iPad Mini 4 review

Now discontinued, but you can still find it

iPad mini 4 review
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The iPad Mini 4 is, again, a powerful player when it comes to picking the best mini tablet around. The ease with which it can glide through most tasks is impressive, and I found very little that slowed it down at all.

The benchmarks tell the same story: scoring 3126 on Geekbench 3, which is over 200 more than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, was good for the time but miles behind the very best Apple offers now, and it's now working with iOS 12, which is a more intuitive interface for Apple's tablets.

It could get even better in mid-2019 when Apple releases iPadOS, its new operating system designed specifically for its iPad tablets, which will turn iPads from glorified iPhones to powerful devices in their own right.

iPad mini 4 review

Of course there's no 3D Touch on offer here – it only landed on the iPhone 6S relatively recently to the Mini 4's launch, and Apple loves to save really good technology for its other devices until it really needs to add it in.

It's a shame it's not here, as Apple could have done something really amazing by putting the pressure-based interactivity on this smaller tablet, but I guess we'll just have to wait until the iPad mini 5 turns up (IF it turns up) before we can get our hands on it.

It's not ideal though, and Apple's really short-changing consumers by not adding it into this new model.

Still, while the mini lacks a little on the hardware front, iOS 10 brings some much appreciated improvements to the interface.

iPad mini 4 review

Apple Maps is creeping ever closer to Google Maps, with the addition of public transport directions (though only for certain cities) and an easy way to find nearby shops, restaurants, petrol stations and other points of interest.

I'd still give Google Maps the edge, but Apple Maps is now a decent alternative. Similarly, Siri has been given a boost, as it can now better respond to requests. The keyboard has been improved too, most notably in now clearly differentiating upper case from lower case, so there's no longer any excuse for accidentally TYPING IN ALL CAPS.

The biggest change to the interface is an iPad exclusive: the split-screen capability of the iPad range is going to entice some users. Well, I say that, but I keep forgetting it exists and barely use it.

iPad mini 4 review

The idea is simple: you swipe in from the right-hand side of the screen and get a list of all the apps that are capable of running, side-by-side with what you're doing. The list of apps that are 'multi-tasking'-enabled is largely limited to Apple native options, but there will be more in the future.

I can't really see why on a screen this size, though. Why would you need to be browsing Google Maps and then have a quick read of Twitter at the same time? On a larger screen, especially the iPad Pro, I can see why this makes sense as you're holding two iPads next to each other.

But it's just as easy on the iPad mini 4 to double-tap the home button and skip between apps, rather than having too much information on the screen. And there's more…

Maybe two apps at once isn't enough stimulation. A couple of apps (and probably the TV on in the background) is never going to satisfy our multi-tasking needs, so why not watch some video too?

iPad mini 4 review

Yep, you can do that with the iPad mini 4, with a resizable window floating around the screen if you're watching something in the official Apple Videos app. This allows you to be as advanced as on the Samsung Galaxy 3 from 2012.

Don't do it though. Don't be that guy.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.