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iPad Air 1 vs buying iPad mini

Hi - I’m wondering if I should buy an iPad mini for my trip to Europe or just take my iPad Air 1.

my iPad is heavier and bigger and I will only be using it for reading and perhaps playing games off-line (e.g. scrabble) on the plane and at the hotel perhaps check email over WiFi. My iPad is in a defender case which makes it even heavier. I’ve ordered some new light weight cases on amazon to see if that makes it lighter. If I buy an iPad mini, I could commute with it to work and read more books, it will pack easier in my tech. bag and is lighter and smaller, however, I don’t necessarily want duplicate technology.
Your suggestions please.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
2290 posts

Hmm. For the few uses you describe, do you really need an iPad at all? Could you use an iPhone or other smartphone? An iPad is great if you plan to use it more (edit photos, watch movies, do more internet research). A phone would do fine for simple games and reading.

If you want to buy a device, look into a kindle fire if your ebooks are kindle. Cheaper than an iPad. Not quite as intuitive to use, but lighter than an old full size iPad and still has internet and games.

Posted by
1846 posts

I don't have an iPad Air but travel all the time with my iPad Mini. I also take my phone, carrying the phone only when out and about and then using the mini when back in the hotel and wifi connected. I like the size of the mini and it's great for reading my books, posting my blog, photos and emails back home. I find it hard to actually "write" and read books on my phone-the screen is too small for me! The mini fits right into the pocket of my backpack and looking at comparative sizes online, is lighter and smaller than the larger iPad.

Posted by
5019 posts

IMHO the iPad Mini is the absolute perfect travel device, bar none. For me, it's exactly the right size for travel: bigger than a phone, just big enough to feel like a real screen that's usable for anything. It's super-light, and even fits into a pocket (tight squeeze in some pockets, but I can slip in it my back pocket or side pocket on "cargo pants", shirt or jacket pockets). I've been using my Mini as my primary travel device for years. It. Is. PERFECT.

I was so relieved to hear that Apple has just (like, a few days ago) resurrected the iPad Mini line with an updated model. My old Mini version 2 is old and slow now, and it struggles a bit with some of the more demanding software. Apple has left the Mini without a meaningful update for years, and I have worried that they had abandoned it; I have been hoping against hope that they would come out with an update, and they just did. The new update, while lacking some of the most high-end features, looks very solid to me and like a good value. Costco is about to start selling them (wifi models only, I think -- I will opt for one with cellular). I will be buying one of these before my next trip this summer.

A big, bulky case for these sounds awful - the whole point of any tablet is to keep things slim and light. IME you really do not need any "case" for these as long as you are careful (a screen cover, yes, but anything with "defender" in its name makes me wonder exactly who or what you expect to attack your iPad?). The thin, light cover Apple sells is probably adequate.

I love love love my iPad Mini. The best device invented for travel since the airplane.

Posted by
56 posts

David - awesome news about the iPad mini - how soon will the new one be available? It’s so funny, what you said about “defender”my iPad Air rarely leaves my house (although I have taken it on a few trips in the US.) I primarily couch surf with it! Yep- I’ve ordered some new lighter cases to try out.
Perhaps I can give the iPad mini a try and sell my iPad Air 1 if things work out.
Thanks for the news about the iPad mini!

Posted by
3295 posts

Newest iPad mini looks to be available 15 April.

I have only taken my iPhone with me on my trips to Europe. I thought at first it would be too small, but for the things I do it works fine.

Posted by
172 posts

I also sing the praises for the iPad mini as a great device for travel. It fits in several of my crossbody purses along with my iPhone. I have a simple smart cover and a slim Bluetooth keyboard. So happy to learn that Apple is not abandoning the mini!

Posted by
398 posts

I love my regular size iPad. HOWEVER, whenever we travel I leave it at home and I use my kids’ iPad mini.

Posted by
1955 posts

I have an older version of the regular iPad 2 that I take when we travel. I was happy to hear their is a new version iPad mini coming out soon. It will be much lighter and compact. I find I prefer using the iPad rather than my iPhone for most of my needs.

Posted by
287 posts

I have an iPad Mini 4 (wifi only) and love traveling with it as well as my phone. With the Mini 5 coming out, prices may drop on any 4's that are left around.

Posted by
7681 posts

I read your question earlier today as I was heading out for errands. I though, uh huh, this forum was the enabling force that talked me in to an iPadMini a few years when my Kindle was pooping out so I was pretty sure what would happen.

I'll laughingly add I'm SO glad I listened to folks here! I've been very happy with the iPad Mini - so much more functional than my Kindle and I love it. I download guidebooks onto the Kindle app so I can view them on my Mini or iPhone but really, I prefer trying to read text on the Mini over the phone.

Nice that a 5 is coming out soon!

Posted by
54 posts

I always take my iPhone and Mini with me and use it like others, iPhone is going to be camera (I have an XR which takes amazing photos) and every day carry around. Will be adding Ricks walks and several of his phrase books to my Kindle app on it. The mini is my book reader and game device, for hotel and bus time only. I find the phone pretty hard to read on, so will likely not use it alone.

Posted by
64 posts

I take my iPhone and a Kindle Fire. Bought the kindle for just $49, which to me, makes it perfect for travel. It doesn’t hold a charge as long as the regular kindle, but the back light feature is great for reading when you don’t want to turn on a light. You can use email and the browser with WiFi on the Kindle Fire. Or order mor books 😉.

Posted by
56 posts

I’ve tried the kindle twice and it lacks the functionality that I like. I like the fact that the “I” products are multifunctional and are not just a reader. I can ck. Email, send text msgs. Read books, surf the Internet, play games, etc.

Posted by
607 posts

I carry an 8" tablet everyday and everywhere. The larger screen is great for viewing web pages and allows me to do work. I carry a Samsung Galaxy S2. An iPad mini is also great. I am not prejudiced.