Apple iPad Mini 4

Apple's Smaller Tablet Gets Thinner, Lighter and Improved Performance

Apple iPad Mini 4 8-inch Tablet
Apple iPad Mini 4. ©Apple

The Bottom Line

Sep 25 2015 - Apple's 4th generation iPad Mini received many of the updates that it should have last year when they released the iPad Mini 3. The tablet is now thinner thanks to the laminated glass display which also greatly helps improve the display especially outdoors. Performance is nearly the same as an iPad Air 2 but for $100 less. The changes did have a drawback of reducing the overall running time from a smaller battery but it still gives plenty of running time.

Manufacturer's Site

Pros

  • Improved Display That Has Less Glare
  • Performance Now Comparable with Larger Air 2
  • Thinner and Lighter

Cons

  • Would Have Been Nice to See Base Capacity Increased to 32GB
  • Reduced Battery Life From Past Models
  • New Dimensions Mean Older iPad Mini Cases May Not Fit

Description

  • 1.4GHz Apple A8 (Cortex-A53) Dual Core 64-bit Processor
  • 2GB Memory
  • 16GB Storage
  • 7.9" WQXGA (2048x1536) Multitouch Display
  • 1.2MP Front and 8MP Rear Cameras
  • PowerVR GX 6450 Series Graphics
  • 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Lightning Port, 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • 8" x 5.2" x 0.24" @ .65 lbs.
  • iOS 9.0

Review - Apple iPad Mini 4 16GB Wi-Fi

 

Sep 25 2015 - When Apple introduced the new iPad Pro with its gigantic screen and new Apple Pencil features, they also quietly announced an a new iPad Mini 4. They probably did not saw much because in many ways the new iPad Mini 4 is really what the iPad Mini 3 should have been when it was released last year.

Physically, it does not look that much different but it has changed. The thickness has been reduced from from nearly four tenths of an inch to just under a quarter inch making it one of the thinnest on the market now. With the reduction in thickness, the tablet also shed some weight down to just .65 pounds which is light but not as light as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0.

Sadly, it does not come in the rose colored aluminum body like the iPad Pro but still comes with gold, space gray or silver.

One of the biggest disappointed with the iPad 3 was the reliance on the same Apple A7 processor as the previous iPad 2 which meant that it had no performance gains. Sure it had 64-bit support that most other tablets were lacking but the benefits were not really noticeable. This time around, Apple has put in the A8 processor which makes it much more on par with the iPad Air 2 for performance and features. Now it is still slower because it runs at a slower 1.4GHz speed but it has the same 2GB of memory which is twice the previous iPad Mini models. This makes the tablet feel so much faster when using applications especially when trying to switch between apps. In fact, many people probably would not be able to tell a difference in the speed between the Air 2 and this unit.

The display has also received a major upgrade even though it features the same 2048x1538 resolution of the iPad Retina screens. Instead, it is the construction of the screen that matters. Apple used the same glass to screen lamination that they used with the iPad Air 2. This means that the screen now has much better glare protection compared to many other tablets from the removal of the air gap.

This is also one of the main reasons that the tablet was able to be thinner than the past models. Graphics speeds have also improved meaning that it can deal with video processing better and has improve graphics performance for those mobile games. It still falls short of the Air 2 though as the color is not as good and the graphics are still not as quick as on the A8X processor.

If you were disappointed with the iPad Mini's cameras, Apple upgrade the rear facing camera to the same 8.0 megapixel found on the iPad Air 2. It certainly does not compare to the new cameras and image processing capabilities of the iPhone 6S but it is a pretty significant upgrade that will make taking both photos and videos much better. Of course taking pictures and videos with tablets is still somewhat awkward and it lacks the flash used on the iPhones meaning low light shots are more difficult.

One of the sacrifices that had to be made in order to reduce the overall size of the iPad Mini 4 was the battery. With less physical space, it had to be reduced and it went from 6,471mAh to 5,124mAH which is twenty percent less capacity. Apple still claims that it can achieve ten hours of video playback. Now the iPad Mini 3 had impressive running time of twelve and a half hours in my video playback tests. The iPad Mini 4 did drop in the same test down to just under eleven hours. Still better than Apple's claim but a significant reduction but not the class leading time frame that it once had. That is held by the older iPad Mini 2 which is still available unlike the iPad 3.

Pricing for the iPad Mini 4 is the same as the previous iPad Mini 3. It starts at $399 for the 16GB version and jumps up to $499 for 64GB and $599 for 128GB. If you want the LTE versions, prices jump to $529, $629 and $729. Overall, the prices are quite good as the iPad Mini 4 is roughly $100 less than the larger iPad Air 2 for nearly the same level of performance and features. The big problem is that many users are not seeing the need to upgrade older models and there are many more affordable alternatives on the market. The closet competition is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 which starts at $399 but has 32GB of memory with a microSD card slot for additional space with the flash cards.

Manufacturer's Site

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