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iPad mini 3 vs 4 (2021): Which Small Tablet Is Better?

As older generations of Apple’s small tablet lineup, the iPad mini 3 and 4 are now available for considerably less than the current model. Below we summarize the differences in their specifications and features to see if there’s a clearly better buy than the other.

iPad mini 3 vs 4 Comparison Chart

ModeliPad mini 3 64GB WiFi OnlyiPad mini 4 64GB WiFi Only

Size & Resolution7.9″ 2048×15367.9″ 2048×1536
Dimensions7.87 x 5.3 x 0.29 inches8.0 x 5.3 x 0.24 inches
Weight0.73 lbs0.65 lbs
Color Gamut76% sRGB99% sRGB
CPU1.3GHz Apple A71.5GHz Apple A8
Front Camera1.2MP1.2MP with Auto HDR
Back Camera5MP8MP with Auto HDR
Rotation SwitchYesNo
Split ViewNoYes

Physical Differences

The iPad mini 4 is taller, thinner, and lighter.

iPad mini 3 vs 4 Physical Differences
Overall, the iPad mini 3 (top) and iPad mini 4 (bottom) look very similar.

Simply looking at both of these tablets won’t immediately tell you which is which, especially since case color options remain the same. Once you actually hold them in your hands, you’ll notice that the iPad mini 4 is thinner and lighter than the mini 3. The difference is very slight on paper, but it’s quite noticeable during constant use.

Build quality remains the same — the metallic finish gives these iPad minis a premium look that other tablets have yet to emulate. Their Home buttons also feature Apple’s Touch ID sensor which lets you unlock the device with your fingerprint.


The iPad mini 4 has a richer display that’s easier to view.

iPad mini 4 Display
Expect a bit more contrast and depth on the iPad mini 4.

At first glance both models will feature similarly excellent graphics, as the mini 4 retains the Retina display of the mini 3. The resolution is still the same: 2048×1536 pixels within a 7.9 inch screen, for an impressive 326 PPI. However, closer inspection and testing showed that the newer version has a wider color gamut of up to 99% sRGB vs the mini 3’s 76%. In addition, Apple stated that the entire display of the mini 4, which includes the glass cover, touch sensitive layer, and LCD, is fused together and fully laminated. A further “antireflective” coating on top of that makes the iPad mini 4 even easier to view under bright light.


The iPad mini 4 is faster.

iPad mini 4 Performance
Apps open faster and run more smoothly on the iPad mini 4.

Numbers-wise, the iPad mini 4 boasts more muscle than the mini 3. It has a faster, newer A8 processor as well as twice the RAM, which makes apps run noticeably faster and smoother. Those who love playing games on their tablet will particularly enjoy being able to run more graphics-intensive titles on the mini 4. Both models can support the latest iOS version though, so you don’t have to worry about operating system support.


The iPad mini 4 has a better rear camera.

iPad mini 4 Camera
Auto HDR gives your photos better contrast and brightness.

Most notably, both cameras on the iPad mini 4 now have Auto HDR, which instantly enhances the photos you take with contrast and color adjustments. The front FaceTime cameras are still at 1.2 megapixels with 720p HD video, although the mini 4 adds a Burst Mode to make taking selfies easier. The back iSight camera of the mini 4 is now at 8 megapixels, compared to the mini 3’s 5MP, so you can take much nicer pictures with it.

Other Features

The iPad mini 3 has a rotation switch.

iPad mini 3 Rotation Switch
This little switch is no longer present in the mini 4.

The thinner build of the iPad mini 4 meant that the rotation switch located at the side of the mini 3 had to go. It’s a handy little control that lets you lock your screen orientation easily, but the newer tablet has relegated that to the Command Center.

The other biggest feature that was added to the iPad mini 4 is Split View, which allows you to have multiple apps open and visible at the same time. It makes multitasking much easier and improves productivity as well.


The iPad mini 4 is clearly superior.

It’s clear that Apple succeeded in making the newer 4th generation iPad mini better than its predecessor. With a more powerful processor, crisper display, and better cameras, the iPad mini 4 is simply the better small tablet.

Taking into consideration that these are older models that Apple no longer sells brand new, you’ll be able to find used and renewed units of both models priced very similarly. This just easily makes the Apple iPad mini 4 the only choice that makes sense if you have to decide between the two.

Last update on 2022-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.