Most big sites got their new iPads early on for the purpose of getting a review out in time for the tablet’s launch (know that they do return the tablets to Apple when they are done). We’re not one of those sites. We had to buy our iPads and use them for a couple of weeks in order to put out some real thoughts on them.
We can’t really go over all the same stuff that everyone else did. You already know what they had to say. We just want to share some thoughts about the tablet and let you know what we thought of it after some use. We are real consumers who paid real money we worked for to buy this tablet. That’s not to say there is anything less to be taken from the other reviews, but we are going to be looking at this from the perspective of someone who had to pay for it.
The new iPad’s battery doesn’t seem to have any shorter of a life than the other devices we’ve used. Especially when charged to full-capacity. The downside is that if you are used to a first-gen iPad or iPad 2, you will have to get used to the additional charging time. It takes longer for sure. Perhaps charging overnight will be the best route for most users. It will go through a full day, anyway. Just keep in mind that you will have to wait longer than you did before for that full battery.
I personally have limited experience with the iPad 2. From my limited use of the iPad 2, I can say that this definitely feels heavier than the second-gen tablet. In fact, I used a first-generation iPad until I got my new iPad and I can say that it feels about the same weight wise (given, my iPad 1 was wifi only and my iPad 3 is LTE). If I were to put a gel case on it, the tablet may feel just like the first one in terms of weight and thickness. Still, it’s not horrible, and I enjoy the flatter back of this tablet.
This is probably the big selling point. The Retina display. It’s beautiful. I am a big reader. It’s mostly just PDF manuals for software (Logic Studio, Native Instruments, etc) Most of these manuals don’t come in paper form anymore. You have to download a PDF off a website. Being that I work on a computer all day, the last thing I want to do in the evening is sit in front of a computer reading manuals. The Retina display is very pretty. I wasn’t expecting a huge difference. Maybe a bit sharper of screen, whatever. However, it almost takes you a second to readjust when you look at an older iPad. You stop for a second and think “Wow, this looks a bit fuzzy.” If you are planning on using the tablet as your main reading device, or for viewing HD movies, the new iPad is the way to go.
If you buy iPads, you likely fit into one of two categories: 1) You buy yearly, 2) You skip one model and buy the next. Our editor buys yearly, mostly for review purposes, etc (at least that’s what he tells his wife) and I tend to skip a model, waiting until there is a compelling enough reason to upgrade. If you buy yearly, there is no question about whether or not you are going to buy the new iPad. You probably already have.
If you skip each other year, you may be on the fence. The real reason you skip is because you want the upgrade to be worth your $500+. I can say that this is the model to get if you skipped the iPad 2. If you are using an iPad 2, the choice is likely yours. The screen is very sexy, but charging time does suck, and it is a bit heavier. Truth be told. it doesn’t feel much faster than the iPad 2 did. Most of the extra power goes into working that Retina display. I would say just stay with your 2 until next year. By that time it will seem to crawl, and you will want some of the features of the iPad 4.