Apple iPad review (March 2012, 16GB, Wi- Fi, black) Manufacturer: Apple Part Number:MC705LL/A Display Type 9.7 in IPS TFT active matrix - LED backlight Display Resolution 2048 x 1536 ( 264 ppi ) Touchscreen Yes Features Retina display, Fingerprint resistant oleophobic coating General Operating System Apple iOS 5 Processor Processor Apple A5X Number of Cores Dual-Core Memory Flash Memory 16 GB Communications Wireless Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Camera Rear-facing Camera 5 megapixels HD Video Recording 1080p Features Video stabilizer, Autofocus, Tap to focus, Photo and video geotagging, Face detection in still images, 5-megapixel iSight camera Front-facing Camera VGA EBook Reader Supported Text Formats DOCX, HTML, PDF, DOC, RTF, TXT Supported Still Image Formats PPT, TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PPTX Multimedia Supported Digital Video Formats H.264 High Profile Level 4.1 (up to 1080p), MPEG-4 SP (up to 640x480), Motion JPEG (up to 1280x720) Audio Microphone , Speaker Supported Digital Audio Formats AAC, WAV, AIFF, Protected AAC, MP3, Apple Lossless, Audible Input Device Type Camera, Touch-screen Software Preloaded Software Messages, Music, Reminders, YouTube, Camera, iBooks, iTunes, Maps, Game Center, Photo Booth, FaceTime, Videos, Safari, Photos, App Store, Newsstand, Mail, Notes, iCloud, Calendar, Contacts System Requirements for PC Connection OS Required Apple MacOS X 10.5.8 or later, Microsoft Windows XP SP3 or later, Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista Expansion and Connectivity Interfaces 1, Battery Technology / Form Factor Lithium polymer Capacity 42.5 Wh Run Time 10 hour(s) Run Time Details Web browsing over Wi-Fi - up to 10 hour(s), Video playback - up to 10 hour(s), Audio playback - up to 10 hour(s) Miscellaneous Color Black Sensors Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Three-axis gyro sensor, Digital compass Features Rear camera , Bluetooth , Front camera Included Accessories Dock connector to USB cable, Power adapter , 10W USB power adapter Cables Included 1 x USB adapter Dimensions & Weight Width 7.3 in Depth 0.4 in Height 9.5 in Weight 23 oz Manufacturer Warranty Service & Support Details Limited warranty - 1 year, Technical support - Phone consulting - 90 days Environmental Parameters Min Operating Temperature 32 °F Max Operating Temperature 95 °F Humidity Range Operating 5 - 95% (non-condensing) Min Storage Temperature -4 °F Max Storage Temperature 113 °F Max Altitude Operating 9840 ft The good: Apple's new iPad includes a stunning new screen, matched by a quad-core graphic processor and the world's largest app and media store to feed it content. There's a proper 5- megapixel rear camera now, with 1080p recording quality. Optional 4G data from AT&T and Verizon afford an uncompromising mobile experience. The bad: The new iPad is slightly heavier than last year's model; apps and movies optimized for the screen might take up more space; and ports for HDMI, USB, and SD require adapters. The bottom line: With a host of improvements--faster graphics, 4G wireless options, a better camera, and a gorgeous high-res screen--the latest iPad cements its position at the head of the tablet pack. Apple's new iPad is a mix of the familiar and the futuristic. Its design remains practically unchanged from last year's iPad 2. Its internal components and wireless capabilities have only received a predictable bump. You'd think Apple fell asleep at the wheel with this one--until that moment when you turn on the screen. When I tell you that Apple has doubled the iPad's screen resolution to an unprecedented 2,048x1,536 pixels, your eyes should water a little. No other screen in your home can compete with this resolution--not your laptop, not your desktop computer, not even your 1080p TV. For a device that fits in your lap and costs as little as $499, a screen like this is an impressive feat. Photo gallery: Apple iPad Speaking of pricing, the going rate for an iPad hasn't changed since the tablet's introduction in 2010. The $499 entry-level price buys you 16GB of built-in storage; spending $599 buys you twice the room (32GB); and $699 will bring you up to 64GB. All three models can access the Internet over Wi-Fi and are available in either black or white. If you want the added ability to access the Internet over a 4G or 3G cellular network (Verizon or AT&T), tack on an extra $130. For the iPad uninitiated looking to save a little money, Apple is keeping around the 2011 iPad 2 (16GB), priced at $399 or $529 for a model with 3G (AT&T or Verizon). It's a good price, especially considering that the iPad 2 is still leagues better than many of the tablets we've seen this year. But if you want the bragging rights and a renewed lease on the cutting edge of tablet technology, the new iPad is the way to go. Design Looking at the new iPad, you'd think someone was playing a trick on you. It looks almost exactly like last year's model. The tablet's glass and aluminum construction is still 9.5 inches tall and 7.31 inches wide. Thickness is now up slightly at 0.37 