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Apple's iPad 3, Part 1: The Complete Retina Display And A5X Review

The New iPad: Let's Get Technical

This is in Bakersfield, CA, mind you.

On Friday, most people in the world awoke and went about their normal routines. But a fevered few—the truly hardcore believers—instead abandoned their plans, rescheduled meetings, skipped classes, called-in sick, and joined the mad rush to buy the new iPad 3. Was it worth the trouble? Well, that depends on who you ask. The iPad 3 is a near duplicate in looks and size of its predecessor (which is why Gizmodo was able to fool a few into believing an iPad 2 was an iPad 3), causing some to question the hype. Yet, for those who really know what they're shopping for, the iPad 3 delivers.

The iPad 3 is slightly heavier than its predecessor. On our shipping scale, the actual weight comes out to 660 grams, or 1.45 lb. That's 10% heavier than the iPad 2 3G (600 grams/1.31 lb.), reminding us that holding the original iPad became tiresome after a few hours. We're not pleased with the added weight, but examining this device's physical attributes will have to wait for a more in-depth review to follow.

In the meantime, let's cut the lights and roll the highlight reel. The video above sums up everything. Unveiled by Apple a couple of weeks back, the iPad 3 has four key selling points over the iPad 2:

  • A new "HD" Retina Display
  • Improved graphics performance
  • 5 MP rear camera
  • 4G LTE mobile broadband networking

Personally, the relatively low screen resolution of previous tablets has always been a bit of a turn-off. However, the iPad 3 display is the exact opposite, delivering a whopping 2048x1536 resolution and 264 pixels per inch on the same 9.7" screen as before. The result: an exceptionally crisp display, particularly well-suited for viewing pictures and watching movies. The display is unquestionably superior—but how much so? Let's dig deeper.

  • Would an alternate browser affect image display at all?
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    the requirement to use adapter to use usb and sd card = minus 50% score for any tablet. Period.
    Reply
  • joytech22
    On the CPU and GPU performance page, there's a typo.

    When comparing the three iPads, the iPad 2 and iPad 3 are both said to be using PowerVR SGX545 GPUs (core-count is correct) while the table below it comparing SoCs the models are completely different and listed as SGX543.

    I smell something fishy, dinner must almost be ready! :D
    Reply
  • acerace
    love apple ..................... crap android *** copy tabs and phones

    Fail troll.
    Reply
  • Tc17
    I have a bridge to sell you if you believe this retina nonsense, on a tiny 10" screen.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Tomfreakthe requirement to use adapter to use usb and sd card = minus 50% score for any tablet. Period.
    My thoughts exactly. I don't care that it outputs 3x FPS over Transformer Prime; the latter can actually integrate into my devices' ecosystem and that's what matters. I'm not buying any tablet or phone without inbuilt memory card reader.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Though, of course, it's really sad that Apple is beating Asus on the graphics front. Really, really sad.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    tc17I have a bridge to sell you if you believe this retina nonsense, on a tiny 10" screen.
    After playing around with most hi-end Android devices AND iPhone 4S/iPad 2, I happen to believe this "nonsense". Everything looks so much more hi-res... but that's only Android's fault. When are they going to fix the menu animation lag and make everything more hi-res? ICS kind of did a good job on it, though, and now it actually looks NOTHING like iOS and is beautiful.

    Of course, the menu animation lag and low-res icons can't make me shift to Apple, especially now that I run ICS on my netbook (try that, Apple... oh wait, your toy MacOS IS already like a tablet OS, lol) - same way that MacOS's ability to take screenshots of a selected area of the screen can't make me shift from Windows/Ubuntu. It's just not nearly enough to compensate for the important features I'll lose. Sure enough, there're tons of people to whom all of them don't matter and they'll just go with the most hyped thing out there, but I prefer to know what I'm paying for. It's a habit that pays off on the long run.
    Reply
  • killerchickens
    I wish toms would stop using the bs retina display term considering the ipad 3's display isn't even close to the original standard.
    Reply
  • bernardv
    2048x1536 on a 10" screen? This is a joke, 0 value to 99.9% of end users. A fanboy excuse for throwing money away.

    The author comments it is suitable for watching movies. Which movie is even available in such a resolution??? For watching movies in your lap on 10", 720p is more than enough.
    Reply