iPad 4 Review | Trusted Reviews
- New A6X processor is incredibly fast
- Retina Display is still excellent
- Battery Life even better than iPad 3
- Lightning connector is better than old connector
- Lightning connector require all new docks and cables
- Still no expandable storage or other inbuilt connections
- Review Price: £399.00
- 9.7in, 2,048 x 1,536 pixel retina display
- Lightning connector
- Apple A6X processor
Read the latest news on the iPad Air and iPad mini 2
The iPad 4, or New iPad, is a minor update to the iPad 3, which was released in March 2012. The small repertoire of new features include a Lightning port, instead of a 30-pin socket, and a faster processor. Let’s find out whether it’s worthy if the iPad name.
iPad 4 2013 update
There have been refreshingly few issues that have surfaced regarding the iPad 4. Nothing like the “antennagate” of the iPhone 4 has afflicted the iPad 4.
However, the iPad 4 has been recognised as a moment of downturn for the 9.7-inch iPad. In January it was reported that Sharp had severely cut-down the production of iPad screens as sales of the tablet were eaten up by the iPad mini, its smaller sibling.
More recently in March 2013, David Hsieh of NPD suggested that Apple had re-worked its expected sales figures for 2013 to account for the huge popularity of the iPad mini. Where Apple had predicted 60 million full-size iPad sales and 40 million iPad mini sales, it has moved the goal posts to 55 million iPad minis and 33 million iPads.
Is this bad news for the iPad 4? It’s no reason not to buy an iPad 4 if you’re certain you are after a larger tablet. As the tablets run the same operating system, there’s no chance of the iPad going suddenly, irrecoverably “out of date”.
However, the iPad Air is now released and some of you may want to consider opting for that instead.
The iPad Air has an extensively reworked body that is a good deal thinner and lighter than the iPad 4. It has a slimmed-down screen bezel – rather than the chunky screen surround of the iPad 4.
The iPad Air makes the iPad 4 look extremely chunky. But then so would an iPad 2 – the second-generation iPad is still the thinnest and lightest 9.7-inch iPad to date.
Still keen on an iPad 4? As is the norm for Apple products, the iPad’s price has not dropped since its launch. However you can pick up a cheap iPad 4 these days using our price tracker.
Apple also offers models savings on refurbished iPads and they can be a great deal and come with 12 months warranty.
iPad 4: Video Review
Apple has hardly deviated with the design of the iPad 4. It is to all intents and purposes exactly the same as the iPad 3, and that’s both a good and a bad thing.
On the one hand the iPad remains the best built, most premium looking and feeling tablet available. The fit and finish is still a class above with that gorgeously curvy aluminium back and simple glass front combining to make the device feel like it’s completely solid. The iPad mini does give it a run for its money but there’s just a little bit more flex to its chassis which to our minds means the bigger model takes the crown.
However, the iPad mini does again highlight just how large and heavy the full-size iPad is, whether the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation. Weighing in at either 652g (Wi-Fi only) or 662g (Wi-Fi and Cellular), the iPad 4 is simply too much to hold one handed for any period of time. Plus it’s literally too much to hold one handed, with its 185.7mm width being far too expansive for your average hand to fit around, though of course that’s to be expected of a larger tablet.
This does highlight something we’ve long felt though: the iPad is in a no-mans land when it comes to size. It’s too large for total portability and too small to effectively replace a laptop (or at the very least, Apple hasn’t embraced the laptop replacement potential, with good accessories like on the Asus Transformer range) and that impression is no less dimmed with the arrival of the iPad 4 – as a portable, bigger-than-a-phone screen, the iPad mini is much more tempting to us.
But, if you’re happy that you want a tablet of classic iPad proportions the iPad 4 will do you as proud as any iPad before.
iPad 4: Lightning Connector
The other area where the iPad’s design comes up short is in features. While competitors have added: memory card slots for either expanding the tablets storage or simply looking at photos straight from your camera; HDMI ports for connecting your tablet straight to a TV; USB ports for attaching peripherals; and even sophisticated pen input for accurate drawing and note taking, the iPad remains very simple. On the top is the headphone jack, along with the power button, down the right edge are the volume and mute controls, on the front and back are the cameras and on the bottom is the new Lightning connector, and that’s it.
You can convert the Lightning port to be a USB port, a memory card reader or a video output but then you’ll need to buy all the accessories to do so, which if you pay Apple prices are ridiculously expensive – £39 for an HDMI adapter!? Likewise there are some great cases that add useful functionality but they can be quite pricey, with top keyboard cases costing well over £50 (and they don’t add battery life like on the Asus Transformer range).
As to the Lightning connector itself, it’s a marked improvement over the previous connector type, being much smaller and reversible so you can plug it in either way round. However, it doesn’t actually transfer files any quicker, unlike USB 3.0 for instance, and it does mean you’ll have to buy adapters for all your old cables and docks.
