New iPad (aka iPad 3, iPad HD, iPad 2012) Review
There was a lot of anticipation for the new iPad from Apple. Everybody speculated about the features and even the name. Come announcement day, Apple showed the “New” iPad which looked exactly like the iPad 2! It wasn’t a total letdown though since it had a superior display, better specs, and LTE/HSPA+ connectivity. So is it worth the upgrade if you’re coming from the iPad 2? Is it the best tablet for your hard earned cash? Read on to find out.
If you don’t have time to read the full review, here’s a quick summary in bullets:
- Beautiful Retina Display.
- Faster processor, evident in loading time of applications and buttery smooth animations especially in games.
- Useable camera! It doesn’t take crappy photos anymore.
- HSPA+ and LTE compatibility. Faster browsing and internet.
- Heats up quickly. It’s not burning hot but you will feel it.
- It takes 8 FULL HOURS to charge from 0%-100%.
- A little bit heavier and thicker
For the verdict just scroll down to the bottom of the article.
Hardware and Design
The form factor and hardware design of the iPad 2 is already tough to beat which is probably why Apple essentially stuck to it with the new model. The only difference is that the it’s a bit thicker and heavier but you won’t notice it much if you’re coming from the iPad 2.
The additional size is primarily due to the bigger processor and battery being used by the new iPad. Apple tried as much as possible to retain their legendary 9-10 hour battery life despite having the Retina Display, LTE, and quad-core graphics. To achieve this they had no choice but to add more space to accommodate a more powerful battery.
All of the controls and ports are in the same place. The volume rocker and the lock/unlock at the right side. Sleep/Wake and the Audio Jack at the top. There’s still a Home button below the display on the bezel. The charging port and speaker at the bottom.
I know that several tech pundits and critics are hitting Apple for keeping the speakers at the back of the iPad. I was initially with them on this but I eventually realized that I prefer it at the back because if they put it at the front then it would be distracting. I’d rather keep the front display clean since that’s where all the content is. Besides I usually use earphones when I listen to music or when I watch movies on this thing.
All that taken into consideration we have no issues with the hardware design. In fact we still think the iPad is best in class in this area.
Now we go to the main feature of the new iPad — the Retina Display. The new iPad has 2048 x 1536 resolution which is basically four times the pixels of the previous iPads. That makes for 264 ppi pixel density which is enough for you to not see the pixels anymore from a certain distance. What this does is that it makes images, text, and animations smoother, crispier, sharper, and clearer. Why is this such a big deal? Well because the display is the main window of the tablet! Crappy display = crappy experience with apps. Good displays will enhance the over-all experience across all functions and that’s what you get with the new iPad.
How is Retina Display compared to the iPad 2? If held near the difference is very noticeable, especially when reading eBooks, viewing photos, playing games, and watching videos. However if you look at it a few feet away then you won’t be able to tell the difference. We took the iPad 2 and the new iPad and had people pick which one was the new iPad and only one person got it correct in our office. Here’s the video:
Sad, but true.
iOS 5, Gaming, and Media
iOS is still the most polished system in the market today. I know that a lot of people are raving about Windows and Android but iOS is still ahead when it comes to user experience and especially in applications. There are tons of amazing games, tools, and media apps available in the App Store. The new A5X chip takes all of those apps and makes them run better, smoother, and faster.
The A5X chip does come with a price. As reported by a lot of new iPad owners, the device tends to heat up especially if you’re connected to 3G/4G and if you’re playing graphics intensive applications like games. We can confirm this to be true. The new iPad does tend to get warm but not to the point that it can actually burn you. It does become a tad bit uncomfortable but not to the point that I’d say “don’t but this it overheats”.
Apple was able to maintain the 9-10 hour battery life of the iPad despite the Retina Display and the A5X chip by putting in a bigger battery. According to PC World, the new iPad has a whopping 42.5-watt-hour battery which is 70% larger than the 25-watt-hour battery in the iPad 2. This enables to iPad to still go the distance even if you’re doing games and connecting to LTE.
However something has to give right? And yes something did give — the charging time. The new iPad takes around 8 full hours to get from 0% to 100%. That means you’ll probably need to leave it charging overnight if you want to start the day with a fully charged iPad.
You can cut the time down though if you don’t need the iPad on. MMDA Traffic Discipline Director and Apple enthusiast Yves Gonzales did some testing and he said on Twitter that if you turn off the iPad while charging you can probably get to 100% in 5 hours.
One of the most noticeable upgrades of the new iPad is the camera. The 5-megapixel shooter can actually take decent shots especially in good lighting environments. The picture quality reminds me of the optics of the iPhone 4 (which ain’t a slouch either). Here are a few sample shots:
The new iPad can also record 1080p HD video. Here’s a sample video:
I still don’t see myself using the iPad as a primary camera but at least when the need arises the quality of the photos or videos that will come out will be good.
Another major selling point of the new iPad is connectivity to HSPA+ and LTE. According to InterAksyon Infotech, Smart’s LTE network is compatible with the new iPad. Unfortunately we only have the WiFi model so we can’t test it ourselves. We do have an idea though of how fast LTE can go since we’re part of the Smart LTE Beta Testing program. If you want to read more about Smart LTE just click here.
Since the new iPad is a tad thicker some tight-fit back cases and covers might not be compatible with it. There are some cases though that can work for both the iPad 2 and the new iPad. Take for example the Aviiq Smart Case as pictured below:
Just make sure to try out the back cases before you buy.
If you don’t own a tablet yet and you’re looking for one then the new iPad is a no brainer. If you have the first generation iPad and you’re thinking of upgrading then it’s also an easy decision. However if you have the iPad 2 then you might need to think hard about the upgrade. The new iPad is an amazing device but the lack of a widespread LTE network will leave you with the Retina Display, A5X Chip, and the improved camera. Personally I can’t recommend it 100% for people who already have the iPad 2 to take the jump and upgrade.
On the flip side though it might be a good idea to sell your iPad 2 now while the value hasn’t plummeted yet and just add a few thousand bucks and get the new iPad so that when LTE becomes available you’re already ready for it. 🙂
Pricing and Availability
The new iPad isn’t officially available in the Philippines yet but we expect it to be in the market soon considering Singapore and Hong Kong already have it. If you can’t wait though then just check out the gadget sellers in Multiply or you can take a stroll in Greenhills. The 16GB WiFi only model usually sells for Php25,000-Php26,000 which is a thousand pesos more than the official SRP.
Looking for the New iPad?
You can now buy the New iPad through credit card, Paypal, mobile, and over-the-counter bank deposits via Multiply Marketplace. The Wi-Fi version starts at P23,800.00 while the 3G version starts at P30,300.00. Check out the prices on all variants at their special order page today!