by Brian Booher
After over two weeks of using “the new iPad”, or iPad 3rd generation or iPad 3, I feel I am ready to make a detailed review of the device. To make it easier for both you the reader and me the writer, I will be calling it the “iPad 3”.
I’m sure you have read lots of iPad reviews since it came out on March 16, but the early reviews are mainly done by journalists who get early access and write positive reviews in order to get these things to sell. My review will point out the good, the bad, and the ugly of the iPad 3. I bought this device at Best Buy. I am not under any rules to make this device look good. I call it as I see it.
So it’s time to get to the good stuff, my review of the iPad 3. I am going in depth in the pros and cons of this device. This is my first iPad that I have bought, so I have no major experience with the previous models.
1. It’s the iPad!
Let’s face it, many people will buy this device because of the name alone. Since Apple makes some great hardware with awesome software, some people will buy it without question. It’s the new iPad, go buy one. Enough said.
2. Retina display
The iPad 3 now has the popular “retina display” that has been on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and the 4th gen iPod touch. The resolution of the screen is 2048 by 1536. As mentioned in the Apple Keynote speech, the resolution is bigger than the resolution of a 1080p television.
This has been designated by Apple as a major selling point. I for one thing do not see it as a really big deal. It looks nice and crisp, but the feeling of how good it looks will wear away. Some people will drop all other devices over this display, but I won’t because all the other screens look just as good even without the retina display.
3. 4G capable (US and Canada compatible)
As with the previous iPad models, this new version has the ability to connect to a cellphone network to be able to use the Internet on the go. The major difference this time is that it contains the chips needed to run on either Verizon or AT&T LTE(Long Term Evolution) networks.
4. 5MP camera
The iPad 3 comes with a 5MP camera in the back this time. The same kind of technology that went into the iPhone 4S camera is being applied. However, there is no flash for the camera, so taking pictures in the dark will be difficult.
It also has the capability to record video at 1080p. This will be nice as you can then display those videos on an HDTV.
The iPad 3 has a new A5X processor with dual core processing and quad core graphics processing. While it does have dual core as with the iPad 2, the graphics processor has 4 cores which is to allow for faster gameplay and better video playback. Since this is my first iPad, I can’t compare the power against the older models. That is something you will have to determine yourself.
1. It’s expensive!
This has good news and bad news. The good news is that the price remains the same starting at $500. The bad news is that it starts at $500. Add on an additional $129 to the price if you want to get the 4G models. Apple will still sell the 16GB iPad 2 for $400. So if you’re not too worried about the retina display or the better processor, go for the cheaper version.
2. Size and weight
This is more of a minor inconvenience to some people who own or have owned the iPad 2. The difference in weight between the iPad 2 and the iPad 3 is a whopping .11 oz. or 51 g. The size, mainly for the depth from front to back, is a huge 0.03 inches or 0.6mm. This can have an effect on some of the accessories, but it should be minor. I don’t see this as being a huge issue, though with some super Apple fanboys, it can seem like the end of the world.
3. It looks the same as iPad 2
If you compare the iPad 2 and the iPad 3 together with the screen turned off, you will most likely not see any difference. The screen size is the same and it still has the 30 pin dock connector port at the bottom, home button, volume buttons, screen lock/mute switch, and power button.
4. 4G LTE versions are only compatible with US and Canada carriers
There has been press recently about Australia filing lawsuit against Apple for selling the 4G iPad 3 models when then radios are incompatible in that country. It appears that the 4G LTE antennas are only compatible with AT&T and Verizon in the Unites States and Telus, Bell, and Rogers in Canada. Everywhere else in the world, the frequencies are different, so it makes them incompatible, though they should work on the 3G networks, but Apple won’t advertise that.
5. 4G LTE models are more expensive in hardware and in cellular service
If you want to get the 4G model of the iPad 3, you will have to pay an additional $130 as well as what carrier you want to use. The costs of service is a lot more expensive too, but the nice thing is that you are not locked into a 2 year contract. The cheapest you can get with AT&T is 250MB of data for $15 while Verizon offers 1GB for $20. I think AT&T’s pricing is a joke as you can easily blow through your 250MB data cap in like a day.
Do realize that the main reason that AT&T and Verizon put these caps up is to make more money off of people who go over their limit. They are counting on you to use more data than what you pay for so they can charge you an extra $10 for each GB you use. Their excuse in saying that most people use less than 2GB is old. Times have changed fast and people are using more data, but the carriers will not want to budge as it is a goldmine for them.
6. iPad 3 apps are bigger in size to compensate for the retina display
There are many reviewers who are suggesting that people get the bigger models of the iPad 3 due to the increased size of apps in order to work with the retina display. Many of the apps have doubled in size. So if you are upgrading from the iPad 2 and had the 16GB model, you might want to get the 32GB just to compensate for the larger file sizes.
The iPad 3 is a great device. It is an incremental update on the iPad 2. The only major things are the retina display and the faster processor and the 4G antennas if you want to get that faster speed on the go.
If you have an iPad 2 already, it’s up to you if you really want to upgrade. You’ll probably be better off in the end waiting for the next iPad model next year.
Since this was my first iPad, I think this should last me for at least a couple of years, I hope. This will be a great portable computer if I don’t want to bring my laptop along to places like work. It will not replace the raw power that my PC has, but it will be convenient to have to read in bed or riding in a car.
Have fun and geek out!