We would also complain that Lightning is a proprietary connector, rather than an industry standard one like microUSB but actually things are a bit different in the world of tablets. Apple’s proprietary stance is very annoying when it comes to phones because every other phone manufacturer uses microUSB for both charging and connecting to a computer. But for larger tablets, the higher power requirements have meant that most of them require non-standard charging cables of some description anyway. Given this, Apple’s single connector for all its mobile devices is actually something of a bonus.
iPad 4: 3G and Storage
Another area where the iPad trumps many is that it’s offered with 3G/4G connectivity for wirelessly browsing while out and about. Many other devices support this but the 3G versions can often be difficult to get hold of, with them either not supported or sold in any given country. Here the SIM is of the microSIM type as used on the iPad 3 and iPhone 4/4S, rather than the nanoSIM of the iPhone 5, so that’s one less thing to worry about if you’re upgrading (though equally it means you can’t swap your SIM from phone to tablet if you’ve an iPhone 5 and iPad 4 – ho hum).
Something you may find keeping you up at night, though, are the prices of the higher capacity versions of the iPad 4. With no ability to add extra storage through a microSD card, you have to pay up front for as much storage as you think you’ll need. The entry level models with 16GB are very reasonably priced but paying £80 more for 32GB and another £80 more for 64GB is extortionate.
Admitedly, most people will probably find that 16GB is plenty enough, considering your iPad is unlikely to be your primary music player in particular. However, when some iPad games are already pushing 1. 5GB in size, it won’t take long for you to have to start removing apps, games, music and videos to make room for more.
So, all told Apple hasn’t reinvented the tablet with the iPad 4 so those of you that haven’t been convinced before will have little reason to suddenly be converted. Plus, we really would’ve liked to see the weight come down a little. But, if you know and love the iPad design, then it’s business as usual here.
But what of that new processor…
iPad 4: Performance
The iPad 4 runs on a brand spanking new processor, the Apple A6X. The design is, like most phone and tablet chips, based on ARM technology but it’s a custom Apple variation.
Apple reckons the chip is twice as fast as the A5X in the iPad 3 and its graphics are four times faster. What does this mean in everyday use? Well, surprisingly little in our experience so far. There is a just about discernible difference in the time it takes for some apps to open but it’s not enough that the iPad 3 actually feels slow.
But, as the sophistication of apps continues to increase, there will be more and more occasions where the difference is appreciable. For instance, apps such as multi-track recorders or powerful image and video editors may benefit.
Moreover, games will also take advantage of the faster graphics to make them look even richer or run even smoother. Infinity Blade 2 is one title that benefits. Whereas on the iPad 3 it occasionally has a little stutter, here it’s silky smooth.
Still, if you’re an iPad 3 owner, we’d suggest there’s little compelling reason to upgrade – you could quite easily wait for the iPad 5 before software really started to leave the iPad 3 behind.
iPad 4: iOS 6.0 Interface
This applies double as the interface is exactly the same. The iPad 4 runs iOS 6.0 which is freely available as an update for all iPad 2 and iPad 3 owners.
Although there are a few extra features in this latest update the core interface is still classic iPad. So, the homescreens are merely grids of apps which you can arrange into folders or just leave sprawled across many pages.
Along the bottom you can also fix up to five apps for quick access, while swiping to the right or pressing the home button will take you to the search feature. Here you can quickly find apps, contacts, emails, songs and calendar entries that are on your tablet, or you can search the web or Wikipedia.
The simplicity continues when it comes to multi-tasking. Simply double tap the home button and a row of icons is shown. These are ranged in order of when you last used them and you can slide through them to find what you want. It is almost too basic an experience given the inability to preview what each app is doing but simplicity is the name of the iPad game and it doesn’t feel overly limiting.
One relatively recent addition that is a nod to other more sophisticated operating systems is a notifications area which you can pull down from the top edge of the screen. Here you can keep track of all the recent activities such as who’s sent you a message on Facebook or what new emails have come in. Plus you can post an update to Twitter or Facebook from here.
Finally, hold down the home button and you can bring up Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled assistant. This surprisingly effect helper will answer simple questions, open apps, look up directions movie times and much more. However, it still remains something of a gimmick on a device like this.
As for the core applications, such as email, the web browser, they remain excellent offering truly tablet optimised styling and layouts that make that large, high resolution screen feel worth every penny. There is one oddity, though, which is the contacts list. This takes the form of a notebook – skeuomorphism at its best – which while comfortingly familiar looking, isn’t all that practical as if doesn’t even use the full screen when viewed in portrait mode.
The contacts app also reflects the limited level of cross-communication within the Apple interface. Whereas on Android and Windows Phone 8 (or Windows 8) you can see photos and message on your contacts’ page, here it’s kept to the basic details only.
iPad 4: Camera
The iPad 4 sports the same cameras as the iPad 3, which are a 5 megapixel rear facing one and a 1.2megapixel front facing model. The rear one produces surprisingly usable results in a surprisingly diverse range of lighting situations. Colours are reasonably natural and exposure is generally well balanced. That said, detail levels aren’t exactly stellar with it essentially being a complete waste of time trying to zoom in, whether through the digital zoom while taking a photo or when later viewing the photo in the Photos app.
