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iPad Air vs iPad 4 head to head review

We pit Apple's new lightweight tablet against its predecessor
Tue Nov 19 2013, 14:13

GADGET DESIGNER Apple's iPad Air is here, complete with a stylish moniker, a fresh design and a 64-bit processor, the same A7 chip that debuted in the iPhone 5S.

Apple clearly is hoping that this refreshed design along with the promise of more processing power will both lure new customers and entice existing iPad users to upgrade. We take a look at whether the iPad Air is worth upgrading from the iPad 4, or whether you should save that £399.

Design
Given its slimmed down chassis and weight reduction, it's obvious that the design of iPad Air trumps that of the iPad 4.

The iPad Air measures just 7.5mm thick, hence its name, and weighs 478g, making it the thinnest and lightest full-sized tablet on the market. We've been using the iPad Air for over a week now, and have been shocked at how different it feels compared with Apple's previous generation tablets. It's comfortable to hold over long periods of time, sits nicely in a bag without weighing down your shoulder, and perhaps most importantly, won't leave any nasty bruises if you drop it on your face while reading in bed.

iPad Air vs iPad 4 design

In comparison, Apple's fourth generation iPad measures 9.4mm thick and weighs 662g. While it's not awkward to hold, compared with the iPad Air the iPad 4 feels overly weighty, and it made our wrists hurt after using it for long periods.

Size aside, both of the iPads look great, although again we think the iPad Air beats the iPad 4 when it comes to design. Both feature a high-end aluminium casing, but the iPad Air sports a bezel that's 43 percent thinner than that on the fourth generation iPad, again taking away some of the tablet's bulk.

Winner: iPad Air

Screen
Both the iPad Air and iPad 4 feature a 9.7in 2048x1536 264ppi LED backlit LCD display, so it's impossible to pick a winner here.

iPad Air vs iPad 4

This is not a bad thing, and while some might complain about the fact that Apple hasn't upgraded the display on the iPad Air, it had no reason to. The display still remains largely unchallenged in the tablet market, and both tablets deliver crisp text, vibrant colours and excellent viewing angles. Our only real gripe is outdoor visibility, with both the iPad 4 and iPad Air struggling under direct sunlight.

Winner: Draw

Next: Operating system, performance.

 

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