Apple iPad 4 review: Marching on

GSMArena team, 14 November 2012.
Pages: 123456789101112

Tags: Apple, iOS, Touch UI

Retail package: fourth time is not the charm

iPad packages have been more or less the same generation after generation, so the iPad 4 retail box should be no surprise to you. All you get inside is a charger and a USB Lightning cable.

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Unboxing the fourth iPad

A manual is also provided but no extra accessories such as a headset or a case.

Design and build quality

The design of the fourth generation iPad, a.k.a. the iPad with Retina display, is, for the most part, a perfect clone of the iPad 3. You've probably guessed that 1% goes to the new Lightning port. The rest is the same, but we're not complaining - there's little that can go wrong with an aluminum unibody and Retina display. And yes - the large bezels prevent the big iPads from look as sharp as the mini, but there are good usability reasons for that.

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iPad mini next to the iPad 4

The iPad with Retina is the same size and weight as the iPad 3, standing at 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 mm and tipping the scales at 662g. The Wi-Fi only version is some 10g lighter. Compared to the iPad 2, the iPad 4 is just a tad thicker and about 50 grams heavier. But that's a negligible price to pay for much better hardware, camera and almost twice the battery backup.

The controls on the fourth generation iPad are completely identical to those on the iPad 2 and 3 - you get a Home key on the front, a power/screen lock key on top, plus a volume rocker and the screen rotation lock on the right. As usual the rotation lock can be configured to act as a mute button instead.

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The Home key at front the power/lock combo on top the volume rocker and the rotation lock/mute button on right

Above the Retina display is the FaceTime camera. It got promoted to the HD league and now uses a 1.2MP sensor capable of 720p@30fps video recording. It's not lonely though, the ambient light sensor is around to keep it company, though that one is hard to spot.

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The HD FaceTime camera

On top, the iPad 4 has the 3.5mm jack in addition to the Power/Lock key. Thankfully, Apple didn't move the audio connector to the bottom, like they did on the latest iPhone and iPod Touch. Centrally placed at the top is the microphone.

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Topside of the iPad4

The iPad 4's bottom is where the major difference comes in. With the new generation of tablets, Apple retired the old 30-pin connector and placed the new smaller and faster Lightning port in charge. You get a single loudspeaker right next to the connectivity port. Another point for the mini, which has stereo speakers.

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The iPad's bottom houses the Lightning port and the single loudspeaker

Around back, the 5 megapixel camera does 1080p@30fps videos but has no flash.

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The Apple logo and the 5MP camera lens at the back

The smart cover is still a handy accessory

The smart cover for the fourth iPad is completely identical to the ones for the iPad 2 and 3. It magnetically attaches to your iPad to protect its screen and back. It is also easily converted into a stand for extra comfort when typing or watching movies.

All Smart Covers currently sold by Apple and third-party manufacturers are fully compatible with the iPad 2, 3 and 4.

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