Shooting in truly dark conditions is also a bit pointless both because shots go very grainy and washed out and because the lack of a flash means the tablet can’t help light things up. A few alternatives like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 do have a flash, though general image quality isn’t quite as good.
As for the front facing unit, it’s primarily meant for 720p HD video calling, and for that purpose it does rather well, providing a reasonably detailed view of your face. Again, though, there’s no flash so if you’re in a truly dark situation you won’t be able to see much.
iPad 4: Battery Life
The iPad range remains among the best in class for battery life considering their size and weight, providing a genuine 10hrs use between charges and lasting for weeks in standby.
Gaming tends to cause the biggest drain on battery life but you’ll still get 6-7 hours solid play from even the most demanding 3D titles.
A few alternatives do beat the iPad in this regard, such as the Asus Transformer Prime with its keyboard dock nearly doubling battery life, but the iPad 4 remains one of the best in class when it comes to battery life.
The new iPad with Retina Display is the best large tablet going with better battery life and performance than both the iPad 3 and the other large tablet competition. It also boasts the best build quality and the most comprehensive selection of truly tablet-oriented apps.
Then of course there’s the new connector which while troublesome in the short term is ultimately a step forward, at least compared to the previous Apple connector – we’d still prefer a standard connection like microUSB if possible.
All this said, there’s not enough here to justify an upgrade from an iPad 3, especially given this new model isn’t thinner or lighter. As such unless you’re particularly determined to wholesale make the switch to Lightning connector equipped Apple products, we’d suggest waiting to see what the iPad 5 has to offer.
Then of course there’s the iPad mini. With Apple not wholly embracing the idea of tablets as laptop replacements like Microsoft has done with the Microsoft Surface and like Asus has done with the Asus Transformer, the larger iPad still feels to us like a product that’s trying to fit a gap that simply isn’t there. Instead, despite its lower resolution screen and slower processor, it’s the iPad mini that we’d go for as a pure tablet.
Catch up on all the latest news surrounding the iPad 5
We test every tablet we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the tablet as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main tablet for the review period
Reviewed using respected industry benchmarks
Ongoing real world testing
Tested with various games, apps and services
Score in detail
Screen Quality 9
Battery Life 10
|Internal Storage (Gigabyte)||16/32/64GB|
|Width (Millimeter)||185. 7mm|
|Camera (Megapixel)||5 Megapixel|
|Front Facing Camera (Megapixel)||1.2 Megapixel|
|Resolution||2048 x 1536|
iPad Air 4 review: So much like the iPad Pro you can barely tell the difference
For a few years now, the iPad Air has been a bit of a confusing model iPad to me. It’s not the lowest price of the entire lineup, but it hasn’t been the most advanced by a long shot, either. When friends would ask me which iPad should they get, I usually recommended the standard iPad or the iPad Pro for those I thought would benefit from the extra power.
But, here I am right now with an iPad Air in front of me that is so much like my 2018 iPad Pro that I can barely even tell the difference. It’s been difficult coming up with what to write about the iPad Air 4 because it’s so much like the iPad Pro that I keep thinking of it as such.
If you’re thinking about getting a new iPad, or maybe your first iPad, it’s going to be very difficult in 2020 to decide between the iPad Air 4 and the iPad Pro. The good news is that the iPad Air is $200 cheaper than the iPad Pro. The bad news is that it’s $100 more expensive than last year’s iPad Air.
The iPad Air 4 is now the best iPad and it’s not just because of the new colors and new design. It’s what’s inside that counts.
iPad Air 4
Bottom line: The iPad Air 4 is so powerful that for a lot of people, it’s the better choice over the iPad Pro.
For people who want:
- Touch ID
- 10.9-inch size
- iPad Pro design language
- Apple Pencil 2 support
- Magic Keyboard for iPad support
- Fastest ever A14 processor
- Wi-Fi 6
Not for people who want:
- Face ID
- New, fuller screen design
- 12. 9-inch size
- ProMotion display
- LiDAR scanner
- Ultra-wide camera lens
- TrueDepth camera
- Lots of storage options
iPad Air 4 and 2018 iPad Pro backside comparison (Image credit: iMore)
2020 is the year of Apple’s redesign. It started with the iPad Pro in 2018 with a flat edge, flat screen design. This year, Apple changed the look of the iPhone and the iPad Air to reflect this same look, and frankly, I’m loving it.
The iPad Air 4 looks nearly identical to the 2018 iPad Pro, even down to case size and camera (the 2020 iPad Pro is a dead giveaway because of the LiDAR scanner). An expert inside Apple would barely be able to tell the difference without turning on the screen.
