How to choose between a new iPod touch and an iPad mini 3

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
Apple's new iPod touch --?which packs the same A8 chip found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus --?is an exceptionally compelling product, and one that could force prospective iPad mini buyers to think twice about their decision. AppleInsider compares and contrasts Apple's best iPod and smallest iPad.




On the surface, any comparison between the iPod touch and iPad mini doesn't look particularly apt. The two devices seem to serve much different markets thanks to their wildly disparate display sizes, but it's not so clear cut once you dig deeper.

A7, A8, and iSight

The latest iPad mini doesn't share many of the iPad Air's fancy tablet tricks. It can't run iOS 9's split-screen multitasking; it has a last-generation A7 processor and M7 motion coprocessor; its camera comes in at just 5 megapixels and lacks burst mode or slow-mo video; and it's even slightly thicker than its big brother.

In contrast, Apple's new iPod touch comes with a state-of-the-art A8 processor with M8 motion coprocessor. Its iSight camera has been bumped up to 8 megapixels and gained both burst mode and slow-mo video recording, and it's tied with the iPad Air 2 as the thinnest iOS device Apple makes.

The iPod touch would seem to take the feeds-and-speeds crown --?save for the fact that the iPad mini also has cellular data capabilities -- but functionality is what really matters.

The Display and Apple Pay

Both devices sport 326 points-per-inch IPS Retina displays, and despite the size divergence they aren't the differentiating factor you might expect. Apart from gaining access to iPad-optimized apps --?most of which are also iPod touch-compatible --?you don't get much more than extra real estate with the iPad mini.

One thing the iPod touch can't match is the iPad mini's access to Apple Pay. Because the iPad mini has a Touch ID sensor, you can use Apple's payment system to pay for goods and services in apps like Target and Uber.

Unfortunately, neither device allows you to use Apple Pay in retail stores, even if you also own an Apple Watch. You'll need an iPhone 5 or newer for that.

Which is right for you?

If price is of the utmost importance, consider the iPod touch, which starts at just $199 for a 16-gigabyte unit and rises to $399 for a 128-gigabyte version. The newest iPad mini starts at $399 for a W-Fi-only 16-gigabyte variant and the top-end 128-gigabyte model with cellular connectivity comes in at a whopping $729.

At the end of the day, though, the decision really comes down to how you plan to use your new device. If you primarily want to shop on the web or read books --?or you need mobile data -- the iPad mini is your best bet.

On the other hand, if you want something pocketable that takes decent photos and doesn't come with a monthly bill from your wireless carrier, you should seriously consider the iPod touch.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    A lot of people seem to have it out for the iPad mini. I love mine. I'm on my second, an iPad mini 3.
  • Reply 2 of 45
    A lot of people seem to have it out for the iPad mini. I love mine. I'm on my second, an iPad mini 3.

    I like the Mini. The Mini 3 is not a good value, especially with the Mini 2 being $299, and the Air being $399.
  • Reply 3 of 45
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member

    Wait for the updated iPad mini this fall.

  • Reply 4 of 45
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    You don't. You get a Mini 2 instead.
  • Reply 5 of 45
    davendaven Posts: 472member
    A lot of people seem to have it out for the iPad mini. I love mine. I'm on my second, an iPad mini 3.

    I have the original iPad and the first generation mini. The original iPad is showing its age as It won't run the latest iOS but I use the mini all the time. More than I do my iPhone actually.
  • Reply 6 of 45
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    I'm actually surprised Apple is still producing the iPod. The only customer I could think of who might actually want one is maybe a preteen who doesn't have a phone yet. I recently replaced my aging Fiio potable amplifier with their newer E6 model, it's smaller and sounds amazing, especially when paired with my Bower & Wilkins P5's or C5's. I was thinking of grabibg their new bluetooth version of the P5's but than I couldn't use my Fiio E6 which is an absolute must have as far as I'm cconcerned. Anyway I brought that up because the only way I would be interested in an iPod is if it had a built in amplifier. As it stands now though it's audio quality, though okay, is nothing that stands out. No where near that of a Fiio stand alone MP3 player with a built in DAC and headphone amplifier.

