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Apple iPad 3 Review ( 3rd Generation 4G+WiFi )

on April 26, 2012 – 9:57 pmNo Comment

Apple announced the new iPad on 8th March that goes on Sale in India on 27th April. The external design of the new iPad doesn’t differ from the iPad 2, but the internals have been refreshed. It has an A5x chip which comes with quad-core graphics, Retina display and a better 5MP camera with 1080p video recording. The latest and greatest tablet goes on sale in India tomorrow and here is the FoneArena review of the iPad 3rd Generation.

Box Contents

The New iPad comes with the usual box contents such as a data cable, Micro SIM Pin, AC Adapter and a user manual. The image on the front is a new one and it is the only way apart from the sticker on the bottom you can say if the device is the new iPad or an iPad 2.

Hardware

 

The New iPad comes with a 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology with 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi).

The 5 Mega pixel back camera has autofocus, video stabilization and can record videos at 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second.

The front camera is same as the iPad 2 that is capable of capturing images and record videos at 30 frames per second.

The WiFi version of the New iPad weighs 652 g, while the WiFi + 4G version is slightly heavier at 662 g. Both the WiFi and WiFi + 4G versions are 9.4 mm thick, that is about 0.6mm thicker than iPad 2.

Internals

The iPad 3rd gen packs a Dual Core A5X chipset with quad core graphics along with 1GB of RAM. The retina display display has a massive resolution of 2048×1536 pixels making it the best resolution currently in the market in terms of a mobile device. The battery is a 42.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery which is almost 2 times the size of the battery on the iPad 2. This is the reason for the slight extra weight of the iPad 3. But the new internals including demand more power and with 4G LTE ,  power consumption equations go for a toss. Apple has really done a good job in this department and the extra bulkiness is not a deal breaker at all and most welcome as they have manged to deliver 10 hours of usage over WiFi and 9 hours over 4G/3G.

Retina Display

When Apple launched the iPhone 4 almost 2 years ago with a Retina display,  most of us were not convinced if a Retina display would make a huge difference to the user experience. Guess what ? After using the iPhone 4, one couldn’t go back to the iPhone 3GS with a normal display.The same applies of the new iPad. After using the hi-res display on the iPad 3 on which all the information just stands out , it’s indeed very hard to go back to the iPad 2 with a non-retina screen.

Its very hard to describe the difference the retina display brings to the new iPad but take a look at the mail icon below. The top icon is the way its rendered on the iPad 2, look at the pixels and sharp edges. Look at the bottom icon,  you cannot see the individual pixels and edges are much smoother.

Connectivity and Data

The basic model supports just WiFi (a/b/g/n standards) and Bluetooth 4.0. The 4G+WiFi version which we are reviewing here supports 4G LTE networks only in select countries – AT&T USA is one of them.Only 4G LTE networks running on 700 MHz and 2100 MHz are supported. This means that it won’t support the newly launched Airtel 4G network in India which utilizes the 2300MHz band. Sadly all of the operators who won in the BWA auctions will operate 4G LTE in the 2300 MHz band which means that the new iPad won’t work at 4G speeds on any of them in India.

The device still supports 3G networks which utilize any of the following standards UMTS,HSPA,HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA. It supports 3G networks on the 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz bands. The new radio inside the iPad seems a lot faster than the iPad 2.We noticed the speeds we got on the same 3G network were much higher than the speeds we could achieve on the iPad 2. In areas without 3G coverage the iPad can switch to GPRS or EDGE. You cannot make phone calls or receive SMS messages on the device.

One of the best features of the new iPad is the Hotspot Functionality which is found on iPhones.You can turn your iPad into a Wifi Hotspot and connect up to 5 devices and share your 3G/4G connection. The 4G variants feature a Digital compass and Assisted GPS.

Browser

The browser is the same mobile safari which comes with iOS 5 which supports multiple tabs.Viewing web pages on the new iPad is a treat.

 

Camera

You have a 5 MP rear-facing camera capable for 1080p video recording and a front-facing VGA camera mainly for Facetime.

The Rear camera is a huge improvement over the previous iPad. Daylight performance is pretty good. But performance in low-light conditions is a tad disappointing but acceptable as there is no flash.

Video capture in 1080p is good enough for a tablet and there is video stabilization too.Auto focus and Face detection worked reasonably well.

Here are some camera samples from the rear camera

Full size pics can be found here

Multimedia

It has 3.5 mm audio jack and can play various audio formats including AAC, MP3, Audible and Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV. It also has Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound support via separate Apple Digital AV Adapter.

It supports different Video formats such as H.264 up to 1080p at 30 frames per second in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats and MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels at 30 fps in stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats.

The AirPlay Mirroring lets you mirror content to 2nd and 3rd-gen Apple TVs at 720p. It also has AirPlay video streaming at 1080p to 3rd-gen Apple TV and 720p to 2nd-gen Apple TV.

