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Apple's iPad 3, Part 1: The Complete Retina Display And A5X Review

Apple's iPad 3, Part 1: The Complete Retina Display And A5X Review
By , Alan Dang

Apple's third-generation iPad hit the market last week, and we're impressed. Sporting a new 9.7" Retina display, the iPad 3 sports the most gorgeous display that we've seen on a tablet. Join us for the first part of our iPad 3 coverage.

On Friday, most people in the world awoke and went about their normal routines. But a fevered few—the truly hardcore believers—instead abandoned their plans, rescheduled meetings, skipped classes, called-in sick, and joined the mad rush to buy the new iPad 3. Was it worth the trouble? Well, that depends on who you ask. The iPad 3 is a near duplicate in looks and size of its predecessor (which is why Gizmodo was able to fool a few into believing an iPad 2 was an iPad 3), causing some to question the hype. Yet, for those who really know what they're shopping for, the iPad 3 delivers.

The iPad 3 is slightly heavier than its predecessor. On our shipping scale, the actual weight comes out to 660 grams, or 1.45 lb. That's 10% heavier than the iPad 2 3G (600 grams/1.31 lb.), reminding us that holding the original iPad became tiresome after a few hours. We're not pleased with the added weight, but examining this device's physical attributes will have to wait for a more in-depth review to follow.

Apple iPad 3: Features Explained

In the meantime, let's cut the lights and roll the highlight reel. The video above sums up everything. Unveiled by Apple a couple of weeks back, the iPad 3 has four key selling points over the iPad 2:

  • A new "HD" Retina Display
  • Improved graphics performance
  • 5 MP rear camera
  • 4G LTE mobile broadband networking


Personally, the relatively low screen resolution of previous tablets has always been a bit of a turn-off. However, the iPad 3 display is the exact opposite, delivering a whopping 2048x1536 resolution and 264 pixels per inch on the same 9.7" screen as before. The result: an exceptionally crisp display, particularly well-suited for viewing pictures and watching movies. The display is unquestionably superior—but how much so? Let's dig deeper.

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  • -3 Hide
    theconsolegamer , 19 March 2012 13:01
    Gaming in a 2500x1440 panel @ 1280x720 resolution..... Genius!

    Watching movies in a 2500x1440 panel @ 1920x1080..... Revolutionary!

    Bragging about a 2500x1440 panel that won't be really used..... Priceless!
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 20 March 2012 07:53
    Got to have the hardware before the software makers will design for it. Also, hopefully this will push Android and W8 tablets to push up their resolutions. Maybe even desktop monitors!
  • 0 Hide
    testerguy , 20 March 2012 19:15
    theconsolegamerHaving the choice to game in a 2048x1536 panel @ 1024x768 resolution..... with 4x the FPS of the fastest equivalent Android tablet. Genius! As well as having the ability to game at the highest resolution on any tablet ever created.

    Watching movies in a 2048x1536 panel @ 1920x1080..... necessary if you want to have the appropriate format for portrait use which is the majority of the time. !

    Bragging about a 2048x1536 panel that won't be really used..... except for everything including web browsing, photo editing, emails, recording videos, gaming, and every single app which comes out which is designed specifically for that resolution, Priceless!
  • 0 Hide
    techpops , 1 April 2012 07:09
    Brilliant article. Finally I get some real details. After spending so much on a PC upgrade recently, I'm not in a position to spend on an ipad3 but eventually I'll get around to it if there isn't a suitable alternative by then with equally high resolution.

    What I'd like to know, not having owned an ios device before is how satisfying is it to use an ipad3 as a device for managing and reading all your comics, technical manuals, magazines and books in a variety of different formats. All my magazine are in PDF format but books are mostly mobi, comics in a variety of formats. How well does ipad support all these formats?

    Really for many years now I've wanted a tablet like device that would allow me to read my huge collections of comics and PDF's in a resolution high enough to do them justice. This is the first device that seems to fit that dream spec at least in terms of hardware but just how much fun is it living in the Apple universe managing all your content? Under Windows I have such a great time accessing anything with the written word in it . With Directory Opus I've been able to create libraries of my stuff that's instantly searchable, looks beautiful with huge thumbnails of everything and is all arranged in sensible hierarchies of folders so I can jump straight to main categories of stuff I want. How does ipad compare here and if it's lacking with file management, is that something that can get better once you jail break the device?

    Finally I'm really curious how well ipad handles accessing data beyond the memory of what's built into the ipad itself. My comics collection is 50gb alone so it's not like I'd be able to copy everything onto the ipad locally. Can it deal with stuff on a network? I'd be buying into the cheaper lower memory ipad as the premium on the higher memory models seems absurd. I'd much rather use cheap memory cards and usb sticks for storage.