It’s gift-giving season, and you’re weighing the new iPad against the iPad mini. We’ll help you determine which new Apple tablet is the best match for you and your kids.

Many Apple essentials are available in both models: Siri, front and rear cameras and a 10-hour battery life. Both also feature Apple’s much-touted App Store. You’ll be able to download and use the same apps on both tablets; the mini simply scales down the images to fit its smaller screen, no extra screen space to spare.

The obvious difference is the screen size: the new iPad features a 9.7” retina display with 2048x1536px resolution and 264 ppi, while the mini’s screen is 1024x768px resolution with 163 ppi. In mom-speak? The new iPad is much bigger and much sharper, great for kids who love watching movies and playing games with lots of detail. If you’ve got fans of apps like Infinity Blade II, Mass Effect 3, Angry Birds Space HD or Flight Control Rocket, opt for the iPad. If your kids are younger as use simpler apps and aren’t picky about HD video, the mini is a great fit.

The iPad mini is over 30% thinner and 50% lighter than the iPad, making it easier for small children to tote and handle.

The iPad mini starts at $329, the new iPad at $499. If your kids are heavy users of HD videos and games, you should opt for the iPad, or wait until the next generation of iPad mini if you can. If your children’s usage is mostly limited to simpler graphics and you’d like slimmer, lighter (and cheaper) package, the mini is for you.

iPad mini Specs
– 7.9” display
– 1024x768px resolution with 163 ppi
– Dimensions: 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm
– Weight: 308g
– 10 hour battery life
– Operating system: iOS 6
– Front-facing camera: 1.2MP
– Rear-facing camera: 5MP
– 1080p HD video recording
– 16, 32, or 64GB
– Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + cellular LTE

New iPad Specs
– 9.7” display
– 2048x1536px resolution with 264 ppi
– Dimensions: 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 mm
– Weight: 652g
– 10 hour battery life
– Operating system: iOS 6
– Front-facing camera: 1.2MP
– Rear-facing camera: 5MP
– 1080p HD video recording
– 16, 32, or 64GB
– Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + cellular LTE

Photo courtesy of: Yutaka Tsutano

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