inch, weighing in at a beefier 1.44 pounds. You get the same home button on the bottom of the screen, and a volume rocker on the right side along with the mute switch/rotation lock. Up top you have the sleep/wake button and headphone output, and the bottom edge retains the 30-pin port. iPad 2 iPad (third generation) Screen 1,024x768 pixels 2,048x1,536 pixels Thickness 0.34 0.37 Weight 1.33 pounds 1.44 pounds Processor A5 1GHz (dual-core) A5X (dual-core, w/ quad-core graphics) Front camera VGA VGA Rear camera 0.7 megapixel/720p 5 megapixels/1080p Stabilization No Yes Face detection No Yes FaceTime Yes Yes Siri No Dictation only Gestures* Yes Yes Cellular 3G (Verizon, AT&T) 4G (Verizon, AT&T) Video out HD mirroring HD mirroring Bluetooth 2.1+EDR 4.0 *Multifinger gesture support, such as four-finger swipe to toggle apps, or five-finger pinch to close apps. Apple's retreat from being one of the thinnest, lightest tablets on the market may leave some room for competitors. Already, we're seeing tablets like the Toshiba Excite X10 LE, which are thinner than the iPad 2 and just as light. Apple is betting that a best-in-class screen will trump any concerns over the slight uptick in weight and thickness. And if they're wrong, well, the iPad 2 is still around for those who can't bear the extra 51 grams. But the surefire way to tell a new iPad apart from an iPad 2 (aside from counting pixels or breaking out the scale) is to flip them over. No, this isn't a tablet gender test; what you're looking for here is the rear camera in the top-left corner. On the new model, the camera is slightly larger, accounting for the improved optics and camera sensor, similar to what's used in the iPhone 4S (though not identical). New features Beyond the vastly improved screen there are a number of other upgrades worth mentioning. The iPad's processor has been upgraded to what Apple is calling an A5X. Like the A5 processor used in the iPad 2, this CPU remains dual-core. The "X" is there to signify that the graphics processor has been beefed up to quad-core. This seems to be a necessary measure for juggling four times the pixels of the previous model, but regardless, games and graphics perform fluidly. Against everyone's expectations, Apple did not include its Siri digital assistant on the new iPad-- at least, not entirely. Siri's voice-to-text dictation capability has migrated to the iPad, but that's it. If you want to find nearby sushi restaurants, you're going to have to search for the answer online, like a neanderthal. Still, the addition of voice dictation is a welcome feature, and it can be handy for composing quick e-mails and bypassing the touch-screen keyboard when searching for information online. Its accuracy leaves a little to be desired, though. Just like autocorrected typing, the iPad's dictation isn't infallible. Photo gallery: New iPad vs. iPhone 4S camera test Last but not least, there's the iPad's updated rear camera, which the company calls its iSight camera. It is a huge improvement over the iPad 2's 0.7-megapixel shooter; this updated shooter is now 5 megapixels. If you've spent any time over on Apple's iPad page, you've probably seen the exploded view of Apple's five-element lens system, which was adopted from the iPhone. However you want to explain it, the photo quality is exceptional for a tablet, and we have the photos to prove it. I still contend that it's a bit silly waving a tablet around to capture photos and video, but I understand the counterpoint and I'll admit that the iPad's screen makes a better display than any camera, smartphone, or photo frame. Features we take for granted Let's not forget all the features that made the first two iPads unbeatable. If you've ever used an iPhone or iPod Touch, the new iPad will feel immediately familiar. Out of the box, you get many of the iPhone's capabilities, including Apple-designed apps for Web browsing, e-mail, maps, photos, music, video, and YouTube. More apps can be installed using the built-in App Store software or by connecting the iPad to iTunes via your computer using the included cable. If you already own apps purchased for an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can transfer these apps to the iPad, as well. The original iPad made its debut with iOS 3.2. That OS' limitations seem prehistoric today. You couldn't bounce between applications with multitasking. You couldn't organize applications into folders. And support for document printing and AirPlay streaming of music, videos, and photos didn't arrive until November 2010. At launch, the new iPad comes with iOS 5.1 (see our full rundown). Recently added features such as iMessage, Newsstand, Notifications, and Twitter integration are all included, along with support for Apple's free iClsoud online backup service. One sticking point in the original iPad that Apple hasn't addressed in the new iPad is Adobe Flash support for Apple's Safari Web browser. Apple seems dead set against supporting Adobe's popular tool for presenting video and graphics on the Web, and without it, some corners of the Web are still inaccessible