Here is our review of the long-expected iPad mini 4 which is now on sale.
Tablet iPad mini 4 in general
In September 2015, Apple announced the release of the iPad mini 4 representing a decent upgrade for the moment. And since that time the mini-tablet has been on the market competing with 12.9in iPad Pro, a new Apple TV and the Rose Gold iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
Now, two years later, the 7.9-inch model remains Apple’s only mini tablet in the line while the company focuses on bigger tablets.
We are happy to devote our review to the still competitive device featuring its strong and weak point in order to assist you in selecting a proper iPad for your joy.
Availability and varieties
Now you can buy an iPad mini 4 either from Apple or from third-party resellers. Online purchase is possible as well. You may choose between two model variants, which are 128GB WiFi, and 128GB WiFi + Cellular (a little more expensive) and select your preferred color from a number of options. The models can be bought from many vendors like Amazon, Currys or John Lewis.
Being a smaller variant of the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 is a solid update, much more radical than the difference between iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3. The improvements include a thinner design and numerous internal features.
What really deserves admiration in iPad mini 4 is its elegant design, which in combination with fascinating colors (Gold, Silver, and Space Grey versions are available) makes the model a smart looking and convenient device. Apple’s new Silicon Cases which are as attractive as the iPad itself provide a perfect protection.
The designers have created a truly handy thing. Being considerably thinner (by 18%) than the previous model, iPad mini 4 is also lighter: the heavier 128GB Wi-Fi Celular weighs 304g and the 128GB Wi-Fi weighs 299g (compared to the iPad Air 2 with its 437g). With such dimensions and weight models gain additional portability and may be considered as real pocket devices.
Hardware and performance
Though the resolution (2048 x 1536) is the same as in iPad mini 2 and 3 (and iPad Air/iPad Air 2), the screen has been somewhat changed. Anti-reflecting coating is a big help outside in a sunny weather and the removal of the gap between the cover glass and LCD improves the contrast. In the outcome, the screen looks clearer than before and is much better for video and games.
The A8 chip of Apple’s design is a quite fast engine (better than the A7 on iPad mini 2 and 3 though somehow slower than the A8X on iPad Air 2). The combination of M8 co-processor and Apple’s modern multitasking tools makes the iPad mini 4 a nice little speedy device that can display a fine performance even with two apps running. It is slightly slower than the performance leaders which is though absolutely excusable for such a small and elegant machine.
The same applies to the tablet’s graphics capacities. For example, in T-Rex test, it scores 37fps, which is much better than 22fls with iPad mini 2 and 3, but still a little slow as compared to 52fls with the Air 2.
As there was in previous models, there is a fingerprint sensor (Touch ID) beneath Home button, which contributes to the user’s convenience. However, it is not upgraded to the new and faster generation as on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
Regarding the mobile connectivity, the WiFi of the iPad mini 4 (WiFi-only and WiFi + Celular) is 802.11ac. In theory, it can handle a mobile traffic with a speed up to 866Mbps, iPad mini 4 is supplied with Bluetooth 4.2.
In terms of battery life, the iPad mini 4 is worse than other Apple’s models in the line but the gap is not so big. While, at the GeekBench 3 test, the iPad mini 3 scored 4098, the result attained by the iPad mini 4 was a mere 3975 which is only slightly lower than 3990 displayed by the iPad mini 2. With such battery performance, the iPad mini 4 may count on 6 hours of active usage.
In iPad mini 4 the rear camera has been upgraded from 5Mp to 8Mp, which is obviously a step forward in the pictures’ quality. Besides, the camera has a fine face detection and a quick auto-focus facility.
Below are resized pictures taken with this camera.
The A8 supports the Burst mode and Slo-Mo video (120fps at 720p) for this camera. You can take beautiful panorama pictures with a resolution of up to 43Mp. The video (1080p at 30fps) also delivers a fine performance with good colors and clear details. Altogether such a camera on a tablet is simply impressive and can outscore cameras on models of a bigger size.
On the front, like on the iPad Air 2 as well, is a 1.2Mp camera which is certainly inferior to the 5Mp facility established on the iPad Pro 9.7.
The tablet’s OS is iOS 10 with an easy upgrade to iOS 11. Detailed info about both OSs can be found at the following links:
The iPad mini 4 is a reliable and convenient tablet with a smart design and decent characteristics. Being not among the newest models, it, however, remains competitive due to the unique design, impressive portability, and affordable price. All its characteristics are at a similar level so the model has no serious shortcomings that could create problems for the user. However, it’s a pity that since September 2017 there have not been any updates of this model. Now we can only imagine a new upgrade, which would add new magic features to the already attractive iPad mini 4!