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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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This iPad is not quite the most recent iPad (it's been upgraded to the iPad Air), but it's still an incredibly beautiful device. Oddly enough, it's so beautifully easy to use (my one year old daughter loves playing with it), it's almost doesn't feel like a computer at all.

A word of warning - this review is written for people who've never owned an iPad before - and are wondering what all the fuss is about. Don't read this if you already own an iPad and are thinking about an upgrade - I'd recommend you simply buy an Air.

Just what's all the fuss about?
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I used to own a laptop for work, and (very occasionally), it'd sit on my lap on the sofa, and I'd use it for pleasure (eMail, watching films or playing the odd game). Then I bought my first iPad, and the laptop became redundant, a boring "work device". Hard to explain, but the fact the iPad is so small and light, and you navigate around with your finger by pointing and gently swiping the screen makes the whole experience a lot easier - a lot more fun.

Even my most "luddite" of friends have been won over.

It's incredibly simple and easy to use (it only has one main button), and everyone from my one year old daughter to my 85 year old dad have taken to without problems. It's size and shape also support using it like a book (literally to read a book or web page), but you can also watch TV and films.

Personally I'm also paranoid about my password getting "hacked", and someone running up a huge Amazon bill or buying stuff with my credit card on eBay. Well one of the benefits of the iPad (and iPhone) is it's "almost impossible" to get a virus - one of the most common ways to get hacked. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use strong passwords, (both Sony and Adobe got hacked), but it's reassuring to leave the Windows world behind.

Finally, I love the way these devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Mac), increasingly work together. The fact you can start a Pages document on your Mac and edit it on your iPad, or take photos on the iPhone, and in seconds see them on the iPad or Mac and display them on the Apple TV.

The thing is, "it just works".

What would you use if for?
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* Shopping online. Obviously - you could be reading a review on Amazon about the iPad Air!
* Reading web pages. As you can hold it like a book it's great to read the news online (my wife loves the Daily Mail Online).
* Reading Books. It's great for reading books from Amazon Kindle or Apple Books with the benefit of 1,000s of online book reviews
* Navigating web pages. Instead of clicking with a mouse, you gently swipe your fingers on screen to scroll around
* Watching Films. I use it to watch Netflix online videos (with an Apple TV you can send stuff to the telly)
* Watching TV. With the free BBC iPlayer app you can catch up or download BBC programs
* Reading and replying to mail. I use "mailbox" a great free app to read and reply to mails, but there's a free one included
* Showing and organising photos. Any photos on an iPhone are automatically available within minutes in "the cloud"
* Playing games. From fun puzzle games like "Cut the Rope" to fully fledged first person shooters.
* Listening to the Radio. With "Tune in Radio" you can listen to thousands of radio stations world-wide.
* Listening to music. I stream mine to an Apple TV, but you can also buy portable speakers or just plug into the AUX socket
* The list goes on and on.

Which model should I buy?
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I can't comment about Android tablets (apart from the Google Nexus 7 which is well regarded), but in terms of the Apple tablet line-up:-

iPad mini Size:-

* iPad mini is a lovely tablet. A 7.9 inch screen and astonishingly light and remarkably thin - it feels like a light-weight book.
* iPad mini with retina screen. Again 7.9 inch screen, but with the blazingly fast A7 chip and a "retina" (high definition) screen. Worth the upgrade if you can afford it.

Full Size iPad options. (much larger screen - makes a huge difference):-

* 1st Generation iPad. Seldom available new - best avoided - there's better options available
* 2nd Generation. Avoid the Apple iPad 2, it's a relatively old model, under-powered and with a lower resolution screen. If you really want an Apple but don't want to spend the cash, buy a 16g WIFI 3rd or 4th generation iPad from Amazon or eBay. Avoid this one.
* iPad 3rd Generation. First iPad with the "Retina" (high definition) screen. A5X chip. Excellent iPad - highly recommended
* iPad 4th Generation. With A6X chip. In short, not quite as fast as the latest chip but pretty zippy. Biggest difference is the smaller power socket and slightly faster processor.
* iPad Air. Same fast (A7) chip as the Mini with Retina - the latest and fastest iPad available. This has been re-designed to be even smaller than the iPad 2/3/4 and with the new chip making it even faster.

In terms of which to buy - if you want something REALLY small and light to read on the train, the iPad mini or retina is your best bet. Otherwise, the 3rd, 4th generation or iPad Air is your best option - depending upon your budget.

Me I've owned a 1st and 3rd generation iPad and most recently an Air. My daughter owns an iPad mini, and we've loved them all.

What are the Optional add-ons?
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Well, assuming you've dropped by the Apple Store or John Lewis (which I would highly recommend), and handled the iPad Mini (with/without retina screen), and iPad 2 and Air then your options are around memory size and cellular option.