on the iPad. To Apple's credit, even the maker of Flash (Adobe) has conceded that HTML5 is a better solution for presenting content on mobile devices going forward. As such, the Web is steadily bending toward greater compatibility with the iPad, and the issue of Flash compatibility seems less contentious than it once was. In terms of browser features, the iPad's Safari browser matches what you'll find from the best competing tablets. With Google's recent improvements to Android's Chrome Web browser in Android 4.0, Apple now has some tough competition. But in terms of the subjective Web-browsing experience, Apple's Retina Display gives the new iPad a decisive victory. Because text is rendered with such razor-sharp clarity, everything from Facebook to The New York Times take on a printlike quality that is easier on the eyes than what any laptop or tablet offers. To 4G or not to 4G? For those who just get a little itchy at the idea of not being connected to the Internet, Apple offers a version of the iPad with an integrated 4G cellular data connection, priced at a $130 premium over models that only offer Wi-Fi. The jury seems split on whether the added cost of a cellular data capability is money well spent, or an unnecessary expense. Ultimately, if you can afford it, do it. Aside from the 10 grams it adds to the iPad's overall weight, there are no drawbacks to owning an iPad 4G model other than the data plan it requires. Yet, unlike so many 4G tablets on the market, Apple's requires no contracts; the data plans you purchase month to month can be ratcheted up and down as you please. Another advantage of iPad with 4G is the added capability of assisted GPS (A-GPS), allowing users to accurately pinpoint their locations on a map and take advantage of navigation and location-aware apps. The Wi-Fi-only models of the iPad can use rudimentary Wi-Fi hot-spot triangulation techniques to guess locations, but are much less accurate and consistent. The 4G version of the iPad also includes a 4G hot-spot capability, allowing other Wi-Fi devices (laptops, tablets, portable media players) to take advantage of the cellular data. At launch, only Verizon's iPad 4G supported this hot-spot feature, but AT&T may eventually offer the service, as well. Our tested download and upload speeds using the iPad as a 4G hot spot found a slight, but negligible drop in data performance. If you have no plans to regularly use the iPad outside of your home, you'd do just as well to save some money and stick with a Wi-Fi model. But if you do take the plunge, the 4G download performance on either network should knock your socks off, provided that you live in an area that supports it. For more, see our separate CNET How To on choosing the right carrier for the iPad, as well as a side-by-side comparison of each carrier's 4G LTE service. iPad as e-reader As far as e-book content goes, the iPad has you covered. Every major e-book retailer (and quite a few specialized stores) offer an iPad app, including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Google Books, Stanza, and Apple's own iBooks. Mainstream magazines, including The New Yorker, Wired, and Vanity Fair, all have iPad- specific editions. Even specialty publications, such as comic books, test prep, and sheet music, have found their way onto the iPad. But when you compare the experience of reading on the iPad with its paper-based ancestor or dedicated e-ink readers, the iPad still falls short. It's beefy at 1.44 pounds (a Kindle Touch weighs under half a pound), and in spite of the Retina Display's exquisitely rendered text, glare is still an issue--especially outdoors. Also, a product like the Nook Simple Touch promises up to two months of reading without a recharge, whereas the iPad will only get you 10 hours. In spite of all these criticisms, the iPad has already proven itself a success as an e-reader. There are certainly cheaper options out there, but none with the breadth of features and e-book shopping options offered by the iPad. The new iPad : Features: FaceTime is one of the most advanced features available on this computing device. FaceTime is the video chat feature that lets you have face-to-face communication with anyone around the world with the same technology. There is a front VGA camera, along with a rear camera to capture you or any event during a video call. Using the rear camera, you can also record 1080p HD video, which is rare in a tablet. For such a thin device, the new iPad provides up to 10 hours of battery life on a single battery charge. This tablet features the iOS 5 operating system. This OS allows you to multitask and open several programs at once. You also can choose from more than 300,000 applications to download from the Apple App store. There are several applications pre-loaded and ready to go when you first pick up your new iPad. Your basic email, internet browsers, photo capturing and editing features are a few applications instantly available. You can also watch movies or TV shows in HD, making it possible for you to enjoy all types of entertainment on the go, wherever