iPad 3 - Why I went against my word.

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First off, I don't really know what this is going to be but I thought it would be fun to share my recent iPad 3 experience.

As some of you may know, I had no iterations of buying an iPad 3. Honestly, the internal hardware isn't much of an upgrade (the GPU in the SoC was already overkill for the iPad 2) and there isn't anything my iPad 2 couldn't do over the iPad 3 aside from 4G connectivity and built-in iOS voice dictation.

Well, I was all set to wait for the iPad 4 since we all know it is going to be better than the current model. However, a friend of mine was looking to get an iPad 2 (they can't afford the iPad 3) and I offered to sell them mine for a nice price. Seeing as I sit right next to them at work, having that sort of tech support being there was a plus for them. So they gave me the cash today and I was without an iPad, for the first time ever, in roughly two years.

I was actually going to see if I could continue to wait things out but I stopped over at Best Buy to pickup my new Apple TV. They had an iPad 2 and iPad 3 out on display and I made the mistake of looking at the display on the iPad 3. I pretty much stopped what I was doing, asked if they had any left, and they kindly sold me a white 32GB 4G iPad 3. I went with the 32GB capacity simply because I am never really in a situation where I need 64GB of (mainly) video content. My apps, HD music videos, and about 5 movies only take up about 21GB.

So I took the plunge and went back on what I said. How am I liking it so far? Well, I have spent all day with the iPad 3 so I can only make initial comments.

1. The screen is probably the best portable display I have ever seen. Apple was correct when they said the color saturation was much better on the iPad 3. Additionally, I can't see the individual pixels in the display. Even when I hold it close to my face, I have to close one eye and really look just to see any hint of a pixel. It still was extremely wide viewing angles.

2. HD videos really look a whole lot better mainly due to the increased color accuracy and saturation. 1080p videos pop but 720p videos still look really good. I am not about to upgrade my 720p videos to 1080p anytime soon simply because they look nice. Unfortunately, HD videos stick out even more than on the iPad and iPad 2. I can watch a video and clearly tell whether it is at 480p or below. I have a harder time with 720p and 1080p videos though.

3. The iPad 3 is a little heavier than my iPad 2, it is also a hair thicker. According to reviews, even the standard wi-fi only iPad 3 is heavier and thicker than the iPad 2. This is due to the increased display and it requiring more backlights and a larger battery. I don't think it is a real killer though. The iPad 3 is still pretty damn light and thin and I doubt the average person is going to notice the differences between the two.

4. Just as I have been saying, the A5X doesn't offer a boost in overall performance. It still uses the same dual-core CPU as the iPad 2. The main difference is that it adds two more graphical cores for pumping out a higher resolution. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Not really. iOS still isn't that nice of a multi-threaded OS and the vast majority of apps don't properly use the original A5 (in the iPad 2) to their advantage either. All-in-all, developers need to step up in order to start producing multi-threaded apps in the first place. Then I can start worrying about having a quad-core CPU. The added RAM does allow apps to load a little faster though.

5. The battery life is the same, this is extremely nice as I will now be browsing via 4G wireless quite a bit. I have to stay under 2GB/month but I think that is manageable.

6. The upgraded camera on the back is extremely noticeable even on the iPad 3's display (or should I say especially on the display). I am still not going to use my iPad 3 as my primary picture taking device but now I can use it if I am in a pinch and forgot my camera. I also think that the pictures look better than what my Droid X takes despite the later having a dual-LED flash and 8MP sensor. It just goes to show you that the sensor will make all the difference in the world regardless of resolution. The 1080p videos really look nice once they are given a run through iMovie. Still not as smooth as videos taken with my digital camera (which is at 1080i/60fps) but the image stabilization is actually better than what my camera has. I wish Apple would have thrown a Flash on the back but the low-light backlight image sensor should do OK without one. The front facing camera is still 640X480 and I imagine it will stay that way for a while.

7. Apps not made for the higher display resolution still look really nice and scale appropriately. Apps made for the iPad 3 look better but I don't think the difference is night and day. Games made for the iPad 3 are going to set it apart from the iPad 2 but those won't start coming out until next month.

That is about it for now. It's funny as I went through the same thing last year initially refusing to upgrade to the iPad 2. Then I saw the keynote speech and used one in-person. The much faster loading times and re-design had me hooked. I just hope I don't do the same thing next year as I don't like having to go through the hassle of selling my iPad 2 and my bank account will thank me for not spending another couple hundred every year.
 

XDRoX

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First of all, I knew you'd cave:p

Secondly I think the 32GB 4G is pretty much the best one. I'm on a Gen1 32GB 3G right now. I've had it since it was new and love it. I use it every day to browse the web.

I haven't decided which one I should get yet. I'm leaning toward either the 16 or 32 wifi only. I just never use the 3G any more but may pay the extra just for the option. Can't decide:confused:

Anyways congrats.
 
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The biggest selling point for me was that damn display and 4G access. Luckily Verizon's LTE coverage is pretty extensive over the craptastic at&t. At my apartment, Verizon's LTE is actually faster than my land-line broadband service (just with longer ping times). I was able to test it at work too. My Droid X, a Verizon 3G only phone, gets about 0.3Mbps as it is in a reinforced concrete building with walls that are about 2.5 ft thick (the whole thing was designed to withstand a bomb, tornado, storm, etc.). Surprisingly enough, my iPad gets about 10Mbps. It isn't the full connection but Verizon's LTE is stronger than their 3G where I work. I also like the fact that I can use my iPad 3 as a wireless hotspot for free, I don't have to pay an additional fee.

