The new iPad (3) Review
Update: You can now read our Apple iPad 4 review!
Last year we saw a myriad of Android tablets bursting onto the scene in hopes of stealing some glory and thunder from Apple’s pride and joy – the iPad 2. Honestly, some of those offerings, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Asus Transformer Prime, have been more memorable than others, but through it all, they all seemed intent on breaking the iPad’s stringent grasp on the market. Despite the onslaught of competition, the iPad 2 remained in relevancy throughout it all, and rightfully so, it maintained itself as the benchmark tablet for all others, mainly for its balanced offering and notoriety.
Unlike the recent iPhone 4S, the third generation iPad is coming onto the scene one year after its predecessor, and boy are there some high expectations surrounding it already, unsurprisingly. Just a little bit over a week ago, Apple unveiled the highly-anticipated new iPad to the awaiting public sporting a very familiar body, but with some intriguing new internals. Indeed,there are some viable alternatives from the current Android camp that can easily manhandle the iPad 2 in the specs department, but with this so-called new iPad, it’s out to once again claim the throne and prove to the masses why it’s the biggest game in town.
Sticking firm to its usual routine, this third-generation iPad follows the same price path as its predecessors, which starts at that golden price of $500 for a base Wi-Fi only model. More importantly, however, it’s packing some impressive specs that will no doubt shake the ground and firmly justify its premium offering – such as a snazzy new high-resolution Retina display, 4G LTE connectivity, upgraded rear camera, and faster processor. With all of the goodies in for the ride, it begs the question if it’s enough to push and set the bar once again? Let’s not delay the inevitable any further people, therefore, here we go!
The package contains:
- USB cable
- Wall Charger
- Quick Start Guide
- Product Safety & Warranty Information
Hardly a surprising decision, even more when Apple has done it in the past with the iPhone 3GS, and most recently, the iPhone 4S, the new iPad maintains the design characteristics of its predecessor – nearly to the tooth even. Well, to be more specific, it looks just like the iPad 2, but it’s minutely thicker (0.37” thick) and heavier (23 oz). Strangely, there has been a lot of fuss surrounding the increased size, but in all honesty, it’s not that a big of deal, even more when it’s still one streamlined device by today’s standards, although it is not the slimmest tablet out there. In all fairness, it’s an indistinguishable difference from the previous model, but it would’ve been cool if the new iPad was somehow lighter – instead, it’s heavier. When it comes to real world handling, it’s comfortable to grasp with a single hand, though, two-handed operation is the preferable way since fatigue can set in after an extended period of time.
Certainly, some people will dwell endlessly about it, but moving beyond that, we’re still grateful to find the new iPad to exhibit all of the lovable qualities of a top-notch tablet. Specifically, it’s donning the same exact sturdy construction that we’re so fond of seeing with Apple’s portfolio – and to tell you the truth, it’s a comforting sight! Instilling a sense of durability, thanks primarily to its milled aluminum casing and glass-covered display, this is exactly what a solid tablet is all about. Frankly, it’s not something that’s necessarily regarded as a fresh look, but it doesn’t need to be – well, that’s because it employs an established iconic look.
Part of its iconic appearance, the only indentation found on its display is the recognizable home button we’re all so familiar with. Exhibiting that expected springy response, there’s no accidental presses whatsoever with it. On the complete opposite end, is the same exact VGA camera from before perched above the display, which will handle all of our FaceTime needs. More on its quality later on.
Everything else around the sides are identical to the tooth, meaning, we’re again greeted with a dedicated power button, mute switch, volume control, 3.5mm headset jack, 30-pin dock connection port, and microphone.
Around the rear, shutterbugs will be extremely happy to find a respectable 5-megapixel auto-focus camera sans flash – now dubbed the iSight camera. Instead of that despicable camera from before, this one is already shaping out to be a welcome replacement because its sensor features backside illumination and a F2.4 aperture lens. In fact, this is exactly what’s found with its iPhone 4S sibling (save for the 8MP sensor), so yeah, it’s a nice improvement – though, there is still some awkwardness snapping photos with a tablet in public.
Lastly, it doesn’t get much notoriety amongst other things, but the same micro dots line the lower left corner of the milled aluminum casing, thus, shielding the iPad’s internal speaker.
From a cursory look, there are hardly any recognizable differences to the eye between this and its predecessor, but that seemingly changes the moment we turn on its 9.7-inch IPS LCD display, and tune our attention to its wicked high resolution. Mind-boggling to say the least, it’s downright crazy to even fathom how they managed to produce such a panel, especially when it has double the resolution of the iPad 2 at 2048 x 1536. Very recently, we’ve been tickled about seeing some upcoming tablets sporting 1080p displays, but Apple simply blindsided everyone with the iPad’s triumphant Retina display. Even more impressive is the fact that we haven’t seen the commercial launch of 1080p displays on tablets.
So how detailed is this thing? It’s remarkable like nothing else before we’ve seen on a tablet! To put it into perspective, the iPad has the ubiquitous title of having the highest resolution display on any mobile device on the market, though technically, it’s not close to taking the coveted title of having the highest pixel density (264 ppi). Still, for a tablet, it’s one impressive feat! Walking the walk, it’s higher than most PC displays and high-definition televisions – so yes, it’s a bold statement on its own. Honestly, you can’t even distinguish a single pixel on this display, and in the end, it’s undeniably one of the sharpest displays our eyes have been fortunate to ever see. Everything seems to jump at us, draw our attention, and ultimately, we’re overjoyed with the results.
Detail aside, the IPS LCD panel delivers the same results that we’re accustomed to seeing at this point. Being complementary, it radiates wholesomely thanks to the accurate looking colors it’s able to produce, essentially giving our eyes yet another thing to drool over. In fact, Apple makes the bold claim of it being 40% more saturated with its tones, and right on the dot, our eyes justify that remark as it’s visibly evident that it’s punchier. Rounding out its prowess, it sports the same lovable wide viewing angles and high contrast to maintain its clarity even with demanding situations when using it outdoors under the sun.
So where does this rank amongst all other things? Actually, it’s a benchmark like no other, seemingly blowing off the covers of what we believed to be impossible not too long ago. No longer are we going to fancy over devices gearing up to offer 1080p displays, but rather, the iPad establishes what it means to have a snazzy looking display. Therefore, whether it’s reading or watching videos, the Retina display of the iPad is a bundle of joy that’s sure to keep the competition at bay. Yup, it’s in a league of its own.