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(Pocket-lint) - After four years, the Apple iPad mini 4 was succeeded by the iPad mini 5 in March 2019.

The current iPad mini is a 7.9-inch tablet that offers the same design as its predecessors, but a major upgrade in terms of its capability.

This is how the iPad mini 4 and the iPad mini 5 compare. What's the same, what's different and should you upgrade? 

iPad mini 4 vs iPad mini 5: Price

The iPad mini 4 cost £319 when it was still available. It is now discontinued, though you might find it through second-hand vendors and some resellers. 

The iPad mini 5 starts at $399 in the US or £399 in the UK for the 64GB model or £549 in the UK and $549 in the US for the 256GB model so it's quite a bit more expensive than the iPad mini 4.

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What's the same between the iPad mini 4 and the iPad mini 5?

They might be several years apart, but there are a couple of similarities between the iPad mini 4 and its successor, the iPad mini 5.

Design

  • Touch ID
  • 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm
  • Silver, Space Grey, Gold

The iPad mini 4 and the iPad mini 5 share the same design, as well as the same measurements. Both offer an aluminium body with curved edges and rounded corners and both come in Silver, Space Grey and Gold colour options.

On the front, the display features bezels at the top and the bottom and Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor is positioned at the bottom. Unlike the iPad Pro models, the iPad mini 5 does not get Face ID.

Display size and resolution

  • 7.9-inches
  • 2048 x 1536 resolution

Both the iPad mini 4 and the iPad mini 5 have a 7.9-inch display with a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution for a pixel density of 326ppi. The two devices also both opt for a Retina LED backlit IPS LCD screen.

Rear camera

  • 8MP, f/2.4
  • 1080p video

Both the iPad mini 4 and the iPad mini 5 have an 8-megapixel rear camera with a f/2.4 aperture. They both have HDR for photos and they both offer 1080p video, but the iPad mini 5 does offer some improvements. 

Speakers

  • Stereo speakers

Both the iPad mini 5 and the iPad mini 4 offer stereo speakers, which are situated at the bottom on the device next to the Lightning port.

Battery

  • 10 hours

The iPad mini 4 and the iPad mini 5 have the same battery capabilities, promising up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music. The iPad mini 5 performs better in the real world though, thanks to the upgraded processor over the mini 4.

Software

  • iOS 12

Both the iPad mini 4 and the iPad mini 5 are capable of running the latest iOS build - iPadOS 14. The iPad mini 5 offers a couple of extra features though, and it is a smoother, faster experience too. 

What's different between the iPad mini 4 and the iPad mini 5?

They might look the same on the surface, but there are several differences beneath the hoods of the iPad mini 4 and iPad mini 5.

Processor

  • iPad mini 5: A12 Bionic chip
  • iPad mini 4: A8 chip

As you would expect, the iPad mini 5 updates the processing power of the iPad mini. It has the A12 Bionic chip under its hood, while the iPad mini 4 has the A8 processor so there are some big improvements in speed between the two mini models.

Storage capacities

  • iPad mini 5: 64GB/256GB
  • iPad mini 4: 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB

The iPad mini 4 was originally available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB storage options. The iPad mini 5 launched in two models with a 64GB option and a 256GB option. None of the iPad mini models offer microSD support.

Front camera

  • iPad mini 5: 7MP, 1080p video
  • iPad mini 4: 1.2MP, 720 video

The iPad mini 5 has a 7-megapixel front FaceTime HD camera with an f/2.2 aperture. It is capable of recording 1080p video and it offers a Retina Flash and wide colour capture.

The iPad mini 4 meanwhile, has a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, offering 720p video. 

Display technology

  • iPad mini 5: Apple Pencil, True Tone
  • iPad mini 4: No Apple Pencil, no True Tone

The iPad mini 5 and mini 4 might share the same display size and resolution but the iPad mini 5 offers Apple Pencil support, which the iPad mini 4 does not. 

You'll also find Apple's True Tone technology on the iPad mini 5, along with a p3 wide colour gamut, neither of which the iPad mini 4 offers.

Conclusion

The Apple iPad mini 5 and mini 4 might look the same, but the iPad mini 5 offers several hardware upgrades.

For those with an iPad mini 4, you'll likely notice quite a big difference in performance if you upgrade to the mini 5, along with a more capable front camera, Apple Pencil support and the option of more storage.

It's an expensive upgrade though and all the differences are under the hood rather than on the surface, so some may find it hard to justify.

For those looking to choose between the iPad mini 4 and the iPad mini 5, the 5 is the one to go for if you have the budget. You might find the iPad mini 4 still around in some places, but remember the tech underneath is now several years old and it's possible there will be a new iPad mini in the not too distant future.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 18 March 2019.