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iPad Mini 4 review:

When a tinier iPad isn't always the better iPad

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The Good Compact size, vivid display, works with split-screen apps in iOS 9. Basically, a shrunken-down iPad Air 2. Perfect hand feel for vacations.

The Bad Price is high for an 8-inch tablet. Slower graphics mean some apps and games don't feel as zippy. Small screen makes for cramped typing and multitasking.

The Bottom Line Unless you're absolutely in love with the iPad Mini 4's smaller size, opt for the faster, larger, identically priced, and still pretty portable iPad Air 2.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.8 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 7.0

Editors' note, June 8, 2017: At its Worldwide Developer's Conference, Apple unveiled a new iPad Pro. Starting at $649, £619 and A$949, the new model packs a a bigger screen -- a 10.5-inch Retina display -- into a footprint similar to that of the cheaper 9.7-inch model Apple debuted a few months ago. The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro also comes equipped with a more powerful processor, higher-quality cameras, and, when it debuts in the fall, iOS 11 -- upgrades that are also coming to the 12.9-inch iPad Prowhich starts at $799, £679 or AU$1,249

Last refreshed in March 2017, Apple's thinnest and lightest iPad, the Mini 4, now comes equipped with 128GB of storage capacity, a terrific display, solid performance, and a resilient battery. But, starting at $399, £419 and AU$579 for the Wi-Fi model and $529, £549 and AU$779 for the Wi-Fi and cellular edition, it's considerably more expensive than the newer full-size iPad, which starts at $329, £339 and AU$469 and features a faster processor and larger display.

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The iPad Mini 4 review, published in July 2016, follows.

The iPad Mini 4 is a tinier, slightly less powerful iPad Air 2. That's basically all you need to know about this tablet, the 7.9-inch screen model which has been available since October 2015. I started sitting down the Mini 4 again, carrying it around every day in my bag, reading books -- even using it to do work. This, after using Apple's 9.7-inch iPad Pro as my general new go-to tablet. I even wrote this review on it. Which...wasn't fun.

In a world of larger phones and more-capable hybrid laptops and tablets, the iPad Mini feels less relevant than it used to. And while it's the best of Apple's small iPads, with a still-really-nice design, it's not the tablet I'd choose to carry around anymore. And Apple's iPad pricing no longer favors it.

Since I first reviewed it last year, Apple has adjusted the pricing in its iPad line, pitting the iPad Air 2 as an identically priced alternative. And with that value change in mind, I wanted to ask the question: Is the Mini 4 a tablet you should still consider? (In Australia the pricing is similar, but not identical. You'll get the Mini 4 starting at AU$569 compared to AU$599 for the Air 2.)

To that end, here's what you should know.

iPad Mini 4 next to the Air 2.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It's the more powerful, better featured of Apple's two Mini iPads. Compared to 2014's iPad Mini 2, the Mini 4 has a better screen, better camera, faster processor and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. (According to Apple, the 4's CPU is 1.3 times faster, and its graphics performance is 1.6 times faster than those of the Mini 2.) It can also handle split-screen apps, which can come in handy for checking email or Twitter while working. It's not my favorite iPad. But if you want something small, this is the best option.

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