Review: Apple iPad (Fifth-Generation) | iLounge

Review

Review: Apple iPad (Fifth-Generation)

A-
Highly Recommended

Company: Apple

Model: iPad (5th Generation)

Price: $329 – $559

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Jesse Hollington

Pros: The least expensive full-sized iPad that Apple has ever sold. Great entry-level option with modern capabilities. Best battery life we’ve ever seen on an iPad. Modest performance boost puts it closer to the 9.7” iPad Pro. Adds support for taking Live Photos. Should appeal to users with simple tablet needs that are new to the iPad or those looking to upgrade from the iPad Air or older models. Price makes it well suited for educational and business markets.

Cons: Essentially a hybrid of the 2013 iPad Air and 2014 iPad Air 2, offering little new beyond the upgraded CPU. A return to the size and weight of the original 2013 iPad Air. No camera or audio improvements. No anti-reflective screen coating. Available only in 32GB and 128GB capacities.

The fifth-generation iPad doesn’t get any kind of camera upgrades over its two-year-old predecessor, sporting the same 8 megapixel rear and 1.2 megapixel front cameras as the iPad Air 2. All of the other camera specs remain the same, and we couldn’t find any discernible difference in image or video capture quality between the iPad Air 2 and fifth-generation iPad. For all intents and purposes, it’s the same camera hardware found in the iPad Air 2.

Similarly, video recording remains capped at 1080p at 30fps, rather than the 4K support offered by the 12MP camera found on the 9.7” iPad Pro. There’s also no rear flash, although the Retina Flash feature is available for photos taken with the front-facing camera. The camera hardware will be more than fine for casual use, but there’s no doubt that if you’re into taking photos with your iPad, it’s still a couple of years behind the curve.

That said, it’s worth noting that the fifth-generation iPad does gain support for Live Photos, a feature otherwise found only in the iPad Pro models. Since Live Photos were introduced with the iPhone 6s in 2015, it’s obviously not surprising that the 2014 iPad Air 2 didn’t include it, although it was also omitted on the 2015 iPad mini 4. It’s a small thing, but iPad photography enthusiasts will appreciate having it.

Audio quality on the fifth-generation iPad also remains on par with the iPad Air 2. The new iPad doesn’t have the four stereo speakers of its Pro brethren, so you won’t get the same higher quality audio that they’ve become known for, but the fifth-generation iPad does produce the same acceptably loud and full sound as the iPad Air 2.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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