The iPad mini 4 sports not only the Touch ID of last year's mini, but the higher color gamut, laminated display of last year's iPad Air 2. It's also got a speedy Apple A8 chipset and 2GB of RAM to make running Split View apps not only possible but enjoyable. Yes, the iPad mini has come a long way since it's non-Retina launch back in 2012!

iPad iPad 2 iPad 3 iPad mini iPad 4 iPad Air iPad mini 2 iPad mini 3 iPad Air 2 iPad mini 4
iPad iPad 2 iPad 3 iPad mini iPad 4 iPad Air iPad mini Retina iPad mini 3 iPad Air 2 iPad mini 3
Code Name K48 K94 J1 J65 P101 J72 J85 J85 J81 J96
Model Name iPad 1,1 iPad 2,1 iPad 3,1 iPad 2,5 iPad 3,4 iPad 4,1 iPad 4,4 iPad 4,7 iPad 5,3 iPad 5,1
Launch OS iPhone OS 3.2 iOS 4.3 iOS 5.1 iOS 6 iOS 6 iOS 7 iOS 7 iOS 8.1 iOS 8.1 iOS 9
Screen Size 9.7 inches 9.7 inches 9.7 inches 7.9 inches 9.7 inches 9.7 inches 7.9 inches 7.9 inches 9.7 inches 7.9 inches
Screen Resolution 1024x768 (132ppi) 1024x768 (132ppi) 2048x1536 (264ppi) 1024x768 (163ppi) 2048x1536 (264ppi) 2048x1536 (264ppi) 2048x1536 (326ppi) 2048x1536 (326ppi) 2048x1536 (264ppi) 2048x1536 (326ppi)
Screen Type IPS LED IPS LED IPS LED IPS LED IPS LED IPS LED IPS LED IPS LED Laminated IPS LED Laminated IPS LED
System-on-a-chip Apple A4 Apple A5 Apple A5X Apple A5 Apple A6X Apple A7 Apple A7 Apple A7 Apple A8X Apple A8
CPU 800MHz ARM Cortex-A8 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 1.4GHz dual-core Swift (ARM v7s) 64-bit dual core Apple A7 Cyclone (ARM v8) 64-bit dual core Apple A7 Cyclone (ARM v8) 64-bit dual core Apple A7 Cyclone (ARM v8) 64-bit triple core Apple A8 Typhoon (ARM v8) 64-bit dual core Apple A8 Typhoon (ARM v8)
GPU PowerVR SGX535 PowerVR dual-core SGX543MP2 PowerVR dual-core SGX543MP4 PowerVR dual-core SGX543MP2 PowerVR quad-core SGX554MP4 PowerVR G6430 PowerVR G6430 PowerVR G6430 PowerVR GXA6850 GX6450
Co-processor none none none none none M7 Motion M7 Motion M7 Motion M8 Motion M8 Motion
RAM 256MB 512MB 1GB 512MB 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB 2GB
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB 16GB/64GB/128GB 16GB/64GB/128GB 16GB/64GB/128GB
Cellular Data HSPA LTE LTE LTE LTE LTE LTE LTE LTE Advanced LTE Advanced
SIM Micro Micro Micro Nano Micro Nano Nano Nano Apple
Rear Camera none 1.3MP/720p 5MP/1080p 5MP/1080p 5MP/1080p 5MP/1080p 5MP/1080p 5MP/1080P 8MP/1080P 8MP/1080P
Front Camera none 0.3MP/VGA 0.3MP/VGA 1.2MP/720p 1.2MP/720p 1.2MP/720p 1.2MP/720p 1.2MP/720p 1.2MP/720p 1.2MP/720p
Bluetooth Bluetooth 2.1+EDR Bluetooth 2.1+EDR Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.2
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac MIMO
GPS aGPS aGPS aGPS, GLONASS aGPS, GLONASS aGPS, GLONASS aGPS, GLONASS aGPS, GLONASS aGPS, GLONASS aGPS, GLONASS aGPS, GLONASS
Sensors Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope, barometer
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope, barometer
Speakers Mono Mono Mono Stereo Mono Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo | Stereo
Connector 30-pin Dock 30-pin Dock 30-pin Dock Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning
Height 9.56 inches (242.8 mm) 9.5 inches (241.3 mm) 9.5 inches (241.3 mm) 7.87 inches (199.9 mm) 9.5 inches (241.3 mm) 9.4 inches (238.8 mm) 7.87 inches (199.9 mm) 7.87 inches (199.9 mm) 9.4 inches (238.8 mm) 8 inches (203.2 mm)
Width 7.47 inches (189.7 mm) 7.31 inches (185.7 mm) 7.31 inches (185.7 mm) 5.3 inches (134.6 mm) 7.31 inches (185.7 mm) 6.6 inches (167.6 mm) 5.3 inches (134.6 mm) 5.3 inches (134.6 mm) 6.6 inches (167.6 mm) 5.3 inches (134.8 mm)
Depth 0.53 inches (13.5 mm) 0.34 inches (8.6 mm) 0.37 inches (9.4 mm) 0.28 inches (7.1 mm) 0.37 inches (9.4 mm) 0.29 inches (7.4 mm) 0.29 inches (7.4 mm) 0.29 inches (7.4 mm) 0.24 inches (6.1 mm) 0.24 inches (6.1mm)
Weight 1.5 lbs (680 g) 1.33 lbs (603 g) 1.44 lbs (653 g) 0.68 lbs (308 g) 1.44 lbs (653 g) 1.0 lbs (454 g) 0.73 lbs (331 g) 0.73 lbs (331 g) 0.96 lbs (437 g) 0.65 lbs (298.8 grams)
Battery 6600mAh 6930mAh 11560mAh 4440mAh 11560mAh 8820mAh 6471mAh 6471mAh 6471mAh 7,340mAh| 5124mAh
Colors Black Black/White Black/White Black/White Black/White Space gray/Silver Space gray/Silver Space gray/Silver/Gold Space gray/Silver/Gold
Launch Price Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $329, $429, $529
Cellular: $459, $559, $659
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699, $799
Cellular: $629, $729, $829, $929
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699, $799
Cellular: $629, $729, $829, $929
Wi-Fi: $399, $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $529, $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $399, $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $529, $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699, $799
Cellular: $629, $729, $829, $929
Wi-Fi: $399, $499, $599
Cellular: $529, $629, $729
Release Date 4/3/2010 3/11/2011 3/16/2012 11/2/2012 11/2/2012 11/1/2013 11/12/2013 10/24/2014 10/24/2014 09/09/2015

I've updated the iPad mini 1 and iPad mini 2 to iOS 9 to see how they run, but I used screenshots to show the proper home screen look and feel for their launch years. Also not, iPad mini 4 is slightly taller than previous generations.

Space gray, as seen in the middle, is always a moving target, of course. Black is the hardest color to anodize so Apple seems to keep trying to balance durability with darkness. This year, though, I went gold. Because gold.

The thinness (which translates into lightness which translates into usability) of the iPad mini 4 is apparent when set against the previous minis. When you see it in relation to the original iPad and even the iPad Air 2, though, it's stunning.

And you can see how the iPad mini 4, like the iPad Air 2, no longer has the orientation lock/mute switch.

The iPad Air 2 and upcoming iPad Pro are certainly more powerful and productive, but for travelers or anyone who wants a light, easy to cary, full-on tablet, the iPad mini 4 is going to be nearly impossible to beat.

I'll have a full review up soon.