Great Retina display; Amazingly good battery life; Nice range of apps; 4G support; improved FaceTime camera.
Not terribly portable; Lacks memory card slot.
This fourth-generation iPad has got a boost in the power stakes and now offers 4G support as well as a better FaceTime snapper – but it’s still not as portable as its rivals.
We were all taken aback when Apple released this fourth-generation iPad, not least because it came out at the same time as the iPad Mini, and only six months after the third-gen device had been released. Enter some angry Apple fans who had just paid out for a device that was already out of date.
Having said that, this is not really a full-blown upgrade, more of a slightly tweaked model, so those third-gen owners shouldn’t be too bothered. So what has changed – and is it worth upgrading?
One big change has taken place under the hood, where the chip has been boosted to Apple’s latest A6X processor which, Apple says, offers double the computing power of the chip in the third-gen model. Mind you, that device works so well, it’s hard to really test how true this is. Our review model certainly never suffered from any lag or stuttering and managed to cope admirably with any apps, media or games that we threw at it. Of course one worry about a device that packs so much power is that the battery drains incredibly quickly. Happily, this doesn’t seem to be the case with the new iPad, and we got the 10 hours of use we were expecting in general use, while continuously streaming media saw the battery die after seven hours – better than the performance of the average tablet.
The rear camera, which is a five-megapixel mode, is the same as on the previous iPad and takes bright and colourful images. Taking pictures with the iPad is not a comfortable experience, but it’s nice to have the option should you be out and about with your device. The front-facing lens has been improved to a 1.2-megapixel model, so you get a better image when using FaceTime.
Place the third and four-generation iPad next to each other and it’s hard to tell the difference. The only major difference is that the new model has the new Lightning port on the base – this is a much thinner version of the old data and charging port, so if you have accessories from older Apple devices you’ll need to splash out for an adapter.
One of the issues with the iPad is its weight – it’s heftier and chunkier than many of its rivals – the Samsung Galaxy Note, for instance. And if you want a device for a daily commute we’d be tempted to day go for the iPad Mini or the Google Nexus 7. That said, if you want a tablet for playing with apps and surfing the net while at home, the iPad offers a wonderful experience.
The Retina screen is one of the sharpest displays available and offers really lifelike HD pictures, which makes it great for media and photo editing. Its viewing angles are great and it’s so bright that there’s no need to be concerned about glare. It’s the same screen found on the other iPads, but it is so good it doesn’t need to change.
Another major update is that the iPad is now compatible with 4G LTE (although not if you have the Wi-Fi-only model). You may remember that the third-gen device offered 4G support for American users but not in the UK, which was rather frustrating. However, now the 4G support is included so streaming media should be easy – and fast.
This fourth-generation model is only a step up from the third-gen iPad, so for owners of that, this upgrade is of no interest. If you have an older iPad or are considering your first tablet purchase, there’s plenty to enjoy, from the 4G support to that dazzling Retina display.
If you plan on taking the device out and about with you, though, you may want to consider the more portable iPad Mini or Google Nexus 7. However, those looking for a fully fledged 4G tablet should strongly consider the iPad 4.
|Type of device||Tablet|
|Operating System||Apple iOS 6|
|Dimensions||241 x 186 x 9.4mm|
|CPU||Apple A6 processor|
|Screen size||9.7 inches|
|Display type||Retina Display|
|Internal storage||16GB - 64GB|
|Memory card slot|
|Secondary camera||1.2 megapixels|
|Special camera features|
|Music player||AAC, HE-AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, AAX and AAX+, Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV|
|FM Radio description|
|Video player||H.264, .mp4, .mov, M-JPEG, .avi|
|Colours (Standard)||Black, White|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box||Charger|
|Battery life multimedia||7 hours|
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