A Re-Examination Of The iPad Mini 4 With Google Books PDFs

The iPad Mini is the size I like. The weight I like. The thinness I like.

The iPad Mini 4’s A8 processor — introduced in 2014, four frikkin years ago! — not so much.

It’s been close to three years since Apple introduced the iPad Mini 4.

It’s tragic that Apple hasn’t updated the iPad Mini. This creates a great deep level of uncertainty over whether or not to buy one — especially when Best Buy prices it at US$299 (US$100 off!) every so often (the next time might be the Memorial Day weekend in the U.S.). Despite its age, that’s still a very tempting price for one with 128GBs of storage that was, in a prior incarnation, originally priced at a wallet-sucking US$599.

But with the new US$329 2018 iPad — US$429 for the 128GB model (WiFi only) — is the iPad Mini still worth even considering?

Well, after being reminded of everything I liked about the iPad Mini 4 by someone in a YouTube video, I decided to do a re-examination of it with Google Books PDFs.

And away we go:

All apps closed:

And grabbing the test copy of The American Magazine from my Google Drive:

Which gave me this weird separate tab I’ve never encountered before:

Downloading to Safari:

In Safari:

About to move it to iBooks. Notice it says Copy to iBooks:

Open in iBooks:

I decided to do a different kind of test this time. Instead of a stress test with quickly flipping through pages, I decided to use it as I would in real life. Just flip pages as if I was casually browsing. Would that still cause iBooks to crash back to the Home Screen? Let’s see …

Page 62 and no crash. Hmm! And then …

I stopped at page 201. I expected iBooks to crash. It didn’t!

It wasn’t a smooth experience, however. iBooks resolves the page with tiling. Unpredictable tiling. Some pages appear as a single image, while others appear as two-thirds of an image and then the remaining third. It can take up to two seconds for the full page to appear.

Let’s try a typical Google Books PDF book. One that isn’t a thousand-plus pages of magazines.

In Safari:

About to move it to iBooks. Again, notice it says Copy to iBooks:

Opening in iBooks. 433 pages:

Enjoy Google Books scanning bloopers:

I page through, as if using it in real-life and reach page 100 problem-free:

And page 377 without a crash:

The pages appeared whole, instantly. No tiling. And I was “reading” it while Safari was still open:

Let’s pop ahead. Here are some tips for success from Barnum. In over one hundred years, the same advice still holds!

And I got to the final page without any crash:

I closed that and opened The American Magazine again and started paging:

Page 400 without a crash:

Time to go back to Safari and try another Google Books PDF.

In Safari:

About to move this one to iBooks. Again, notice it says Copy to iBooks:

Open in iBooks:

And I page through (I like this illustration of luck!):

I stopped at page 100:

No crashing. No tiling.

Let’s go to Pushing to the Front. In Safari:

About to move it to iBooks. Again, notice it says Copy to iBooks:

Open in iBooks. 875 pages:

There were no problems.

Let’s do Surface Japan. This will be from my Google Drive, a test I previously had problems with on the 2018 iPad.

In Safari:

About to move it to iBooks. Again, notice it says Copy to iBooks:

Open in iBooks, with 215 pages. Despite the smaller page count, this PDF is more difficult to render than the prior ones in this test.

And I was trying it while Safari while still open:

I didn’t page far. There were no problems, although page rendering was slower than the other books.

On to Fairy Tales from the Far North. This will be from my Google Drive, another test I previously had problems with on the 2018 iPad.

In Safari:

About to move this to iBooks. Again, notice it says Copy to iBooks:

Open in iBooks, with 331 pages:

I didn’t page far. And this was done while Safari was still open:

I was surprised!

1) The American Magazine didn’t crash iBooks when I did a pretend read as if it was real life (about a one-second pause between going to the next page — which is actually faster than a real-life read).

2) Nothing else crashed iBooks.

3) Two PDFs I had trouble with on the 2018 iPad — Surface Japan and Fairy Tales from the Far North — moved from Safari to iBooks with all pages intact and without any problems. Now I have to think that the problems I had with the 2018 iPad was a weird set of transient glitches. Otherwise, the iPad Mini 4 should have had the same problems. As far as I know, the iOS and iBooks versions were the same. Go figure!

What prompted this test other than being reminded of why I’ve always liked the iPad Mini?

Printed books!

My weekend read was this:

That’s about a half-inch or so larger than an iPad Mini 4 on two sides. But in terms of thickness, it’s like a stack of six iPad Mini 4! That bulk takes up too damn much room in my shoulder bag. And let’s not even mention weight.

But what to do?

Will Apple relent and reveal an iPad Mini 5 in June?

And before then, will they cut the price of the Mini 4 yet again to clear out inventory? Could it drop to US$249 at Apple and maybe go for US$199 at Best Buy?

If the iPad Mini 4 is the last of the line, I wouldn’t have much regret in buying it.

But I would have a hell of a lot of resentment towards Apple if they announced an iPad Mini 5 just weeks later!

For those wondering what tiled rendering of The American Magazine looks like on the iPad Mini 4, here’s a test video I did with a prior version of iOS 11:

iPad Mini 4 iOS 11 Google Books PDF Test

The speed of the tiled rendering in the latest test felt a wee bit faster. But that could have been my imagination.

Previously here:

Tomorrow: A Re-Examination Of The iPad Mini 4
Thinking Out Loud About The 2018 iPad
iPad Pricing: Then And Now
iPad 2018 PDF (And A Bit More) Test
Tomorrow: iPad 2018 PDF Test Post
Three Interesting iPad 2018 Reviews
SmartQ PDF Reader For Android Is Dead
The iPhone X & PDF Tests
Asus ZenPad 3S 10 With Android 7.0 Google Books PDF Test Two
Asus ZenPad 3S 10 With Android 7.0 Plus PDF Test
PDF Tests: iPad Mini 4 iOS 11
PDF Tests: Large iPad Pro iOS 11
New iOS 11 PDF-iBooks Behavior
GoodReader PDF Reader For iOS Is Not Dead (or maybe it is?)
Video: iPad Pro 10.5 Google Books PDF Tests
iPad Pro 10.5 Should Be A Google Books PDF Monster
March 2017 “New iPad” Brief Google Books PDF Test
Video: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Extreme PDF Test
Video: iPad Pro Extreme PDF Test
Video: PDF Fun With iPad Mini 4 Splitscreen
Video: iPad Mini 4 Extreme PDF Test (Plus Tablet Thoughts)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Google Books PDF Test
Second Google Books PDF Test: Samsung Chromebook Plus
Google Books PDF Test: Samsung Chromebook Plus
Asus ZenPad S3 10: Google Books PDF Test

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