Review: iPad (2012), it's all about the pixels

The iPad is a device that defined a market. Sure there were competitors out long before the iPad ever arrived - but none were able to do what Apple did with this device. The differences between iPad 1 and iPad 2 were notable with a redesign, addition of a camera, and a faster processor but the differences between the iPad 2 and the new iPad 3 are a bit more subtle to the untrained eye as the devices appear identical in nearly every way.

But just because they look similar does not mean that the new iPad is not a worthy successor to the iPad 2, far from it. What you get with the new iPad is a Retina display, a faster GPU, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, an improved camera and the same battery life as the previous model.

While the design is similar there are some notable differences. First and foremost is that the new iPad is a bit thicker at .37 inches vs.  .34 inches on the iPad 2 which is hardly noticeable but what you can discern between the two is the weight. The new iPad hits the scale at 1.44 lbs vs. 1.33lbs, which you can feel when holding the two at the same time. Other distinguishing notations include that the LTE model has a SIM slot on the side whereas the iPad 2 (3G model on Verizon) does not.

The iPad has a new display packing 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi) which is a substantial bump over the iPad 2 which came in at 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi). The goal for Apple was surely to keep the buttery smooth performance you expect from Cupertino at this higher resolution and that requires more hardware under the hood. Apple opted to put the A5X inside the iPad and I can conclude that it was an adequate choice, as when I was using the device it felt competent and never hesitated.

Additionally, Apple included more RAM with the iPad and all of the internals work in harmony as the performance of the tablet was exactly what you would expect from Apple; a finely tuned symphony between the hardware and software.

But the selling point of this device is not its CPU, RAM, camera, none of that compares to the one shining, stunning, and simply remarkable screen. For us nerds tech enthusiasts, the Retina display on the iPad is a fine wine, it is the 100 year old single barrel scotch you save for celebrations, the fine flatware you only bring out on special occasions, it is simply the best display I have ever seen on any device ever.

The best example I can give when looking at the iPad 2 and the new iPad is that it is like looking at SD and HD side-by-side. It is hard to explain how incredible the screen is but at reading length, you can not distinguish a single pixel and what this gives you is flawless text rendering at any size, rich colors and a viewing experience second to none.  While I could go on and on about how I love the display, there are other features to tackle.

The next feature that Apple updated was the camera, which we must be honest about, a camera on a tablet is useless. Ok, lets refine that, the camera on the back of the device is a bit pointless as taking a picture with the tablet is awkward, makes you look like a goof and typically your cellphone has a superior camera (such as the iPhone 4S camera at 8MP). But, if you do use the camera for capturing life’s moments know that the iPad’s camera is the best out there for a tablet, but still is well below that of the iPhone and a stand-alone camera.  Images were captured quickly, a tad warm in nature but overall respectable for the tablet.

 New iPad on top / iPad 2 on bottom

The front facing camera is the same from the iPad 2 and will make those FaceTime calls competently but that is about the extent of usefulness for that feature.

Lets talk about the connectivity on the new iPad as it comes with an impressive array of options. The Verizon unit we got to play with had 4G running and not that crap that AT&T calls 4G but true LTE. Along with LTE (700 MHz) there is CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), WI-FI A/B/G/N, and Bluetooth 4.0 which is an incredible amount of options for this type of device; Apple literally crammed the kitchen sink in to the iPad.

If you are wondering how fast LTE is on the iPad for Verizon, I averaged 18 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up but we should note that other devices besides the iPad have 4G connectivity with similar speeds so this is not exclusive to Apple by any means.

I only had a limited time to hang out with the iPad 3 before it launches on the 16th so we could not put the battery through the ringer but from looking at others who have had a chance to play with it for an extended period of time 10 hrs for WI-FI and 9 hrs for LTE models seems to be the sweet spot.

Overall, when using the device I was left feeling modestly impressed with Apple’s ability to keep the same level of performance when navigating through games and webpages as it did with the iPad 2 despite having a much higher resolution. What Apple has done with the new iPad is deliver the Apple experience on a higher quality display.

There is not really much to fault other than two small items, upgrading from the iPad 2 is a tough pill to swallow and the fact that it still has mono output from the one speaker. I love the new display, it is simply phenomenal while the differences between the new iPad and the iPad 2 are noticeable, quality updates, for the average user, the differences are not worth the expense.

What it comes down to is if you are in the market for a tablet or simply upgrading from anything other than the iPad 2, the new iPad is the top of the game right now and there should be no reservations about purchasing any of the models Apple offers.

Special thanks to our friends at Verizon for lettings us get a hands on a bit early with their version of the iPad!

