iPad mini 4 full review
Which iPad should I buy? Is it worth upgrading from the iPad mini 4?
The release of the iPad Pro 9.7in during the Apple Event in March 2016 was an interesting addition to the iPad line-up, due to all rumours pointing towards an iPad Air 3 release instead. The iPad mini 4, released in September 2015 was aimed at those wanting a more portable 7.9in tablet.
If you’re looking at buying a new portable tablet or have the mini 4 and wondering if you should upgrade - here’s a comparison of the two iPads to help you decide.
Read next: iPad mini 4 review.
iPad mini 4 vs iPad Pro 9.7 comparison: Models and price
Both iPads come in a Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular options, but offer different storage and pricing options.
The iPad mini 4 can be found for as low as £319 for the 16GB model, whilst the lowest price for the Pro 9.7in is £499 for the 32GB version. On the other hand, the Pro 9.7in offers far greater storage options with 32GB, 128GB and 256GB variants available for purchase, whilst the mini 4 only offers 16/64/128GB options. Depending on what you’re going to store on your iPad we feel that any 32GB or above storage options will be adequate for all your apps, photos and videos.
Below is a comparison table of the iPads and their respective price/storage options.
iPad mini 4 vs iPad Pro 9.7 comparison: Colours
Both iPads can be purchased in Silver, Gold and Space Grey, but the Pro 9.7in also comes in Rose Gold, which is a nice inclusion for those wanting a soft pink tone to their iPads.
The latest colour addition to the range has been adopted throughout other Apple products, so it comes as no surprise to see it included with the new iPad Pro 9.7in.
iPad mini 4 vs iPad Pro 9.7 comparison: Design and technical specifications
The most noticeable difference between the two iPads is their physical size and weight. If you initially bought the iPad mini 4 over the iPad Air 2 based on its form factor, then the Pro 9.7in will disappoint you. As the name suggests, the Pro has a display size of 9.7in and therefore also has larger dimensions.
Due to a larger screen, the Pro 9.7in weighs 138g heavier than its mini 4 counterpart. Despite their different dimensions and weights both iPads have the same 6.1mm thickness. It should be noted that the Pro 9.7in’s camera protrudes out of the back, which is a first within the iPad line.
Read next: Apple iPad Pro 9.7in first-look preview UK.
iPad mini 4 tech specs
- Dimensions: 203.2x134.8x6.1mm
- Weight: 299g / 304g
- Display: 7.9 inches
- Resolution: 2048x1536 pixels (324ppi)
- Chipset: Apple A8
- CPU: Dual-core 1.5 GHz Typhoon
- GPU: PowerVR GX6450 (quad-core graphics)
- RAM: 2GB
- iSight Camera: 8Mp
- FaceTime Camera: 1.2Mp
- Battery: Li-Po 5124mAh battery
iPad Pro 9.7 tech specs
- Dimensions: 240x169.5x6.1mm
- Weight: 437g / 444g
- Display: 9.7 inches
- Resolution: 2048x1536 pixels (264ppi)
- Chipset: Apple A9X
- CPU: Dual-core 2.16 GHz (Twister)
- GPU: PowerVR Series 7 (12-core graphics)
- RAM: 2GB
- iSight Camera: 12Mp
- FaceTime Camera: 5Mp
- Battery: Li-Po 7,306mAh battery
The Pro 9.7in and mini 4 both have a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels, but due to having a smaller 7.9in screen, the mini 4 has much higher pixel density. This means text and images will appear much sharper on the smaller mini 4 screen.
However, the Pro 9.7in has a True Tone display which presents a more paper-like experience to those reading white documents in different lighting conditions. The Pro 9.7in also has wide gamut functionalities, enabling you to view more accurate colours throughout the display. So, despite the mini 4 screen being sharper, the more accurate and capable colours of the Pro 9.7in will provide some a better viewing experience.
Moving on to its camera, the Pro 9.7in has a better 12Mp iSight camera, which will enable you to record videos in 4K at 30fps and full-HD at 60fps. You’ll also be able to take 63Mp panorama images versus the 43Mp images on the mini 4. Finally you’ll be able to record slo-mo videos in full-HD at 120fps and HD at 240fps.
The front-facing FaceTime Camera also has a healthy bump up in specs, where it houses a 5MP camera over the mini 4’s 1.2Mp, a worthy addition for any iPad user.
The processor and graphics chips are also different with the Pro 9.7in vastly outperforming the mini 4, making the Pro much more suitable for gaming and intensive multi-tasking apps. While the mini 4 houses the Apple A8 processor and the PowerVR GX6450 quad-core graphics chip, the Pro 9.7in boasts the new Apple A9X, a higher clocked dual-core processor and the PowerVR Series 7 a massive 12-core graphics chip.
Moving on to its battery capacity, there’s also a vastly different size of batteries included within the iPads. Interestingly enough both iPads are listed on Apple’s website of having the same quoted battery life of 10hrs for the non-cellular models and 9hrs for those that have mobile network capabilities.
Both tablets have Wi?Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), dual channel 2.4GHz and 5GHz capabilities, HT80 with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.2.
The audio performance of both iPads is also different, with the iPad Pro 9.7in housing an impressive four speakers, giving it great surround sound capabilities and instrument separation.
iPad mini 4 vs iPad Pro 9.7 comparison: Functionalities and use
The Pro 9.7in has quite a few extra tricks up its aluminium body, where it can be connected with a through its Smart Connector with a Smart Keyboard, allowing you to essentially transform your iPad into a mini MacBook. We understand that an iPad won’t ever replace a MacBook, but you’ll have a physical keyboard to type on for notes and memos making it a potential viable solution for those not wanting to buy a new laptop. Read next: iPad Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S.
The mini 4 unfortunately doesn’t support a Smart Keyboard, and you’ll therefore be limited to using a Bluetooth keyboard instead, which doesn’t work as natively and depletes your iPad’s battery life faster, due to the use of Bluetooth.
Speaking of a keyboard, the bigger size of the Pro 9.7in makes it a much better option for those wanting to type on-screen, whereas the mini 4 is a little harder to type on.
Artist Hattie Stewart drawing on the iPad Pro 9.7in
The Pro 9.7in also has Apple Pencil support, meaning you can be artistic or enjoy using the pencil for general browsing use on your Pro 9.7in iPad. The Mini 4 doesn’t support the Apple Pencil, limiting you in its potential.
We therefore see the iPad Pro 9.7in as a viable laptop replacement and a true powerhouse for graphics and processing power, but also see it as a less portable, heavier and more expensive tablet solution over the iPad mini 4.
Read next: iPad Pro vs MacBook Air comparison review.
iPad mini 4: Specs
- Apple A8 processor, M8 motion coprocessor
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB / 64GB / 128GB onboard storage
- iOS 9
- LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 2048x1536 pixels, 7.9 inches, 326ppi pixel density
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot
- 8Mp, 1.2Mp cameras
- 203.2x134.8x6.1mm, 299g