If it wasn't for the LTE access, I likely wouldn't have upgraded. The display is nice and so is the camera but I don't think it is worth it if you are going to stick to wi-fi and already have a wi-fi iPad 2 (although the iPad 3 is a much nicer upgrade over the iPad 1 and worth the purchase).
 

MAD M5

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Nice write up, I was worried about buying the IPad 2 last year knowing the potential of this year and the 3. But now I am not too depressed. My wife would like to have the better camera, but othe than that I don't see much in the way of upgrading, till maybe next year. Especially since most apps are designed for the 2 right now anyway, though updates have been coming in like crazy. And if some rumors come true about the IPhone 5 , I can finally dump my 3GS and get the 5 and then I will have a better camera on my phone lol.
 

astroman33

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Nice write-up; thoughtful and interesting as usual, kornchild!

So, the display difference is that noticeable between the iPad 2 and the new iPad. How about the speed of the wi-fi web browsing?

I'm toying with getting a refurb 16gb iPad 2 (only $350 from Apple) instead of the new gen ($500, plus $100 for AppleCare+, which I probably couldn't pass up). Thus, the dif would be $250!

We have an original, which we really like, including its "old" display, and it's wi-fi only (we're always around wi-fi). Some speed boost for web browsing would be nice; not sure we'd use the camera. Of course, we don't have one now on it, so who knows?!
 
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Yes, the difference between the display in the iPad 3 is clear. The resolution stands out and so do the colors. Looking at photos on the iPad 1/2 was fun but they really pop on the iPad 3. Movies look better too. Pretty much anything with color will look better on the iPad 3 and those differences are easily observed. Wi-fi web browsing is over twice as fast for me. For whatever reason, my iPad 2 was limited to about 12-15Mbps through wi-fi. My home network is 40Mbps and I have an ample 802.11n router. My iPad 2 would not go any faster and neither would my original iPad. The iPad 3 surfs at the full 40Mbps over wi-fi and even at 45Mbps through Verizon LTE.
 

astroman33

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Thanks for the additional commentary! That display does sound great. As does the speed...

Oh, boy! You're going to start spending my money! :) We're still using an Airport Express "g" router. I suppose I really should upgrade to an "n" one for the household surfin'. I'll have to see if my MacBook Pro even does "n". I'll wager that our old iBook G4 doesn't! All that could mean having to buy a new laptop, too.

This is the reverse of the "For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost!" :)
 
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Your MacBook Pro should do wireless n so long as it was made in ~2008 or is newer than that. It might only do 2.4GHz n but that is still a big improvement over g even if you are just syncing files. In fact, I only wi-fi sync my iPad and it is pretty much just as fast as plugging it into my Mac's USB port. Your iBook will be SOL though unless you buy a USB dongle for it.
 

dan4877

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Ok, so the new Ipad sounds great. But I'm hearing a lot of great reviews about the nexus 7 as well... Does anyone have educated comparisons on the two? which is better?
 
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There really is no comparison. The Nexus 7 is a fine budget tablet but the iPad 3 has a larger display that has a much higher resolution, models that can access 4G LTE wireless, a maximum capacity of 16GB (the iPad's minimum), no rear camera, Android still isn't as solid of a tablet experience as iOS, and apps are much better on the iPad 3 (Android tablet apps tend to be sloppy ports). It's not really fair to compare a $200 tablet to one that starts at $500. The more expensive model is going to be the much better tablet. The Nexus 7 isn't going up against the iPad either. Instead, Google and Asus are going after the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.
 

Crazy4Cans

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The retina display really is awesome I think. I'm debating whether I should trade in my iPad2
 
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Increasing the resolution of the display meant that Apple had to install a larger battery setup in the iPad 3 in order to obtain the same 10 hours as previous iPad models. Since Apple has to obey the laws of physics, that meant increasing the of the iPad by a measly 50 grams (or a little less than 2 ounces of water). An extra 50 grams isn't going to be something that people notice when carrying an iPad in a backpack, suitcase, or even a handbag. If you come across someone that says they can notice the increased mass in those scenarios, they are completely full of crap. The only time when it is (barely) noticeable is when holding the iPad and using it. Even then, the extra 50 grams isn't going to break any arms off. If someone has trouble handling an extra 50 grams, they are going to have trouble with a device that has a mass larger than 600 grams anyway (the iPad 2 was 610 grams).

Obviously it wasn't that big of a deal with others either since the iPad 3 has sold more than the original iPad and iPad 2.
 

Jesse Hollington

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Actually, I've found the weight difference to be almost entirely psychological... I've done "blind" tests with both my second- and third-generation iPads and honestly can't tell which was which when holding and picking them up with my eyes closed. In fact, I can barely tell the difference between the two with my eyes open (as long as the screen isn't on, of course :) ).
 

iplayer1985

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This is why i think the Iphone 5 will be a hit. People merely suggest that the 4G LTE and better screen is not more of a significant addition, they are wrong. These two makes a whole of difference. Slowly but surely the world will be using 4G. And because the iphone have smaller screens compared to the ipad, its important to have good screens to prevent eye damages overtime.
 

Flyboybob

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Thanks for the great review. I bought a 32 gig iPad 3 in April and I don't know how I have survived all these years without one. I thought about the iPad 2 but the terrific display and the extra storage closed the deal. When I travel I used to lug around the Dell company laptop which weighed a ton. On my last international trip to Brazil I left the laptop in the office and was able to get along great with just the iPad. I opted to not get the 4G version because I find WiFi almost everywhere.
 

dan4877

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Well, got the ipad 3. Much better decision than I had originally thought. Weights not even a recognizable difference and the display is sick. Oh and the Nexus 7 was silly of me. haha. My buddy got one and is now selling it to get an ipad 3.
 
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