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DomZ said,

Samsung manufacture it yet, but did they design it? If they did, why haven't one of their tablets got this in?

Because people hear Retina display and they think it is the best thing ever created. They don't realize that Retina is not made by Apple. They don't realize what Super Amoled Plus is. They don't know what Nova display is. Those are the true Apple sheep.

The battery life can be doubled or tripled if they adopt the battery technology that the RazrMaxx has but then you are going to double if not triple the price. I'm still waiting on the damn Maxx to come down more in price before getting one and thinking about a tablet for the wife to get her off this old laptop.

sava700 said,
The battery life can be doubled or tripled if they adopt the battery technology that the RazrMaxx has but then you are going to double if not triple the price. I'm still waiting on the damn Maxx to come down more in price before getting one and thinking about a tablet for the wife to get her off this old laptop.

LOL. Thats why there are plenty of UHD panels in android tablets out there...
As always, late in the game. No one cares about the second player. Big wins will be always for the first one.
Everyone is losing money on tablets except the best...
and i still dont have one. Need to remediate it

You know what I find funny here, my lengthy comment on correcting this author's mistake was deleted. Not by me but by someone else. This article was filled with some misinformation and my comment actually helped someone choose the AT&T version over the Verizon version because this author didn't do his homework.

Interesting. Just wanted to point it out.

UndergroundWire said,
You know what I find funny here, my lengthy comment on correcting this author's mistake was deleted. Not by me but by someone else. This article was filled with some misinformation and my comment actually helped someone choose the AT&T version over the Verizon version because this author didn't do his homework.

Interesting. Just wanted to point it out.


Yea, I saw that. Atleast the CPU information was corrected.

Maybe you should apply for a news "vetting" job at Neowin? I'm sure I've seen you correct things before. I certainly think Neowin could do with someone dedicated to fact checking - incorrect information is posted a bit too much on here.

ShMaunder said,

Yea, I saw that. Atleast the CPU information was corrected.

Maybe you should apply for a news "vetting" job at Neowin? I'm sure I've seen you correct things before. I certainly think Neowin could do with someone dedicated to fact checking - incorrect information is posted a bit too much on here.

It's not the first time my fact checks have been removed. The staff at Neowin does not like me. They even specifically told me in a PM (no lie). But I'm glad somebody noticed it was removed for no good reason.

UndergroundWire said,

It's not the first time my fact checks have been removed. The staff at Neowin does not like me. They even specifically told me in a PM (no lie). But I'm glad somebody noticed it was removed for no good reason.

In future I suggest you use the report feature to highlight incorrect facts rather than posting it in the comments section. You'll find that's why it was deleted

Scorpus said,

In future I suggest you use the report feature to highlight incorrect facts rather than posting it in the comments section. You'll find that's why it was deleted

Yes, most of the time it is mine. But hey if you really want to make the so-called experience better, here is a suggestion, "DELETE THE FUD". Anybody with half a brain would prefer facts to stay over FUD. But this is your rodeo and you guys seem to make up the rules as you go. The article is still incorrect so leaving the comment would have been the smarter thing to do as you can see it CLEARLY helped someone out. But this is your show and I just wanted to bring my point across. Let me guess, your going to delete this?

Gaara sama said,
same thing no different , what a joke, so u think im going to pay more money just cuz the have better Pixel? Yeah Right

The strange thing is.. it's not 'the same', is it. Similar? certainly.

This comment list highlights everything bad about Neowin.

How utterly embarassing. I'm not going to make comment on android, iOs or Windows because its not really important - this page reflects badly on everyone.

For anyone to say that cramming better resolution into a screen is useless really needs to understand what the resolution does for the device, usage patterns, how better things look.

If resolution on the small screen is not important or useless, why have all manufacturers steadily increased the resolution year on year. That's almost like making the argument of sticking with the old-style cellular displays from 10 years ago.

The fact is a bigger resolution makes for a better viewing experience, it's almost like SD versus HD. Side-by-side you can see that text is instantly clearer and sharper making it much easier on the eyes to read. Pictures show up in more detail etc etc

It's almost like people don't appreciate technology any more and have just come to accept something spectacular all the time rather than improvements on a working model. If it's that easy to do and not such impressive feat to cram all that in pretty much the same form factor the question remains why have has no one else done it?

The typical fleaBay/craigslist scalpers are out in full force. Local Craigslist here already showing people trying to offload 16GB Wi-Fi units for $650!! After tax here, it's only $537.49... *sigh*

I expect most people here understand the difference between 720P and 1080P? What about LED Backlighting? What about 100 Hz V's 120 Hz, these specs are all things you can appreciate and I expect you take these things into account when buying a TV and get the best specs you can afford?

