Mobile Technology

iPad mini 4: Early impressions

iPad mini 4: Early impressions
Gizmag takes an early look at the right iPad mini (at the wrong time?), the iPad mini 4
Gizmag takes an early look at the right iPad mini (at the wrong time?), the iPad mini 4
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The 6.1 mm (0.24-in) thick iPad mini 4
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The 6.1 mm (0.24-in) thick iPad mini 4
The iPad mini 4's aluminum body should look familiar
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The iPad mini 4's aluminum body should look familiar
Gizmag takes an early look at the right iPad mini (at the wrong time?), the iPad mini 4
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Gizmag takes an early look at the right iPad mini (at the wrong time?), the iPad mini 4
Our Geekbench run confirms a dual core processor, clocked at 1.5 GHz, with 2 GB of RAM
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Our Geekbench run confirms a dual core processor, clocked at 1.5 GHz, with 2 GB of RAM
View gallery - 4 images

Last week the iPad mini 4 barely got a mention in Apple's big launch event, with the spotlight shining much brighter on the iPad Pro. But if gigantic smartphones haven't yet killed all your interest in mini-tablets, this one looks like it could be worth paying attention to.

The iPad mini 4 is the version we were dreaming of three years ago, when the original iPad mini first released. That first model had an incredibly light and thin build, but a last-gen chip (even for its time) and mediocre screen resolution.

The 6.1 mm (0.24-in) thick iPad mini 4
The 6.1 mm (0.24-in) thick iPad mini 4

Those two things got remedied in the next model, but it also lost a bit of the original's ultra-light and thin build. And last year's iPad mini 3, though a fine tablet, was a non-starter: it was just the previous model with a fingerprint sensor.

... but the fourth time looks like a charm.

Our Geekbench run confirms a dual core processor, clocked at 1.5 GHz, with 2 GB of RAM
Our Geekbench run confirms a dual core processor, clocked at 1.5 GHz, with 2 GB of RAM

The iPad mini 4 has a sharp Retina Display and late 2014-era Apple A8 chip: a quick run of Geekbench 3 (above) confirms it's a dual core CPU running at 1.5 GHz along with 2 GB of RAM.

But the new mini is also 15 percent thinner and 3 percent lighter than that oh-so pleasant to hold first iPad mini. Uncompromised display, performance and form are finally living together in one model.

The iPad mini 4's aluminum body should look familiar
The iPad mini 4's aluminum body should look familiar

Too bad it's arriving right as interest in the iPad mini, including from Apple, appears to be at an all-time low. A few seconds of stage time speaks volumes about where Apple sees the iPad mini standing next to the new Pro. The mini is either about to go the way of the dodo, or it's going to hang around on the sidelines as a low-priority device, like iPods have done for the last six or seven years.

We'll still need to spend more time with it, to report on battery life and longer-term use, but if you're still on the hunt for an iPad mini, this looks like it's easily the best one. US$400 and up is still pricier than much of its competition – and if you already own an iPhone 6 Plus or other phablet, then the screen size difference might not be quite big enough to justify the purchase. But still worth a look, if for no other reason than to see your late 2012 dreams finally come true.

Product page: Apple

View gallery - 4 images
6 comments
FactChitanda
I am an Apple fan but of late, i think they have stopped innovating! While i found 3d touch interesting, and the work they are doing for Apple TV, i believe nowadays Apple is deliberately holding back innovations to milk the market...
Island Architect
Nah I can't fault Apple for anything other than shunning the i41CX+ which is utterly stupid. As usual Will, nice observations and comments and as always a beautiful presentation. I do wish that you had taken one pic with it lined up with the 6 and 6+ so I could compare. Something tells me that this would be the superior reader and a better way to watch the Stock Market. Certainly it would be far greater for Photos. Certainly better for sharing. Can it be used as a phone? Bill
TJKnight
Why does it look like you have a Gold iPad Mini with a black face?
RobGalloway
Do we know if it has the same anti reflective screen the iPad Air 2 has? That's really the factor between me getting rid of my iPad mini3 for an air 2 or the mini 4. Outside my 3 is awful.
Michaelangelo
I find that tech is at a slower pace. With innovation and pushing were we are always a step ahead wanting more yet I see more useless stuff shoved in devices to compensate for our lust for bigger, better, more and more. I see in Brisbane, as fast as they build a bigger highway the faster we are to crowd in. It's kind of like that with tech. We see a better upgrade… we smash it till it is no longer good enough. These devices are small. there are limitations… and is the iPad gold or is it White… reminds me of a certain dress
AdamThede
Rob, I read that it does indeed have the same anti-reflective screen as the iPad Air 2.