Review: iPad with Retina Display (4th generation)
It's not worth an upgrade, and it's overkill for most people. But it's ideal for photographers or salespeople.
Product type: Tablet
Editors rating: User rating:
RRP incl GST: $729 (16GB, Wi-Fi)
- Retina screen for crisp, clear text and images
- Hard to tell the difference for many apps
- No real improvement over 3rd Generation iPad with Retina display
It's good, but not worth the upgrade unless you specifically need a Retina screen.
I reviewed the iPad with Retina Display in May 2012, when it came out, and I was pretty impressed. If you're considering the iPad with Retina Display (4th Generation), it's probably worth reading that review, then heading back here. In summary, though, I found the Retina screen crisp and clear, which proved great for reading text and viewing photographs. Best of all, that lovely display came without having diminished the iPad’s battery power.
That iPad, also called "iPad with Retina display (3rd generation)", or more simply "new iPad", has been superceded just six months later. The iPad with Retina display (and Lightning connector), aka iPad with Retina Display (4th generation) is the new kid on the block.
What's the difference? The main change for the new iPad is simply a shift from the previous Apple dock connector to the new reversible and easy-to-use Lightning connector. Lightning is also used on the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. Additionally, the iPad with Retina display (4th generation) has a slightly beefed up A6X processor, and more GPU power than the previous iPad with Retina Display.
I have to admit that I was hoping to see visible differences between the two Retina display models. Sadly, though, I was to be disappointed.
We conducted several side-by-side real-world performance tests: launching apps, playing games, accessing settings, viewing photos, zooming and turning pages. In no case could we discern any difference in speed between the two. If anything, the screen display on the 4th generation iPad Retina seemed a little dimmer and less vibrant than that of the 3rd generation iPad. At times it even seemed less bright than the iPad 2.
Below: spot the difference? iPad 2 (top left), iPad with Retina Display (top right) and the new 4th generation iPad with Retina Display (and Lightning connector), bottom right.
In the time between testing the iPad with Retina Display and its new Lightning-enabled replacement, I’d also hoped that more apps would take advantage of the Retina Display. Sadly, again I was disappointed.
If there are Retina-enhanced apps out there, either none of my hundred apps is included among their number, or I can’t really tell the difference. Reading text on a Retina display in general is sharper, and similarly photographs show more detail, but in all, I’d say that unless you'll primarily use an iPad for photography and eBook reading, it’s probably not worth the Retina version.
The new iPad with Retina Display is only for those who don't already have an iPad, an have an absolute need for the high resolution screen - photographers, salespeople and the like. It's not worth an upgrade from the 3rd generation just for Lightning, and for most people, the iPad 2 will fulfill their needs.
Other tablets seem pretty decent, good to see some fair competition on the market.
No fanboyism here
Posted by Anonymous at 16:13:41 on January 20, 2013
Posted by Anonymous at 4:00:09 on January 20, 2013
I've always been intrigued by all the hullabaloo surrounding iPads. Will be getting an iPad 4 today. Will contribute my 2 cents' worth within 2 weeks. (Please disregard rating for the time being). 2.5 Stars
Posted by miketan at 13:47:23 on May 24, 2013
I am an iPad fan. This is my second iPad (I sold my iPad 2 for on with higher memory volume). I was drawn to the new memory volume 128gb, as I use my iPad for live music mixing, but could not fit all of my music on my iPad 2. All excited to get my 128gb iPad I unbox it, connect to my MacBook and discover that I am missing 13gb! Now I understand that iPad default apps will use some memory, but on my MacBook screen it showed that there was just over 400mb of data used for default apps, and only 115gb free. Where the heck does 13gb disappear to? Clearly there is a huge disparity between the volume advertised and the volume I received. I am curious as to whether anyone else has experienced the same issue. 3 Stars
The online apple live chat team couldn't help me out with where 13gb could be...and unfortunately the tech support dept can only be reached by phone, in USA - not helpful when you live in New Zealand.
Posted by Liz at 20:13:13 on March 9, 2013
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