How can you say then that quadrupling the number of pixels on the new iPad dont matter or is worthless?

With the latest iPad Apple are giving you a 4x much better display at the same cost as the previous iPad.

For those saying you cant/wont notice the difference with retina are in complete denial... spent a few hours on the new ipad last night then jumped back on my 2010 macbook pro, the screen looked pixelated and washed out. It took a while for my eyes to re-adjust.

The macbook pro is one of the best laptop displays i have had the pleasure of viewing, i work with a lot of laptops and nothing comes close... but now, compared to the new ipad it looks like crap.

we need some sort of retina display for macbooks now.

What an awesome review!

Very nice comparisons with iPad2, and I really like the metro-like verdict bit at the bottom too.

I got an iPad2 today so I won't be getting iPad3, but I will consider the next one, or maybe I'll get the 3 if the price drops significantly.

I see the Apple fanboys trying to justify the money they paid for the new versionless iPad. Fact is, you do not need that kind of resolution on such a tiny screen. Your being ignorant if you can't understand that. I have even read posts by people who have both and say you can't see any difference. It's just stupid reviews like this that post microscopic closeups in order for you to see anything.

But then again, Apple fanboys don't even know what a real computer is either.

jd100 said,
I see the Apple fanboys trying to justify the money they paid for the new versionless iPad. Fact is, you do not need that kind of resolution on such a tiny screen. Your being ignorant if you can't understand that. I have even read posts by people who have both and say you can't see any difference. It's just stupid reviews like this that post microscopic closeups in order for you to see anything.

But then again, Apple fanboys don't even know what a real computer is either.

What are you talking about screen resolution doesn't matter? Compare the original iphone to the iphone 4 and tell me you cant see leaps and bounds worth of improvement. Even if most of it is pixel density there isn't an android phone on the market that comes close to the iphone. Its that simple.

Apple have done something good here, this will push all other tablet makers to compete resolution wise. 99% of pc monitors can't even reach that resolution.

jd100 said,
I see the Apple fanboys trying to justify the money they paid for the new versionless iPad. Fact is, you do not need that kind of resolution on such a tiny screen. Your being ignorant if you can't understand that. I have even read posts by people who have both and say you can't see any difference. It's just stupid reviews like this that post microscopic closeups in order for you to see anything.

But then again, Apple fanboys don't even know what a real computer is either.

who said they can't see the difference? they must have poor eye sight because the new retina display is unbelievably crisp.

Apple fans don't need to justify it they can spend their hard earned cash on anything they want.

Two Articles about not being able to tell the difference:
http://www.businessinsider.com...-normal-people-think-2012-3

http://thenextweb.com/apple/20...ew-ipad-ipad-2/?%2BiPad%2B2


A video of people not being able to tell the difference between the two iPads(which speaks for itself).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...amp;feature=player_embedded


The new iPad apparently has a yellowish tint to it (most likely due to the added pixels):
https://discussions.apple.com/...10949?start=90&tstart=0

But of course the die-hard fanboys will just ignore this. Its truly sickening how ignorant they are.

jd100 said,
Two Articles about not being able to tell the difference:
http://www.businessinsider.com...-normal-people-think-2012-3

http://thenextweb.com/apple/20...ew-ipad-ipad-2/?%2BiPad%2B2


A video of people not being able to tell the difference between the two iPads(which speaks for itself).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...amp;feature=player_embedded


The new iPad apparently has a yellowish tint to it (most likely due to the added pixels):
https://discussions.apple.com/...10949?start=90&tstart=0

But of course the die-hard fanboys will just ignore this. Its truly sickening how ignorant they are.

They must have poor eyesight or something or not really know what they are actually looking for, i am a big Apple fan but if the screen was rubbish i would be the first to say it...

The new display is unbelievably crisp, colours are more vibrant, it's brighter on a whole and the sharpness of text even really small text is stunning... anyone who definitely can not see it, i'm sorry to say should get their eyes checked.. why would Apple release a product with biggest selling point as Retina Display if it was absolutely no different to the previous product?

But of course the anti-apple tribe will just ignore this. Its truly sickening how ignorant they are.

I'm wondering have you seen it with your own eyes and forming your own opinion here? or are you one of those, it's on derr interweb so it must be twue?

First things first, do we all know exactly what retina display is? You do know that is not just the resolution was made higher and the PPI is more dense. So let me educate you just a little bit here.

The iPhone is a retina display at about 10.5" away from your eyes with 20/20 vision.
The new iPad is retina display at about 13" away from your eyes with 20/20 vision.

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab...-retina-display-comparison/
http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=20384

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