iPad Mini 4 The iPad mini 4 is obviously the best smaller tablet Apple has ever created; well, I say obviously, but last year's mini 3 was actually something of a backwards step. That device was just the mini 2 with a new colour and TouchID, but the mini 4 is a much better device.Overdue upgrades add faster A8 processor, better cameras, a more vivid Retina display, slightly slimmed-down design, and the ability to run split-screen apps in iOS 9. The small size is perfect for traveling and iOS remains a superior user experience on tablets. At 7.9in and with a "Retina" resolution of 1536 x 2048 giving a pixel density of 324 per inch, you'd be forgiven for thinking the mini 4's screen is exactly the same as the mini 3's. But it isn't. At a more technical level, the new tablet's screen is, according to the experts at DisplayMate, the best screen on any iPad, ever – and that includes the Air 2and new iPad Pro. Moving from the iPad Mini 2/3, the iPad Mini 4 also has slightly different speaker grills at the bottom (one row of holes at the bottom, rather than stacked rows), and the size is now very slightly different: at 203x134x6.1mm the iPad Mini 4 is slightly taller and thinner than the iPad Mini 3 (200x135x7.5mm). Apple has a couple different tiers of camera sensors it uses—the top-end ones in iPhones, and the "good enough" ones in iPods and iPads. Like the sixth-generation iPod Touch, the iPad Mini 4 steps up from a good-enough 5MP camera to a good-enough 8MP camera, roughly the same one as used in the iPad Air 2. The two tablets take very similar pictures in outdoor, indoor, and low light. Neither is as good as an iPhone, but both can capture more detail than the 5MP iPad Mini 2 and 3. The iPad mini 4 is pushed along by Apple’s 64-bit A8 processor, which is definitely an upgrade from last year but not quite as powerful as the Air 2 despite what Schiller boasted on stage. Apple says the new chip delivers speed gains of up to 30 percent, and sure, apps definitely open faster. The mini 4 has 2GB of RAM inside, so apps are also less likely to unexpectedly restart when you’re multitasking, and Safari won’t need to reload your tabs so often. Graphics performance has jumped by 60 percent, and it’s impossible to find any current iOS game that slows down this iPad in any noticeable way. Apple claims the iPad mini 4 can last up to 10 hours on a single battery charge when connected to Wi-Fi. Our battery test streams a full-screen video over Wi-Fi on 80 percent screen brightness, and the iPad mini 4 lasted for 5 hours and 15 minutes. Not quite as long as Apple claims, but in line with other small-screen tablets. The 8-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 lasted 5 hours, 33 minutes. The iPad mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 lasted for 5 hours, 45 minutes, and 5 hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The iPad mini 4 features 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO support, and performed admirably on our networking tests.
But, A lot more expensive than most 8-inch tablets on the market. Multitasking on the smaller screen isn't as useful as on the larger Air 2. Processing speed is a step below other iPads and new iPhones, and battery life takes a step down, too.
THE BOTTOM LINE The iPad Mini 4 makes the most of iOS 9 and has a number of welcome upgrades, but its high price will have some skipping straight up to larger iPad Air models. Price:$399.00VS
Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Samsung has been pouring a lot of effort into making a really decent iPad rival, and that strategy has seen some hare-brained decisions (such as launching the Tab Pro in January 2014, and then replacing it a few months later with the Galaxy Tab S).
But, apart from annoying anyone that's already bought into the Tab Pro range, this strategy has finally yielded a brilliant tablet in the shape of this Super AMOLED-shod Tab S duo. Available in both 8.4- and 10.5-inch screen sizes, Samsung has taken the best of its OS and technology ability, fused them with the best display on a tablet and created something pretty special. Performance
The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is, generally speaking, very smooth and slick. The kinks and jerkiness we detected in the Tab Pro 8.4 are mostly absent, though the Tab S 8.4 doesn’t zip along quite as smoothly as the Snapdragon powered Galaxy S5.
The processor behind this is Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa (5420), which is in eight core chip with four ARM Cortex A15 CPUs clocked at 1.9GHz, and four lower-power ARM A7 cores at 1.3GHz. It’s right up there with the most powerful processors on any Android phone or tablet, scoring 904 in Geekbench’s single-core test, and 2,669 in the multi-core. Even accounting for Samsung’s reputation to boosting benchmarks with high performance modes, it’s clear this is a very powerful device — it’s only slightly slower than Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and OnePlus One.
It’s a slightly less impressive performer in the graphics department, though it’s still more than powerful enough to run even demanding games smoothly. It scored 13,518 in the 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited test, whereas the latest phones are getting close to 20,000 these days. It’s only a few thousand points less than the iPad mini 2, though, and you’re unlikely to find any games that won’t work on it. As with most phones and tablets at present, the Tab S has more processing power than it really needs.
The battery life is great, the screen has to be seen to be believed (and is excellent for media and internet viewing, which is really the point of a tablet) and the price is on a par with the rest of the industry. Well done, Samsung.
Weight: 467g | Dimensions: 247.3 x 177.3 x 6.6mm | OS: Android 4.4.2 | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1600 | CPU: Quad-core 2.3 GHz | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: 7900mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.1MP$349.99 VS Nexus 9 The Nexus 9 is a bit of a weird one - it's both the replacement for the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10, without really being a sequel to either thanks to the all-new 8.9-inch screen.
For the eagle eyed among you, you may notice it's jumped up a place in our rankings. That's because it can now be picked up for around £210, making it super affordable. It'll likely be replaced in the next month when Google launches a new slate - but for now it's a steal.
It's mimicking the iPad range by going for a 4:3 screen ratio (which means wider viewing for web browsing, but annoying black bars above and below when watching movies) so you've got a wider device that's not quite able to be gripped in one hand.
But that doesn't mean it's not a great tablet, helped by the fact it's made by HTC. The brand has brought over its Boomsound speakers for greater front facing audio, and the screen is certainly high resolution too. Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 8mm | OS: Android 5.0 | Screen size: 8.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Dual-core 2.3 GHz | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: 6700 mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.6MP