As Ned Flanders would say: here's a dilly of a pickle!
You've probably heard that the iPad Mini went on sale today, with a price tag of $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model.
What you may not know is that the online Apple Store now sells the refurbished iPad 2 with Wi-Fi (16GB) for $319 shipped. (It's also available in white for that price.)
That begs a very interesting question: with a price difference of just $10, which is the smarter buy? (I know, I know: "The Kindle Fire!" Ba-dump-bump. We're here to compare Apples and Apples, people -- literally.)
It might seem obvious to choose a new unit over something that's refurbished, but as I've pointed out many times before, Apple refurbs are quite literally good as new. The $319 iPad 2 will come with a new outer shell, new battery, and one-year warranty. There's literally no downside.
Meanwhile, much has been made of the fact that the iPad Mini shares a lot of the iPad 2's DNA. Both have Apple's dual-core A5 processor, and both have a 1,024x768-pixel screen. These two models each have Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage. Both can record HD video, though the iPad 2 tops out at 720p while the Mini shoots at 1080p (meaning it'll burn through that 16GB that much quicker). The Mini has a much better rear-facing camera.
On the flipside, the Mini saddles you with the Lightning connector -- not a great option if you already own a lot of dock-connector cables and accessories.
So, there you have it: nearly identical iPads, one with a 7.9-inch screen, one with a 9.7-inch screen. One priced at $329, and the other at $319. Decisions, decisions.
I think the $319 iPad 2 is the deal to beat. It's the same model that sold new for $499 as recently as March. And although it's not as easy to one-hand as the iPad Mini, well, where tablets are concerned, many users find bigger to be better.