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Apple iPad Mini 4: An improved iPad this time around

Rahul R
Sr. Technology Reporter
Editors Rating

The main reason that got us to review the Apple iPad Mini 4, released during late 2015, was its small size and compact nature that were advertised by Apple. Apple loyalists also went as far as claiming that the tech-specs incorporated within were comparable to the iPad Air 2 released a year earlier. We got to review the new Apple iPad Mini 4 and subject the tablet to real world tests.

Check out how the Apple iPad Mini 4 performed, in our tests over a range of parameters, below:

Design Elements and Display

As soon as we unwrapped the Apple iPad Mini 4, the first thing that we could make out was the retention of all traditional Apple design elements, most predominantly the Aluminum outer build.

We could feel the Aluminum finish perfectly, upon touching the outer surface. This is an indicator of the efficient grip that one can exercise while holding the Apple iPad Mini 4 in hand, or when placed on the lap (for tasks involving intensive usage).

As for the overall thickness and weight, the iPad Mini 4 has an overall thickness of 6.1mm and weighs in at 300 grams. These figures are much lesser than the previous-gen iPad Mini 3 (330 grams and thickness of 7.6mm).

A prominent aspect that we could feel, primarily, was the external SIM-card slot that is located at the right hand side of the Apple iPad Mini 4.

As for the actual display, the iPad Mini 4 features a comparatively smaller 7.9-inch display having resolutions of 2048 x 1536 and pixel density of 325 ppi.

Also, Apple has incorporated a new IPS-panel over its display, and during our testing we could observe all the essential colors highlighted amicably. Stored photos were displayed on the screen richly.

The pixel density of the display, at 324 ppi, adds a degree of sharpness to images. Reading text and image on the screen, even under full outdoor sunlit conditions proved a pleasure.

Wide angle viewing is also impressive, and we could achieve this without the conventional overlapping of colors. 

Processor and Memory

Under-the-hood, Apple has packed in an Apple A8 SoC that comprises of a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU.

We could clearly make out the difference in performance, compared to the previous-gen Apple iPad Mini 3 and Mini 2, in a Multitasking scenario. Multitasking is a pleasure within the Apple iPad Mini 4.

Using the built-in Safari web-browser seemed a pleasure, as we dealt with websites involving image-rich content and extensive graphics.

Also, during our testing by running high-end games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne and more seemed an absolute pleasure.

To work in tandem with the Apple iPad Mini 4’s A8 processor, there is a 2 GB RAM under-the-hood. For storage, buyers get to choose between 16/64 and 128 GB internal storage variants.

However, the internal storage here is fixed like usual.

We did not observe any lags even during video streaming (from popular video streamers), and even in multi-tasking/multi-app scenarios.

Also when we played stored multimedia files, the performance was classy and on par with our expectations.

Camera

An 8 MP rear camera adorns the Apple iPad Mini 4. This is built with lens measuring 32mm and f/2.4 aperture.

We could capture good shots, especially of nature and wildlife, in daylight conditions. However, indoor photography (especially in low-light) turned out to be a disappointment as we could prominently observe external noise and essential colors getting least preference.

Another aspect that we came across, within the Apple iPad Mini 4, is the lack of flash which means that low-light photography/imagery could lead to nothing. Nonetheless, Apple’s iPads are not known to be photography devices which could work out in favor of the Apple iPad Mini 4 as well.

The 8 MP rear camera offers recording of 1080p videos at 30fps, 720p at 120fps along with HDR recording.

There is also a 1.2 MP front camera for basic video calling. This snapper offers recording of 720p videos at 30fps with HDR recording offered as well.

Operating System and software

The Apple iPad Mini 4 runs Apple’s iOS 9 operating platform, straight out of the box. This in turn, can be upgraded to the more recent iOS 9.3.2 iOS iteration.

For our testing, we used the Apple iPad Mini 4 that was driven by the iOS 9 operating system.

An important aspect at this point in time is the “multi-app” functionality; an app drawer basically that can be accessed by swiping from the top right edge to the center of the screen. This displays a list of applications that can be launched and run in tandem with the current app that users are working on at any instant in time.

During our testing, we could not encounter any UI/Software lags or even apps crashing (in the multi-app scenario as explained above). Even graphics-rich gaming also worked like a breeze without any problems. Video streaming and playing is also a pleasure within the Apple iPad Mini 4. This is clearly one of the USPs of the Apple iPad Mini 4.

However, the Apple 3D Touch is conspicuous by its absence.

Battery Life

The Apple iPad Mini 4 obtains its juice from a fixed 5,124 mAh Lithium-Ion battery, and during our testing the tablet squeezed approximately 9 hours of backup time. This is very much in line with all of Apple’s earlier iPads.

Pricing and Verdict

In the UAE, the Apple iPad Mini 4 can be purchased at a starting price of AED 2,000. This pricing is exorbitant as in the case with Apple’s iPads.

The Apple iPad Mini 4 is clearly not for those looking at buying a premium tablet by spending all their hard earned savings. The tab is custom-made for people preferring to indulge in a bit of business use when at home, and for those preferring to work on the move.

The general everyday home users, having money to burn, could also consider the Apple iPad Mini 4 as an option.  

Positives

Outer design, compact size, iOS 9, Apple A8 processor

Negatives

Exorbitant price tag, absence of 3D Touch, indoor photography is a disappointment.