The only notable difference is that the Sleep/Wake button on the iPad Air 4 is shiny and black instead of the brushed aluminum of a standard button. That’s because of Touch ID. The iPad Air 4 doesn’t have a dedicated Home button and it doesn’t support Face ID. Instead, the biometric scanner comes in the form of a one-inch long, quarter-inch wide (if that) fingerprint scanner where the Sleep/Wake button is. And, yes. It also functions as a Sleep/Wake button.
Another difference, though barely noticeable at all, is that the iPad Air 4 has a couple of millimeters more of a bezel than the iPad Pro. I had to get out my ruler to be sure. It’s only noticeable when the two are side-by-side and you’re really staring at the bezels.
The iPad Air 4, unlike its predecessor, does not have a headphone jack. If you’re hoping to listen to audio with headphones or earbuds, you’re going to have to either use Bluetooth or a USB-C cable or adapter. This is not at all an issue for me, since I’ve been using Bluetooth headphones for many years now. I do realize, however, that some people just prefer wired headphones and this may be a disappointment to you.
It’s so incredibly svelt that it’s hard to believe that much technology can be so light.
In terms of weight and thickness (or should I say thinness), the iPad Air 3 and iPad Air 4 are nearly identical, which is remarkable considering the completed design change. It weighs just one pound (the Wi-Fi Only model is 2 grams heavier but the cellular model is 4 grams lighter) and measures 6.1mm in thickness.
When holding the iPad Air 4 without any case (especially a keyboard case), it’s so incredibly svelt that it’s hard to believe that much technology can be so light.
I’ve loved this flat design since the iPhone 4 and was overjoyed to see it on the iPad Pro, and now the iPhone 12 and the iPad Air. I hope Apple sticks with this design language for many years to come, and I hope we see it in future Mac redesigns.
iPad Air 4 review: Stagnating display technology
iPad Air 4 and 2018 iPad Pro display comparison (Image credit: iMore)
The iPad Air 4 display is a half-inch bigger than its predecessor at 10.9-inches and just a few millimeters smaller than the 11-inch iPad Pro because of a slightly thicker bezel. With 2360 x 1640 pixel resolution, it has a beautiful bright screen that’s easy on the eyes.
It has the same P3 wide color gamut of the iPad Air 3 and the current-generation iPad Pro, as well as, the same True Tone, and 500 nits brightness. The iPad Air 4 also has a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating, which definitely does not make it a lot easier to use out of doors, but it’s better than the standard iPad, which doesn’t have this coating.
It has a 60Hz refresh rate, which is the same as the iPad Air 3, but does not support ProMotion technology, which dynamically ranges from between 60Hz and 120Hz. If you’ve never used an iPad with ProMotion, you won’t even be able to notice anything significant, but if you put the iPad Air and the iPad Pro side-by-side and do some fast scrolling on both screens, you’re going to notice that the latter has a smoother look as things move fast down the screen while the former has a little bit of a stutter. The screen sort of flashes almost imperceptibly.
While this should never be the deal-breaker for why you wouldn’t get the iPad Air, it is a little unusual that after so many years, Apple still hasn’t perfected 120Hz screen technology. The iPhone 12 is still at 60Hz, too. ProMotion’s adaptive refresh rate on the iPad Pro is a very successful bit of technology and I was really hoping to see it on the iPad Air 4. It’s possible that Apple wants to keep this advanced technology to the pro model until it can improve the display of the pro model even more. There’s gotta be something that sets it apart from the rest.
iPad Air 4 review: Faster processor
News app on iPad Air 4 (Image credit: Lory Gil / iMore)
The A14 processor chip inside the iPad Air makes it lightning fast. So much faster than my 2018 iPad Pro that I practically want to throw my iPad Pro in the garbage (not really, but it’s noticeably slower than the Air). The processor in the iPad Air 4 is a huge boost over its predecessor, which runs on an A12 chip, and it’s even faster than the current-generation iPad Pro, which runs on an A12Z chip. Now, I strongly believe that the iPad Pro will get a processor chip upgrade within the next six months, so if you have your heart set on the iPad Pro, do not buy just yet. It’ll get a faster processor soon enough.
If, however, you’ve got your eye on the iPad Air 4 and are wondering if it stacks up against the iPad Pro, for most daily tasks, it’s a resounding yes, but keep in mind that the iPad Pro has more cores for CPU and GPU and 6GB of RAM compared to the iPad Air’s 4, so demanding programs like compressing video editing are going to perform better on the iPad Pro. If you don’t do video editing or music engineering on an iPad, the iPad Air 4 is more than enough processing power for you.
iPad Air 4 review: Camera updates
iPad Air 4 (Image credit: Lory Gil / iMore)
The iPad Air 4 got a nice little camera upgrade from its predecessor, going from an 8MP camera with an ƒ/2.4 aperture to a 12MP camera with an ƒ/1.8 aperture. This means clearer pictures and better low-light photography. Video recording has also been upgraded to 4K at 24, 30, or 60 fps. Both of these specs are more closely related to the camera in the iPad Pro (except for the ultra-wide lens and LiDAR scanner). It’s a nice upgrade for a mid-level iPad.
