Apple’s new iPad arrives to more than its fair share of expectations. The third generation tablet follows models that first created and then accelerated the consumer slate experience, and all eyes are on the new iPad to see whether it can keep up the momentum. Those eyes will have plenty to reward them, too: the biggest change to the new iPad is its incredibly detailed Retina Display. Pre-orders are through the roof, and queues outside Apple Stores began a week ahead of sales starting: there’s no doubting interest is high, but does the new iPad live up to expectations? Check out the full SlashGear review after the cut.
In the inevitable hubbub following the third-generation iPad’s reveal last week, some complained that the tablet lacked in revolutionary changes. In many ways – aesthetically, in build-quality, usability and more – it’s the same as its iPad 2 predecessor, which will indeed stay on sale as a budget option alongside it. Many of the observations in our iPad 2 review hold true about the new iPad, but there are some key differences.
The new iPad’s Retina Display does to the tablet segment what the iPhone 4′s Retina Display did to smartphones: in short, shakes it up entirely. Where the iPad 2 runs at 1024 x 768 resolution, the new iPad comes in at 2048 x 1536, meaning four times more pixels in the same 9.7-inch space. In fact, at 3.1m pixels, that’s 1m more than a Full HD television.
At the typical arm’s length, graphics on the new iPad are effectively so smooth you can’t make out the individual dots. All of Apple’s own apps have been updated to suit the higher resolution, with more detailed iconography and text. 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.
Interestingly, it’s not just native third-party iPad apps that are improved with the Retina Display technology. iPhone titles used in the “2x doubling” mode look considerably better than on either of the previous iPad versions, with the new smoothing technology being brought to bear to make them feel less obviously magnified.
1080p video playback is supported at full resolution, though the 4:3 aspect ratio means there are black bars top and bottom. Nonetheless, the level of detail is incredibly impressive; even those with self-professed tech apathy were drawn in by the new iPad’s graphical prowess. Showing a gallery of images in iPhoto, the slate sometimes looks like a mock-up with a printed, high-res image rather than an actual display, it really is that good. Viewing angles are as broad as we’ve come to expect from IPS panels, no matter which direction you’re looking from, and colors are as rich and saturated as AMOLED.