Apple iPad (3rd Generation)
Apple new iPad review: A truly outstanding display makes the third-generation iPad the best yet
- Outstanding display
- Slick user experience and software
- Dual-channel HSPA+ speeds
- Not 4G-capable in Australia
- Thicker & heavier than predecessor
- Gets warm during regular use
The new iPad is an excellent tablet that has little competition. Its nearest rival is the model it superseeded, the iPad 2, which now sells for a cut price $429 in Australia. There are plenty of tablets on the market that are cheaper than the iPad, have better specifications and are more flexible. However, none of them come close to replicating the user experience on the new iPad.
Price$ 539.00 (AUD)
What else has changed?
Interestingly, the new iPad is slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. A larger battery was needed to power the new display, so the Wi-Fi models are 51g heavier, and the Wi-Fi + 4G models are 49g heavier. If you're upgrading from an iPad 2, you'll definitely be able to notice the difference. If the new iPad is your first tablet, the weight isn't really a concern during day to day use.
I found that the new iPad gets rather warm during regular use, particularly on the lower left corner. It doesn't get so hot that it becomes unusable, but when watching a video or constantly browsing the web the device does become noticeably warm.
The new iPad is 4G, LTE capable in the US but us Aussies aren't so lucky — while the new iPad is technically 4G, LTE capable, it uses the 700MHz and 2100MHz LTE bands. Telstra, the only carrier in Australia to currently have a 4G network, uses the 1800MHz band, which isn't supported.
It's not all bad news, however. Aussies benefit from dual-channel HSPA+ technology, which provides a theoretical maximum download speed of 42Mbps: faster than the iPad 2. At this stage, only Telstra supports DC-HSPA+ technology in Australia. Running a speed test in my North Sydney office, I managed to achieve download speeds of up to 19Mbps on Telstra's network. The speed you achieve will depend on a number of factors including your location, network congestion and data content, but there is no doubt mobile Internet speeds are faster on the new iPad when compared with previous models.
The new iPad is powered by a dual-core A5X processor, but it has a quad-core graphics chip, too. The main beneficiary here is gaming, though apps like iPhoto and iMovie should also benefit. During day to day use we didn't notice a significant speed increase in the new iPad compared to the iPad 2. It was also tough to judge the graphics processor given there aren't currently many games that take advantage of the new chip. Infinity Blade II is one such title and admittedly, the graphics are very impressive.
The new iPad comes with a dictation feature, activated by pressing a microphone button that appears on its virtual keyboard in various apps. It will transcribe your voice into text. Like all voice-to-text software, the results aren't always accurate but in a quiet environment the feature works fairly well.
Although it isn't a new feature, Apple's iOS software once again makes the new iPad a compelling product. The iPad is dead easy to use. It's simple, effective and engaging. It has more apps than any other software platform, but more importantly, it has a large range of excellent, quality apps built specifically for a tablet device with a large screen.
The battery life on the new iPad is also impressive. It lasted almost 10 hours during testing, which isn't too much less than Apple quoted figures.
Should you buy it?
The big question is, should you buy the new iPad?
The answer really depends on your situation. If you don't own a tablet already and do intend to buy one, it's a no brainer. The new iPad is by far and away the best tablet on the market.
If you already own an iPad, the choice isn't as simple. If you still have a first generation iPad, the new iPad may be a worthy upgrade. It's lighter and thinner than the original, has a much better screen and provides faster performance thanks to significantly upgraded internals.
For those with an iPad 2, however, the new iPad doesn't offer enough new features to justify splashing out on an upgrade. Yes, its screen is much better and the camera is improved, but these two features aside, it is a very similar device to the iPad 2.
Apple has not reinvented the tablet with the new iPad, it simply refined a product that was already a clear market leader.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Tech Timeline: The iPad first goes on sale
- New 9.7-inch iPad teardown reveals it's basically an original iPad Air with minor tweaks
- More iPad screen sizes unlikely to stop slump
- Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is like a giant Note7
- Cisco's Spark Board looks like an iPad -- and acts like one
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- MSI GE62 7RD Apache gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCJava DeveloperACT
- FTSAP ISU Billing Consultant - FunctionalVIC
- FTSenior Activations Performance Analyst | $700pdVIC
- FTSenior PHP Developer / Technical LeadQLD
- CCSQL Analyst DeveloperNSW
- FTPeopleSoft Campus Solution ConsultantNSW
- FTSecurity AnalystQLD
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- TPIT Support AnalystNSW
- FTBusiness Development Manager IT HealthcareQLD
- FTL&D Manager, Transformation Program in Finance ServicesNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTPrincipal Project ManagerVIC
- FTWeb Developer - Full Stack - VR 3D WebGLNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTBPM DeveloperNSW
- CCConsultant - Hogan Health CheckQLD
- TPSenior Test AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Business Analyst, Regulatory Reforms, FinanceNSW
- FTImplementation Engineer - NetApp DATA ONTAPWA
- TPTechnical ConsultantACT
- CCIT Security Risk AnalystVIC
- FTDemand Release ManagerNSW