The inbuilt speaker seems a bit louder on the iPad 3rd gen compared to the previous 2 iPad versions

iOS and Apps

Apple announced the iOS 5.0 at WWDC last year that brought new features. The main feature is the notification centre to shows notifications for text messages, missed calls, calendar alerts and app alerts, when you swipe the screen from top to bottom.

The Newstand app lets you subscribe to magazines and newspapers that syncs to all iOS devices.

The inbuilt Twitter integration lets you share images to Twitter directly from Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube and Maps with a single tap.

The iMessage is integrated into the Message app that lets you share messages, photos, videos or contact information to a person or a group over Wi-fi or 3G.

You can set a reminder with the Reminder app and also manage the tasks, create a group related tasks together and also set time or location based reminders which can also viewed in iCal and Outlook.

The new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organize the photos into a album.

The Split keyboard makes it easy for you to type. Other notable features in iOS 5 are Multitasking gestures and AirPlay mirroring that lets you stream contents from your iPad to your HDTV via Apple TV.

The New iPad runs on iOS 5.1 that comes with redesigned camera app, always visible camera shortcut on lock screen and better camera face detection that highlights all detected faces.

The email client supports Google Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and AOL apart from the standard IMAP and POP. It shows grouping messages in a thread and lets you save images into the camera Roll and open PDF, iWork, or Microsoft Office files.

There are other built-in apps such as iBooks to purchase and read your favorite books. It has iCloud support that syncs your book across other iOS devices. The FaceTime app lets you call other users using your Apple ID. You switch between either camera during a call.

The Maps app gets you turn-by-turn directions to a location by car, public transit, or foot. The are different view such as map view, satellite view, or a hybrid of both.

You can get more Apps, Music, Video and Movies from the iTunes app. The iCloud feature lets you sync the apps, contacts, images, Mail, Notes and Bookmarks between devices. You can also sync video, audio and apps from the PC using the iTunes app to your iPad over WiFi.

Performance

The new iPad feels a lot faster than the previous one. Everything feels a lot zippier thanks to improved internals. The display is kick-ass and makes interacting with the screen an enjoyable experience all over again. The iPad does run a lot warmer than the iPad  2 especially when using Cellular Data or while playing graphic intensive games.iOS runs as smooth as butter on the tablet and puts other tablet based OSes to shame. The key fact here is that Apple App Store is still no.1 in terms of quality apps and there are over 100,000 apps just for the iPad. Now all of those apps don’t make use of the Retina display.But legacy apps scale pretty well to the new resolution without a lot of noise. The few apps which are compatible with the Retina display work as expected with great visual detail.

Battery Life

Due to the faster internals and 4G/LTE antenna , the iPad 3 does not long as the iPad 2 but the difference is not a deal breaker. Apple claims 10 hours over WiFi and 9 hour over 3G/4G networks. We got around 8-9 hours on WiFi and 7-8 hours on 3G which is good enough to last a day. You get the same 10W AC charger in the box and it takes quite some time to charge the iPad due to the bigger battery. You can charge via a PC/Mac as well but it will take ages. I could use the iPad 3 as a hotspot for my Macbook Air and Galaxy Nexus while I was traveling and easily got over 8 hours of usage before the device needed a charge.

Pricing

The Internal pricing of the device is $499 for the base 16GB WiFi only version and $599 and $699 for the 32GB and 64 GB versions. The 4G+WiFi model starts from $629 for the 16GB version and $729 for 32GB and $829 for the top-end 64GB model.Note these prices don’t include taxes.

Apple has announced the pricing for India and the latest iPad goes on sale tomorrow April 27th in India and several other countries. The base 16GB WiFi model of the New iPad will be available for Rs.30,500 including taxes and the base 16GB WiFi+4G Model will be available for Rs.38,900.

iPad Wi-Fi : 16GB Rs. 30500, 32GB Rs. 36500, 64GB Rs. 42500
Wi-Fi +4G : 16GB Rs. 38900, 32GB Rs. 44900, 64GB Rs. 50900

Conclusion

Must have upgrade if you are using the first gen iPad. If you own a iPad 2 , you can give it a pass unless you crave for a retina screen. If you do not have a tablet and waiting to get one, get the new iPad now , it is the best tablet money can buy ! After using the new iPad , you can’t go back to the iPad 2 !

Pros

  • Amazing Retina Display
  • Faster Dual-core Apple A5X Chip
  • Quad Core Graphics
  • 5 Megapixel Camera does great in day light
  • 1080p Video capture

Cons

  • 4G works only on AT&T or other compatible networks
  • Runs slightly warmer than the iPad 2
  • Mediocre camera performance in low light, no flash
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Varun Krish is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast and has been blogging about mobile phones since 2005. His current phones include the Nokia Lumia 1020 , Apple iPhone 5S & Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition. You can follow him on Twitter @varunkrish and on Google+ You can also mail Varun Krish