Most people aren’t going to take pictures or video with an iPad. This sort of feature is reserved for a very niche group that are likely to be in the film industry or at least a hobby movie maker. If you fit into this category of people, you’re probably better off with the iPad Pro.
For the rest of us, the iPad Air 4 camera is absolutely fine. Here’s the thing, maybe you don’t plan on ever using your iPad Air to take photos or videos, but you know how the saying goes … the best camera is the one you have with you. If you’re having a morning cup of coffee out on the porch when a deer wanders into your yard and you’ve been reading the news on your iPad Air 4 you’re going to be very happy that it has a 12MP camera and can record in 4K.
iPad Air 4 review: Touch ID not Face ID
Touch ID on iPad Air 4 (Image credit: iMore)
Oh wow. Can I just say how impressed I am with the speed and accuracy of the fingerprint scanner on the iPad Air 4? It’s not that the technology exists at all in button form (because that’s been around for years), but it’s about how zippy it reads and responds to your fingerprint right out of the gate. It’s a very smooth experience.
When you go to unlock the screen, you can press the Sleep/Wake button and it will wake the screen and confirm your identity and unlock it all in a fraction of a second. The only time this can cause a bit of a misstep is if your screen is already awake, but locked. If you press the button while the screen is awake, you’ll just end up putting the screen to sleep again. I only accidentally did this once or twice and quickly got used to remembering the differences, especially since there is a friendly reminder right on the screen to touch the button for Touch ID.
My general feeling about Touch ID on the iPad is that it’s less convenient.
Since I’ve been using an iPad Pro with Face ID for the past two years, my general feeling about Touch ID on the iPad is that it’s less convenient. I love it on the iPhone SE because I leave the house with my iPhone, which means my face is covered and I have to manually type in my password if I’m using a phone with Face ID, but on an iPad, most people will be less likely to be carrying it around while wearing a face mask, so Face ID isn’t as much of a pain point to unlock it.
If I’m using the iPad Air 4 with a keyboard case, which I do most of the time, there’s that first moment when I go to unlock the screen and I have to reach out to use Touch ID … and at this point, I may as well just type in my passcode because it’s nearly as convenient. This isn’t a complaint, but an acknowledgment that Face ID on an iPad is more convenient than Touch ID if you use a keyboard and trackpad to do most of your heavy lifting.
iPad Air 4 review: Sound quality
The Music app on iPad Air 4 (Image credit: iMore)
I’m not the kind of person that would ever listen to music straight out of any device’s built-in speakers. I’m a little too much of a music snob to do that, but I did it with the iPad Air 4 just for you, dear reader.
The iPad Air 4 has two sets of stereo speakers and if it’s the only method you have for listening to music, it’ll do, but only just. The true stereo sound makes for a pleasant experience, you’re getting sound out of both sides of the iPad Air. But, it still sounds like you’re listening to music in a metal box. It’s tinny and flat. If you’re watching a movie in bed or listening to music in an office and have to keep the volume down, it’s a pretty great experience. When you keep the volume down, you get a very clear sound.
If, however, you want or need to pump up the volume … let’s just say the iPad Air 4 isn’t winning any awards for its sound output.
iPad Air 4 review: USB-C replaces Lightning
The USB-C port on the iPad Air 4 (Image credit: iMore)
The iPad Air 4 moves into the future with USB-C mostly what that means is that it has faster charging speeds and a nice bump in transfer speeds. It’s not iPad Pro fast but it’s a noticeable jump in speed when you’re backing up your entire photo library onto an external hard drive or moving a bunch of documents into the Files app.
If you’re new to USB-C on an iPad, you’ll discover that it opens up a whole new computing world, including the ability to connect directly to an external monitor, even a 4K monitor.
iPad Air 4 review: Gaming
iPad Air 4 with DualShock Controller playing Butter Royale in Apple Arcade (Image credit: iMore)
With a faster processor than even the iPad Pro, I immediately thought of gaming on iPad. Apple has successfully increased its revenue for services in the past year and that is due, in part, to Apple Arcade. Apple products have never been thought of as gaming devices, but an A14 processor on a mobile device with a 10.9-inch liquid retina screen is a recipe for some really fun gaming.
I tested out as many fast-paced, graphics-heavy games that I could think of in order to push the iPad Air to its limits, and its limits were never hit.
Pairing a controller with the iPad Air 4, like the Playstation DualShock controller or Xbox Wireless controller, and you’re taking gaming to the next level. No, we’re not talking about PS5 or Xbox Series X level gaming, but it’s absolutely on par with Nintendo Switch.
