Ease of Learning: 4 / 5
Ease of Use: 4 / 5
Enjoyment: 3.5 / 5
Design: 3.5 / 5
Value for Money: 3 / 5
It was a debatable start to its release, largely in part to the strange naming convention. Be that as it may, hordes of Apple fans still decided to camp outside of stores days before being able to purchase one for themselves. What’s in a name? The iPad 3/new iPad/iPad 2012, or whatever you wish to call it, was due to make headlines at its launch in March this year, but were the headlines for all the right reasons?
Before the launch of the new iPad, the iPad 2 was comfortably the highest selling tablet on the market; a title it deserves if you compare it head to head against its competitors. In terms of its design and build, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the two iPads. For sake of being technical, the new iPad is 0.6mm thicker and 57g heavier, while the other dimensions all remain equal. Since iOS is upgradable to every iPad device, with limited differences, there is no need to discuss the software of the new iPad.
Apple has kept the same storage capacity options, available in 16, 32 and 64GB internal memory. The processing memory has been doubled to 1GB RAM.
There are 2 main improvements over the iPad 2 that just might make the new iPad seem as a completely different device, those being the camera and HD display. The iPad 2 had a meagre 0.7MP primary camera, which has now been bumped up to a reasonable 5MP, 2592x1944px resolution. The camera is also capable of filming at full 1080p at 30fps. In addition, the secondary camera will capture video at 480p at 30fps, which allows video-calling over Wi-Fi only, surprisingly. The primary camera snaps up around 2 images per second, half that of the iPad 2, but this shouldn’t worry many people, as most of us will choose quality over quantity, in this regard.
The 2nd and most talked about upgrade is the HD display. Although keeping the size of its predecessor at 9.7”, the screen now sees a 1536x2048px resolution with a pixel per inch count of 264. This is by far the most impressive screen you will find on a tablet, a deserving number 1 title if it were based solely on the display. The numbers alone don’t justify a device’s capabilities, as there are many out there that have the specs on paper without ever having backed it up in reality. To put it into perspective, your computer’s HD monitor or your HD LED TV only has a maximum resolution of 1980x1080px. On a device equipped with a 9.7” screen, this is truly remarkable. You can view the resolution of the HD display in the image below.
The new iPad keeps the basis of the dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 found in the iPad 2, Apple tweaking it ever so slightly and naming it the Apple A5X. Paired with its PowerVR SGX543MP4 Quad-Core GPU, there’s more than enough performance under the hood to power the HD display. Astonishingly, however, a number of online benchmarks tests yields the same performance statistics between the new iPad and iPad 2. Even more amazingly is the fact that on some tests, the iPad 2 performed slightly better.
With the (supposed) upgrades in performance, and the new display, there will always be talk about the battery life. The new iPad packs a 11,560 mAh Li-Po battery, nearly doubling the iPad 2. Again, in a slight twist, the increase in battery power yielded no difference in battery life with standby time of 720 hours, and talk time of 9 hours, 1 hour less than the iPad 2, and more than 2 hours less than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7.
One of the reasons we see a decrease in battery life performance is not only due to the HD display, but also the addition of improved radio, which also includes 4G capabilities, currently only available in the US and UK. The new iPad owners have successfully sued Apple Australia, with false advertising highlighting the device’s 4G LTE capabilities that didn’t materialised.
After spending some time reading through the changes and additions of the new Apple iPad, as well as some viewing the pictures in between, how many of you noticed that I used an image of the iPad 2 as the header? With that in mind, how many of you scrolled up to have another look? The truth, in fact, is that the image is of the new iPad, but having placed doubt in your mind, it just goes to show you how little has changed in its evolution. The question, though, isn’t whether the device has changed drastically in terms of its looks specs, but whether or not those who already own an iPad 2 should upgrade. If you’re looking to purchase a device with the best screen available, then yes. If you’re interested in the camera, CPU, GPU, software, or pretty much anything else that matters, then it won’t hurt to keep your iPad 2. For those of you that don’t own an iPad 2 and are now left with a decision between the two, my money would be on the iPad 2, especially if you consider its reduced price.
All said and done, however, Apple’s new iPad still remains the number 1 tablet on the market.
You can find the full specifications here.