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Fourth generation iPad review

The fourth generation iPad has been out for about two months now, with a new iPad possibly on it’s way in the spring. I’ve been using the new iPad for a few weeks now, and my experiences with it have been positive to say the least. I chose to get the iPad not because it was popular, but because I liked what I seen. The performance that it delivered in store was much better than the performance of my last tablet, a Motorola Xoom; the online reviews of the iPad were overall, quite positive, and the app support was much better than what any Android tablet could deliver at the time of me writing this. I thought about the Microsoft Surface, but apps and performance made me think twice about that option. Although it does look like a nice tablet, Windows RT, poor app support, and performance issues made me decide against that tablet. I thought the decision through, and eventually decided that the iPad would probably be the best tablet for me. 

Once I got the iPad home, and got it out of the box, the setup process was pretty simple. I applaud Apple on the simple setup process, and simple UI throughout all of iOS. I made it through the setup process in less than five minutes, and then it was ready to use, and test.

My first impressions of the device were very positive. I didn’t notice very many dropped frames, and the iPad was very responsive to my input. The cameras were decent, although they could be better, its a tablet, so I really don’t have too much to complain about. The iPad is lightweight, and the overall construction of the device feels very strong. The aluminum back really adds to that effect. The one thing I noticed not long after I started to use it, is the iPad really does get hot. It’s not extremely hot, but it is definitely noticeable after a while.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I’m still happy with the iPad. No buyer remorse. Below I list a few pros and cons of the iPad fourth generation (yes, even though I love the iPad, I have to point out it’s flaws too.)


  • Retina Display
  • Thousands of apps that are iPad optimized
  • Great performance
  • Lightweight
  • Good design
  • Easy to use OS
  • Vast selection of iPad accessories


  • No MicroSD card support
  • No widget support
  • Limited customization support
  • Limited to the App Store for apps
  • Doesn’t have a widescreen like many other tablets, which can either cause back bars at the top and bottom of a video, which make it smaller, or chop off the ends of a video.
  • Doesn’t come with a native Weather, calculator, compass, stocks, or voice memos app.
  • iPad can get hot at times

Retina Display:
The retina display of the new iPad is great for sharp text, pictures, and just making everything look better, unless you're using an app that isn’t optimized for the higher quality screen of the new iPad. Otherwise, its great. The retina display is great. It may sound like something that you don’t need, but after you use it, you’ll never want to go back to a screen with a lower resolution. The only drawback with this display, is it is probably one of the contributors to the heat that the device produces, this is definitely one minor drawback, but overall the retina display is great.

App Support:

When it came down to the amount of apps that were iPad optimized, the number was pretty big. I had no issues finding apps that actually worked well with my iPad, meaning they were optimized for the larger screen of the iPad, and were also optimized for the retina display of the iPad. Although retina display optimized apps were less prevalent on the App Store, the selection was still pretty good, and was also full of good apps. An App Store can have thousands of apps, but if they aren’t quality apps, they’re useless. Thankfully, the majority of apps on the App Store ARE worth downloading.

There are two problems with apps on the iPad.

1. You are limited to the App Store on the iPad. For the average user, this won’t be much of an issue, but it could pose an issue to a power user.  One could also argue that this is a plus, since it protects you from most malware.

2. When you install an app that isn’t optimized for the iPad, the way iOS optimizes it is just terrible. Either the app is the size of an iPhone, or it’s poorly stretched out. Apple should take a look at Android on this one, since it does a pretty decent job of optimizing phone apps to run on a tablet.

There is one more issue with apps on the iPad, which is an issue right out of the box. The iPad doesn’t come with the following stock applications:

  • Weather
  • Calculator
  • Compass
  • Voice memos
  • Stocks

This may sound like a minor issue, and it is once you find suitable replacements for them, assuming you even need those apps. I thought it was strange that Apple left these apps out, but I suppose Apple had their reasons for it. Weather and Stocks can be replaced with Siri, but I don't always want to talk to my iPad to get this information when I'm in certain places.

Design, Performance and OS:

Lets start with the design of the new iPad. The design may be virtually unchanged from the design of the iPad 2, but that doesn’t mean its a bad design. Why fix something if it already works, right? The design is simple, and feels strong. The iPad doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart in your hand, and neither does it feel plasticy, thanks to that aluminum back. I’m very pleased with the design that Apple chose for the iPad. I decided to get the white iPad instead of the black iPad, which is the one I originally wanted, but Future Shop didn’t have any black iPad’s at the time, so I just decided to settle for the white iPad instead, which really isn’t that bad after all.

The iPad’s minimalistic design is what really makes the device look good. If Apple would of made it look “complicated,” it just wouldn’t work all too well.

