iPad Mini 3 Vs. iPad Mini 4

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iPad Mini changed a lot of things. Smaller, lighter and more compact than the iPad tablet, it was Apple’s answer to those looking for all the goodness of the iPad in a more compressed version. But iPad 3 somehow managed to throw all expectations to the wayside.

Though launched with the usual Apple fanfare in October 2014, iPad Mini 3 just didn’t click with the tech-savvy professionals of the day. iPad Mini 3, despite being run on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system currently available as iOS6, lagged behind iPad Air 2 in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Though somewhat bigger in size, iPad Air proved to be a better performer than iPad Mini, compensating for the higher cost with its quality edge.

So what was the problem with iPad Mini 3?

To begin with, it was almost identical to the Mini 2, except for the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which was a new addition to the gadget. Now this sensor did make it easier to work around the Mini 3, but this version of the iPad did not match up to the important features of iPad Air 2, the most significant being the processor speed. As a result, iPad Mini 3 fell behind iPad Air 2 in popularity. In fact, Apple has decided to withdraw the product from the market and iPad Mini 3 can no longer be bought from retailers.

What iPad Mini 4 brings to the table?

iPad Mini 4 comes in a host of exciting new features, making it a significantly more advanced version than iPad Mini 3.

  • It’s slimmer and lighter

Definitely a more advanced version of the iPad Mini, the 4th generation tablet, at a comfortable size of 7.9”, is a far cry from Mini 3. Mini 4 is a slimmer sleeker gadget, with a thickness of just 6.1 mm against the 7.5 mm thickness that had weighed down Mini 3. That also makes Mini 4 somewhat lighter than Mini 3 – Mini 4 (Wi-Fi version) weighs 299 grams against Mini 3’s 331 grams.

  • Faster and more efficient processor

The processor of iPad Mini 4 is an improved component, which is functionally more efficient and powerful, besides being faster. Mini 4 comes with an A8 processor as against the 1.3GHz Apple A7 dual-core processor of Mini 3. Whether Apple has also upgraded the memory is not clear; the memory of Mini 3 was just 1 GB as compared with the 2GB of iPad Air 2.

  • Wireless connectivity

Given the importance of wireless connectivity to modern business and personal requirements, a notable improvement in Mini 4 is that it supports 802.11 ac. This compares quite favorably with the connectivity of Mini 3 (802.11n). In fact, iPad Mini 4 also comes with a 4G-enabled variant which can function at 4G speeds to support more Apple LTE bands than the previous generation of the iPad Mini. Like the previous iPad Mini versions, it comes in Wi-Fi as well as Wi-Fi + Cellular varieties. The Wi-Fi device becomes internet friendly only if it picks up a wireless signal, while the Wi-Fi with cellular device requires a cellular plan to work on.

  • Upgraded camera

The camera of Mini 4, though not as high-end as some other cameras out there in the market, is an upgraded version of the Mini 3 camera. The aperture is wider at f2.2 in the Mini 4, which has an eight-megapixel camera (Mini 3 had a five-megapixel camera with an aperture of f2.4). Like the iPad Mini 3, this also has two cameras; the front-facing FaceTime camera is designed for easy video conversations while the rear-racing iSight camera is the usual photograph-taking device.

What iPad Mini 4 does not do?

The various advanced features of the iPad Mini 4 notwithstanding, there are several negatives too in the new model of the Apple mini tablet.

Since it’s a slimmer piece, Mini 4 does not have the multi-functional hardware switch that Mini 3 was equipped with; there’s evidently not enough space for it. The switch helped mute the gadget and also lock the orientation of its screen. While Mini 4 comes in gray, white and gold, just like the Mini 3, the rose gold color option available for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is missing.

As for the screen specifications, they are virtually the same for Mini 3 and Mini 4. Both the models have screens that are 7.9” in size, backed by a 2048×1536 pixel resolution and 326ppi pixel density. Also, Apple, for some unexplained reason, did not deem it fit to incorporate the pressure sensitive 3D Touch technology of its iPhone 6s into the Mini.

Another surprising lack of advancement in iPad Mini 4 relates to its battery life; it remains the same as for iPad Mini 3. With internet usage, the battery for both the models lasts just 10 hours.


The more powerful iPad Mini 4 comes in a price range that starts from US$399 and goes up to US$599. In this price range, it’s quite a good buy.