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The Complete iPad 3 Review: Retina Display, A5X, 4G LTE, And Camera

Mapping Out iPad 3's Heat: Surface Temperature

So, we've established a relationship between the Retina display, gaming, and power consumption. But there is one more thing to consider: though Apple's Retina display is the largest single largest determiner of power consumption, it's not the only culprit behind the tablet's heat. For that, we have to look to the SGX543MP4 GPU's thermal footprint.

The iPad 3 display consumes 3x more power, but heat is dissipated over a larger area. The GPU is much, much smaller. As a result, when you look at a thermal image of the iPad 3 you see a single hot spot. 

You can see how the iPad 3 GPU affects surface temperature by comparing our contour charts. After an hour of gaming at maximum brightness, the iPad 2's screen approaches 80-85o F (above), with the back of the tablet spiking as high as 90o F (below).

In comparison, the iPad 3's Retina display (below) gets as hot as 95o—that's toasty, but not hot enough to spark a controversy, considering the surface temperature of human skin is in the same range.

In the chart below we see the back of Apple's iPad 3 after an hour of gaming. It jumps as high as 105o on the rear of the case. But we have to imagine that very few folks game for more than an hour with a tablet in their hands.

Within the first five minutes of game play, the tablet's rear surface temperature is only in the 85 degree range.

Fifteen minutes in, average surface temperature is closer to 95o. At the end of the day, excessive heat shouldn't be a problem unless you're playing demanding games for extended periods of time.

  • tomfreak
    lol FAIL hard when I see keyboard are displayed on TV as well despite being docked and to make thigns worst one still need to carry the adapter around to plug HDMI......
    Reply
  • confish21
    Really a solid tablet. Just wish the adapter and outrageous bills could disappear... Great Review!

    100 degrees is damn hot but I think the results are justified.
    Reply
  • confish21
    its cool if I lick my finger for page turning right?
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    I'm waiting for an x86- Windows 8 tablet.
    Reply
  • aicom
    Tomfreaklol FAIL hard when I see keyboard are displayed on TV as well despite being docked and to make thigns worst one still need to carry the adapter around to plug HDMI......+1 to the keyboard thing. But remember that most tablets (all?) don't have full size HDMI so you probably need a dongle 99% of the time anyway.
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    HDMI port is not very thick, I still wonder whats keeping them from putting in on tablet.
    Reply
  • Maziar
    Great article! very detailed.
    Reply
  • aicom
    TomfreakHDMI port is not very thick, I still wonder whats keeping them from putting in on tablet.The port isn't all that's needed. There's also a bit of hardware around it for the socket that makes it a tad thicker and a stretch to fit in the chasis of tablets.
    Reply
  • alchemy69
    "Typically, you're looking at a tablet from less than a foot away"

    Really?
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    aicomThe port isn't all that's needed. There's also a bit of hardware around it for the socket that makes it a tad thicker and a stretch to fit in the chasis of tablets.looks like we gonna wait wide adoption for mini display port for TV then.
    Reply