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iPad Air and the iPad Mini: The Best iPads for Kids in 2021

With summer fast approaching, parents need to find ways to keep their kids engaged and occupied. Activities like riding bikes and playing in the park are great - but, for many kids, staying in and relaxing with an iPad is their idea of entertainment. 

Although the days of running around the neighborhood with friends aren’t over, technology has certainly had an impact on what kids classify as a “good time”. When it comes to technology and children, the phrase “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” is 100% true! Two popular tablet options are the iPad Air and the iPad Mini, but choosing between the two can be challenging if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. 

In this article, we’ll break down the difference and similarities between the two devices to help make your choice that much easier. We’ll also suggest a durable kid’s iPad case, perfect for keeping a device safe from drops, spills, and falls. 

The iPad Air vs the iPad Mini

Size

The major difference between the iPad Air and the iPad Mini is the size. Although there are multiple generations of both devices, the iPad Mini is always purposely designed to be smaller and more compact than its counterparts. Hence its name - the “mini”. 

The latest iPad Air (the 4th generation) comes in at 10.9” and the iPad Mini (5th generation) has a 7.9” screen. This three-inch difference may not seem like much, but it can be quite significant in the hands of a child. The iPad Mini Case size may be great for smaller children, but less appealing to children of older ages. 

Display

Although it has a larger screen size than the iPad Mini, the iPad Air has a lower pixel density. The iPad Air has a 2224 x 1668 resolution with 264 pixels-per-inch, while the iPad Mini has a 2048 x 1536 screen resolution and 326 pixels-per-inch density. Children likely won’t care much about the display resolution on their iPad - but it’s definitely worth taking into consideration. The resolution can either be a tie-breaker or a complete non-factor - it all depends on what you’re looking for. 

Camera

Another contrast between the two devices is found in their cameras. With the iPad Mini, you’ll get an 8MP camera, ƒ/2.4 aperture, Live Photos, wide color capture, and a Five-element lens. Although 8MP isn’t a lot, most people aren’t overly concerned with the quality of the camera on their tablet. Even for FaceTime or video calls, 8MP is often enough for the average user.

On the other hand, the iPad Air has a 12MP wide camera, ƒ/1.8 aperture, Smart HDR 3, exposure control, and noise reduction. With these additional features, the camera on the iPad Air is objectively better than that of the iPad Mini. A better camera means clearer and sharper video calls and photos. If your child spends a lot of time video calling relatives or friends or taking photographs, the iPad Air will likely be the better option based on just the camera alone. If camera quality isn’t a big deal to you or your child, the iPad Mini’s camera will probably be all you need.

Speakers and microphones

Both the Mini and the Air have Apple’s stereo speakers, designed to provide excellent quality sound, whether using headphones or the device’s built-in speakers. Thankfully, no matter which option you choose, your kids will be able to enjoy exceptional sound quality. 

Another similarity is that both devices have dual microphones. This feature is automatic for calls, audio recording, and video recording and ensures clear, sharp vocal relay. You won’t have to worry about poor sound or muffled voices with either of these iPad models.

Finish

When it comes to color and finish options, the iPad Air wins the round. The iPad Mini comes in three colors: gold, space gray, and silver. But, the iPad Air has five color choices: rose gold, space gray, green, sky blue, and silver. 

The great thing about choosing finishes is that you’ll likely cover your device with a kid’s iPad case anyway. An unprotected case is a recipe for disaster, especially in the hands of a 5-year old. If you do find finishes to be important to you, the iPad Air has more options to choose from. However, if your ideal colors are gray, gold, or silver, then the playing field is even for both devices. 

So, which case is the right one for your kids?

Truthfully, both the iPad Air and the iPad Mini are excellent choices for kids of all ages. The greatest factor between the two will likely be the size and display resolution. 

If you’re catering to smaller children who may have trouble holding a larger and heavier device, then the iPad Mini is a great solution. Since it’s not much larger than a standard smartphone, it’s easy to carry and still provides the basic functionalities of a larger iPad.

However, if a larger screen and more features are what you’re after, then the iPad Air 10.9 Case is the best bet. You’ll also get more finish options and better camera quality for video calls, FaceTime, and photos. 

Regardless of which iPad you choose for your kids, keeping it safe is absolutely necessary. Investing in a kid’s iPad case will help protect your investment and maintain the device’s condition for years to come.