Should I Buy the iPad or iPad Mini for Podcasting?

Since the release of the iPad Mini, choosing between Apple tablets has become more difficult. Latest sales figures shows the iPad Mini is selling well – even better than some industry insiders expected. If you are buying an iPad for your podcast or video podcast efforts, which one should you choose – The iPad or iPad mini?

Choosing your iPad for Podcasting

Choosing your iPad for Podcasting

iPad 4 Pros – 4K Resolution, Twice the Processor

For amazingly sharp images and text, the newest generation of iPad is hard to beat. The 9.7-inch Retina Display is perfect for browsing the web, viewing photos and watching movies. The 2048×1536 resolution is sharper than a 1080 HDTV. If you are mixing down an iMovie podcast, the screen will be easy to watch.

With more than twice the processor power and four times the graphics power of the iPad Mini, the newest generation iPad is ideal for high productivity apps like GarageBand and iMovie. Process time will be less because of this. More important, the high resolution gives you more screen space, which will help you see your work and get more done.

iPad 4 Cons – Weight, Storage, Price.

Weighing more than twice as much as the iPad Mini, the iPad 4 is not the easiest tablet to hold in one hand, especially for longer periods of capturing video footage. It’s certainly easier than carrying certain laptops around. Unless you have big pockets,  you can’t just pop it in your coat pocket or purse each time you go out to record a podcast. Add the accessories like microphones to hold in another hand and you might have a juggling act to perform.

Garageband and iMovie are great for recording podcasts

Garageband and iMovie are great for recording podcasts

Accessories for iPad

We just talked about an iPad studio in the PadcasterThere are other great holders being developed for your iPad to take video and audio like a regular camera.

Compare to iPad Mini

The iPad Mini has functionality of a 2nd Generation iPad with a lower price tag. If you are not processing high 720p video or creating hour long podcasts on Garageband or another podcast app, then the mini might be the alternative.

iPad Mini Pros – Lightweight, Stereo speakers

Being so light, the iPad Mini is great for holding like a book; you can browse the web, read email or hold up to get video pretty easy. The mini fits comfortably into a handbag or coat pocket, which is perfect if you are just recording audio. Hit the record button, then put the mini in a bag until you are done. As long as the mic doesn’t unplug you should get decent 16 bit audio.

With stereo speakers, the iPad Mini is also a useful portable music player and the sound is good enough for short bursts of music or for watching YouTube. Attach a decent pair of headphones and the audio quality is great.

Despite having a slower processor, the iPad Mini can still run every iPad app in the App Store (at this time).

Holding an iPad to record is not an easy task

Holding an iPad to record is not an easy task

iPad Mini Cons – Limited Shelf Life, Visual Screen, High Performance Work

Ok. Take the last sentence and put it here, too. Right now the iPad mini (1st generation) will run all apps. However, when the next generation iPads come out it could leave the mini to older apps and no updates.

There is also rumors coming the next generation iPad mini will have Retina display and quad-core technology (A6 processor). Waiting a few months might not be in your business plan but waiting could come with a better device.

Think of the iPad mini as a slightly improved iPad 2 – same processor, same resolution in a smaller form factor. It will run slower than a full sized – newest generation iPad. Podcast apps still work and you can still record video. When it comes to processing for upload – that could take longer.

Finally, if you intend to use the tablet for work-related tasks, it’s worth trying out the keyboard before you buy. Some people may find the iPad Mini’s on-screen keyboard too small for prolonged use. Spreadsheet and word processor apps are also slightly more difficult to use because of the reduced screen size.

What About iPhone 5? iPod Touch?

Yes! iPhone 5 has a similar processor to the next generation iPad and also has the Retina display. With a program like AirPlay, you can project your project upon a larger screen to work on. The only problem is if someone texts or calls you – that could interrupt your recording or editing process.

The iPod Touch might be the better option of the two, although you might have your iPhone in your pocket more than the touch. Prices are a little higher for the iPod – $299 for 32 GB and $399 for 64 GB. You will not have to turn off the phone while recording and still have your phone ready for calls.

The Size of the iPad Does Matter – 16, 32, 64 or 128 GB

The iPad size might be a bigger factor – 16 GB iPad could be too small for recording podcasts simply because the limited storage. I have both a 32 GB iPad and 32 GB iPhone. Both do well for singular projects. If you have multiple projects, you might want to consider getting a 64 GB iPad or even the newest 128 GB iPad.

The Bottom Line – iPad or iPad Mini

There is no perfect choice when deciding between these two attractive tablets. Some people prefer the larger screen, sharper images, and faster processor of the iPad 4. For users who want to record higher end video and longer podcasts, the iPad 4 is probably the best choice. On the other hand, the iPad Mini is great for the quick recording or stock video footage and is cheaper and easier to carry around. 

The best solution is to check out the Apple store and test drive both models. Also test drive the iPod to see if that works better.

Additional writing credit: Daniel Moss

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