Drop another two GB of RAM into the iPad Air 4 and I could absolutely see it as thee mobile device to play Xbox Game Pass games on if it actually ever happens.
iPad Air 4 review: Just the right size
Lory sitting in a chair using iPad Air 4 (Image credit: iMore)
Though the screen is larger on the iPad Air 4 than it was on the iPad Air 3, the case dimensions are actually a slight bit smaller. It’s not much, about 6mm in height and about 4mm in width, but it’s also about 4 grams lighter, which can make a small difference when you’re holding it in your hand for a long period of time.
The size difference between the two is definitely not enough of a reason to upgrade from the iPad Air 3. If the completely new design doesn’t win you over, the size difference is not going to impress you either.
It’s the little things that count, though. And a larger screen on a smaller iPad is a wondrous thing.
The 11-inch iPad (in this case, 10.9-inch) is my ideal iPad size. It’s not as large as a Macbook, but that’s why I like it. If I need more screen than 11-inches, I’ll just switch over to my MacBook Pro. I am happy to give up a larger screen in exchange for the lighter, more portable size. If you want the biggest display of any iPad, you should consider the 12.9-inch iPad Pro instead. Maybe someday Apple will offer a 12.9-inch iPad Air, but not this year.
iPad Air 4 review: All the colors
iPad Air 4 all colors (Image credit: Apple)
Colors finally come to the iPad. Well, more colors than just gold/rose gold. This year, you can pick from the tried-and-true silver, space gray, and rose gold finishes, or you can go wild with green or sky blue. If you’ve already bought the new iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro in one of the blue colors, why not make 2020 the blue year? For that matter, if you’re rocking the midnight green iPhone 11 Pro or green iPhone 11, the green iPad Air 4 is a nice compliment.
iPad Air 4 review: Stingy storage
Storage options haven’t changed for the iPad Air 4. You have your choice of either 64GB or 256GB. I’m the sort of person that puts everything in the cloud, so I’ve never had a problem with running out of storage on my iPhone or iPad, but I’ve learned that I’m more of the exception than the rule.
With this new empathy for others, I can definitely say that 64GB on an iPad is just … so … 2018. Storage costs have gone down and storage needs are going up. To play an Apple Arcade game, for example, you must download it on to your device. That starts to add up. In 2020, no Apple device should start with less than 128 GB of storage.
To add salt to the wound, you can’t even get an iPad Air with 128GB of storage. You can either have 64GB or quadruple your storage to 256GB. Now, it’s a nice deal, it’s only $150 more for four times the storage, but if you only want a little more storage or you have a strict budget, this only other option is a bit of a disappointment.
iPad Air 4 review: Apple Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard support
Notes app on iPad Air 4 with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2 (Image credit: iMore)
What now? That’s right. The iPad Air 4 joins the iPad Pro in being the only devices that support Apple Pencil 2. This is big news for people that prefer the magnetic connector for wireless charging, the touch-based tool switching, and the matte texture. The second-generation Apple Pencil is definitely superior to the first-generation, though only a little. Buyers will really appreciate that they can get the mid-level iPad with the latest-generation Apple Pencil.
Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro now works with the iPad Air 4 because they’re pretty much the same case. This is a good move on Apple’s part. The Magic Keyboard for iPad is, in my opinion, the best keyboard case for an iPad ever, and I’m a diehard fan of Logitech’s keyboard cases. There is just something so satisfying about the tactile key feedback and low-profile travel.
Until now, these two accessories have been exclusive to Apple’s most expensive, most pro model iPad. This is yet another reason why the iPad Air 4 is now the iPad for most people more than ever before.
iPad Air 4 review: The price is … right?
iBooks on iPad Air 4 (Image credit: iMore)
The iPad Air 4 costs $100 more than last year’s model and accessories cost more, too. Investing in this iPad is going to take more out of your wallet than any previous iPad Air ever has. So it’s important to think about whether this is the iPad you will want for years to come.
The price increase seems like a lot to swallow but when you consider that it’s currently more powerful than the iPad Pro and has many of the same features, the additional $100 seems fair.
Is it worth ponying up an additional $200 for the iPad Pro At this time, I don’t think so. If you need the pro features, I recommend waiting a few more months. I think we will see an update to the iPad Pro in the spring.
If $599 is an unacceptable price for you, take a look at the 8th-gen iPad, which also received an update this year. The standard iPad is the least expensive in Apple’s iPad lineup and with a processor upgrade to the A12 chip, it’s a solid value buy. Remember, the current iPad Pro is still running an A12X chip, which isn’t that much faster than the A12 chip. If your budget is tight, you have options.
There is also the $399 iPad mini, which doesn’t get nearly as much love as it deserves. At just 7.9-inches it’s the perfect portable iPad when you really don’t need to do a whole lot with it. If you just want an iPad and don’t think you’ll use it for more than reading, taking notes, playing games, browsing the web, and emailing, it’s a solid little investment.
