The New iPad (3rd Generation) – I Can See Clearly Now

4.5 Overall Score
Usability: 4.5/5
Design: 5/5
Duration: 4.5/5

Retina display is worth price | Improves most essential aspect of device | Usable camera shots

Same screen glare problems | Runs warm | Takes awhile to recharge | Next iPad coming March 2013

After months of speculation, the new iPad has finally arrived, and it it’s pretty much as expected. The real question is, if it’s worth the cost either for first time buyers, or upgrades from existing iPads. The answer comes in the form of each and every new feature beginning with the retina display. A lot has been said about the new iPad screen with more superlatives than you could possibly imagine. All the terms are true whether it’s beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, mesmerizing, etc, but ultimately it’s a subtle change that still provides a night and day difference.

As soon as you take a gander at the new iPad screen, you get to see how sharp the home screen is. Then you open each stock app, and see all of the beauty, and finally get to launch third party apps that have been optimized for the retina display. Whether it’s a news app full of text, a game full of 3D objects, a photo app with high resolution, or video with 1080P, it’s all such a treat. Every time I turn on the screen, I expect to get used to the clarity, but each time I spend a bit of time just to enjoy how fine everything looks.

The more you’ve used an existing iPad, or computer screen, the more you will appreciate the retina display on the iPad. Any and all pixels are gone, so that you can fully enjoy what’s on screen. The biggest difference is seen in the text in Safari, Mail, iBooks, and news apps. Still though, the videos in the ABC app and from iTunes, the flowing sequences in Real Racing 2 & Infinity Blade 2, and the photos in iPhoto are immersive as possible on a digital screen.

We’re focusing on the screen, simply because it’s the single most important component on the iPad. You can’t do anything with the device without directly viewing and interacting with the screen, and that’s why the retina upgrade is such a big deal. It’s even finer than I thought possible, and everyone should really enjoy it. That’s not all the new iPad offers, as it also includes an enhanced real camera for much improved photos and videos that are actually usable. It looks great on the screen as you’re recording, and the find shots are worth using as you edit in iPhoto, iMovie, or other editing program.

The new A5X chip is all about allowing the iPad to render four times as many pixels just as smoothly as the iPad 2, and it does its job perfectly. We didn’t get the 4G LTE model, but from our other tests, if there is LTE coverage in your area, it’s a great thing to have. The non-optimized iPad apps are good, but you can definitely notice that everything is fuzzy around the edges, and you don’t want those apps gumming up your screen. Developers are really adopting the iPad retina screen feverishly, and many apps aren’t that much bigger. There’s been other reviews that talk about a lack of an SD card slot, USB port, and HDMI connector, but all three items have wireless options with Eye-Fi SD cards, GoFlex Satellite hard drive, and Apple TV AirPlay Mirroring. Apple cares more about thinness and wireless, just like the lack of an optical drive on the MacBook Air.

The new iPad is a worthy upgrade for all iPad users, and is a great place to start for new iPad buyers. The $100 difference between the iPad 2 and new iPad is well worth it as the retina display on the new iPad is easily worth the difference, and super future proof. If you have an iPad 2, it’s the second best tablet on the market, but the retina display is that big of a difference. If you think you’re good with the iPad 2, don’t go to the Apple Store, and look at the new iPad, or you will be converted.

The new iPad ($499 & Up) by itself is a must buy simply, because the screen is the most important part of any tablet, and the retina screen makes everything gorgeous and makes the iPad more inviting to use over other screens, and even physical items.

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