iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini 3: Should You Pick a Phablet or a Tablet?

1 - iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini 3: Should You Pick a Phablet or a Tablet?
2 - Consider the Screen Size Differences
3 - With iOS, the Experience Will Be Similar but Not Identical
4 - How Important Is a Phone?
5 - It's a Tossup When It Comes to Mobile Apps
6 - Pricing Is an Obvious Concern
7 - Do You Want to Be Tied to a Carrier?
8 - A Look Inside the Devices
9 - The Issue of Snapping Pictures
10 - What Kind of Mobility Matters Most?
11 - Consider the Business-Productivity Angle
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iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini 3: Should You Pick a Phablet or a Tablet?

by Don Reisinger

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Consider the Screen Size Differences

Never have the iPad and iPhone been so close in screen size since the launch of the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple's smartphone comes with a 5.5-inch screen, while the iPad Mini 3 offers a 7.9-inch display. Deciding which screen size is best ultimately comes down to two factors: how often users watch videos on the device and how mobile they'd like to be. If screen size is very important and the phone features don't matter as much, the iPad would get the nod.

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With iOS, the Experience Will Be Similar but Not Identical

Although both devices run iOS 8, it's important to note that while the experiences are very similar, they are not identical. For instance, while both devices have Touch ID, only the iPhone comes with Apple Pay support. In addition, the iPad Mini 3 will require a nearby iPhone to send SMS, and HealthKit—which houses user health information on the iPhone—is a no-show on the iPad version.

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How Important Is a Phone?

One of the biggest decisions customers will need to make when deciding between the iPhone and iPad Mini 3 is whether they want to buy a device that can place calls. If getting a new iOS device is all about apps, watching movies and listening to music, perhaps the iPad Mini 3 would do the trick. But if users want an all-in-one product that includes those features plus allows them to place calls, the iPhone 6 Plus is the winner.

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It's a Tossup When It Comes to Mobile Apps

When considering apps, the iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Mini 3 are in a dead heat. While there are more apps available for the iPhone than the iPad, the apps that are iPhone-only tend to be very specialized and do not appeal to a broader audience. So, it's hard to see an advantage for either product when it comes to the App Store.

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Pricing Is an Obvious Concern

If affordability is the ultimate determining factor, extra research is needed. The iPhone 6 Plus may start at $299, but that price is contingent upon signing a postpaid contract with a carrier. The iPad Mini 3, meanwhile, starts at $399 and goes up to $599 for the WiFi-only model with no additional cellular charges. Those who want the LTE version will see the hardware price rise to $529 to start. Carrier charges will apply after that to use the iPad Mini 3 on a cellular network.

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Do You Want to Be Tied to a Carrier?

The next decision is whether you need to be tied to a wireless carrier. The iPhone, of course, requires that users are on a carrier network in order for the device's phone feature to operate. Because the iPad Mini 3 is a tablet, customers have the option to choose to go WiFi-only and connect only to wireless networks or to buy the cellular model to get onto 4G LTE.

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A Look Inside the Devices

The iPhone 6 Plus comes with a better processor than the iPad Mini 3. The iPhone's chip is the 64-bit A8, featuring the M8 motion coprocessor. The processor delivers both better battery life and performance on resource-intensive apps than the earlier-generation A7 built into the iPad Mini 3. Apple's diminutive tablet also includes the previous-generation M7 motion coprocessor.

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The Issue of Snapping Pictures

Since both the iPad Mini 3 and iPhone 6 Plus come with front- and rear-facing cameras, one would expect both of them to be viable photo-snapping devices. But how often do you see someone taking out an iPad to take a family photo or a quick snap of funny friends? For FaceTime and other activities, the iPhone and iPad are on par, but when it comes to quick photography—an increasingly popular trend—the iPhone 6 Plus wins out.

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What Kind of Mobility Matters Most?

The iPhone 6 Plus and the iPad Mini 3 are both highly mobile in their own right. For those who want to have a computerlike experience but not the heft of a PC, the iPad Mini 3 is a fine option. For those who don't want to lug around an iPad and want a device that fits snugly into their pocket, the iPhone 6 Plus might be a better option. Ultimately, how a person wants to use a device will determine the level of mobility they need.

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Consider the Business-Productivity Angle

For corporate customers picking between the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPad Mini 3, productivity becomes a major concern. Which device will make its users more productive? Both the iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Mini 3 have nicely sized screens, solid software and a hardware feature in Touch ID that improves security. In other words, they are both worthwhile options, but making the decision on productivity is an individual one that companies must make on their own. Either way, companies likely won't get burned.

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