Our new iPad review has covered Apple's third-generation iPad's screen, camera, connectivity and battery life. But what makes it work, is overheating a problem, and what are our final thoughts? Continue reading our new iPad review to find out.
New iPad review: CPU and GPU
In charge of the new iPad is a revised combo CPU/GPU chip, the A5X system on a chip (SoC). This has the same dual-core ARM processor on main duties, while its graphics component has been doubled-up to create a quad-core display driver. Apple upset nVidia by suggesting that its new processor was up to four times faster than the best the graphics specialist could muster for Google Android tablets, in the form of their brand-new nVidia Tegra 3 solution.
But independent benchmarks are now bearing out the claim for the PowerVR SGX543MP4 processor. In raw speed, it's about twice the power of the iPad 2, and four times a Tegra 3. But by the time it's tasked with pushing 3.1 million pixels around, it's back to the same over-achieving potential as an iPad 2.
The overall processor performance of the new iPad is in effect the same as the iPad 2, albeit spruced a little by the doubling of memory to 1GB.
New iPad review: Warm front. Or rear?
Compared to the always-cool iPad 2, the new iPad runs warmer to the touch. It's most evident when working the pad hard, such as when playing action games, and you may feel it approaching body heat on its rear aluminium case. We noted most of the warmth coming from the lower left corner, when held in portrait orientation, which roughly corresponds to the position of the Apple A5X SoC within.
New iPad review: Welcome surprise and final thoughts
When the iPad launched just two years ago, most of the apps available were initially hand-me-downs from the iPhone, and would sit lonely in the centre of a black screen. You could scale them up using the handy 2x button, but this would simply render them as fuzzy magnifications of the 320 x 480 pixel original. With 2012's revision, the Retina-enabled iPad now shows them in a much more convincing way, driven through the quad-core graphics engine. They're not quite ‘retina' in detail but it does makes older iPhone-only apps on the new iPad almost indistinguishable from iPad native ones.
Much about iPad 3 is the same as iPad 2, including pricing across each of six models (twelve if you include black/white options). If you're wondering What size iPad should I get? do bear in mind that many apps have swelled in size with the Retina upgrade, and if you shot photos and HD video from its cameras, you'll need plenty of storage space.
We would suggest that 32GB is now the minimum size iPad that will comfortably allow you to store a useful set of apps, plus your photos and some video and music.
At just £399 for the entry model, Apple must have taken a hit on its profit margin, to the benefit of the consumer. If the iPad 2 had had any serious competition from even the big-name Android pretenders, iPad 2012 has just buried it.
Apple iPad: Specs
- 1GHz Apple A5X dual-core processor (ARM Cortex A9 dual-core with SGX543MP4 quad-core graphics)
- 9.7in (2048 x 1536 pixel) IPS display with capacitive multi-touch
- 16GB, 32GB or 64GB NAND flash storage
- dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- option for 3G/4G LTE modem: LTE 700MHz and 200MHz, UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA 850MHz,900MHz, 1800MHz and 1900MHz, microSIM card tray, assisted GPS
- 5Mp iSight camera (rear-facing), capable of 1920 x 1080p video
- 0.3Mp FaceTime camera (front-facing)
- 3.5mm headset jack
- 30-pin dock connector
- mono speaker
- 10W USB power adaptor
- 42.5Wh lithium-polymer battery
- 241 x 186 x 9.5mm
- 652g (667g inc 4G)