The third-generation iPad doesn’t hit Apple Store shelves until Friday at 8 a.m. local time — but a number of early reviews are already hitting the web.
Bottom line? Reviewers adore the new Retina Display, even if its pixel density isn’t quite as great as that in the iPhone 4S. The battery life slightly underperforms that of the iPad 2, but only by a matter of minutes — a considerable achievement when you think about all the extra 4G and Retina Display technology, as well as the new graphics chip.
Other downsides: The back of the device appears to get hotter than its predecessor, which in turn got noticeably hotter than the original iPad. We suppose this is inevitable given all the extra processing going on, but it is a worrying trend. And some benchmark tests found the new iPad to be slightly slower at the basics — such as loading web pages than its predecessor.
Here are some choice quotes from other early reviewers:
All Things Digital: “The new iPad logged 9 hours and 58 minutes, compared with 10 hours and 9 minutes for the iPad 2 … 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.”
Macworld: “The first time I picked up the third-generation iPad, I could tell that it was heavier … Buyers will love the Retina display, but the fact is that the iPad 2′s screen was also excellent. It may be that there just isn’t quite as dramatic a contrast between the two screens as there was between the pre- and post-Retina iPhones two years ago. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by my iPhone’s Retina display, or maybe the iPad 2’s display is really that good.”
Slashgear: “Steve Jobs would have approved of the new iPad. With its focus on the holistic experience rather than individual boasts around its constituent parts, it’s the epitome of the Post-PC world the Apple founder envisaged. No lag or delay; no frustrating cloud settings or arcane minimum software requirements. Simply pick up, swipe, and you’re immersed in a joined-up ecosystem.”
Pocket Lint: “To squeeze in this many pixels could easily have resulted in image noise, crosstalk or any number of visual artefacts, but Apple has pulled it off. Not once have we seen the display look blurry or anything less than stable and pin-sharp … Let’s note, this is an expensive component. It’s hard to believe that rival tablet makers will be able to match, let alone undercut, Apple’s prices.”
The Verge: “Minor gripes aside, the iPad remains best in breed when it comes to design and materials. Other tablets may have more ports or larger screens, but few can match the elegance, sleekness, or solidness of this device … The new iPad is the most functional, usable, and beautiful tablet that any company has ever produced.”
TechCrunch: “You know when you go in for an eye exam and you’re asked to look at a combination of letters and numbers on a chart against a far wall? You read the first few lines, then realize you actually can’t go any further. Then you get prescribed glasses (or contacts) and you can all of a sudden read every letter and number … that’s what it’s like looking at the new iPad versus the older iPads.”
Do you plan to get a third-generation iPad? If you’re considering upgrading from an iPad 2, is the retina display enough to make you open your wallet again? Let us know in the comments.
Photos on the New iPad
Images show up sharp and clear on the iPad's new Retina Display.