4th gen iPad: 9.7 inches of perfection [Review]

10 days ago, I brought you my initial thoughts on Apple’s latest iPad, the 4th generation. Now, I’ve spent over two weeks with the device, and I feel like I’ve seen enough to bring you my full review, and as you may have judged from the feature image, it’s very good news.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I’d like to suggest that the score I’ve given the iPad is obviously subjective, I’m sure many of you might have reviewed the same device and come to a different conclusion, but that’s okay. The beauty of opinions is that they can be different. With that being said, let’s take a look at why I love the iPad so much.

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Design

When I received the iPad, obviously, it was switched off, so I was drawn to its design. This is perhaps the most beautiful piece of technology I have ever seen. The design is flawless and the unibody Aluminum shell is perfectly crafted; it looks incredible, and it feels incredible. It’s durable and precise. There is not a single aspect of the design that I could fault. Perfect, simply perfect. Perhaps most notably so with the new Lightning connector, because there’s no longer a gaping hole in the bottom of the iPad that becomes an ecosystem of bacteria and dust. The new dock is no more noticeable than the headphone jack or the lock button. In fact, it’s so subtle that in low light conditions I sometimes try to put my charger in the wrong end of the device…

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Display

I don’t want to overuse the word perfect in this review… But seriously, the iPad’s display is incredible. Whether I’m watching Youtube videos, playing Angry Birds, reading a book or browsing the web, the iPads display blows my mind every time I look at it. Now I own the iPad, I tend to look at other displays a little disdainfully. In some ways I feel sorry for them… The 2048×1536-pixel display is sharp, and the pixel elevation ensures that signal doesn’t interfere with image quality. For me, the iPad’s display is perhaps its greatest selling point, and now I’ve used it, I will never go back.

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Hardware

This is where the 4th gen iPad separates itself from its predecessors. As you know, the iPad 3 comes with the same fantastic screen and build quality that I’ve mentioned. The biggest change comes with the new A6X processor. Performance across the board is just that much quicker with the new processor, this really is a major update. App launches are instant every time. Even the most graphic-intensive games run seamlessly, and the loading times are faster too. The iPad is more responsive on every level, and the new processor has even enhanced the photography capabilities of the iPad because the new processor is better at processing images. When I first heard about the new processor, I was concerned that battery life would suffer as a result, but Apple has still managed to push 10 hours of battery life. I’ve left my iPad on standby for up to 14 hours at a time, and found that the battery had only dropped by 1 or 2% during that period. Charging with the new 12W wall socket adapter is also noticeably quicker.

Another improvement that blew my mind was the new ultra-fast, 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi. You may remember from my first impressions article, that my iPad actually managed to clock faster ping, upload, and download speeds than my home computer, which is connected to my router with an Ethernet cable, that’s mind blowing.

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Camera

Having mentioned image processing, this seems like the logical place to go next. The 5 megapixel naturally doesn’t stack up to the iPhone’s 8 megapixel camera, but that’s fine, because I didn’t buy my iPad to take photos. I’ve found that filming video is perhaps the most rewarding experience, and that the camera is more than adequate for those fun photo shoots with friends that involve playing around with the effects in photo booth. The seamless iCloud Photo stream link means I’ve found great pleasure in taking photos with my iPhone and then editing them with my iPad. This is particularly effective with Adobe’s Photoshop Express app. There’s no better free photo editing software out there. Overall, the image capturing and editing capabilities of the iPad are magnificent, and I’ll probably never use a digital camera again. Improvements also stretch to the new FaceTime camera, I don’t use FaceTime a whole lot, but I’ve noticed that the detail level is noticeably higher than previous iPads.

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Software

iOS 6 on the iPad is brilliant. I love how the stock apps have been tailored to the iPad’s larger display, they look brilliant, and they’re so incredibly effective to use. iOS 6 for the iPad is definitely the best all round user interface I have ever used. Best of all, the iPad App store is confined to apps that are designed for the iPads large display. Yes, this narrows down your choice of apps pretty substantially, but it means that whenever you download an app, you get the best user experience possible. You can’t load 200,00 apps onto your iPad anyway, and the choice of apps for any given task is still phenomenal. The most major software update was Siri, I’m not a huge fan of Siri, but I’ve been finding myself talking to it a little more than I usually would in recent weeks, for many people, the lack of Siri on the last iPad was a little bit disappointing, no such shortfall here.

In conclusion, I cannot fault this iPad. No matter how hard I’ve tried to find something, anything bad about this device, I simply can’t do it. It doesn’t get 10 because that would imply the iPad can’t get any better, which isn’t true. Apple has proven time and again that it can always make its devices better, thinner and faster. But that’s for the future. Because we all know that there are more comfortable tablets to hold, there are more portable tablets, and ones quicker to charge. Simple fact is that no product can be absolutely perfect. But, it’s pretty darn close. Right here, right now, the iPad is the best tablet in the world – at least in my opinion. Apple, take a bow.

@TiP_Stephen

 

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  • Tom73

    Is it worth upgrading from the 3rd gen to the 4th gen?

  • davem

    Well sounds like a very nice iPad. I have the 3ed and what I’ve been wanting to know is the lighting connector on the 4th gen faster charging then then the third gen? That can take a couple of days when it gets past 50% to charge on the third gen. I’d love to have the battery on my first gen on my third!

  • davem

    @Tom73 that’s probably up to you I have the third gen and its quite nice. I’d say its a personnel decision on your part. The biggest thing I can see is the A5X to the A6X chip and then the lighting connector.

  • PedroCst

    I just disagree with the design. iPad mini has a much sweeter design, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it’s the go-for of the next generation iPad.

  • Tom73

    @davem
    You may want to borrow a charger from someone else to see if it will charge yours faster. If it doesn’t improve then it is time for the shop. No way it should take that long to charge. My 3rd gen can charge from dead to 100% on a few hours.
    For hour question, the charger with the 4th gen is higher wattage so should charge faster.

  • TiP_Stephen

    @davem The Lightning charger itself does not make the iPad charge faster. However, the 4th gen ships with the 12W wall adapter, which shaves around 35-40 minutes off the charge time of the third generation.