Memory: Once bought, you can't add memory (space for apps, films, books etc). However, the basic price goes up a huge amount (+£80 for the 16g to 32g iPad Air). But, having owned a 16g and then a 32g iPad - I can safely recommend the 16g unless you really want to store a huge amount of videos and downloads. Only you can decide, and if you're lucky enough that money is no object then splash out. Otherwise, 16g should be fine for most people.

Celular: Allows you to connect to the internet while you're out and about. This will add an additional +£100 to the price and means you can slip in a mobile phone SIM card. This means (for an additional £7-15 a month extra), you can access the internet on the move. Alternatively, you can opt for the WIFI option, and use it at home or at at "hot spot" (eg. Starbucks, most rail stations and hotels etc).

Personally I'd buy (and indeed did), the 16Gb iPad Air WIFI. But again, it depends upon your budget.

Do I need anything else?
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Most people (me included) buy a cover. Apple (and now several copy-cats) make a "smart-cover" which automatically shuts down the iPad when you close it, and switches it on when you open it. There's versions which cover the back, or just the screen. Apple charge from £35 to £65 for their (admittedly) high quality fabric or leather covers, but there's many available from £10. Be aware, you do get what you pay for.

Personally,I think it's a pity to cover the beautiful aluminium industrial design of the iPad with a cover - but if you've spent hundreds of pounds you'll want to protect it from scrapes and bangs.

I also invested in a keyboard (£25-80), as I tend to write a lot of mails and documents (remember it comes with a word processor). I'd recommend (for the iPad Air) the Logitech Ultra Thin iPad Air Case with Keyboard - Space Greyand the ZAGG Keys iPad Air Case Folio with Backlit Keyboard - Black although these are strictly optional unless you want to use your iPad as a proper laptop.

Word of warning: If you're looking for a case or keyboard be sure to buy the correct size (they're all different):-

1. iPad mini size
2. iPad 2, 3 or 4th generation
3. iPad Air size

Finally, if you have another Apple device (eg. an iPhone, Apple TV or Mac) you'll find these work together beautifully. For example, you can create a reminder on your iPad and it appears on your iPhone. Equally, photos taken on your iPhone appear on your iPad, and you can stream music or videos from iPad, iPhone or Mac to an Apple TV.

One word of advice - make sure the entire family use the same "Apple iTunes Account" - but you all have a separate "iCloud Account". This means, when you buy an App, Music or Film on one iDevice its available to everyone, but you each have separate "Cloud Storage" to backup your iPad or store documents independent of each other. Incidentally, creating an iCloud account means your iPad is automatically backed up (no wires, no fuss) every time you charge it up. A wonderful feature - one of many.

Overall Opinion
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It's hard to believe the iPad version 1 was released just four years ago, and there's a huge raft of "me too" tablet computers to choose from, but the Apple iPad is still the one to beat. As "Which?" magazine put it about the iPad Air - "...the best tablet we've ever tested. Apple packs a beautiful screen and lightning fast processor into a slimmer-than-ever shell, and battery life is very impressive".

Yes, there are cheaper Android based alternatives, but the quality, design and beauty of this tablet just sets it apart. If it were a car it'd be a top of the range Mercedes or a BMW. Looking at the iPad 3rd or 4th generation, you've not quite got the "latest version" - but it's still a top end tablet computer.

Obviously, depending upon your budget, buy the latest iPad available - but whichever one you buy you're sure to be delighted.

Highly Recommended.

PS. If you found this review useful, please click below. Feel free to comment or ask a question.
66 comments| 249 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 December 2012
This is a review of the iPad 4, released just a couple of months ago, and really it should have been called the iPad 3.1 (except Apple doesn't use numbers anymore!). Having used both the iPad 3 and the iPad 4, the graphics are the same (the iPad 3 has a retina display as well) and the overall look is the same (once you upgrade the earlier version to iOS 6, that is).

I understand that the main internal difference is the processor speed, and the most obvious external difference is that the charging port has changed from the 30-pin version to a small Lightning Dock, which means that if you are upgrading from the iPad 3 or earlier, all of your accessories which went through the charger are not unusable.

Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to upgrade from the iPad 3, so is it worth upgrading from the iPad 2?

There are some nice additions compared with the iPad 2, but not enough, I think, for someone to upgrade. However, the gorgeous higher-resolution graphics make using this a really nice treat, and worth considering to pay the difference if you are considering the iPad 4 against the slightly cheaper iPad 2.

The video shows what you get in the box - I would suggest buying a screen protector (because even after 10 minutes you could clearly see the residue of fingerprints on the screen) and a case (to protect and enable you to prop it up).

It is surprising to me how much the iPad has been part of my home life. It makes checking emails and internet browsing more...social. You don't need to go to a big machine with a keyboard for casual searching - you can have something closer to a big book.

