The original iPad mini is beginning to age, and that has many shoppers asking whether or not the older tablet is still worth buying, especially considering it’s the cheapest iPad available.
The first-generation iPad mini was already outdated when it first launched anyway, arriving with an A5 processor when Apple already had its A6 processor out and about in multiple devices by then, including the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and the fourth-generation iPad, which included the A6X (a variant of the A6 chip).
Plus, it doesn’t include a Retina display, which made it even more outdated, as the fourth-generation iPad that launched beside it included a Retina display, as well as the iPad 3 that preceded it.
Nonetheless, the original iPad mini has deemed to be a decent tablet for users who don’t need a lot of features to come out of a tablet, thus saving a bit of cash when it came time to buying one. However, with the iPad mini 2 and the iPad mini 3 now out on the market, the original iPad mini is looking less and less desirable, although the $249 price tag is fairly enticing.
If you’re thinking about buying the first-generation iPad mini, here’s what you should know before you make the purchase.
It’s the Cheapest iPad Apple Sells
If you’re looking for a low-cost iPad, the original iPad mini is the cheapest iPad that Apple sells, ringing in at only $249.
A big misconception about the iPad is that it’s an expensive tablet and you’ll need to spend at least $500 to get one. That used to be true, but Apple has slowly crept its way into the low-cost tablet market, and now it only costs half that to get an iPad. You could probably even find a better deal on a used model for less than $200 if you look hard enough.
So if you’re looking for the cheapest iPad available, the first-generation iPad mini is the option to go with.
It’s Decent for Casual Users
There are many different types of iPad users, including users who pretty much do everything with their iPads. Then there are the users that simply use their iPad for light use, which would include web browsing, checking email, etc.
The original iPad mini is a decent tablet for these types of casual users, but take note that I only said “decent,” and not “great” or “good.”
The iPad mini is aging quickly, which means many apps and games won’t run as good as they could on newer hardware, but the experience certainly isn’t abysmal. Many users say that the first-generation tablet works great for casual users, while others notice easily that it’s a tablet that’s on its last breath.
Using it for light web browsing, checking email, reading ebooks, etc. is a great use for the original iPad mini, and it can still handle many lightweight games with aplomb, but be warned that newer apps and more intensive games may not handle so well on the older tablet, simply because the hardware can’t run fast enough to keep up with the newer graphics.
Be Aware of the Future
While the original iPad mini may be a great purchase right now, that may not be the case as soon as a year from now.
There’s a term called “futureproofing” where you buy a new product with the hopes that you’ll use it for several years before you need to upgrade again. By buying a first-generation iPad mini, you’re not setting yourself up for futureproofing at all, considering that the tablet is close to being on its way out the door, and Apple could stop delivering software updates to the original iPad mini as soon as next year with the release of iOS 9.
Once that happens, you’re kind of screwed and are left with an old tablet that Apple wants to forget about.
With that said, if you want to futureproof, we’d suggest spending just $50 more for the iPad mini 2, which comes with much faster hardware and a Retina display. Plus, it’ll most likely be supported by Apple for several years before it becomes incredibly outdated.