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Apple iPad Mini 5 vs. iPad Mini 4

First released in 2015, the iPad Mini 4 remained the latest in its line for four long years before the iPad Mini 5 was launched in 2019. The two Apple tablets look nearly identical to the casual observer, but Apple introduced some important upgrades with the iPad Mini 5, such as a new chipset and more RAM. However, is it a better tablet overall, and should you upgrade to the iPad Mini 5 if you already own an iPad Mini 4?

Whether you’re shopping for a new tablet, or looking to upgrade from the older model, you’ll want to know how the iPad Mini 5 measures up. We compare the two tablets in this head-to-head, helping you to decide which is the device for you.


iPad Mini 5 iPad Mini 4
Size 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm (8.0 x 5.31 x 0.24 inches) 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm (8.0 x 5.31 x 0.24 inches)
Weight 300 grams (10.59 oz) 299 grams (10.55 oz)
Screen size 7.9 inches 7.9 inches
Screen resolution 1536 x 2048 pixels 1536 x 2048 pixels
Operating system iOS 12 iOS 12
Storage space 64GB, 256GB 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
MicroSD Card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services No No
Processor Apple A12 Bionic Apple A8
Camera Rear 8MP, front 7MP Rear 8MP, front 1.2MP
Video 1,080p at 30fps, 720p at 120fps 1,080p at 30fps, 720p at 120fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 4.0
Ports Lightning Lightning
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance No No
Battery 5,124mAh 5,124mAh
App marketplace Apple App Store Apple App Store
Network support All major carriers (Cellular version only) All major carriers (Cellular version only)
Colors Silver, Gold, Space Gray Silver, Gold, Space Gray
Price $400-plus $400-plus
Buy from Amazon Walmart
Review score 4 out of 5 stars 3.5 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

iPad Mini 5
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Probably the biggest upgrade in the iPad Mini 5 is the processor. Going from the A8 to the A12 Bionic is a major leap. The more recent iPad Mini will be faster, more capable, and more efficient. It will be able to handle the latest and most demanding games and apps, as well as augmented reality. This is helped by the fact that it comes with 3GB of RAM, as opposed to the 2GB of the iPad Mini 4. The iPad Mini 4 also comes with various underwhelming storage options, from a paltry 16GB up to 128GB; the new iPad Mini offers either 64GB or 256GB.

Both devices pack batteries with a capacity of 5,124mAh, so you should get about ten hours or so of moderate use out of them before needing to recharge. Sadly, recharging is done via the same old Lightning port in both, and there’s no support for wireless charging.

Winner: Apple iPad Mini 5

Design and durability

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The design of the iPad Mini 5 is exactly the same as the iPad Mini 4. The dimensions are identical — the 7.9-inch screen size, Touch ID, even the colors of the aluminum back are all the same. There’s no difference in the external design whatsoever. There’s no IP rating for these tablets and no discernible difference in durability. This means only one thing: a tie.

Winner: Tie


iPad Mini 5
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While both iPad Mini models have a 7.9-inch screen with a 2048 x 1536 pixel-resolution, there are a couple of subtle differences in display quality according to Apple. The newer iPad has a wider color gamut, so colors generally appear a little more vivid, and it supports Apple’s True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts white balance based on the light level around you to keep the screen legible and offer the best viewing experience. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s enough for the iPad Mini 5 to win this round.

Winner: Apple iPad Mini 5


iPad Mini 5 camera
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You’ll find an 8-megapixel main camera in both iPad Minis. While they’re the same on paper, the latest model also has a newer sensor that does offer slightly better performance. Where there’s a more obvious upgrade is in the front-facing camera, which jumps from just 1.2 megapixels to 7 megapixels. That’s good news for Face Time and selfies, which will be improved quite noticeably.

Winner: Apple iPad Mini 5

Software and updates

iPad Mini 5 software
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple is great at updating its software, and the iPad Mini 4 has been updated to have the same iPadOS 14 software as the new iPad Mini 5. We’re giving this category to the newer iPad because its newer processor will mean it can continue to be updated for longer than the older model.

Winner: Apple iPad Mini 5

Special features

iPad Mini 5 (2019)
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The iPad Mini 5 brings support for the Apple Pencil, which will be a pleasing development for artists and note-takers who prefer to write by hand. The first-generation Apple Pencil will still cost you $100. Sadly, the iPad Mini 5 is not compatible with the newer, second-generation Apple Pencil. The A12 Bionic processor also allows the iPad Mini 5 to offer augmented reality apps and games, although these remain fairly limited in number at the present moment in time.

Winner: Apple iPad Mini 5


The iPad Mini 5 starts from $400 for the 64GB Wi-Fi-only version and rises to $680 for the 256GB version with Wi-Fi and Cellular support. It’s available from the Apple store along with many other electronic megastores and brand name sellers. 

While Apple no longer manufactures the iPad Mini 4, you can still buy it online through various sellers. Despite its discontinuance, it still cost $400, but we’re sure that you can get it for much cheaper nowadays. 

Overall winner: Apple iPad Mini 5

If you’re a long-time iPad Mini 4 owner who’s been perfectly content with its performance thus far, then you’ll be just as happy with the similar design of the iPad Mini 5. You should upgrade immediately because it’s the same tablet with an improved processor, higher quality front-facing camera, Apple Pencil support, and additional improvements to the display. The hard truth that so much stayed the same is disappointing, especially if you’ve been craving a compact, truly next-generation Apple tablet. Most people will be better off saving themselves $70 and opting for the 2020 iPad.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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