Apple iPad Mini 4 Review

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Posted: September 21, 2015

The Apple iPad mini 4 is the best tablet in its class and a definite upgrade on its forebears. It comes with a price tag to boot - the entry-level 16GB model is $399, while the 128GB Cellular version retails at an eye-bursting $729.

So, sticker shock is all but guaranteed. The question is, does it have enough features to justify the cost?

Dimensions & Build Quality

The first thing you notice holding the Mini 4 is the almost grotesque pleasure one feels just touching it. The build quality overall is superb and the boffins at Cupertino have managed to shave even more from the thickness of the device. Like the Mini 3, it is 8 inches by 5.3 inches, but it's now only 0.24 inches thick. That's 6.1 millimeters. Nice, though the equally over-engineered Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is just 5.6 millimeters.

The screen is an upgrade over the Mini 3 - it's the same 7.9 inch Retina display but now it comes fully laminated, which reduces glare some. It's a gorgeous screen, though some will prefer the Super AMOLED Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. The Mini 4 beams out 326 pixels per inch at 2048-by-1536 resolution. 

How about the weight? The Mini 3 was light enough - the Mini 4 has been on a bikini diet and is down to 10.4 ounces (295 grams). It comes in Silver, Gold, and that Apple favorite 'Space Gray'.

Exterior Features

The usual you get with Apple tablets: stereo speakers, lightning connector, headphone jack - but no USB ports, no hdmi, no microSD. This isn't a pain - until it is.

The rear iSight camera has been improved, from 5MP to 8, and now comes with 'burst mode'. It's a pretty good camera and if you're the sort of person who uses a tablet PC to take photos, this won't let you down. Most of the snaps you take with this will look very nice, though of course it's no match for some lenses out there - 40MP on the Nokia Lumia, anyone?

The front FaceTime camera is the same as before - it does its job.

Internals & Software

The Mini 4 has been given some of Apple's faster chips. It rocks a 64bit A8 CPU, 1.3 times as powerful as the Mini 2. The M8 graphics chip is 1.6 times faster than the Mini 2's equivalent.

Throw in 2GB of RAM and you get a device somewhat close to the specs of the iPad Air 2. I didn't notice any slowdowns or bouts of lag when using it - the Mini 4 fairly whizzed along - but others have reported it.

The 4 comes with Touch ID - Apple's suspicious but useful fingerprint scanner, and also Apple Pay, which is yet to really take off. The operating system is iOS9, which has been well recieved by almost everyone. iOS9 allows for split-screen multitasking, though that would seem rather pointless on the 7.9inch Mini 4 screen.

Interestingly, Apple have beeen adding barometers to their devices, and the Mini 4 gets one too. It might know which floor you are on, and basically just make location tracking even more accurate. Are you excited? Certain government agencies are!

Apple promises 10 hours battery sufing web plus wifi; 9 hours surfing on a cellular network. 

The App store remains the industry leader. If you're looking for the widest range of apps, this will be a plus point for you.

Networking Options

Dual channel Wi‑Fi (802.11a/​b/​g/​n/​ac) and a Nano-SIM slot. It supports Apple SIM, currently available only in the US and UK.

A slight update on the Bluetooth side, from 4.0 on older models to Bluetooth 4.2 on the Mini 4. 

The Verdict

A beautiful device that is more than the sum of its parts. Many customers will buy instantly and without regret. People interested in value for money may decide that the premium being charged for this device doesn't make sense, and either go for an equally well-specced Android equivalent, or buy an older iPad Mini. They're still great tablets, and many hundreds of dollars cheaper than this one.

Buying Options

<< Check the latest price on Amazon. >>

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Apple iPad Mini 4 Specifications

Apple iPad Mini 4
 Tablet  Apple iPad Mini 4
 Rating  Ratings
 OS  iOS9
 CPU  Apple A8 - 1.50 GHz
 Storage  16,64,128 GB
 RAM  2 GB
 Display  IPS LCD - 7.9 inch
 Resolution  2048 x 1536 px - 326 ppi
 Camera  Front 1.2 / Back 8.0 MP
 Weight  0.29 kg / 0.65 lbs
 Battery life  10.0 hours
 Released  2015-09


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Battery life comparison

Battery life of selected tablet

 Tablet   (h)   Battery life 
Apple iPad Mini 410.0Apple iPad Mini 4 tablet autonomy comparison

Compared to 5 tablets with largest battery life

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 1018.0Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 tablet autonomy comparison
Sony Xperia Z415.0Sony Xperia Z4 tablet autonomy comparison
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.115.0Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 tablet autonomy comparison
Microsoft Surface 214.0Microsoft Surface 2 tablet autonomy comparison
Nokia Lumia 252013.5Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet autonomy comparison

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Weight comparison

Weight of selected tablet

 Tablet   kg   lbs   Weight 
Apple iPad Mini 40.290.65Apple iPad Mini 4 weight comparison

Compared to 5 lightest tablets - 8 and 9 inch

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.00.260.58Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 weight comparison
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact0.270.59Sony Xperia Z3 Compact weight comparison
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.40.290.65Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 weight comparison
Dell Venue 80.290.64Dell Venue 8 weight comparison
Samsung Galaxy Tab3 8.00.300.66Samsung Galaxy Tab3 8.0 weight comparison