If you’ve always wanted an iPad, but simply haven't been able to afford one, now's your chance. Target is selling the iPad mini for $199, $100 less than Apple’s price, and the lowest advertised price around.
Is there a catch? Of course. The sale iPad is the 16GB, "non-Retina" version of the mini. It’s comparatively old technology and its display, while perfectly adequate, doesn't necessarily dazzle. Also, it’s Wi-Fi only.
Target’s advertisement says the price cut is temporary but doesn’t specify just how long it will last. To take advantage of the deal you have to visit a Target store; the cut-rate price is not available online.
Despite its limitations, the non-Retina mini is a decent product and is affordable. As far as I can tell, $199 is the lowest price you'll find for the device — unless you buy a used one on eBay or another auction site.
While poking around on various user forums I found a post by one consumer who said he cajoled a Best Buy manager into matching Target’s price. Best Buy offers to match prices on certain items. (See the policy here.) Like Apple, Best Buy sells the non-Retina mini for $299. The equivalent iPad mini advertised on Best Buy's website doesn’t have the sticker offering to match a low price, so it’s possible the store won’t sell it to you for $199. On the other hand, if you don’t mind wandering over to a Best Buy store, it’s certainly worth a try.
Many Americans have an aversion to haggling over prices — it’s simply not part of our culture. But consumers who attempt to bargain with retailers are sometimes rewarded with better prices.
Here’s how the non-Retina mini stacks up to other iPads. (You can see a detailed comparison here.) It’s the thinnest, lightest iPad Apple makes. The screen resolution is 1,024x786 pixels, considerably less than the Retina models. It uses the A5 processor, instead of the faster, more powerful A6.
But it’s a capable device, particularly if you’re mainly going to use it as an e-reader, or you just want something affordable for yourself or another family member. After all, we don’t always need the latest (and most expensive) personal technology.