The iPad is lightweight. Although it does weigh more than the iPad 2, its still a good weight. It doesn’t feel too heavy, and it is easy to hold in one hand for a while.

Now, to switch gears from the hardware, to the software. iOS is very easy to use. I’m not the first person to say that. It’s just a given. Apple has made iOS very easy to use on any device that runs it. Performance on the iPad is pretty good. There really isn’t that many dropped frames on the device, and when they do occur, chances are you won’t notice them unless you're looking for them. In games, the performance is just as good. The graphics are great, and there are minimal dropped frames.

Video playback on the iPad is very smooth, which is very nice to see. My biggest complaint on Android was the fact that video playback wasn’t always smooth. The only issue with video playback is caused by the hardware itself. Since the iPad doesn’t have a widescreen, you have to either deal with two black bars at the top and bottom of the video, or just make it full screen, and cut off the sides of the video. This isn’t a major issue, but it can be an annoyance at times.

Overall, the iPad delivers great performance, and I don’t really have any complaints. iOS is great on the iPad as well, and the design of the device is rock solid.

The iPad has many accessories that are specifically designed for it, by Apple, and also by third-party manufacturers. One of those accessories that I did decide to get was the smart cover, which is nice, but also a subject for a future article.

The point is, if you look around, there are many accessories that are made for it. Many of them good, and many of them not so good.

Charging and syncing:
The next thing I would like to mention, is something I almost forgot to mention. The lightning cable and 12W power adapter. The lightning cable is great. It’s fast, and according to Apple, is supposed to charge my iPad faster along with the 12W power adapter. I can’t say for certain whether it really does charge faster than older iPad’s, since this is my first iPad. But I can say the iPad does charge fast. The lightning cable also syncs the iPad pretty quickly with my computer, although it’s very rare for me to sync with my computer anymore. iCloud is the future!

The 12W power adapter is nice, but I’m not impressed with one thing about it. The original one that came with my iPad stopped working about two weeks after I got it. Then I had to go to the Apple store, which was actually quite a painless process. I had the replacement power adapter in about five minutes, when the store and mall was crazy busy. That much surprised me. Hopefully my replacement charger will continue to work longer than two weeks. If it doesn’t, I’m going to be just a little annoyed with Apple.

Battery Life:
When Apple says the iPad has ten hours of battery life, they’re not joking. It really does have 10 hours of battery life, sometimes even more. When playing games or watching video’s, the battery does drain a little faster, but you still get about 10 hours out of it. The battery life is probably the best that I’ve ever seen on a tablet. With the iPad, you’ll be able to get everything you need to do finished on a single charge.

Web Browsing:
Mobile web browsing with Safari on the iPad is very reminiscent of using a browser on a desktop machine. I was amazed with Safari’s performance. It was fast, and very responsive. Scrolling was very responsive. Not laggy as I’ve seen on other devices. Having iCloud integration in Safari is very nice. Now I don’t have to email myself a link to something if I want to look at it on a different device, I just have to tap on the iCloud tabs button, which is a great feature to see.

The next feature I absolutely love. It’s Safari Reader, it’s probably one of the best features I’ve seen in any browser for quite some time. It really helps when you're reading a long article or blog post somewhere online. It cuts out all of those distractions and just lets you read the article. And on those sites where an article is split up into a few different pages, Safari Reader loads all of the pages, so you can read an article uninterrupted, which is a great feature. If you're one for reading articles online, you're going to love this feature. It’s very clean as well.

The iPad 4 comes in a 16GB, 32GB, and a 64GB version. You can either get a wifi only version, or get the cellular+wifi version which adds another 130 dollars to the price. I got the wifi only model, since I decided I didn’t really need the web on the go, and if there ever came the time when I actually needed it, I could just tether with my iPhone. The starting price of the iPad is $499 (baseline, 16GB wifi only) and can go up to $829 (64GB cellular+wifi model.) For more information on pricing, head over to Apple’s website:

My Thoughts:
In my opinion, I think the iPad 4 is one of the best tablets currently on the market right now, along with the Nexus 10. The iPad is a rock solid device, with a large selection of iPad optimized apps, great all around performance, a good lightweight design. The iPad 4 for the time being is the best iPad that has been made, and as I said, it up there with the best tablets currently on the market.

The iPad has come a long ways since it came out in 2010. I’m very impressed with the iPad 4, and can’t wait to see what Apple has in store for future iPad’s.

Apple has done a great job with the iPad 4. I am very impressed with the new iPad, and have no regrets. The iPad is a great device.

Would I recommend the iPad? Yes. Yes I would. I would recommend the iPad to anyone who is looking for a high end tablet in the 500 to 800 dollar range. If you can afford it, and want a high end tablet, go for it, chances are you won’t regret it.

Follow me on Twitter: @ck270

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