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Apple iPad (4th gen) review


Incredibly quick in all departments, but battery life suffers considerably

Review Date: 23 Nov 2012

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £333 (£399 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £305
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Apple sprung a surprise on the world when, at the same launch event as the iPad mini, it announced a newer version of its larger tablet. The fourth-generation iPad features a faster processor and graphics chip, plus the new Lightning connector and an upgraded front-facing camera. It’s effectively a straight replacement for the third-generation iPad, which is no longer on sale.

The new processor is Apple’s new dual-core 1.4GHz A6X chip, a variant of the 1.3GHz part found in the iPhone 5. Apple claims it doubles performance and makes the iPad feel “even more responsive” than before, while limiting the impact on battery life to “almost none”.

We partially agree. The iPad is indeed much quicker. It scored an astonishingly fast 868ms in the SunSpider compared to the previous iPad’s 1,803 and the Nexus 10’s 1,362ms. In Geekbench it scored 1,774 to the previous model’s 759, and in the 3D-gaming GLBenchmark run at native Retina resolution, it returned an average frame rate of 42fps, 91% faster than the older iPad’s 22fps.

What does this mean in a practical sense? Apps and games consistently launch quicker: Real Racing 2 HD loads a huge 8.4 seconds faster on the new iPad, for instance, although for most apps it’s a matter of a second or two.

Apple iPad (4th gen)

The extra grunt makes a difference in games, too. Once loaded, Real Racing 2 HD exhibited a smoother frame rate, although it’s worth pointing out that it was perfectly playable before. We suspect the biggest benefit will come over time as developers take full advantage of the new hardware with more sumptuous graphics.

That new front camera, upgraded from VGA to 1.2 megapixels, provides dramatically better results, though, with images and video that are far crisper and much less smeary than before.

However, it isn’t all good news for the latest iPad. With all that extra grunt under the hood, battery life has taken a significant hit. In our low-resolution looping video test it lasted 9hrs 45mins – over two hours shorter than its predecessor – the lowest score in this test we’ve yet seen from an iPad.

We can’t say that the fourth-generation iPad is an entirely positive upgrade, then. It’s massively quick, and remains our A-List tablet due to its sumptuous screen, the general quality of its hardware and the fantastic selection of tablet-specific apps and games in the App Store. However, that reduced battery life does put a dent in its overall appeal.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

a record...

This must be the first apple product review that hasn't had a whole barrage of comments, good and bad.

So either this update isn't stirring the blood, or the review isn't controversial and spot on. Or both.....

Personally, not sure if my ipad wielding buddies will bother updating.

By TigerUnleashed on 26 Nov 2012

This is in the face to the new ipad owners

Here we go TigerUnleashed, LOL. Although i am still happy with my "The New iPad" (3rd Generation), i might be switching to something like a windows tablet, sooooo useful...

By mobilegnet on 26 Nov 2012

Quiet Surprise

I had the phone call from my mobile phone provider asking, seeing as I've been with them so long, would I like the new iPad 3 for just the cost of the contract.

Last time they did that it was just before the iPad 3 was introduced so I can't say I'm that surprised here...

By johnfair4 on 27 Nov 2012


I thought that WiFi performance was meant to have been improved on V4. Is this not so? Or did you not get round to testing that part of it?

By jmiii on 27 Nov 2012


Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)

By PaulKenedy on 28 Nov 2012


Seems odd that GPS isn't included, of that indeed is the case. This limits the functionality of the device too much for me, at this price.

By stefani on 29 Nov 2012

Lightning Connector Con

Another site has taken the iPad apart only to find that this new connector takes up the same space as the old one. The new connector is mounted in a clip frame that occupies all the original space of the old one. So what was the point........other than more money coming in.

By davidk1962 on 30 Nov 2012

So what you are saying ...

... is that this new iPad is only meeting Apples claimed battery life while the previous generation greatly surpassed Apples own claims?

That's gotta be a first ;-)

By Logical15 on 2 Dec 2012

Battery life

The previous iPad which I own has battery life far longer than you actually need, provided you are happy to charge it when not in use. There's really 2 ways to look at the iPad 4 battery's life - slightly less long than the previous one, yes, or almost 10 hrs constant of video playback! who the heck watches videos for 10 hrs constantly anyway? I'd be happy for them to drop the battery life even slightly further still if it meant they could put in more powerful multi-tasking in the iPad 5.

By Jonny_Bingham on 19 Jan 2013

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