The iPad 4 sports the same cameras as the iPad 3, which are a 5 megapixel rear facing one and a 1.2megapixel front facing model. The rear one produces surprisingly usable results in a surprisingly diverse range of lighting situations. Colours are reasonably natural and exposure is generally well balanced. That said, detail levels aren’t exactly stellar with it essentially being a complete waste of time trying to zoom in, whether through the digital zoom while taking a photo or when later viewing the photo in the Photos app.
Shooting in truly dark conditions is also a bit pointless both because shots go very grainy and washed out and because the lack of a flash means the tablet can’t help light things up. A few alternatives like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 do have a flash, though general image quality isn’t quite as good.
As for the front facing unit, it’s primarily meant for 720p HD video calling, and for that purpose it does rather well, providing a reasonably detailed view of your face. Again, though, there’s no flash so if you’re in a truly dark situation you won’t be able to see much.
The iPad range remains among the best in class for battery life considering their size and weight, providing a genuine 10hrs use between charges and lasting for weeks in standby.
Gaming tends to cause the biggest drain on battery life but you’ll still get 6-7 hours solid play from even the most demanding 3D titles.
A few alternatives do beat the iPad in this regard, such as the Asus Transformer Prime with its keyboard dock nearly doubling battery life, but the iPad 4 remains one of the best in class when it comes to battery life.
The new iPad with Retina Display is the best large tablet going with better battery life and performance than both the iPad 3 and the other large tablet competition. It also boasts the best build quality and the most comprehensive selection of truly tablet-oriented apps.
Then of course there’s the new connector which while troublesome in the short term is ultimately a step forward, at least compared to the previous Apple connector – we’d still prefer a standard connection like microUSB if possible.
All this said, there’s not enough here to justify an upgrade from an iPad 3, especially given this new model isn’t thinner or lighter. As such unless you’re particularly determined to wholesale make the switch to Lightning connector equipped Apple products, we’d suggest waiting to see what the iPad 5 has to offer.
Then of course there’s the iPad mini. With Apple not wholly embracing the idea of tablets as laptop replacements like Microsoft has done with the Microsoft Surface and like Asus has done with the Asus Transformer, the larger iPad still feels to us like a product that’s trying to fit a gap that simply isn’t there. Instead, despite its lower resolution screen and slower processor, it’s the iPad mini that we’d go for as a pure tablet.
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