Head-To-Head: Apple iPad Mini 5 Vs. iPad Air 3

Face Off

For fans of the iPad, 2019 is looking to be a banner year. Apple's latest product refresh featured an emphasis on its iPad lineup, with refreshed versions of the iPad Mini and iPad Air. Both tablets were due for an upgrade: it had been several years since Apple put out updates to either of the iPads. (Many believed that the two products might never see another refresh, in fact.)

With the fifth-gen iPad Mini and the third-gen iPad Air, Apple is bringing a focus on performance and usability enhancements. Which of the two iPads is a better fit for you? In the following slides, we compare Apple's new iPad Mini 5 vs the iPad Air 3 on specs and price.


The big difference between the latest versions of the iPad Mini and iPad Air is the display, both in terms of the size and the resolution. The iPad Air 3 display measures 10.5 inches, which is 20 percent larger than on the previous version of the iPad Air. It's also 32-percent larger than the iPad Mini 5, which sticks with a 7.9-inch display. The iPad Mini 5, however, actually has the greater pixel density at 326 pixels per inch (ppi), with resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. That's a decent amount above the iPad Air 3, with its 264 ppi display (2,224 x 1,668 resolution).

Both of the iPad options come with Apple's colorful Retina display technology, and a high amount of brightness with up to 500 nits.

Stylus & Keyboard

A notable update for both the new versions of the iPad Air and iPad Mini is the addition of support for the Apple Pencil. The digital stylus is sold separately for $99. Worth noting: The iPad Air 3 and iPad Mini 5 only support the first-generation Apple Pencil, which lacks some of the features of the second-generation stylus (and is usable on the iPad Pro).

Meanwhile, only the iPad Air 3 features a "Smart Connector" port, which can enable use of Apple's Smart Keyboard and third-party accessories. Getting the Smart Keyboard for the iPad Air 3 will add $159.

Processor & Battery Life

Both the new iPad Mini and iPad Air enjoy a major performance and graphics boost from the inclusion of the A12 Bionic processor. The six-core chip—which is the same processor found in the iPhone XS—should give either tablet a notable performance advantage over Apple's standard 9.7-inch iPad.

On battery life, both the iPad Air 3 and iPad Mini 5 promise up to 10 hours of usage on a charge over WiFi. For the versions with both WiFi and cellular connectivity, either tablet promises up to nine hours of battery life over cellular.

Portability & Storage

The iPad Mini 5 not surprisingly has a portability advantage, with a weight of two-thirds of a pound. However, staying true to its "air" branding, the iPad Air 3 doesn’t weigh too much more, with a weight of just a pound. Both tablets are also very thin, measuring 0.24 of an inch thick in both cases.

There's not much to contrast on storage, with both the iPad Air 3 and iPad Mini 5 offered in 64 GB and 256 GB models.

Price & Colors

Due to its smaller display and lack of support for a keyboard, Apple's new iPad Mini comes in as the more-affordable option in our comparison. The iPad Mini 5 has a starting price of $399, for the model with WiFi-only and 64 GB of storage. With the same configuration, the iPad Air 3 has a starting price of $499. Both of the new iPads are available in three colors—Silver, Space Gray and Gold.

Moving up to the WiFi + Cellular models, the iPad Mini 5 is priced to start at $529 and the iPad Air 3 is priced at $629.