Third generation iPad scores points with sharp display
BERLIN, Mar 25, 2012 (dpa - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
At first glance, it would be easy to confuse the second and third generations of the iPad. The newer version is hardly any thicker or heavier.
But the differences become clear as soon as the display snaps to life. No other tablet has a display this crisp, according to trials by dpa. Plus, the new iPad comes with a faster processor, more working memory and a better camera -- all of this without the price being boosted significantly. Additionally, there's a new LTE mobile function, but that's only of use to North American customers.
Back to the display. The 9.7-inch screen has a resolution of 1,536 X 2,048 pixels, four times the amount of the iPad2. True, the pixel density of 264 pixels per inch is outperformed by some smartphones, like the iPhone 4S or the Nokia E6. But it's still the best image quality on the whole tablet market right now.
That's a boon to the tablet's ability to display photos and videos. It also makes it easier to read text on websites and from e-books, even if some e-book applications still need to be adapted to the new machine. Still, whereas all the text in the Apple app iBooks looks sharp, text when scaled up on the Kindle app can look fuzzy.
Apple made sure its Office apps like Pages, Numbers and Keynote, as well as its multimedia programmes like iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband were all ready to work with the new display. And the controls are just as fluid as with the iPad2.
However, some problems remain with apps from third parties. Google Maps needs more time to download and can lag when a person tries to zoom in on a map. In dpa's field test the racing game Real Racing 2 HD didn't work anymore.
Apple has had to pack more power into its semiconductors than before. Apple's A5 chip for the iPad2 had to be replaced with the A5X combination chip. It provides about the same CPU capabilities as the iPad 2, but boosts the graphics processor capabilities substantially.
The new graphics processing unit now has four cores with two shader and two texture units. The iPad 2's only has two cores. Main memory (RAM) is doubled to 1 gigabyte.
During its presentation, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said the new iPad has four times the graphics capability of the Tegra 3 from Nvidia, which is used in items like the Eee Pad Transformer Prime from Asus. However, Nvidia has questioned that claim.
Nonetheless, tests showed the superiority of the A5X. The new iPad got scores twice as good as the iPad 2 in graphics benchmarks and was ahead of the Tegra 3 by a factor of 3.5 to 4 times.
The new iPad also has a large battery, with a capacity of 42.5 watt hours. Nonetheless, the new iPad does not quite beat the performance standards set by the iPad 2. Whereas the old iPad ran out of power after 11 hours of playing movies with a normal brightness of 200 cd/m2, the new version only lasts about 8.5 hours.
Loading times are also longer. The iPad 2 takes about four and a half hours to recharge, while the new one needs just over seven.
Apple made significant improvements to the camera on the backside, which can now take photos with a resolution of 2,592 X 1,936 pixels and videos in full HD (1,080 pixels), while allowing them to have certain regions sharpened with just the touch of a finger. The front camera has seen no changes, offering VGA resolution.
The LTE broadcasting standard, unfortunately, only works in the North American frequencies of between 700 and 2,100 megahertz, removing that attraction for customers elsewhere. But people outside North America can take solace in the fact that the new iPad does support functions like HSPA+ and DC-HSPA, meaning options of 21 megabits per second (MBit/s) all the way up to 42 MBit/s. The iPad 2 can access the mobile phone network with a maximum 7.2 MBit/s.
Prices are little changed from iPad 2 levels. The cheapest version, with 16 GB of memory and wi-fi, costs around 479 euros (631 dollars). With UMTS/HSPA, that jumps to 599 euros.
Doubling memory storage from 32 to 64 gigabytes costs another 100 euros, which means the high-end model with 64 GB and UMTS/HSPA costs 799 euros. Meanwhile, Apple is keeping the iPad 2 with 16 GB and wi-fi on sale for 399 euros, and the version with wi-fi and UMTS for 519 euros.
___ (c)2012 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) Visit Deutsche
Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) at www.dpa.de/English.82.0.html
Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To TMCnet.com's Homepage ]