    Maybe if the iPod had an HDMI out so I could display my movies and games on my TV it would have made a nice portable entertainment system for when I'm traveling. Yes I know you could display it wirelessly if you had a Apple TV, but the last time I checked, hotels don't stock their rooms with them. Honestly though, I would still prefer my phone or tablet.
  • Reply 7 of 45
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    There's another option the budget conscious might consider: get a used iPhone 5 or 5s for your favorite cellular carrier. You get a similar feature set, plus a cell phone without the hefty cost of a cellular contract.
  • Reply 8 of 45
    inkling wrote: »
    There's another option the budget conscious might consider: get a used iPhone 5 or 5s for your favorite cellular carrier. You get a similar feature set, plus a cell phone without the hefty cost of a cellular contract.

    Those typically cost quite a bit more than an iPod touch, and the A6 is verging on obsolete, especially as the 64-bit era takes over.
  • Reply 9 of 45
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,747member
    Oh please. I have both (got my new iPod Touch yesterday), and there's no comparison. Period. Unless you want to squint your way through life....

    This story might have made a tad more sense if it was comparing a 6+ sized iPod (which doesn't exist) to the iPad Mini.
  • Reply 10 of 45

    The A7 is so horrible because it was last year's best iOS processor. I guess rapid obsolescence is the price you pay for Apple's steady cadence of hardware updates. No complaints here, just an observation. The A7 is fine, even if iPad mini won't do split screen.

  • Reply 11 of 45
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,406member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DaveN View Post

    The original iPad is showing its age as It won't run the latest iOS...

    Actually doesn't run the last three "latest iOS's", I think.

  • Reply 12 of 45
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,471member
    relic wrote: »
    I'm actually surprised Apple is still producing the iPod. The only customer I could think of who might actually want one is maybe a preteen who doesn't have a phone yet. I recently replaced my aging Fiio potable amplifier with their newer E6 model, it's smaller and sounds amazing, especially when paired with my Bower & Wilkins P5's or C5's. I was thinking of grabibg their new bluetooth version of the P5's but than I couldn't use my Fiio E6 which is an absolute must have as far as I'm cconcerned. Anyway I brought that up because the only way I would be interested in an iPod is if it had a built in amplifier. As it stands now though it's audio quality, though okay, is nothing that stands out. No where near that of a Fiio stand alone MP3 player with a built in DAC and headphone amplifier.

    Maybe if the iPod had an HDMI out so I could display my movies and games on my TV it would have made a nice portable entertainment system for when I'm traveling. Yes I know you could display it wirelessly if you had a Apple TV, but the last time I checked, hotels don't stock their rooms with them. Honestly though, I would still prefer my phone or tablet.

    You are too big a kid for the iPod touch : ). For smaller kids, it's a very good device for making movies, taking pictures, and being connected.
  • Reply 13 of 45
    dougddougd Posts: 206member
    My choice: iPhone 6+
  • Reply 14 of 45
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,062member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Relic View Post



    I'm actually surprised Apple is still producing the iPod. The only customer I could think of who might actually want one is maybe a preteen who doesn't have a phone yet. I recently replaced my aging Fiio potable amplifier with their newer E6 model, it's smaller and sounds amazing, especially when paired with my Bower & Wilkins P5's or C5's. I was thinking of grabibg their new bluetooth version of the P5's but than I couldn't use my Fiio E6 which is an absolute must have as far as I'm cconcerned. Anyway I brought that up because the only way I would be interested in an iPod is if it had a built in amplifier. As it stands now though it's audio quality, though okay, is nothing that stands out. No where near that of a Fiio stand alone MP3 player with a built in DAC and headphone amplifier.



    Maybe if the iPod had an HDMI out so I could display my movies and games on my TV it would have made a nice portable entertainment system for when I'm traveling. Yes I know you could display it wirelessly if you had a Apple TV, but the last time I checked, hotels don't stock their rooms with them. Honestly though, I would still prefer my phone or tablet.

     

    Uh, that's nice. What's the point of your rant? You're "surprised" that Apple is producing something that no doubt is completely demolishing the sales of whatever other device you're referring to? How does that make any sense? No, Apple is not focused on the iPod anymore, but in still has a near monopoly in that space and has a ton of uses, so there's no reason why they should discontinue it. If you haven't noticed, it does just a TINY bit more than music, so your post is a little irrelevant. 

