Feeds
85%
Apple iPad 3 aka new iPad

Apple iPad 4 Wi-Fi only tablet review

Better slate than never

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Big screen star

I don’t fall into the ‘I’d like a HDMI port on the off-chance’ camp, having only occasional - maybe twice a year - need for it. And it’s more a ‘want’ than a ‘need’. Ditto SD and USB. My Nexus 7 has neither of these, either. It does have a GPS pick-up, mind, which the Wi-Fi only iPad lacks. Not that I’d ever use a 10in tablet as a satnav, so it’s more a failing for the iPad Mini.

I would say that Apple is looking less competitive on storage. If it doesn't want to charge less than £400 for the entry-level iPad, it should by now be offering that model with 32GB of Flash, not 16GB. It can afford to be generous, and generosity will help sway many buyers who're also considering other tablets.

Apple iPad with Retina Display

Extensive bezel colour choice, not

Beyond the screen, the iPad 4 delivers considerably more oomph than its predecessors. The Geekbench testing app showed that the iPad 3’s performance was much the same as the iPad 2’s, but the new model scores considerably higher: 1766 to the iPad 2’s score of 763. That’s in part because the chip is better, but also due to a 40 per cent increase in CPU clock speed.

Despite that, there’s no degradation in battery life - up to ten hours, says Apple, and I concur. If that’s due to a bigger power cell inside, it hasn’t increased the gadget’s weight or thickness. It has gained a pair of upgraded cameras and a Lightning port, for which Apple really, really should have bundled an adaptor. I’ve deducted points off the score for that. Lightning is unquestionably a more elegant technology than micro USB, but the latter is more universal so I’d have preferred it, even if I have to take care to put it in the right way.

Apple iPad with Retina Display

Retina gotcha: text is certainly better on the retina display (right) than that of the iPad 2 (left) but not all
website and app graphics have a resolution to suit the high-pixel panel

Thanks to the App Store, there are plenty of apps to help you access media content on remote Nas boxes, and there’s Dropbox, Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Google Drive and others of their ilk for smaller files. You don’t even need iTunes any longer - there are third-party desktop apps for copying files into iOS apps’ sandboxes. I wrote one of my own, using Jeff Laing’s handy, reverse-engineered Mobile Device Access framework.

So there’s very little reason, it seems to me, to reject the iPad 4 on grounds of connectivity. Or because the screen is pants (not the case), the battery life is poor (not so, either) or it lacks horsepower (ditto). To do so because you think it’s too expensive, doesn’t run a Google OS, lacks ports you want, or you just don’t like Apple... well, knock yourself out - there are many, many equally capable alternatives out there for you. That’s what choice is all about.

Verdict

It’s daft to say Apple’s fourth-generation iPad is its best yet - how could it not be? If you're sure you want an iPad, fanboy or not, it's the one to go for. Still, there’s no need at all to upgrade if you have an iPad 3, of course - wait for the 5, at least. I wouldn’t go from an iPad 2 if it wasn’t for the retina display, though the new model’s performance hike is welcome. Having to cope with a new connector is less so, but new buyers won’t be overly inconvenienced, though they may baulk at the price. ®

Thanks to the missus for the review sample

More Tablet Reviews

Apple
iPad Mini
Ten...
Apple iPad Mini
alternatives
Microsoft
Surface
Toshiba AT300 Acer
Iconia Tab A700

Boost IT visibility and business value

85%
Apple iPad 3 aka new iPad

Apple iPad 4 Wi-Fi only tablet review

Apple soups up its 9.7in tablet's performance and adds Lightning, but it's the "retina" display and software selection that makes this such a worthy slate.
Price: £399/$499 (16GB), £479/$599 (32GB), £559/$699 (64GB) RRP

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.