With the rise of phablets, the line between large phones and smaller tablets has blurred. This is no more obvious than when looking at the iPhone 6s Plus and the iPad mini 4. Matter of fact, I actually have a friend who doesn’t have a smartphone at all. Instead she carries around a Wi-Fi+ Cellular model of the iPad mini 4 because she wants a “phone” with a really, really big screen.
I’m not saying her decision is a practical one for most people, but it does provide an interesting option if you’re so inclined–and don’t make a lot of “regular” phone calls (she uses Skype for almost every call she makes). So just how does the new iPhone 6s Plus compare to the brand new iPad mini 4? Let’s take a look to find out.
iPhone 6s Plus vs iPad mini 4: Specs
Here’s the specs for the iPhone 6s Plus:
Display: 5.5-inch Retina HD display with 1920x1080 resolution at 401 pixels per inch (ppi)
Dimensions: 158.2mm x 77.9 mm x 7.3 mm
Weight: 192 grams
Storage: 16, 64, or 128GB
Processors: A9 chip with 64-bit architecture and M9 motion coprocessor
Front camera: FaceTime HD camera. 5 MP photos and 720p HD video.
Battery: 5124 mAh. Up to 9 hours battery life mixed usage
Touch ID: yes
Colors: Space Grey, Silver, Gold
Okay, let’s preface all of this with the fact that we are only comparing the iPhone 6s Plus versus the cellular model of the iPad mini 4. Since the Wi-Fi+Cellular model can give you a constant Internet connection anywhere a phone can this makes sense–so Wi-Fi-only models need not apply.
On the RAM and storage front, the iPhone 6s Plus and the iPad mini 4 are similar. Both have 2GB of RAM and come in 16, 64, and 128GB options. But when it comes to the processor the iPhone 6s Plus kicks the iPad mini 4’s butt. The iPhone has a A9 chip, which is up to 40% faster than the iPad mini 4’s A8 chip.
Another place the iPhone wins is in the Touch ID department. Yes, both the iPhone and iPad mini have the Touch ID sensor, but only the iPhone has an NFC chip. This means while both allow you to make purchases using Apple Pay in apps, only the iPhone 6s Plus will allow you to use Apple Pay at contactless terminals.
Finally, though the iPad mini 4 has a battery that is almost twice as large as the one found in the iPhone 6s Plus (5124 mAh vs 2750 mAh), the iPhone gives you almost three more hours of mixed usage than the iPad mini.
iPhone 6s Plus vs iPad mini 4: Display
Where the iPad mini 4 wins, of course, is in the display department. It’s got a monster 7.9-inch display at a much higher resolution of 2048x1536. That compares to the iPhone 6s Plus’ display of 1920x1080.
What’s also interesting is despite its larger display and battery, the iPad mini 4 is actually thinner than the iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhone is 7.3mm thick while the iPad mini 4 is only 6.1mm thick.
iPhone 6s Plus vs iPad mini 4: Cameras
But things swing back the iPhone 6s Plus’ way when you look at the cameras. The iPhone 6s Plus features a killer 12MP rear iSight camera with optical image stabilization and True Tone flash. I also has a killer 5MP FaceTime front camera with Retina flash. That compares with the iPad mini 4’s 8MP rear iSight camera with no flash nor optical image stabilization and the iPad’s paltry 1.2MP front FaceTime camera.
iPhone 6s Plus vs iPad mini 4: Cost & Verdict
The iPhone 6s Plus will cost £619 (16GB), £699 (64GB) and £789 (128GB). The iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi+Cellular model will cost £419 (16GB), £499 (64GB) and £589 (128GB).
Look, this was never going to be a fair fight–even if the iPad mini 4 is £200 cheaper. The iPad mini 4 is a great small tablet–probably the best on the market, but it doesn’t compete with the camera, speed, or, let’s face it, the practicality of owning an iPhone 6s Plus.
I mean, most people aren’t like my friend. They need an actual phone–not a tablet with a 4G connection that can make and receive VOIP calls. And that’s the main reason the iPad mini 4 will never truly complete with the iPhone 6s Plus: even though it has a cellular connection it never has an associated phone number.
So props to my friend for being unique, but the iPad mini 4 is no replacement for an iPhone.