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The iPad mini, announced by Apple earlier to day in front of a packed crowd in San Jose, means there are now three different iPads on the market for consumers to choose from. Whilst the scaled-down slate hasn’t throw up too many surprises – tying in with the rumors and speculation of the past few months – it does now present prospective consumers with even more to consider before making a purchase, so in this particular post, we’ll run down some of the key features of each.

The iPad 2, which has been around for nearly 20 months now, is still a decent runner  in spite of its age. Packing in a variation of the dual-core, A5 processor – the same as the new iPad mini – it offers enough power for users to enjoy high-end gaming without any lag. Its 9.7-inch display spans 1024-by-768, offering a reasonable 132 pixels per inch, or ppi, and so if you’re looking for a large screen and a cheap price in an Apple tablet, the iPad 2 is the one to go with.

iPad comparison header

The new iPad with Retina display measures the same size as its predecessor, but is slightly heavier thanks to its advanced hardware. The powerful Apple A5X processor allowed for quad-core graphics, but having been bumped up with the A6X SoC, it’s now twice as the one released in March, and with a beautiful Retina display to boot, it certainly is a joy to behold. The iPad mini, which we’ll come to in a moment, may have been the highlight of today’s announcement to many, but the third-gen iPad has been well and truly upgraded with the kind of features one might have expected early next year.

As well as the eye-watering processor speed, it also features the Lightning dock connector, improved Wi-Fi, LTE support for Europe/Asia, and HD FaceTime. So much for the menial changes we previously anticipated.

The iPad mini starts at $329 for the 16GB version, and although it’s not as high-end as the new Retina iPad – not by any stretch of the imagination – it’s got enough about it to sell in high numbers. As with the A6X-powered slate, it offers the possibility of 3G or 4G LTE, and with an iPad 2 resolution on a smaller scale, it sits in between its two larger cousins in terms of display sharpness.

So, if you’re looking for a large tablet for basic tasks, go with the iPad 2. If you’re looking for a fully-fledged, power-rich iPad experience, go with the new iPad, and if you want something in between – portable, light, and nippy – the iPad mini would seem the sensible option.

Here’s a comparison chart from Apple themselves which compares the iPad mini, iPad 2 and iPad 4 together. But, choose wisely!

iPad comparison chart

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