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Our Kintrex IRT0421 laser-targeting thermometer lets us measure surface temperature, but we can do even better with an infrared camera, which detects infrared energy and converts it into an electronic signal.
On the previous page, we created each heat map by taking nine samples on the front and back of the tablets. But those samples only represent individual pin points. The Flir i7 lets us visualize the entire device at 140x140 resolution, and with plus or minus two-degree accuracy.
We probably won't be using the i7 much moving forward, since its focus is fixed. However, the images themselves tell the story here. Apple's A5X is responsible for the hotspot observed during gaming sessions. (Link to view full thermal camera image gallery of the iPad 3.)
Look what happens when brightness is increased, below. The whole tablet's temperature (measured at the front and back) jumps by a significant margin. Though it's a worst-case scenario, this situation illustrates that concerns about heat are largely limited to 3D workloads with the screen's brightness cranked up as high as it'll go. On it's own, the Retina display is about as hot as human skin, whereas the iPad 2 is comparatively cool.