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New iPad wins rave reviews

Network World Staff | March 16, 2012
The first hands-on reviews of the new iPad make it clear not only that Apple keeps the tablet crown but why it continues to do so.

The first hands-on reviews of the new iPad make it clear not only that Apple keeps the tablet crown but why it continues to do so.

On the surface, the leap from the second-generation iPad to the third-generation would appear to be relatively modest," writes USA Today reviewer Edward Baig. But the leap changes an array of things that keep the iPad's overall "user experience" well ahead of its Android rivals.

The display: "spectacular"

The new display, with resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, for a total of 3.1 million pixels or four times the number on iPad 2, is the thing everyone notices first. It's better than the high definition flat panel TVs used in homes.

"The display is spectacular," Baig writes. "Examine the new screen side-by-side with one of its near-10-inch predecessors [the iPad 2], and you'll swear you just had Lasik surgery. Text on Web pages or in books is so crisp and sharp that you don't want to go back to reading on an older iPad."

MORE IPAD: 10 Terrific Apps for the New iPad 

The contrast between the new iPad display and that of its predecessors struck many reviewers. "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," says Walter Mossberg, reviewing for The Wall Street Journal. As MG Sielger, at TechCrunch says, "After using the new iPad for an extended period of time then switching back to an iPad 2 (or 1, for that matter), you'll cringe at the pixelated cloud that appears to surround every app icon. Text will look murky. Colors will look muted."

Apple didn't rely on just the raw number of pixels to impress. Instead it updated its own on-board apps, and is encouraging third-party developers to do the same, to fully exploit the new iPad's Retina Display technology. "All of Apple's own apps have been updated to suit the higher resolution, with more detailed iconography and text," says Vincent Nguyen, writing at Slashgear. "However, third-party apps also look good, even if they've not been polished to suit the new hardware, though they aren't quite as refined as Apple's own handiwork."

The screen shows vivid 1080p video and high-def photos "though the 4:3 aspect ratio means there are black bars top and bottom," Nguyen says. "Nonetheless, the level of detail is incredibly impressive...."

On the new iPad itself, says Siegler, "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."


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