tablets

Apple iPad (Gen 3) Tablet Review

The new iPad is here, with an incredible screen.

March 16, 2012
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Controls

Because most of the controls for the Apple iPad (3rd Gen.) are accessed through the capacitive touchscreen, there are very few physical controls at all. To wit, only the home button, power button, and volume button survived the great controls through the user interface. So far, not much has changed from the iPad 2 with iOS 5, as the software is virtually identical. For a full write-up of the iOS 5 operating system, including screenshots and walkthroughs, visit our iOS 5 Explored page.

One of the other major draws to the iPad is the fact that you can stream and display content on your home television using Apple's AirPlay system. While it's no IR-blaster to control your home theater setup completely, it does allow you to use your iPad as a media source for your setup at home. Once you've opened the app and discovered your device, you can mirror your content on your TV, play back video, music, or pictures, or just use your screen as you would a computer monitor. It's roughly another $100 via a separate purchase of the AppleTV unit, but it's an item to consider.

Connectivity

The new iPad has some serious wireless capability that merits a second look no matter what tablet you're looking to pick up. Even the WiFi "only" version has an 802.11n wireless card, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, allowing high-speed data transfer and peripheral use. While it has no IR blaster, or anything fancy like that, you can control your TV via an AirPlay device if you're willing to shell out for it.

If you are willing to shell out a little extra cash, you can also get a 4G LTE version of the new iPad, allowing you to roam free from WiFi hotspots. While we do not do speed tests on networks, much of the downloadable content isn't huge, so you should be fine if you have a good connection.

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Battery Life

Well, we finally finished our battery tests, and the results are extremely underwhelming. While we believe that there's the high probability that the screen brightness plays a factor in this one, the new iPad lags behind the competition, and even its previous iteration, the iPad 2. It would be one thing if the performance was able to offset the cost in worse battery life, but not only did the iPad fall behind in battery life with all additional processes terminated and the backlight cranked, but it did so with the WiFi and location services turned off.

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Considering the size and weight of the battery, it's a little baffling that it can't quite defeat the competing Android tablets in battery life, especially considering that they outperform the new iPad in terms of screen brightness by a large margin, many times exceeding 100 cd/m2. Perhaps in time Apple will release a software upgrade that will help the new iPad with resource management, but this score is just bad considering the iPad's former throne as "best on the market." On top of all this, the battery itself takes far longer to charge than most tablets, often taking 5+ hours to charge completely.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Screen
  4. Battery & Controls
  5. eReader
  6. Music & Audio
  7. Movies & Video
  8. Email & Web Browsing
  9. Internet Apps
  10. Apple iPad 2 Wi-fi & 3G / AT&T / 16 GB Comparison
  11. Motorola Xyboard Comparison
  12. Amazon Kindle Fire Comparison
  13. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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