Apple has finally released the new iPad (let’s just call it the iPad 3 to avoid confusion) in the Philippines today. This, after months of waiting since it was revealed back in March.
Of course, the big question remains – is it really worth the upgrade? To better help you answer that question, we bought the new iPad way ahead of the local release so we can take it to its paces and figure out if the updates introduced by Apple are that compelling.
Look Ma, no pixels!
Yes, we admit the screen resolution on the iPad 3 is without a match. Compared to the iPad2, it’s twice the width and twice the height in pixels. That gives it a pixel density 4 times that of the previous iPad. At 264ppi (pixels per inch), it even rivals some of the top smartphones in terms of pixel density.
And why is that significant? Well, higher resolution on the same screen size means images are rendered better, photos and videos are more crisp and defined. The benefit also extends to apps as well as games on the iPad. Best thing about it is that you can now watch full 1080p movies in their full glory.
The same clarity and brilliance of the display that you get from the iPhone 4S is now also featured on the iPad 3. The experience is like using a macro lens on a dSLR for the first time and re-discovering photography all over again.
Don’t under-estimate the camera
While recording full HD 1080p videos and shooting hi-res photos using the rear camera of a tablet is nothing new, Apple has taken its reputation to task by using the same optics it used on the iPhone 4/4S and slapped it on to the iPad 3.
The result is a really good and powerful snapper that takes impressive stills and videos. So for, the iPad 3 has the best built-in camera on any tablet we’ve ever used (and believe us, we’ve tried and tested almost all of them).
Of course, it might seem odd or awkward to actually use the camera on the iPad 3 with its bulky size but we’ve seen it time and again – people are getting used to using their tablet’s camera the same way they use their camera phones.
New powerful engine under the hood
Apple has engineered a better processor to power the iPad 3 called the A5x. It’s a dual-core chip with a quad-core graphics engine. The graphics got most of the bump because it needed that extra horsepower to run games on the higher resolution screen.
As such, you will notice the snappy response of the tablet when running HD games and videos as well as apps that require some heavy graphics.
In the end, all you see or notice is smooth playback and an over-all performance that’s fluid and very responsive.
Super-fast 4G Internet
The iPad 3 now has options for 4G or LTE connectivity and you can probably reach speeds of up to 70Mbps IF (and that’s a big IF) your network supports it.
We’re not yet at that stage in the Philippines so the next best thing for cellular connectivity is HSPA+ with theoretical speeds of up to 42Mbps. Again, don’t expect those kind of speeds when you’re hooked up to the local carrier.
It’s not all fun though
While we’ve seen a number of improvements from the old iPad, the new iPad 3 brought with it a few heavy luggages.
First, the dimension of the tablet has slightly increased – it’s now a bit thicker than the iPad 2. This was done to accommodate bigger space for the Li-Ion battery inside. Not that the increase in battery size resulted in a longer battery life. It was actually done to make sure that the battery life remained the same and not go lower than the rating of the iPad 2. That goes without saying the tablet has also gained some weight.
Because the battery size is now bigger, it takes much longer now to actually recharge the tablet. Expect somewhere between 4 to 5 hours to get it from zero to 100% full charged.
And did we mention LTE is not yet commercially available?
The iPad 3 is now available in local resellers, the Apple Online Store and Globe Telecom.
Here’s the suggested retail price for each variant:
iPad 16GB WiFi – Php23,990
iPad 32GB WiFi – Php28,990
iPad 64GB WiFi – Php33,990
iPad 16GB 4G+WiFi – Php29,990
iPad 32GB 4G+WiFi – Php34,990
iPad 64GB 4G+WiFi – Php39,990
Compared to last year’s pricing, the 4G models of the iPad 3 actually got a Php1,000 price drop.
So, is it a buy or no buy?
If this is the first time you’re getting an iPad, you’ll definitely love the iPad 3. It’s fast, it’s resolutionary, you get thousands and thousands of free apps and it’s fairly affordable.
If you are using the 1st-gen iPad, upgrading to the iPad 3 is no contest — huge improvements between there.
If you’re using the iPad 2 now, we recommend you think twice between making the move. The iPad 2 is still pretty good and it can do almost anything the new iPad 3 can offer, spare a few.
Now writing regularly for InterAksyon’s Infotek page, Abe Olandres a.k.a YugaTech is the top technology blogger in the Philippines. You can visit his popular blogsite at http://www.yugatech.com/