The Good: compact size, super clear anti-glare display and has a split-screen feature for apps with the iOS9. It’s basically similar to the iPad Air 2, except it’s smaller and is the perfect hand-held device for vacations and outdoors.
The Bad: the price is not acceptable for an 8-inch tablet, especially when you compare it to other similar tablets. Its GPU is not high-end, so you may not enjoy some apps and games on it. You’d have to adjust to its smaller screen when multitasking.
The Bottom Line: unless there’s a really good reason why you need the iPad Mini 4, then I suggest that you stick to the iPad Air 2, because it has better specs and is roughly the same price.
Basically, the iPad Mini 4 was modeled after the iPad Air 2 but is slightly less powerful than the latter. This 7.9-inch screen model which has been available since October 2015 and although it isn’t disappointing, it isn’t that good either. I mean, you could just get the iPad Air 2 for a lot less and you’ll be more pleased with its performance, so why give people another option when the only clear difference between it and the Air 2 is the screen size?
It seems that the R&D (research and development) team of Apple Inc. is out of touch with reality as they keep making these nonsensical products when the rest of the world is focusing on larger phones and more-capable hybrid laptops and tablets, which are cheaper, by the way. Needless to say that the iPad Mini 4 quickly became irrelevant in just 1 year after its release and nobody’s buying the “price is worth the product” tune by Apple anymore as well.
Since it’s been almost 2 years now when the iPad Mini 4 was released, Apple has adjusted the pricing in its iPad line, but looking at the price difference between it and the iPad Air 2, especially overseas – one example is Australia – the starting price of the Mini 4 is $569 AUD while the Air 2 is $599 AUD, a $30 price difference will make people narrow their eyes and contemplate whether it’s worth the investment or not.
To that end I can say that the iPad Mini 4 is better than the Mini 2. It sports the 1.5 GHz Typhoon dual-core processor, a 1536 x 2048 pixels screen resolution, 8MP camera and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Apple’s R&D says that they’ve built the iPad Mini 4 to run 1.3x faster than the Mini 2 in terms of processor speed and also have a graphics performance that’s 1.6x faster than its predecessor. It also has a split-screen feature to allow you to view emails or social media profiles while an app is running.
On the low side though, it is slower than the iPad Air 2. While the iPad Mini 4 is almost identical to the iPad Air 2 – with the exception of the screen size – it is more than 35% slower when it comes to its GPU (graphics processing unit). You can feel games and apps have longer load times and doesn’t run smoothly as they should be with the Mini 4. The frame rate is also a bit slow on some titles and for all the RAM size it boasts which is 2GB, it isn’t as smooth compared to the Air 2.
Specs indicate that the Mini 4 has 5124 mAh which should at least go as long as 7 hours on video playback (Apple claims 10 hours); however, when I tested it against the Mini 2 and let them both run on airplane mode, the Mini 4 lasted only 9 hours and 36 minutes, while the Mini 2 went beyond its rated capacity to 11 hours and 14 minutes! You could argue that it may be due to the heating problem, but it’s been almost 2 years now, didn’t Apple fixed this problem?
Despite being over one year old, the Mini 4 is still expensive for a tablet of this size, in fact, it cost just as much as the faster and bigger iPad Air 2. The 16GB version of the Mini 4 costs $399, £319 and $569 AUD respectively, while the 64GB version has a price tag of $499/£399/$699 AUD respectively. When Apple released the iPad Pro on March this year they immediately cut prices to their old products including the iPad Mini 4 and other tablet products, but it just seems that they didn’t cut it enough to make it affordable.
You can get a lot of other iPad alternatives for the same or even much lesser amount than the iPad Mini 4. For instance, there’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab A, the Lenovo Tab 3 8, LG Pad 8.3 and other tablets from Asian countries which has basically similar features as the Mini 4, if not even better! So, if you’re only looking for something for email, web browsing, Facebook and Netflix that has a compact size and good computing power, then you may want to explore other brands besides Apple. However, if you are looking for something that’s compatible with all the iOS games, apps and iTunes music and video you’ve already purchased, then buy the Mini 4.