What's better: A $329 iPad Mini or $319 iPad 2?

While supplies last, Apple is offering the refurbished (but good-as-new) iPad 2 for less than the price of a new Mini. Which is the better buy?

With a price difference of only $10, which would you choose?
With a price difference of only $10, which would you choose? Sarah Tew/CNET

As Ned Flanders would say: here's a dilly of a pickle!

You've probably heard that the iPad Mini went on sale today , with a price tag of $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model.

What you may not know is that the online Apple Store now sells the refurbished iPad 2 with Wi-Fi (16GB) for $319 shipped. (It's also available in white for that price.)

That begs a very interesting question: with a price difference of just $10, which is the smarter buy? (I know, I know: "The Kindle Fire!" Ba-dump-bump. We're here to compare Apples and Apples, people -- literally.)

It might seem obvious to choose a new unit over something that's refurbished, but as I've pointed out many times before, Apple refurbs are quite literally good as new . The $319 iPad 2 will come with a new outer shell, new battery, and one-year warranty. There's literally no downside.

Meanwhile, much has been made of the fact that the iPad Mini shares a lot of the iPad 2's DNA. Both have Apple's dual-core A5 processor, and both have a 1,024x768-pixel screen. These two models each have Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage. Both can record HD video, though the iPad 2 tops out at 720p while the Mini shoots at 1080p (meaning it'll burn through that 16GB that much quicker). The Mini has a much better rear-facing camera.

On the flipside, the Mini saddles you with the Lightning connector -- not a great option if you already own a lot of dock-connector cables and accessories.

So, there you have it: nearly identical iPads, one with a 7.9-inch screen, one with a 9.7-inch screen. One priced at $329, and the other at $319. Decisions, decisions.

I think the $319 iPad 2 is the deal to beat. It's the same model that sold new for $499 as recently as March. And although it's not as easy to one-hand as the iPad Mini, well, where tablets are concerned, many users find bigger to be better.

Your thoughts?

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