For years, there was a clear delineation between the different models of iPad, but this year, the feature gap has narrowed, at least for now. For $100 more than last year’s model, you can get the new iPad Air with a blazing fast processor, completely redesigned case, larger but lighter size, a better camera, a brand new (to Apple) Touch ID technology, and Apple Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard support. For $200 more than the iPad Air, you can get the iPad Pro, which has more RAM, a better camera system, and better display technology, but has a slower processor than the iPad Air.
Though I’m in love with the iPad Air 4, I do think there are some things Apple could do better. Storage options being one. A 64GB base option seems a bit stingy, especially when the only other option is to spend $150 more for 256GB. No in-between. I also think the screen technology of the iPad Air 4 is a bit behind the times. Hopefully, 2021 will be a big year for iPad screen upgrades.
Even at $100 more than its predecessor, the iPad Air is still the best iPad for most people, and this year, the best iPad for most people is practically as good as the premium iPad Pro.
If you’re in the market for an iPad right now, this is the perfect time to get the iPad Air 4. It’s significantly improved over the iPad Air 3 and is even so powerful that it competes with the 2020 iPad Pro.
iPad Air 4
Bottom line: The iPad Air 4 is so powerful that for a lot of people, it’s the better choice over the iPad Pro.
Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books. If she’s not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).
Apple iPad 4 Review
In 2012, Apple introduced the new fourth-generation iPad, which caused a wide response: less than a year later, a tablet with twice the performance is already replacing its predecessor.
The newest iPad is almost identical to the old «new» iPad, including the price: $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB of storage. A 4G LTE model is available for an additional $130.
In this review, we’re looking at the standard model: 16GB RAM, Wi-Fi only, same design, A6X processor, Retina display, and all previous configurations.
As soon as you take the tablet out of the box, you realize that it is almost impossible to distinguish the fourth generation iPad from the third. Aside from the new Lightning connector on the bottom of the device, the only thing missing is the power description on the back under the iPad logo. No other external differences were identified.
Apple didn’t put much effort into the design of the new iPad, which came out a few months after the third model. Even the box is the same.
But the big difference on the inside of the new iPad is the powerful A6X processor, which is said to double the performance of the latest iPad. But was it worth releasing an update for this?
Lightning connector: one step forward, two steps back.
The design of the fourth generation iPad is no different from its predecessor. Same performance, same size, same weight and great Retina display. Even the Smart Cover is the same (unlike the great new Smart Case for iPad mini).
But, of course, there’s a brilliant difference: the new fourth iPad has a small Lightning connector rather than the previous generation’s 30-pin connector. Moreover, when disassembling the device, it was found that the space freed up by switching to Lightning was simply empty.
To be honest, the appearance of Lightning on the iPad4 does not cause much enthusiasm. On the iPhone5, iPod touch, and iPod nano, this compact connector is justified by Apple’s desire to achieve a new light and thin design that would be problematic with a 30-pin.
But the fourth-generation iPad is similar to its predecessor in both looks and weight. The appearance of the Lightning connector has not added any advantages to the design of the device, if not to say that it has only added to the worries.
Lightning runs at USB 2.0 speed, like the previous 30-pin, so don’t count on the iPad 4’s sync speed.
Luckily, Apple has updated the USB and SD adapters for the new connector. This is true for those who like to edit photos and videos.
On the plus side, the fourth-generation iPad battery takes less time to charge than the previous iPad. Another FaceTime camera pleased with the new 1.2 megapixels.
Finally, we come to the significant advantages of the fourth iPad. The new A6X processor is a monster, delivering double the performance of the previous generation A5X iPad, which was already one of the most powerful on the market.
The iPad4’s RAM is still 1GB, but the ARMv7 processor runs at 1.39GHz instead of the iPad3’s 1GHz.
For fans of specific numbers, we used the official Geekbench app for iOS. The score for the new 4th generation iPad with the A6X processor is generally more than double the score given for the 3rd generation iPad with the A5X: 1768 vs. 744. At the same time, one saved level of Epic Infinity Blade II was launched on both devices via iCloud. The fourth iPad did the job brilliantly, loading the game instantly, while the iPad3 had a black loading screen for over 5 seconds.
While testing Rockstar Grand Theft Auto III, the A6X’s power wasn’t as obvious. Loading the new game was quick, but the difference wasn’t as noticeable as it was with Infinity Blade II.
A6X also improves site rendering speed in the Safari browser. Websites load about 0.5-1 second faster on the latest iPad than on the 3rd generation model.
Even with this massive performance boost, Apple says the fourth-generation iPad will give you up to 10 hours of Wi-Fi surfing, video or music playback. Our tests confirmed this: with moderate use, it took three days before the first recharge.
Should I take it?
If you own an iPad 2, we highly recommend upgrading to an iPad 4. The Retina display is simply amazing, and the increased speed is a huge improvement over even the 3rd generation iPad, let alone the 2011 model.
