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iPad Air vs iPad 4 head to head review


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

Apple is clearly hoping that this refreshed design, along with the promise of more processing power, will help entice both new customers and 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.

Given its slimmed-down chassis and weight reduction, it's pretty much a given that the iPad Air trumps the iPad 4 in terms of design.

The iPad Air measures in at just 7.5mm thick, hence its name, and weighs 478g, making it the thinnest and lightest full-sized tablet on the market today. 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 in at 9.4mm thick, and weighs in at 662g. While by no means awkward to hold, compared with the iPad Air the iPad 4 feels overly weighty, and it caused our wrists to hurt after long periods of use. 

Size aside, both of the iPads look great, although we think the iPad Air beats the iPad 4 again when it comes to design. Both feature a high-end aluminum 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

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.

This is by no means a bad thing, and while some may 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 each tablet offers 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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Carly Page

Carly Page joined The INQUIRER as News Editor in April 2012. Before becoming a full-time geek, Carly studied Journalism at the University of Lincoln, and dabbled in the music journalism industry. Carly's main coverage areas include mobile devices, mobile software, telecoms, mobile operators, social networks and anything Breaking Bad related.

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