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iPad with Retina Display (4th gen)

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What's hot: Superb display, future-proof speed, great app and media selection.

What's not: Not much of a reason to upgrade from iPad 3 (aka new iPad).

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Reviewed November 6, 2012 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Update, oOv. 2013: read our review of the iPad Air that replaces this model.

The iPad with Retina Display is the newest iPad, not to be confused with the new iPad released earlier this year. More simply put, this is the fourth generation iPad, released in late 2012. Apple announced it alongside the iPad mini, and the new small iPad stole enough thunder that some folks actually didn't know about the updated full size iPad. Like the mini, the 4th gen iPad 4 with WiFi went on sale November 2, 2012. The WiFi + 3G/4G LTE version went on sale later in November in your choice of Sprint, Verizon and AT&T flavors.

iPad with Retina Display

So what's new with the iPad 4? It runs on Apple's new A6X processor with an even speedier graphics chip. It benchmarks twice as fast as the New iPad that we'll refer to as the iPad 3. It has the new Lightning 8 pin small connector rather than the old 30 pin connector. Battery life is improved a bit.

iPad with Retina Display

What isn't new? The iPad 4th gen uses the same casing as the iPad 3 you just bought a few months back. The only way you can tell them apart is by looking at the dock connector. It has the same superb Retina display running at 2048 x 1536 with 264ppi pixel density. It's available in the same black or white bezel with an aluminum back. It weighs 1.44 pounds and is 0.37" thick.

iPad with Retina Display

Is the newest iPad faster? It benchmarks twice as fast in Geekbench 2 (1766 vs. 757) as the iPad 3. It earns an excellent Sunspider score of 913 and 219 fps on GLBenchmark's Egypt Offscreen test. Was your iPad 3 feeling slow? Likely not. And I don't think Apple expects iPad 3 owners to run out and upgrade to this model. Rather the late 2012 iPad serves to keep the iPad competitive with other tablets during the holiday season, to unify Apple's products with the Lightning connector and to match the iPhone 5's performance and CPU spec. For those buying their first tablet or upgrading from an iPad 1 or iPad 2, it's as ever a compelling choice.

GeekBench 2 Benchmarks:

iPad with Retina Display 1766
iPad 3 757
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 (Windows 8, Intel Atom 1.8GHz dual core) 1356
Google Nexus 10 2292
Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10 1261

 

iPad with Retina Display

iPad with Retina Display

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iPad with Retina Display Video Review

 

iPad with Retina Display vs. Microsoft Surface RT Tablet

 

Conclusion

Despite our short written review, the iPad with Retina Display is nonetheless a formidable tablet that will likely continue to outsell competing 10" tablets on the market. If offers the usual responsiveness, stability, quality build and unparalleled app selection as the new iPad that came out earlier this year. And the display? Still best of breed. Other than the faster CPU and improved cameras, little else has changed from the new iPad third generation to warrant a longer written review. Apple released this updated iPad to offer more bang for the buck for the holiday season and to stay competitive with the quickly expanding and improving array of tablets on the market. If you're an original iPad or iPad 2 owner looking for an upgrade, you'll no doubt appreciate the many improvements the iPad with Retina Display offers. If you already own the new iPad (third gen), then you'll probably want to wait out this upgrade cycle.

Price: $499 to $829

Website: www.apple.com

Related Reviews:

iPad Air Review

iPad mini with Retina Display Review

iPad mini Review

 

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Specs:

Display: 9.7” Retina Display. LED backlit glossy IPS widescreen with multi-touch. 2048 x 1536 resolution (264 ppi). Fingerprint resistant coating. Supports accelerometer and has ambient light sensor and 3-axis gyroscopic sensor.

Processor: 1.2GHz Apple A6X dual core CPU with quad core GPU. 1 gig RAM.

Network: Wi-Fi model: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n; AT&T Wi-Fi + LTE model: UMTS/HSPA+ 850/900/1900/2100MHz, LTE 700MHz, GSM/EDGE quad-band, data only. Verizon Wireless and Sprint models: CDMA dual band digital EV-DO Rev. A 3G and 4G LTE. All models have Bluetooth 4.0 and Apple Lightning connector to USB.

GPS: Cellular models have GPS as well as digital compass. WiFi models use WiFi-based location triangulation.

Cameras: 1.2MP FaceTime front camera and 5MP rear iSight camera. Back camera can record up to 1080p 30fps video with video stabilization. Both have Backside Illuminated Sensors, face detection and geotagging.

Storage: 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB internal flash storage.

Audio: Built-in mic and speaker, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack. Audio formats supported: HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV.

Video: Video mirroring and video out support: Up to 1080p with Apple Digital AV Adapter or Apple VGA Adapter (cables sold separately). 1080p video streaming to 3rd generation Apple TV, mirroring up to 720p. Video formats supported: H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format.

Size: 9.50 x 7.31 x 0.37 inches. Weight: 1.44 pounds (Wi-Fi model), 1.46 pounds (Wi-Fi + 4G model).

Battery: Rechargeable 42.5 watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. Not user replaceable. Claimed usage time: Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music; Up to 9 hours of surfing the web using 4G data network.

Expansion: No storage card slot.

 

 

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