But for those who have purchased the iPad 3, it is already more difficult to recommend the fourth model. Yes, the latest iPad is twice as powerful, but the third iPad is already one of the fastest tablets on the market.
The improved front camera is a welcome addition, but most users won’t agree with the price of such an upgrade. And the new Lightning connector can be regarded as a drawback until a sufficient number of adapters appear on the market.
The new iPad mini and iPhone 5 made it clear that the full-sized 9.7-inch iPad should go on a diet. But, unfortunately, today the processing power required to maintain a Retina display (and a huge battery to boot) does not technically allow this. I would like to believe that significant changes in the design of the iPad still await us by the end of 2013.
But not everyone is willing to wait that long. If you’re still browsing the market for a new tablet and the iPad mini isn’t big or powerful enough, the fourth-generation iPad will be the best device on the market. For owners of the third generation iPad, this advice is not relevant.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
• Brilliant new A6X processor performance.
• Same battery life at twice the speed.
• The Retina display continues to be the market leader.
• The largest collection of tablet apps to date.
• As heavy as the third generation model.
• Such a quick release of the updated device was a surprise for most buyers.
• Low supply for Lightning connector adapters.
• Why not release a modified Smart Cover for full size iPads?
iPad 4 review — specifications and prices
Apple decided to set a record this year by releasing three tablets at once — iPad 4, iPad Mini and iPad 3. And for fans of the American company’s products, November became the month of double release.
We note right away that the new iPad has not received any serious upgrade: it has a camera, display and design from the previous generation of tablets, and among the innovations, we note the chipset, Lightning port, front-facing HD camera. Overall, this tablet is similar to the iPad 3 released in March, with a best-in-class Retina display plus a welcome boost in processing power. In addition, the new Lightning port will ensure full compatibility with the popular iPhone 5.
- 1 appearance
- 2 performance and software
- 3 screen
- 4 Camera
- 5 Accumulator
- 6 Price
IPAD 4 Read there is practically his clone. A small difference is the new Lightning port. The rest of the tablets are identical.
The Retina display takes up almost the entire front of the device, with the front camera above it and the home button below it. On the back side, you can find the main camera and the device logo.
The aluminum case is as elegant as ever. In general, the tablet is very convenient to use. The assembly is done perfectly — no extraneous squeaks during operation and backlash.
Dimensions of the device — 241.2×185.7×9.4 mm, and weight — 652 gr. (662 gr. for the LTE version of the device).
Performance and Software
iPad 4 is based on a 1. 4GHz dual-core Apple A6X SoC, PowerVR SGX554MP4 quad-core graphics, and 1GB of RAM. Thus, the new tablet received a more powerful processor than the iPad3, which, of course, will allow it to work quietly with the latest resource-intensive games with spectacular graphics. The device operates under the operating system iOS 6.
Below we present several so-called synthetic tests that allow you to evaluate the characteristics of a new gadget.
So, let’s start with the Geekbench 2 test, in which our test subject lost to the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone, but outperformed the Google Nexus 7 and 4-core LG Optimus G. between the new GPU and the chips used in older Apple models, including the iPad Mini. Also, the iPad 4 is well ahead of the new Adreno 320 in LG Optimus G.
GLBenchmark 2.5 on-screen renders graphics at the display’s «native» resolution instead of Full HD as in GLBenchmark 2.5 off-screen. Despite the fact that the Retina display has a higher resolution, the new tablet still turned out to be a winner.
Depending on the modification, the tablet has 16, 32 or 64 GB of permanent memory, which, like in other Apple products, cannot be expanded using microSD cards.
The device supports Wi-Fi, which is capable of delivering up to 150 Mbps, Bluetooth 4.0 + A2DP, GPS / A-GPS and GLONASS, 3G networks and LTE networks (depending on modification). But note that LTE networks will not work in Russia, since communication standards do not match.
The gadget has Lightning and USB 2.0 ports.
The following software is preinstalled in the tablet: browser, email client, audio and video players, integration with some social services (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), organizer and some other games and programs.
The tablet computer is equipped with a 9.7-inch LED backlit IPS TFT Retina touchscreen display with a resolution of 2048×1536 pixels (264 ppi density) and 16 million colors.
The screen is similar to that used on the iPad 3, so the image quality remains at the same high level — beautiful, natural colors, sharp picture, excellent sensitivity.
iPad 4 is equipped with a 5 megapixel main camera that allows you to take photos with a maximum resolution of 2592×1944 pixels, with autofocus, face detection, geo-tagging, but no LED flash. Photos taken with a tablet come out very good for a 5-megapixel camera — natural colors, good clarity. Sample photos can be seen below.
The camera can record Full HD video at 30 frames per second. The video bitrate is about 18 Mbps, and for audio it is 65Kbps with a sampling rate of 44 kHz for mono.
Video gets smooth, details are visible quite well. The gadget provides video stabilization. Below is an example video.
iPad 4 has a 1.2 megapixel front camera capable of capturing HD video for video calling.