Mark Hattersley recently wrote a summary of the iPad benchmarks. His Macworld article is a good reference if you are trying to decide which iPad to purchase. Here’s the Geekbench raw CPU results for all iPads:
Mark concludes with this this:
There’s no doubt that the new iPad 4 stomps all over the iPad mini in terms of raw power. Like the recent iPhone 5 and iPod touch update, there’s been a serious performance boost that doubles the capability of the device. What’s not so clear is why? Why has Apple introduced these all-new powerful devices, because there’s currently no particular advantage to the end user. The iOS interface is snappy on all devices, the current generation of games are designed to work on all machines (and our experience in the past is that developers stick with designing for the whole market rather than the latest iOS models for a long time). Perhaps the only advantage is a small performance gain when exporting movies or audio in iMovie or GarageBand.
There’s still a big advantage to getting an iPad 4 over an iPad mini, namely the Retina Display, which is in itself worth the extra money. But don’t think that the iPad mini is less of an experience. It may be smaller, with a smaller screen, and a non Retina display, but it runs all the programs and apps just as well as the recent iPad 3 with Retina Display.
Whether Apple has something planned for the iPad 4 (as well as iPhone 5 and iPod touch) that takes advantage of all that extra power is another matter. The iPad 4 certainly has more future-proofing behind it.
But here and now: they’re both great devices.
Fraser Speirs is perhaps the most knowledgeable IT person regarding heavy use of the iPad in K-12 education. He is responsible for launching and running the iPad 1:1 program at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland.
Here’s the two posts: Two Weeks with iPad mini and What’s On My iPad Mini. After the first couple of weeks Fraser observed:
The first thing to get out of the way is that the iPad mini is an iPad. Even more than calling it a real iPad, I want to describe it as a full iPad. Give or take a few benchmark points, it’s as powerful as any iPad that existed until the 4th-generation 9.7″ iPad. This is really important. It’s important because the executive summary of what I’m about to write is this: get the one you like best.
(…) That’s when it clicked. When I realised I had – without really thinking – done all the things I need an iPad to do for a whole week without being forced back to a full-size iPad, I saw that the iPad mini is just that: an iPad. No need to over-think the distinction, no real need to develop theories about it: the iPad mini is an iPad in the same way that the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro are both Macs. They’ll both do the same 95% of the job: get the one that suits you best.
The iPad mini reminds me of my first MacBook Air. When the Air first shipped it was a Mac with some serious technical compromises with a design and form factor so compelling that you would re-arrange your entire digital life to make it work. The iPad mini reminds me of that except that it only has one serious compromise: the non-retina display. In every other respect, it’s a full-bore iPad. In fact, I don’t even refer to it as “my iPad mini” any more; I just call it “my iPad”.