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 1,024×786 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.