The embargo fell last night. With the new iPad (iPad 3) devices on their way to stores — and the hands of those who pre-ordered — it’s time to take a look at the reviews:
I’ve been testing the new iPad, and despite these trade-offs, its key improvements strengthen its position as the best tablet on the market. Apple hasn’t totally revamped the iPad or added loads of new features. But it has improved it significantly, at the same price.
It has the most spectacular display I have ever seen in a mobile device.
Reading on the big retina display is pure joy. Going back to the iPad 2 after reading for a few hours on the iPad 3 is jarring. With bigger pixels, anti-aliased text looks blurry; with smaller pixels, anti-aliased text looks good; but with really small pixels like these, anti-aliased text looks impossibly good — and what you thought looked pretty good before (like text rendered on older iPads) now looks blurry.
Yes, this display is outrageous. It’s stunning. It’s incredible. I’m not being hyperbolic or exaggerative when I say it is easily the most beautiful computer display I have ever looked at. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that you hold this in your hands, or maybe it’s the technology that Apple is utilizing, or maybe it’s the responsiveness of iOS — but there’s something almost bizarre about how good this screen is. After the launch event, I described the screen as “surreal,” and I still think that’s a pretty good fit.
(Bonus: His Apple TV review.)
My Verizon test unit got download speeds ranging from 6 to 29 megabits a second in San Francisco, Boston and New York — in many cases, faster than home cable-modem service. According to tests by PC Magazine and others, AT&T’s 4G network is smaller, but often faster. No doubt about it: life begins at 4G.
Now, 4G is a notorious battery hog. It scarfs down electricity like a football team at a hot dog eating contest.
Apple, however, was determined to keep the iPad’s battery life unchanged from the last model: nine to 10 hours on a charge. In my all-day nonstop-usage test, it did manage nine hours.
The most notable of these is the LTE functionality. Put simply: it’s fast. Really fast. Faster-than-my-WiFi fast.
Yesterday, I clocked the new iPad using LTE at over 40 mbps down and 20 up on Verizon’s network. That’s about twice as fast as my current home cable broadband. For good measure, I tethered the new iPad to my iPhone 4S to compare it to Verizon’s 3G speeds. It’s about 40x faster for downloading.
The new iPad is also heavier than the iPad 2. The new model weighs either 652 grams (1.44 pounds) for the Wi-Fi-only model or 662 grams (1.46 pounds) for the 4G model. In contrast, the Wi-Fi iPad 2 weighed 601 grams (1.33 pounds) while the AT&T model of the 3G-equipped iPad 2 was 613 grams (1.35 pounds). So your standard Wi-Fi iPad has put on about 50 grams or a tenth of a pound. It’s a small weight gain, but I can’t call it imperceptible. The first time I picked up the third-generation iPad, I could tell that it was heavier.
What does this increased weight mean in practice? Probably not very much.