Is the iPad Mini 4 a worthy upgrade to the Mini 1, 2 or 3?
With some emphasis on flying UAV’s or drones…
It was a week before the announcement of the new Apple products in September 2015 and I had placed a bid on the iPad Mini 2 on eBay. I was prepared to go to around £200…
Then I read on Facebook that Apple were going to have a huge announcement on their new releases and my heart sank…I didn’t want to win that iPad Mini 2 any more.
I am now flying the DJI Inspire 1 as part of my work and my Samsung Galaxy S4 (smartphone) and Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition) tablet kept playing up during flights. They would lose signal and the app would crash completely at the most inappropriate moment meaning I had to fly home “blind”.
A friend with another Inspire 1 was using the iPad Mini 2 with no problems….cool, I’ll get one of those hence the bid.
So when the announcements came from Apple, I was pleased that someone had outbid me on the Mini 2 which finally sold for around £220.
This was a ball-buster for whoever bought it because the very next day, Apple reduced the price of a brand new iPad Mini 2 to just £219 for the 16gb version.
They also, all be it very gingerly, announced the iPad Mini 4. It was a very subtle announcement as they didn’t want to detract from the new iPad Pro or iPhone 6s series but still, it was a significant upgrade to many people.
iPad Mini 4 – Design
The iPad Mini 4 is now 18% thinner (now 6.1mm) and weighs 299 grams. I must admit it feels good in the hand and I can just about manage to hold it side-to-side in one hand whereas the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is way too big for that.
The iPad Mini 4 also feels solid and durable…built to last.
It also has a new and better display that has eliminated the gaps between 3 separate layers in the past into one, strong display with less reflectance, more lifelike colours, greater contrast and sharper images.
Layers above from top to bottom are:
- Cover glass
- Touch sensor
- Fully laminated display
The display is very bright which is exactly what I need when flying my Inspire 1 outside on a sunny day although I would still have liked it a little brighter. I think for most people sitting outside and reading or playing games, the screen brightness will be more than enough.
iPad Mini 4 Screen Specs
- 7.9 Inches
- 2048 x 1536 resolution
- 3.1 million pixels
- Mercury free LCD display
- Arsenic free display glass
- BFR free
- PVC free
- Beryllium free
- Recyclable aluminium enclosure
iPad Mini 4 Power Specs
I have only ever owned the iPod Touch 4 and iPhone 4s but I have to say I was always impressed with how smooth the screens were and how responsive the workings were…never had a problem with them.
The iPad Mini 4 has a 30% faster CPU and 60% faster graphics than it’s predecessor and I must admit, it is pretty fast. I noticed this when flying the Inspire and how quick the screen reacted to my inputs.
The live feed from the Inspire 1 looked impressive on the iPad Mini 4 retina screen and was only hindered by the slight delay from the Lightbridge video feed on the Inspire. All in all, having played with all the included apps on the Mini 4, I am impressed with the speed, fluidity and responsiveness of the new iPad.
- A8 chip Up to 5.2x faster CPU (30%) compared to A7
- Up to 12.8x faster GPU (60%)
- 64-bit architecture
- M8 motion coprocessor
- 10 hour battery life
iPad Mini 4 iSight Camera
Even though I won’t be using it much (I really don’t like the look of someone taking photos with iPads…iPhone’s or smartphones, fine, but not a bloody great iPad), I was keen to see how the camera fared.
- 8mp sensor
- 3264 x 2448 resolution
- Advanced image signal processor
To be honest the specs on the camera were a bit “meh” for me but then again, I don’t really want a high spec camera on something this big. In saying that though, the camera is pretty good for a tablet, as is the software that comes with it…I had a blast with the kids using Photo Booth!
You also get a number of cool effects and features such as:
- Time lapse video
- Exposure control
- 120fps slo-mo
- Burst mode
- Timer mode
- High resolution panorama
Once you have taken your photos or video clips, you can edit and share to your heart’s content using the supplied software…
“Adjust exposure, colour, brightness and contrast. Add filters. Edit a movie with iMovie. Or use third-party apps to get even more creative. For example, turn a photo into a cartoon, complete with dialogue balloons”
The front-facing FaceTime HD camera is also pretty cool.
1.2mp, f2.2, 720p video, dual microphones…all you need for FaceTime calls really and of course, with all the cool apps available, you can use either camera for all manner of fun including improving your golf swing or scanning documents.
iPad Mini 4 Sample Photos
To be honest, I can’t see myself ever using this as a camera (maybe that is because I am a professional photographer and have a multitude of pro camera gear) but if it was all I had, it would easily suffice for family snapshots etc.
Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the image quality but what do you expect from a tablet? iPhone’s and other Smartphones produce way better images so stick with those…