Vivek Gowri and Anand Lal Shimpi pen 20,000 extremely nerdy and detailed words on the new iPad. It’s an excellent review covering nearly all the technical and practical tidbits of the iPad. I read it all and drained 20% of my iPad’s battery life in the process.

If you don’t plan to read the whole review, I suggest you at least read the Final words portion.

Here are a few parts that stood out to me:

Regarding the display:

Despite similar brightness and contrast to the previous model, the new iPad offers remarkably better color gamut and color reproduction than its predecessor. Relative to other tablets, the iPad’s display is spectacular.

I feel like I noticed this instantly when comparing my iPad 2 and 3 side by side. I have one of John Carey’s Retina-optimized iPad wallpapers, and not only does the image look crisp and sharp, it also looks much more vibrant and color-rich than it does on my iPad 2.

Regarding battery life and LTE:

“If you want to use the new iPad as a personal hotspot, you’ll likely run out of data before you run out of battery life.”

I’ve had a few people ask me why I went with the LTE model iPad rather than just use my iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. There are two reason:

  • In practice, I’ve found that I rarely take advantage of using my iPhone as a hotspot. And so, as an experiment, I went with the LTE iPad to see if having built-in cellular data connectivity would help me default to the iPad as a work device.

  • LTE is significantly faster than 3G. Using my iPhone as a hotspot would not give me as fast of speeds. As Shimpi writes:

    I mentioned the LTE connectivity on the new iPad is the most tangible feature of the tablet because the improvement in web page loading times alone makes the tablet feel much faster than its predecessor. While you can argue about how significant the Retina Display is, there’s no debating about how much faster LTE is over the 3G iPad 2 models when out of range of WiFi. It’s just awesome.

  • Battery life is another reason. The iPad gets great battery life when using LTE. My iPhone does not get very good battery life when it’s in use as a hotspot. And so, if anything, getting an LTE iPad is also a way to preserve my iPhone’s battery when traveling.

Regarding battery when in use and when charging:

With a 70% larger battery than the iPad 2 but with more power hungry components inside, how does the new iPad fare in real world usage? Subjectively: it doesn’t last as long as its predecessor. Objectively, our numbers seem to agree.

Though I haven’t done any scientific tests with my iPad, my gut tells me this is the case as well. Put another way: the new iPad’s battery life performs as Apple says it should, but it does not last as long or charge as fast as the iPad 2. The iPad 2 was an overachiever I guess.

I remember last March when Walt Mossberg dinged the iPad 2 for this. His iPad 2 got better battery life than what Apple claimed, but he complained that it was not as long as his original iPad had gotten.

Regarding the A5X:

With no change on the CPU side, CPU performance remains identical to the iPad 2. This means everything from web page loading to non-gaming app interactions are no faster than they were last year:

What this says to me is that the iPad 2 just got a one-year-longer shelf life. Of course, 18 months from now Apple could still decide to drop support for the iPad 2 because it has less RAM than the new iPad, but at the moment, there virtually no performance difference between the current and previous generations of iPads.

March 30, 2012