Apple iPad 4 review

Apple iPad 4 header
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Relaunched as Apple's 10in budget tablet option, you'd have to be on a tight budget to consider the iPad 4 over the iPad Air


9.7 in 2,048x1,536 display, 652g, 1.4GHz Apple A6X, 1.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Apple iOS 6

As with the iPad 3, the iPad 4 has a 5-megapixel iSight camera. It produces well-exposed, accurate images that look detailed. The only limitation on detail is the resolution. Modern smartphones, such as the iPhone 5, have 8-megapixel or higher resolutions, producing more detailed shots. Still, for the occasional snap, the iPad usually does a decent job.

Apple iPad 4 camera shot
Apple iPad 4 camera detail

As you can see from the thumbnail (top) and 100 per cent crop (bottom), the iPad 4's 5-megapixel camera produces well exposed shots with plenty of detail

We also took stills using our still-life scene. We test the camera using three lighting settings - well-lit, dimly lit and low-light - to see how the iPad 4 dealt with different situations. All of the photos below include 100 per cent crops of the frame, so you can see the actual detail.

Using our well-lit scene we found that the picture was generally well exposed, with good colour balance. The relatively low-resolution sensor means that there's no too much detail in the scene, though. In particular, the darker parts of the image, such as the toy monkey's chest and the plastic mesh at the front, were a little lacking.

Apple iPad 4 sample shot full brightness

Under well-lit conditions, the iPad 4 produced decent shots with good colour balance, but detail is a little lacking

Moving to the dimly-lit scene, we found that noise increased a bit, although the images are still usable for screen or smaller prints. Colours are generally well produced, but a lack of detail in the darker parts of the image are the main problem again. As you can see from the shot below, the monkey loses practically all detail on its chest.

Apple iPad 4 sample shot medium brightness

Moving to a dimly-lit screen, detail starts to go out of the window, although colour are generally still good

Switching to the low-light scene, we got a lot of flare from the lights in the fans. The image is also incredibly noisy and detail goes out of the window. You can still make out what's going on, but the lack of detail in the picture is a little disappointing.

Apple iPad 4 sample shot low light

In low-lit scenes, it's hard to see what's' going on and noise is a real problem

There's 1080p video recording, which produced high-quality video with plenty of detail in each frame. While the size of the iPad doesn't particularly make it convenient for shooting lots of video and stills, it's good to know that you've got Full HD resolution when you need it.

You can view our still life test below, where we adjust the lighting to fully test the camera. Our shots include a well-lit scene, a dimly-lit scene and a very tough dark scene.

Taking stills from the video we can see that the well-lit scene produces the best results. The shot is well exposed and there's a decent amount of detail in the picture. Where the camera falls down a little is with detail in dark areas of the picture, so it's hard to make out any detail in the toy monkey and it's hard to see any detail through the plastic mesh at the front of the scene.

Apple iPad 4 sample shot - video, full brightness

At full brightness, the picture quality is good, but the iPad 4 loses some detail in the darker parts of the picture

Having the scene lit just by the lights in the fans proved a much tougher challenge for the iPad 4. A lot of detail is lost in the picture and it's also very noisy. We also noticed that it introduced some glitches, adding flared lights around the fans. It's an odd glitch and one that was replicated by the iPhone 5, but not other devices that we've tested. In very dark locations, then, the iPad 4 doesn't produce very good results.

Apple iPad 4 sample shot - video, low light

Our low-light scene proved very tough for the iPad 4, with some odd light glitches at the top-left of the picture

For video calling, there's also a FaceTime HD Camera built into the front bezel, which shoots 720p video. Its quality is perfect for internet calling.

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