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 a great tablet for media, simply because it's been tuned by a company that's got a lot of skin in this particular game.

The jury's still out on whether Apple Music is going to be a success, but there's something about it that I can't seem to shake. Whether it's the curation level or just the gloss the interface offers, I find something to listen to every time.

It's very different to Spotify, which I just abuse for the same easy hit songs I like – apart from Discover Weekly, I'll avoid pre-defined playlists or albums.

At 128GB of storage now on offer, that's a big upgrade to the space available to fling media into - you probably would struggle to max that out unless you're plopping entire series onto the memory.

iPad mini 4 review

But Apple Music seems to have a slight edge – this might fade over time, but for now, on the iPad Mini 4 it's definitely backed up by excellent sonic performance.

The clarity is clear, crisp and comes with very little distortion. Even streamed tunes sound great in lower fidelity – the iPad isn't the best thing for portable tunes, but if it's next to you on the desk while you're working, you'll plug your headphones into it rather than into your computer.


The iPad range is easily the best set of devices on the market for portable movie watching, and after admitting that, it's only a case of which size fits you best.

You can argue that bigger screens are better for a movie marathon, but the compact nature and higher pixel density of the Mini 4 make it something I love to whip out on the train for a quick movie session.

It's not necessarily that it's the best tablet for movie-watching technically – you could argue that there are equally capable tablets for the task out there, depending on personal preference.

iPad mini 4 review

However, iOS has the greatest number of high-end movie and TV apps out there, and thanks to the security and consistency of the iPad range there are more apps that allow downloadable content too.

It's not miles ahead of the rest, but that stability is a key consideration – and the longer battery life means a couple of movies on the plane is definitely possible. Throw in the improved screen and it really is a great tablet for watching films.


The only area of media performance that's going to suffer down the line is gaming, as there will be new titles that come out which the Mini 4 can't get the best out of. High-power games from last year will be clear and crisp, with a great frame rate, but newer titles might not hit the heights they would on the iPad Pro or new crop of iPhones.

For instance, Real Racing 3 performs very well – better, in fact, than on phones which have a better benchmark score, as Apple has a very well integrated graphics chip that means everything plays together nicely.

iPad mini 4 review

And things that play well together perform better and consume less power – so while you might not be getting the ultimate gaming machine, it's only going to be 4-5% of titles that will suffer even slightly.

That said, the screen response time is so good that the more tap-based games just feel far more fluid; for the casual gamer, this is a great device that stands astride phone and tablet.

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.