  • Reply 15 of 45
    (1) the screen size difference is significant - even between the mini and the 6 . The iPod touch makes a good music device and (probably) a good camera, but other than that, trying to compare the two is ridiculous.

    (2) unless you absolutely, positively NEED an iPad mini, waiting until October would be the better bet.
  • Reply 16 of 45
    sog35 wrote: »
    Easy decision:

    Do you need a screen larger than 4 inches?

    Yes - buy iPad
    No - buy iPod

    I know, right? How hard was that?
  • Reply 17 of 45
    One more option to think of that is sorta related to screen size

    - Does it fit into a shirt pocket? (or any similar sized pocket for that matter)
    The iPad mini won't.

    IMHO the iPod is a perfectly sized device.
    Now only if the Podcast App wouldn't stop unsubscribing me from the "BBC Comedy of the Week" I'd be happy.
  • Reply 18 of 45
    The article missed out on a biggie for the iPodTouch and WiFi iPad Mini. GPS

    Apple has always cheated it's users by only offering GPS capability in their more expensive version with the cellular iPads and in all iPhones. So if you want to use offline maps with GPS, stargazing apps that use your position, GPS tagging of images you're out of luck.

    I'm an ardent Apple user but bought a used Nexus 7 WiFi tablet for a project and it has GPS built-in. Apple sucks in this regard holding back one important feature to rake in the money.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    slurpy wrote: »
    Uh, that's nice. What's the point of your rant? You're "surprised" that Apple is producing something that no doubt is completely demolishing the sales of whatever other device you're referring to? How does that make any sense? No, Apple is not focused on the iPod anymore, but in still has a near monopoly in that space and has a ton of uses, so there's no reason why they should discontinue it. If you haven't noticed, it does just a TINY bit more than music, so your post is a little irrelevant. 


    My point is, everyone has a phone that can do everything the iPod can, so what's the point of doubling up. I can see a 9 - 13 year old using one who hasn't gotten a phone yet, though I haven't seen many children over 11 who doesn't already have a phone, Further the iPod doesn't have that stand out feature, if it's meant to be a music player than I would have liked to seen Apple go after the audiophile by using a built in DAC with headphone amplifier. If it was meant to be a video player than I would have liked to seen a built in HDMI port, if was it meant for gaming than I would have liked to seen a included joypad that connects to the bottom of the unit. It doesn't have any of that, it's basically an iPhone without the phone, so than why wouldn't I just use my phone. There's nothing that stands out or has that one thing that I can't already do on a phone.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,242member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Relic View Post





    My point is, everyone has a phone that can do everything the iPod can, so what's the point of doubling up. I can see a 9 - 13 year old using one who hasn't gotten a phone yet, though I haven't seen many children over 11 who doesn't already have a phone, Further the iPod doesn't have that stand out feature, if it's meant to be a music player than I would have liked to seen Apple go after the audiophile by using a built in DAC with headphone amplifier. If it was meant to be a video player than I would have liked to seen a built in HDMI port, if was it meant for gaming than I would have liked to seen a included joypad that connects to the bottom of the unit. It doesn't have any of that, it's basically an iPhone without the phone, so than why wouldn't I just use my phone. There's nothing that stands out or has that one thing that I can't already do on a phone.

    The iPod Touch is a general purpose device, appealing primarily to people that don't have phones. Children would fit this case well, though many people find hand-me-down iPhone's off contract fit the bill nicely.

     

    iPod's don't need audiophile features, you can get a lightning to HDMI adaptor for connection to displays, and there are third party joystick cases. Mostly, Apple sells them because people still want to buy them, they are priced fairly, and as they are iOS, they have (near) the whole ecosystem available. There isn't much in the way of engineering development required to actually produce them.

     

    It's notable that that iPod Touch has never had any successful competitors, nor for the most part did any of the iPod's have competitors.

     

    Personally, I've gifted iPod Touch's, iPad's, and iPad Mini's to children and grandchildren of my (Apple using) friends. They have always been well accepted, have utilitarian, educational and entertainment value, and frankly, are gateway products for Apple. I always purchase them with AppleCare so support is easy if needed.

     

    I lean towards the iPad Mini 3 for elementary school age children as it will have a longer useful life plus a second life as a hand-me-down to a younger sibling, and it typically is not allowed outside the house anyway other than for travel. YMMV.

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