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Unboxing and hands-on with the new iPad

updated 08:30 pm EDT, Thu March 15, 2012

Electronista's first impressions of the new iPad

Electronista has been able to spend some time with the new iPad and can say that it is a worthy upgrade in many ways, but has its shortcomings too. In short, the stunning Retina Display encapsulates the new iPad experience. The super high (2048x1536) resolution is immediately apparent, as is the 44 percent increase in the color gamut of the display with colors and images 'popping' like never before.

However, what is also immediately apparent is the fact that the new iPad is slightly thicker and is also slightly heavier than the iPad 2. When we picked it up for the first time, the difference in thickness and weight were slight, but still noticeable. Where Apple was heading in the right direction with the reduction in weight and bulk over the original iPad with the iPad 2, it has taken a small, but significant step backwards with the new iPad. Apple is obviously hoping that the trade-off in size and weight is worth the addition of the Retina Display in the minds (and hands) of users.

So was Apple right to make the trade-off? We believe the answer is a resounding yes. Without the new Retina Display, the new iPad would have been a let down - unless Apple had been able to make it thinner and lighter. The addition of 4G LTE and faster graphics are welcome additions, but they are not game changing. By contrast, the Retina Display is a game changer, and it pushes mobile display technology into new territory.

As Apple has proselytized about the virtues of the new iPad display, the whole user experience really centers on it. The OS and the design of the device itself is meant to be 'transparent' and out of the minds of users when they are interacting with the device. Instead, users are meant to be drawn into the world of the app that they're using, with the rest fading into the background. This view could not be any truer than now, with the advent of the iPad Retina Display. All that matters is just how beautiful it is, and how much better using the device is as a result.

Electronista has also been spending some time with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, which until the arrival of the new iPad, had the highest pixel density of any other tablet on the market at 197ppi. Its large Super AMOLED Plus display with a full RGB array is seductive to say the least. Colors are vibrant and text appears crisp and Retina Display-like in many ways. By comparison the original iPad display and the iPad muster a pixel density of only 132ppi. While using the Galaxy Tab 7.7, we found ourselves reaching for that more frequently than the iPad 2 to enjoy the eye-candy and enhanced usability that a crisper, more color rich display offers.

The new iPad has a pixel density of 264ppi, which is still well short of the iPhone 4/4S Retina Display, which comes in a 326ppi. For the record, the iPhone 4/4S Retina Display has only recently been bested in the smartphone space by the Sony Xperia S and the HTC Rezound, which both sport pixel densities of 342ppi. However, on a tablet, the new iPad display only needs to be around 240ppi to convey the same level of resolution as a high-res smartphone as it is held further away in normal use.

With the arrival of the Retina Display on the new iPad, iPad users, like iPhone 4 and 4S users, won't care that they don't have OLED technology on their devices. The depth of the colors the new Retina Display offers, as well as the brightness, contrast and image clarity which means that it looks just as good, just as gorgeous as the best Super AMOLED Plus display out there, which happens to be the Galaxy Tab 7.7. However, it trumps that display by some way. The additional pixel density of the new iPad means that when viewed normally the pixels disappear, where they are still noticeable on the Galaxy Tab 7.7.

Everything looks better on the new iPad, from web browsing, to email, to watching movies and playing games. Right now there are at least 25 apps that have already been updated to support the resolution of the new iPad, and more will be updated over the coming days and weeks.

Overall, the new iPad could well be a winner in Apple's ever increasing stable of best-selling products. We can't see anything that would stop a user from considering the new iPad, added weight and thickness notwithstanding. Even though the iPad 2 remains a tempting value proposition at its new lower price, we strongly recommend that users consider saving the extra money to go for the new iPad if the budget can stretch that far. Android tablets will get closer, but they'll usually be slightly lower resolution (1920x1080) and larger-screened (10.1 inches) -- and more importantly, they're not yet shipping.

New iPad box left, iPad 2 box right

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. imNat-imadouche

    Joined: Dec 1969


    New Ipad is failure

    Early reports from the land down under indicates this thing runs really warm and also the reds are very strong, which means bad news for photographers or other creatives relying on colour accuracy).

    Looks like a downward spiral is starting to happen since Steves death. Oh well

  1. ASathin8R

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nothing wrong with iPad at all!

    I'm from Australia and I can tell you that the new iPad is nothing short of sensational. The display quality and color accuracy is excellent. Compared the iPad 2, the colors are a surprise when you see them initially, but then you realize that is how they are actually supposed to look! It's just like what happened when Apple increased the color gamut on its notebooks - and you don't hear anyone complaining about Apple's notebook displays these days... as for running warm, nothing to report on this front either...

    Comment buried. Show
  1. imNat-imadouche

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: ASathin

    You stupid fanboy, a friend sent me this link. Apparently this is a popular public forum in Australia. Read it and weep

    Here are some comments

    "Compared to the original iPad there is certainly a terrible red tint... was the same on display iPad I checked also. Problem was bad enough for me to decline swapping it for another one and instead return it for a refund. Not sure how the colour was on the earlier iPad2 but the ones they had on display also had a red tint. The original iPad is much more colour correct. I guess not many people calibrate their monitors and televisions so this will probably not bother most."

    "Went to three shops selling Ipads on the Gold Coast. The plan was to buy an Ipad3 64GB 3G to replace my existing Ipad2 with the same specs plus I wanted the new Apple TV box.
    Comparing the Ipad 3 with the Ipad 2 side by side I honestly can not see a huge improvement. The new screen looks nice, but in my personal opinion that is not worth the extra investment. The cameras are still not that great and still have no LED flash. The Ipad 3s on display were all unusually warm. Warm equals energy wastage.
    So in my opinion if you come from an Ipad 1 its worth to upgrade, from an Ipad 2 I can not see the value. Definitely waiting for version 4.
    I had to go to three shops to get the Apple TV box. All had plenty of stock of Ipad 3 and there were no customers lining up like at the Ipad2 launch. This one will probably not sell as good as the Ipad 2."

  1. ASathin8R

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hey douche

    I happen to also own a Galaxy Nexus, a Samesung Omnia 7, and a PS Vita - do I still qualify as a 'fanboy'?

    - if you want to know about poor color accuracy, take a look at most OLED-based panels. The Nexus panel is over the top, thanks to its PenTile set up, the Omnia 7 is almost neon-like as is the PS Vita - except in the PS Vita it works cause games look better on it.

    And at the end of the day, this display was made by Samesung, so, really, not sure what you are really on about at all...

  1. DaJoNel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So... nat/douche

    You prefer duller colors, lower-resolution screens, etc.? Maybe the iPad 3 is warm because everyone wants to use it and keeps touching it. Humans radiate heat, too, you know. Furthermore, check out Apple's environmental report. I guarantee you that they are not wasting energy. Again, heat caused by human hands may sound ridiculous, but also expecting a device being actively used to not rise in temperature is incredibly stupid.

  1. DaJoNel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Again... "Some comments"

    Very nice cherry-picking I see! I read the forum and people seem quite pleased. Notice that your "red tint" is actually the classic YELLOW SCREEN GLUE SHOWING THROUGH AGAIN (I apologize for the caps, it seems necessary). The comment saying "original iPad is more colour correct" is a reply to a comment saying that the iCal seems more YELLOW than its usual BROWN. So, not only is whoever replied to this comment foolish, you are too for citing it.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The article tells us the new iPad is a "worthy upgrade" then just goes on and on about how the screen is so much better. Is that all that makes it 'worthy'? Are there no other improvements? What if you have no problem with the iPad 2's color or resolution. Does that mean it really isn't worth spending another $600+ on the new iPad?

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