4th Generation iPad Reviews Are In—Still the Best Tablet in Its Class

Just as the iPad mini reviews a started coming in, the 4th Generation iPad reviews started coming in, albeit far fewer and far less exciting. This is, after all, a 4th Generation update that as MG Siegler said is more like the iPad 3S than 4.

Starting with MG’s review from TechCrunch, he hits on the key point that Apple did and we all expect—speed:

I’ve been playing with this latest version of the iPad for the past week. Yes, it’s faster. Apple claims 2x CPU and graphics performance thanks to the new A6X chip. That claim has been a little hard to test since no apps are yet optimized to take advantage of the new power — and mainly because the previous iPad was already so fast — but things do generally seem to launch and run a bit faster than they do on the third-generation iPad. I did get a chance to see a demo of a game that was optimized for the new chip (though it’s not out yet) and that’s clearly where this new iPad is going to shine.

For now, one primary way you’ll notice that this iPad is better than the last version is in the front-facing camera. Previously, it was a VGA-quality lens (0.3 megapixels). Now it’s HD-quality (1.2 megapixels), capable of capturing 720p video. This is key for FaceTime. Apple has slowly but surely been rolling out FaceTime HD video capabilities across all their products. Now the iPad is on board as well. Via: With The New iPad, Apple Accelerates; With The iPad Mini, It’s Pedal To The Metal | TechCrunch,

Okay, so if you pick up a 4th Generation iPad this week, you might notice some new snap in it’s step, but nothing awesome…or will you

Oh, hello. Did you decide to cut to the chase and skip directly here? We don’t blame you, and neither will we beat around the bush. At the time, the third-gen iPad was the fastest we’d tested. The new iPad skips directly past its predecessor’s Ludicrous speed and goes directly to Plaid. Where the last iPad scored 720 on the Geekbench benchmark, the new iPad blows that out of the water with a 1,763 average score. GLBenchmark’s 2.5 Egypt HD test ran through at 42 fps. The SunSpider JavaScript benchmark completes in an average of 865ms, more than twice as fast as the last iPad and both these benchmark scores best even the iPhone 5, which, for a short time, was Apple’s fastest mobile device. Via: iPad review (late 2012) — Engadget

Engadget raved at the speed bump, and really they are the only review of the several I read this evening that did rave. Everyone else said, “yes, it’s faster. yes, I noticed, but…there aren’t apps that really tap into the power…yet”. Which is, I think, fine. Not a big deal. Sure we all want to see something like the leap between the original and 2 or 2 and 3 (using my original iPad compared to my 3rd Generation is feels painfully slow), but maybe that wasn’t in the cards (like the iPhone 4 vs the iPhone 4S). Here’s the bottom line that most people want to know…if I have a 3rd Generation iPad (nary a few months old)—should I leap at this one? CNET provides the best answer I found (and probably the right one):

The bottom line: The latest iPad adds several tweaks and improvements to secure its position at the top of the tablet heap. It’s better all around, but third-gen owners need not apply. Via: Apple iPad Review – Watch CNET’s Video Review

If you have a 1st or 2nd Generation iPad and want to move up, this is a good move. If you have a 3rd Generation, you’re okay for now. Of course there are two words that complicate this whole discussion:

iPad mini

But that’s a topic for another time.