you are. Using the built-in eReader, you can sit and enjoy a book anywhere. Using the iBooks application, you can download hundreds of books, and with the lighter design, the new iPad is easy to hold for extended periods of time. The 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution on the display screen makes the eReader ideal for reading magazines, newspapers or illustrated books. Or if you prefer to listen to music, this product features a built-in iPod for listening to music and gives you access to iTunes so you can create the ultimate music collection. There are several advanced features available on this device, including AirPlay. AirPlay lets you wirelessly connect your iPad to an HDTV so you can view your desktop on a larger screen. This feature is ideal if you want to watch a movie stored on your iPad or if you want to share photos or recorded videos from your iPad on a larger TV. This feature is wireless with no additional cables or equipment required; you just need a TV with Wi-Fi capabilities. If you are a student or businessperson and need to give a presentation, you can use the Apple Digital AV Adapter and plug your tablet into an HDTV or projector to view your presentation on large screens. Hardware: There is a dual-core A5X chip in the new Apple iPad. This chip makes the device two times faster than the original iPad and lets you enjoy a much faster computing experience. The faster chip is ideal for browsing the internet, sending emails and even downloading documents or applications. Along with the fast processing speed, the graphics are nine times faster than the previous model. The graphics are clear, detailed and make this tablet ideal for playing games or even just watching videos, TV shows or viewing images. Another advantage of using the new Apple iPad is the available memory. There is a 16GB, 32GB or even a 64GB model available. The model you choose all depends on the amount of content and data you plan on storing. The iPad offering 16GB of memory will provide ample room for apps, music and movies, but if you don’t want to worry about storage, particularly if the iPad will be used for business purposes, the 64GB may be the ideal size for you. There are built-in speakers and a built-in microphone available on this device. These two pieces of hardware not only make it possible to have video chats using FaceTime, you can also watch movies, TV shows or capture audio for your full HD video recordings. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack for listening to audio. Unfortunately, there is not a USB 2.0 port, which we found to be the biggest drawback on this computing device. However, if you want a USB port to connect a printer to the device, this tablet features AirPrint, where you can send your documents to a printer wirelessly using a Wi-Fi connection. Not all printers will work with the AirPrint feature, and the printer must be AirPrint enabled to receive the Wi-Fi connection. Display: The thin size of this Apple tablet is another standout feature. It features a 9.7-inch display screen that is large and ideal for viewing movies or TV shows or even just browsing the internet. There are devices out there with larger display screens, but we think Apple seamlessly combines screen size and portability. As we mentioned before, this touchscreen features 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution, making images crisp and clear. We were surprised this tablet lacks the retina display found in Apple’s iPhones and hope their next generation of tablets won’t be without it. The screen does offer LED backlighting, which improves the clarity and brightness of the screen, regardless of the screen’s pixilation. Ease of Use: One of the new Apple iPad’s key features is the easy-to-use interface. The iOS 5 operating system provides a simple interface with icons that are responsive and quickly open. You can place all your applications on your homescreens and scroll through each page to find the desired program. Or you can use folders to organize your applications and avoid excessive amounts of clutter or programs scattered randomly on your screens. For a tablet to be easy to use, the display screen must be responsive and have very little lag time. We saw no lag time in the Apple iPad, and it is responsive to our touch. The screen does offer multi-touch capabilities, meaning your fingers do it all without the help of a stylus. You can make images larger or smaller with the pinch-and-zoom function, and you navigate around the device using taps and swipes. Summary: The new iPad is an impressive device with a large selection of features available for entertainment and business purposes. The iOS 5 operating system and the A5X chip make this device fast and hard to beat. The display is stunning and there is no lag time with the virtual keypad or opening programs and applications. The thin size increases the portability of this device and makes it much easier and more comfortable to hold than several similar products. The new iPad is an excellent tablet that will be almost impossible to beat.