The embargo has been lifted on reviews for the new iPad, and the consensus seems to be pretty consistent: it’s a hit. The display is worlds better than last year’s model, the processor, while maintaining its A5 roots, makes the OS that much more responsive. And the LTE speeds, though only tested in the US so far, seem to be consistently high: upwards of 40Mbps down and 20Mbps up. With a theoretical maximum of 73Mbps, they’re universally impressive.
And what about battery life? Apple wasn’t lying when they said the new iPad would easily achieve 9 hours on a single charge. Read on for a full summary of some of the biggest reviewers’ thoughts.
Joshua Topolsky of The Verge: “This display is outrageous. It’s stunning. It’s incredible. I’m not being hyperbolic or exaggerative when I say it is easily the most beautiful computer display I have ever looked at.”
MG Siegler of Techcrunch: “Web pages look almost as if they’re being displayed in a high-quality glossy magazine. Photos look like photos — the printed out kind. Text is razor sharp and crisp, just like print.
Walt Mossberg of WSJ: “Using the new display is like getting a new eyeglasses prescription—you suddenly realize what you thought looked sharp before wasn’t nearly as sharp as it could be.”
Jason Snell of MacWorld: “Sure enough, the third-generation iPad blows away every other iOS device in terms of graphics performance. In our tests using the GLBench 3D graphics testing app, the third-generation iPad could draw a complex 3D scene at the full frame rate of its display, 60 frames per second, without breaking a sweat.
MG Siegler: “And the boosted graphics should also lead to some major advances in iPad gaming. Apple showed off a few demos during their keynote last week, but sadly, those games are not yet available. The new iPad also reportedly comes with double the RAM (1GB versus 512MB), Apple never gives out that spec, but tear-downs don’t lie. Again, I haven’t noticed too big of a bump from this, but it’s the early days and apps aren’t yet optimized for the new device.”
Josh Topolsky: “What I can say most clearly about the iPad (and frankly, the version before this) is that there’s a certain kind of confidence, of fearlessness, with which it executes tasks. With many modern mobile devices, there’s this constant, nagging sensation that it’s going to jam up, freeze, or otherwise not respond to your commands. That sensation is nowhere to be found on the new iPad — and it’s a relief.”
Josh Topolsky: “In terms of raw speeds, I saw downloads hit more than 22Mbps, while upstream data topped out around an outrageous 21Mbps — and that was in mid-town Manhattan.
Jason Snell: “While riding through the city, I was able to get speeds that were roughly as fast as my office Wi-Fi. When I turned off LTE (there’s an “Enable LTE” option in the Cellular Data section of Settings), the iPad fell back to AT&T’s “4G” HSPA+ network, and speeds dropped precipitously.”
MG Siegler: “Yesterday, I clocked the new iPad using LTE at over 40 mbps down and 20 up on Verizon’s network. That’s about twice as fast as my current home cable broadband. For good measure, I tethered the new iPad to my iPhone 4S to compare it to Verizon’s 3G speeds. It’s about 40x faster for downloading.
MG Siegler: “Apple included a much, much, much better 5 megapixel five-element lens. It has a ƒ/2.4 aperture and a hybrid infrared filter. I honestly don’t know what half of that stuff means, all I care about is the fact that the images from the new iPad look very good now.”
David Phelan of Pocket-lint.com: “The camera on the new iPad is a big improvement over last year’s iPad 2, where the resolution of the video-optimised camera was under 1 megapixel. Although the new model is 5MP, not the 8MP you’ll find on the iPhone 4S, it’s pretty good. Not least this is because of the lens structure, the f/2.4 aperture and the backside illuminated sensor.”
Josh Topolsky: “If you absolutely must use the camera on the back of the new iPad, it will actually produce pretty favorable results. The auto-focus and face detection work excellently here.”
Jason Snell: “I can get through an entire day using my iPad and I don’t run out of juice. I suspect that this new battery will take longer to charge than previous models, though—so prepare for an overnight recharge in order to completely juice up your battery.”
MG Siegler: “In using it, I’ve found this to be the case. LTE may drain the battery a bit quicker than 3G did, but it’s not noticeably worse. Battery life overall is still excellent.”
Josh Topolsky: “I can say that the device pretty much lives up to Apple’s ambitious claims. The company claims you should get 10 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi and 9 on LTE. On Wi-Fi I nabbed almost exactly 9 hours of constant browsing, and on LTE, my number was closer to 8 hours and 15 minutes.”
Josh Topolsky: “The iPad continues to stand head and shoulders above the competition. With the addition of the Retina display, LTE, more memory, and a more powerful CPU, Apple has absolutely held onto the iPad’s market position as the dominant player and product to beat.”
MG Siegler: “Technology is amazing, and this new iPad is amazing. Also amazing: the only company competing with Apple right now in this particular space is Apple.”
Jason Snell: The new iPad is just that: The iPad, updated for a new year and millions of new iPad users. It’s not smaller or lighter, but it’s got a remarkable screen, a much better rear camera, and support for cellular networking that can run at Wi-Fi speeds. It’s the iPad that millions of people have embraced, only one year better. Users of the iPad 2 shouldn’t fret: Their iPad investment is certainly good for another year. But they might not want to look too closely at the new iPad’s screen. Once you get a load of that Retina display, it’s hard to go back to anything else.”
As you can see, everyone really likes the new iPad. If you have an iPad 2, you probably aren’t missing much in way of overall experience, but if the Retina Display, LTE connectivity and/or improved graphics speeds intrigue you, to upgrade is really a no-brainer.