Battery Life

When Apple unveiled the original iPad they claimed that it had a ten hour battery life, and that claim generally held up well. That ten hour battery rating has continued with every iPad released since then, and it has become something of a de-facto target for other tablet manufacturers. Rarely do I see a company promise above ten hours, and nobody has really been able to go very far above it in our web browsing battery life test.

Even though the iPad Mini 4 is rated for 10 hours of usage and Apple is usually able to meet that goal in lighter and more balanced workloads, there will obviously be differences depending on exactly what tasks the user is performing. Because of this, it's important to examine the Mini 4's battery life in a variety of different scenarios to see how different workloads influence the battery life. As always, the first two tests are our WiFi web browsing test and video playback test, followed by BaseMark OS II's CPU-bound battery test, and GFXBench 3.0's GPU-bound battery test.

Web Browsing Battery Life (WiFi)

Video Playback Battery Life (720p, 4Mbps HP H.264)

WiFi web browsing battery life on the Mini 4 is exactly where it needs to be. It actually lasts about 40 minutes longer than the iPad Air 2 which is likely due to the lower power requirements of the smaller display during the duration of the test. Video playback battery life is actually slightly shorter than I expected, although still quite good. Since Apple does apply CABC during full screen video playback when the UI isn't showing it's likely that the reason for the gap between the Mini 4 and the Air 2 is due to the Air 2's larger battery, with the display's brightness and gamma being played with a bit to reduce display power consumption, and the power cost of decoding H.264 video essentially being the same fixed amount on both devices. 

BaseMark OS II Battery Life

BaseMark OS II Battery Score

The iPad Mini 4 does exceptionally well in BaseMark OS II's battery test. Not only does it last longer than any other device on record, but it also achieves the highest battery score on record. A simplified description of the battery score is that it's a combination of the device's average battery drain per unit of time, along with consideration given to the device's CPU load during the duration of the test. In the case of the iPad Mini, the amount of throttling occurring was far lower than most other devices, with only the Nexus 9 being close while also lasting an hour shorter. This doesn't bode well for other tablets like the Galaxy Tab S2 which don't last as long and throttle much more heavily during a prolonged CPU load.

GFXBench 3.0 Performance Degradation

GFXBench 3.0 Battery Life

GFXBench's infinite T-Rex HD test is another very strong showing for the Mini 4. It lasts quite a long time, and sustains its performance for the entire duration of the test. This is something that really has to be considered when comparing the performance of Apple's SoCs with the competition, especially when discussing the GPU. For example, both the Tab S2 and Mini 4 achieve similar frame rates if you just run the T-Rex HD test once, but as you can see the Tab S2 actually runs well below 30fps when you continue to run the test, and so with a real game with that level of visual quality the Tab S2 would never be able to produce a playable frame rate.

Apple usually does well in our various battery tests, and the Mini 4 is no exception. Video playback battery life is definitely not as good as full sized tablets or anything using an AMOLED display, but it's still a good result. As for the rest of the tests, the Mini 4 consistently achieves a great battery life combined with great sustained performance, and there's not much more you could ask for from a mini tablet.

Charge Time

The time to charge a tablet is almost always longer than a smartphone, especially now that quick-charging phones charge at a rate as fast or faster than tablets do, while also having significantly smaller batteries. The last few tablets I've looked at have had longer charge times than I had hoped for, but I wasn't really worried about the iPad Mini 4's charge time because it comes with Apple's 12W charger and the iPad Air 2 already had the lowest charge time on record for a full size tablet

Charge Time

At 3.13 hours to charge, the iPad Mini 4 is second only to the Dell Venue 8 as far as the charge time for tablets is concerned. I actually have to give Dell credit for pushing their charge time so low. While the Mini 4 isn't the fastest tablet on record, 3.13 hours to go from 0% to 100% is still a pretty good result, and in my experience charging it at night every couple of days is more than enough to keep the battery going so I don't expect that it's going to pose an issue for users.

System Performance Display Analysis


View All Comments

  • twin-pt - Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - link

    NIce! That means there's an iPhone 6s/6s Plus review in the next couple of days? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - link

    It will be up Friday. Reply
  • twin-pt - Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - link

    YES !!! Just in time before placing an order on my 6s Plus!!! Reply
  • ciderrules - Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - link

    Just order one already. You won't be disappointed. Reply
  • twin-pt - Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - link

    I can't, I've to wait for stock on my telco provider (for whom I work) and they only have received the 16GB versions, not the 64GB... Bu it's coming soon! Reply
  • MarvinGaye22 - Saturday, November 14, 2015 - link

    I have Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and I consider this as a premium tablet because of it's display. It's much better to play with and downloading games since it's android base. Got at Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - link

    Not so fast. Considering the prices of iPhone 6's (I just picked up a 3 month old unlocked 6+ 64gb for the wife...$500 bucks) it might not be justified to pay $850 for the S equivalent. Reply
  • 2likru - Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - link

    I picked up a 64gb 6plus for $500 off eBay for my self and I also picked up the new 6s (non plus) for the wife. The new one is considerably faster, feels more solid due to the weight, and my wife enjoys the screen flash for selfies and the live pictures. I could go without the last two but the speed and solid build are desirable plus 3d touch is going to be a nice feature. If you can find a deal get the 6, but if not, get the 6s. I wouldn't pay more than $500 for a 6 plus and $350 for a 6 at this point in time. Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, October 29, 2015 - link

    I agree with you - if it was my money. But works pays for it, so 6s plus it is! Took 3 weeks to get mine, but I've been really happy with it. I thought the size would annoy me, as I previously had an LG 5.5" phone, but this works so much better I don't mind the extra bezel. Not disappointed at all, but again it's not my money. Reply
  • dsumanik - Thursday, October 29, 2015 - link

    Thats what i did, picked up an unlocked 6+ 128gb off of ebay for 700 bucks. 90% of the performance for half the price. Reply

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