By Frank Ling
It’s been about a month since the New iPad officially launched and the question, on some people’s minds, is whether it’s a good idea to buy it or not. Spending half a grand on an electronic device isn’t a small matter for most people, so we’ll try to clear the air and give you the lowdown to make this decision.
The critics love it
Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization dedicated to reviewing products of virtually every kind, gave the New iPad its highest rating for tablets and said it was “superb.” This high praise from Consumer Reports carries quite a bit of weight because it has a long history of being one of the hardest review organizations to please.
The New iPad’s new Retina display has earned a reputation for being the sharpest and most colorful among all tablets and is the primary reason for the enthusiasm surrounding the new device. Consumer Reports said it has set a new standard by which all other tablets would be judged by.
It’s only skin deep
If you place an iPad 2 next to a New iPad the two devices are virtually identical in physical appearance with the only giveaway being the newer tablet clocking in a few millimeters thicker.
But the exteriors of the New iPad and iPad 2 are where the similarities dramatically end. The New iPad sports a quad-core processor, a long-awaited upgrade to a better camera, improved overall performance, the highest display resolution in the industry, a remarkably long battery life in spite of its quad-core processor, and an entry level price that matches last year’s iPad 2 -- $499.
It’s a hot machine – literally
Early reports of the New iPad running hotter than its predecessor were well documented after its initial launch. Owners were concerned that the New iPad felt hot to the touch after using it under normal operating conditions.
Some tests were made by review websites and discovered that the New iPad achieved temperatures of up to 117 degrees Fahrenheit in certain parts of the device. Apple explained that this was well within the norm and that there was nothing to worry about.
Power and Wi-Fi issues
Another issue which surfaced about the New iPad was its inability to charge itself while plugged in and running graphic intensive apps such as video games. This “bug” was deemed a small matter by review sites.
Other owners reported that their New iPads had difficulty in locking onto a strong Wi-Fi signal. The Mac community reported that in some instances, resetting the network configuration helped.
To buy or not to buy
The individuals who will benefit the most in purchasing a New iPad are those who use their tablets primarily as a multimedia device to view movies or graphics. For present iPad 2 owners, the price for the upgrade can be softened by trading in their old devices for cash and using this against the purchase of the new tablet.
But not everyone demands the highest resolution for their tablets. With the advent of sub-$200 tables such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes and Nobles Nook Tablet, the field that was once unchallenged by Apple iPads is beginning to give way to this new breed of affordable tablets.
Bottom line: If you really want a New iPad, you’ll find a way.
Frank Ling is the SF Gadgets Examiner and has been a writer, professional photographer, video producer, video game QA trainer and video editor.