It is back, but should you buy the iPad with retina display?

Friday, 28 March 2014 - 5:26pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA web desk
  • iPad with Retina Display iPad with Retina Display

Apple has reintroduced the iPad With Retina display in the market. But is it worth purchasing? Here's a simple Q & A to help you make up your mind. 

First, which iPad model is this? I am confused with so many around in the market. 

Fair point. Let us just give you a run down of the entire iPad family:

iPad - 2010
iPad 2 - 2011
The new iPad - 2012
iPad with Retina display - 2012
iPad min: 2012
iPad Air - 2013
iPad mini with Retina display - 2013

As you can see, this is the model of the iPad that was released in the latter part of 2012. Some people also refer to it as the iPad 4 or the iPad (4th generation)

So it is back in the market, but why was it taken away in the first place? Did it have any defect?

Honestly, a lot of us were confused by Apple's decision to withdraw the iPad with Retina Display while retaining the much older iPad 2, as the iPad with Retina Display had a much better display and superior processor. And no, as far as we know, it did not suffer from any defect or problems. However, now it is the iPad 2 that has been laid to rest and the iPad with Retina Display that has been brought back to the market.

So is the iPad with Retina Display more expensive than the iPad 2?

Definitely. The iPad 2 was priced at Rs 24,500 (although it was being sold at prices that were in the vicinity of Rs 22,000 by some dealers) while the iPad with Retina Display starts at Rs 28,900. Mind you, it is significantly lesser than the iPad Air which starts at Rs 35,900.

But I can get the newer iPad mini with Retina display for the same price (Rs 28,900). Why should I opt for the older iPad with Retina display then? 

Yes, the basic Wi-Fi model of the iPad mini with Retina display also starts at Rs 28,900. But that has a smaller display in comparison to the iPad with Retina display - 7.9 inches as compared to 9.7 inches. The iPad with Retina display is targeted at those who want a larger tablet, and is officially the most affordable large iPad in the market right now. 

But is it a better deal than the iPad mini with Retina display?

If hardware is what matters most to you, then there is no doubting that the iPad mini with Retina display is superior, with a newer processor to boot. However, a lot of people find the iPad mini family relatively small to handle - the iPad with Retina display would suit them much better. And while it is about a year older than the iPad mini with Retina display - the iPad with Retina display is no pushover in the specs department. It has the same retina display with 2048 x 1536 resolution that is seen on the latest generation of iPads, similar battery life (in the region of ten hours of Wi-Fi on a single charge), similar cameras (5.0-megapixel rear and 1.2-megapixel front) and from what we have seen so far, is perfectly capable of handling most of the apps and games on the iTunes App Store as well as the newer iPads.

What is the difference between the iPad with Retina display and the iPad Air then?

Well, the iPad Air comes with a whole new design. It is much thinner than the iPad with Retina display - 7.5 mm as against 9.4 mm - and at 469 grammes, is a lot lighter too (the iPad with Retina display weighs 652 grammes). It also comes with the A7 processor with 64-bit architecture and a M7 motion processor. The iPad with Retina display comes with the relatively older A6X dual core processor. In terms of looks and design, the iPad Air remains a notch higher. 
  
This is equally important - why should I NOT consider the iPad with Retina display?

Valid point. Well, if weight and appearance matter, then both the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display are better propositions. And if you are the type that is into heavy duty high-end gaming and does tasks like editing videos and lots of multiple asking on their tablet, then we honestly think that you would be better off with the newer iPads. Budget and size not being a constraint, of course. 

I don't buy devices often - if I buy an iPad with retina display today, is it likely to get obsolete soon?

Well, the iPad 2 still works fine and runs the latest iOS software, and it was released in 2011. If we used the same standard for the iPad with Retina display, we think it will be around for comfortably another year and a half, given Apple's reputation for supporting older devices with software updates. And we do have a number of our friends who still use the original iPad, which remains excellent for tasks like browsing and social networking and even handles some casual games well.  

I have an iPad 2. Do I need to upgrade to an iPad with Retina display?

We would recommend doing so, if you do not have the budget for the iPad Air and still want a large display. The iPad 2 is pretty much on its last legs and if you tend to use a tablet heavily you will find it losing speed gradually on some of the more graphic intensive tasks. We also think that the iPad 2 will not be getting most of the software updates released for the iPad in the coming days. It will remain handy for basic tasks like browsing, mail and social networking, but beyond that, it might struggle. 

A spin on the previous question. I have the iPad (3rd generation), which was released under the name ‘the new iPad’. Should I consider upgrading to the iPad with Retina display?

This is a tight call, really. For, you have in essence got the same display and camera set as the iPad with Retina display, and lose out only on the faster processor in the iPad with Retina display. Honestly, if you are not into very graphic intensive tasks or gaming, we think you can still manage quite comfortably with your existing iPad. Our advice would be to save up for an iPad Air. 

Finally, I am in the market for a tablet with a large display and a budget of Rs 30,000. Should I consider the iPad with Retina display?

Well, we would go so far as to say that if the size of the display matters and you cannot get past that budget constraint, then this is very much the best tablet out there for you. Yes, it does not have the snazzy looks of the iPad Air or its hardware muscle, but it still looks good enough to turn heads, and in terms of performance, well, as we pointed out earlier, you are getting the same display, battery life and camera set as the new iPads, as well as the ability to run most of the apps in the iTunes App Store. In terms of apps, software updates and performance, it still is comfortably ahead of the Android tablet crowd in that price segment. 


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