played games like Real Racing HD, then you know it can hurt your hands after racing for a little while, which isn’t the case with the new iPad mini thanks to it being a lot lighter. We’re looking to replace two of the three 3rd generation iPads in our office with the new iPad mini, and at home my son uses the 2nd generation iPad for at least 5 hours a day and would find the iPad mini a much better option considering the weight difference alone.

The form factor might be a lot smaller on the iPad mini, but after taking the smaller bezel on the iPad mini sides into account you’ll find the screen isn’t that much smaller than the full sized iPad 4 and iPad 3. Today we wanted to compare the iPad mini size to that of the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, which the latter device is identical in size to the iPad 4.

It is important to see how different the iPhone 5 and iPad mini sizes are to show you they make an ideal partnership as your tablet and phone, which Samsung Galaxy Note 2 users lack the bigger display of an iPad mini but is too big as a realistic phone option in our opinion. The Note 2 really shines for users that don’t want both a tablet and phone, but want to find a middle ground thanks to the lack of money to own both or if they hate having more than one gadget.

Let’s take a look at our short iPad mini review that compares the sizes of this device with the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 / 4. The photo below shows a landscape view of the iPad mini vs. the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, which are all side-by-side to deliver a clear indication of size differences.

The on-screen keyboard is pretty much the same on all devices, although it is true that the iPhone 5 keyboard is much smaller and you can type the wrong keys more often than you would on the iPad 3. We found the iPad mini to be the perfect middle ground here, and certainly a breeze to type on with one hand holding the iPad mini and the other typing, which is made easier thanks to how light the device is.

The image above shows the keyboards next to each other and gives you another indication of keyboard size differences, although the picture below takes a closer look at the iPad mini vs. iPad 3 keyboard.

The next image gives you a portrait view of the iPad mini vs. iPad 3 and iPhone 5, which is followed by another photo that gives you a closer look at the thickness of an iPad mini vs. iPad 3, and of course this is the same thickness as an iPad 4.

Next up you can see the iPhone 5, iPad mini, and iPad 3 sized side-by-side. You can also see the three devices on top of each other to give you a good idea of size differences from another perspective.

Here you can see the bottom of an iPad 3 stacked with iPad mini and iPhone 5, which also shows the lighting ports on the iPhone 5/iPad mini that compare to the bigger port found on the iPad 3. This is just about the only external design difference on the iPad 4 vs. iPad 3.

The iPad mini and iPhone 5 are massively different in size and you can see this clearly in the photo below, which is followed by a photo that shows the iPhone 5 and iPad mini are practically the same thickness. Then after these two images you’ll see the iPhone 5 on top of the iPad mini with both lighting ports showing, and this again gives you insight into the difference in thickness between Apple’s smaller tablet and iPhone 5.

You can see a final image below that shows how much easier the new iPad mini fits into one hand, and while it is only 2-inches smaller than the iPad 3 and iPad 4, it makes a massive difference to holding the tablet and also how much lighter it feels. You’ll really like the weight difference after using the iPad mini for longer periods of time.

Do you see room in your life for an iPhone 5, as your phone, and also an iPad mini or 10-inch iPad with Retina display? Would you prefer the iPad mini or larger iPad as your tablet?

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Also See: Apple iPad Cortana app better than Siri say some

  • ps there is talk of an iphone 5s before Christmas too, Steve Jobs will be spinning in his igrave

  • why didnt it get the retina display, yet another thing for apple to introduce next year and say “oh look we’ve just made the ipad mini more amazing” they are going to drive people away! i have the ipad 3 the latest one before they messed about and gave the newer one a lighting port for charging, i also have the iphone 4s, i love apple products but they are just getting greedy with bringing things out too soon after “the best” product goes live, i’m sick of seeing the 2 guys in the videos spouting BS about “its the latest and greatest” it’s just making them richer and richer and fools like me and all of you are falling for it haha!

  • NB

    My husband got the iPad Mini (we each have iPad 3s) and the iPad’s screen is awful for text; it is actually FUZZY, and I don’t understand how the Mini is getting positive reviews in light of that fact. My husband ultimately decided to keep it (I think he’s nuts and should have gone for an android tablet), but he made a deliberate compromise for form over function. That said, we are both shocked that Apple would release the tablet with such a poor resolution screen.

    I’d already opted for a Kindle Fire HD 7″ since I wanted to be able to borrow Kindle books via our Amazon Prime account (which requires a Kindle device, not just Kindle software) and was in the market for a smaller tablet I could toss in my purse. The iPad Mini may be sexier and thinner and lighter, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want one in its current state – even if someone gave one to me. My iPad 3 is nicer than my Kindle Fire HD 7″ when size/weight isn’t a concern, but I’ll stick with my Kindle Fire HD when I feel the need for a smaller form factor.

    • lindyloulie

      Interesting. I wonder if some are better or worse than others. I bought both the newest 4th generation iPad and the Mini at the same time, and looking at them side-by-side the resolution looks nearly the same. My eyes are very sensitive to the resolution of text and images, and to me there is only the very slightest of difference between the two iPads. As Daniel Chubb’s review of the two states, I believe this is due to the pixel size on the Mini.

      I am just thrilled with the Mini, and now I am finding that I hardly ever use the full sized iPad 3/4th generation (I call it my “iPad 4G”). The Kindle Fire HD is great, but I prefer the larger screen real estate of the Mini as compared with the letterbox style screen of the Kindle and the long/narrow screen of the Nexus 7. I have the first generation Kindle e-reader, and I still love that for long reading sessions. I think the e-ink format is still the easiest on the eyes.

  • Jeremy Wallace

    awesome review man, do you like it more then the 3?

    • Love the iPad 3, but yes the iPad mini is better thanks to it being just slightly smaller in screen terms and MUCH lighter.