Secondly, using the iPad for emails is really good. The text is clear, and somehow the pictures seem more vivid, and you can just scroll going up and down with a flick of the finger rather than the organised gestures of the mouse. It may seem like no big difference, but it makes all the word of difference for ease and enjoyment.

I go the Wifi version rather than the 3G version because I am mostly in places which have Wifi (more and more common), but even if I need 3G connectivity, I can tether my iPhone to the iPad. It may cost a few pounds more a month when I use it, but it saves me a hundred pounds now.

I can confirm that both Screen Protector for Apple iPad 2 & 3, Includes Microfibre Cleaning Cloth And Application Card, 6 Pack and TeckNet® New iPad 4, iPad 3 & iPad 2 Premium Folio Leather Case / Cover and Flip Stand With Built-in Magnet for Sleep / Wake Feature + Screen Protector For New Apple iPad 4th Generation, iPad 3 & iPad 2 - Black both work for the iPad 4. I imagine that most, if not all, accessories for the iPad 2 will work for the iPad 4 (apart from those which use the charger, which won't work), but I can confirm that these work.

The battery life is amazing. I have used it for web surfing for several half hours, but only got down to 85% complete.

Overall, a very good investment, and something that I use every day (if only to read my books from the Kindle app - in colour).
22 comments| 159 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 November 2013
I have had this 3 months now and a word of caution.
A lovely machine for which most of what has been positively said is true, nice screen, easy to use interface etc. BUT
1) rubbish data lead / charging cable
2) the WIFI version DOES NOT have a GPS chipset, so no using it as a Sat nav etc.and does not have a SIM card capability, so always bound to a router.
3) no easy to use "back" facility (only the black button, which closes the app) can be really infuriating.

Short- nice media tool, designed to link and sync to a more powerful computer, but no substitute for a decent laptop in terms of functionality. So £450 may be a bit much for something that will not save you the need to also have a decent laptop / desktop and is essentially and expensive add-on.
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on 22 April 2013
Exactly as described - only downside just wish an instruction booklet had been included otherwise a great asset to my working day
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on 26 January 2013
I received this as a wonderful surprise present for Christmas, and not being highly computer literate had to buy a magazine and a book to help me find my way around. There is still so much to learn and every time I use it I find something new. I do find it a little heavy at times, and as my son downloaded Temple Run on it, I have to take it out of its leather folder to be able to tilt it with effect. Perhaps someone could invent a frame to fit the iPad onto that has something akin to a joystick underneath so you can hold it in one hand and swipe etc with the other. Other than that the weight is a small price to pay in exchange for this wonderful piece of technology. The sensitivity of the screen is exceptional, and the sharpness of words and graphics get 10/10. I am thrilled with the capacity it presents, and would highly recommend it to anyone. I am a trained audio typist and love to type but my husband says if I need to do huge documents I will need to put my iPad down and go back to the desktop. I'm ok with that. I LOVE MY iPAD.
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on 1 October 2013
Not disappointed.. Long battery life, go for big memory, you will use it, colour amazing for this novice.. Great for FaceTime etc. a treat.
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on 15 August 2013
if you are looking for a tablet, then this is just a perfect choice. I have been using it for 2 months now, can not find any fault, and it is so easy to use that i feel like I had it for years. best spent money ever . I didn't buy it on amazon so I can't rate the service. but the product is faultless. I recommend to go for 32 gb, so you can store enough files. I also use it every day as a wireless hotspot for my pc to connect to the internet, the speed is excellent. highly recommend!!
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on 1 October 2013
The Ipad itself is fine - it does everything that an Ipad is meant to do, though you need to be aware that it's much less flexible than a PC or laptop. I do 90% of my work on my laptop and then copy it to the Ipad which I use mainly as a portable display, rather than a computer. There are also some programs which are frequently used on internet web-pages but which are not supported by the operating system, notably Silverlight. However, I can live with this most of the time - when I can't I just go back to my laptop.

But my biggest gripe is the appalling quality of the data/charger cable. Within days, the cover at the USB end became loose. Whilst I can still use the cable if I manipulate it carefully, I am extremely disappointed that a reknowned firm like apple can produce and sell such an inferior product. And I see that I am not alone in my assessment of the cable - just look at the other reviews of Apple Ipad cables on Amazon.

If Apple are not more careful, they will soon deservedly find their reputation in ruins - and surely that's not good for business.
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on 17 August 2014
Was very dubious as this was so much cheaper than any where else by far and for the massive amount of memory, however, everything is perfect, all English plug etc, brand new sealed, great service and delivery and works perfect and other half loves it. sounds to good to be true, thankfully its not!
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on 13 April 2014
This was a replacement for my iPad 1. A shame I had to replace it as there was nothing wrong with the hardware just the apps were becoming incompatible. The iPad 4 is as great as he other was. A great price too. Would recommend.
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