Review: Fourth-generation iPad is faster, stronger, better

By Dan Moren, Macworld |  Mobile & Wireless, ipad

You might think all of this power would take a toll on battery life, but Apple says the fourth-generation iPad's built-in 42.5-watt-hour battery (the same as its predecessor) delivers the same 10-hour life as previous iPads. In our lab's test, the battery didn't perform quite as well as the third-generation iPad's, coming in at 42 minutes shorter, but it did just outlast the iPad mini. In my anecdotal experience, which involves charging the iPad every night, I had no problems at all with my battery life lasting through a day.

When I asked for questions online, some asked if the fourth-generation iPad got unreasonably hot while performing processor-intensive tasks. In my experience, I've certainly found it gets warm, especially while playing games, but I never noticed it becoming uncomfortably hot.

In general use, the fourth-generation iPad is plenty snappy, though for most tasks you probably won't see a huge difference between it and the third-generation iPad. It's a testament to Apple's engineering that iOS and its built-in apps have been always been more or less smooth, regardless of the hardware.

Among the other improvements on the newest full-size iPad is souped-up wireless capabilities. Like the previous model, the fourth-generation iPad has Bluetooth 4.0 and supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi flavors. However, Apple brags that the new Wi-Fi is twice as fast as the previous version, thanks to the addition of channel bonding. In practice, I didn't notice exceptionally faster performance for tasks like downloading a PDF over the local network or grabbing a TV episode from iTunes. In most cases, the Wi-Fi of your device probably isn't the bottleneck, anyway.

Finally, Apple also upgraded the LTE chip in the fourth-generation iPad, providing support for more LTE frequencies around the world. Like the iPhone 5, the iPad comes in two flavors: a model with support for LTE bands 4 and 17, which works with AT&T here in the U.S., and a model that supports LTE Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, and 25, and works with Sprint and Verizon (it supports CDMA in addition to GSM). Also as with the iPhone 5, the CDMA model's broader band support means that it's the iPad of choice internationally (though that depends on your ability to find a supporting carrier). And, unlike the Wi-Fi-only model, the LTE version also has assisted GPS and GLONASS, which help provide more accurate location services.

Fast as Lightning

Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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