New iPad 3 review

Love

  • Stunning screen
  • Best app and AV stores
  • Superb interface

Hate

  • Not a huge leap from iPad 2
  • Camera still awkward to use
title: New iPad 3 Review: iPhoto & 4G / url: iphoto-4g

New iPad 3: Video

Photos and 1080p, 30fps video are pretty good, mind. If you’ve got a steady hand, stills look good on screen or when beamed to the new Apple TV while video stabilisation is effective, although the automatic focus has a tendency to jump into life at inopportune moments.

Arguably the front-facing VGA camera for video chat is more useful, and would have benefitted more from a resolution remix.

New iPad 3: iPhoto

The real upgrade here isn’t the hardware, though, it’s the iPhoto for iOS app. Rather than adapting the desktop version, it’s been developed from the ground up, taking full advantage of the iPad’s multi-touch screen. Typically for Apple, the interface is simple and powerful enough to make basic content look professional – slide your finger to adjust skin tones, sky saturation, white balance, etc.

Dig deeper and you’ll find more heavyweight options, with two fingers bringing up a focus-checking magnifying loupe, for example. When viewing photos taken on a top-notch camera, the results can be quite astounding.

New iPad 3: 4G

One of the most exciting additions to the new iPad is 4G. Except, er, there is no 4G in the UK, so it’s actually 3.5G here. Or, erm, at least it is in some parts of the UK.

One thing’s for sure: in its current state, the third-gen iPad won’t work on true UK 4G networks when they arrive this year or next as the mobile frequencies supported by the iPad and the spectrums about to be auctioned by the government don’t match.

What the new iPad can take advantage of right now is HSPA+, which isn’t 4G but has a theoretical top download speed of 21Mbps.

In practice, we achieved around 4-6Mbps and 1-2Mbps upload on the 3 network. Browsing, downloading and streaming all seemed brisker than on iPad 2. It’s possible we’ll see a greater speed hike when 42Mbps dual-channel HSPA (DC-HSPA) hits the UK this summer.

A welcome addition is the iPhone-esque Personal Hotspot feature, although this will have to be activated by your provider. Bluetooth has also been upgraded to the low-power-consuming 4.0 standard, as used in the Nike FuelBand.

Connecting the iPad to other Bluetooth devices is still rather hit and miss, it must be said, Wi-Fi is, as you’d want it to be, still N standard and, as you might not want it to be, but there it is, single-band.

New iPad 3: Battery

With all its muscle enhancements, you’d expect compromised battery life. Now, Apple claims the same figures as iPad 2, with ten hours of Wi-Fi web surfing, nine hours on a mobile network and ten hours of video or music. Although longevity is pretty good given the power and resolution boost you’re getting, we found some differences compared to the previous ’Pad.

In testing we noticed a quickening in battery drain with the new iPad when browsing, viewing and creating content when compared to iPad 2. Watching a two-hour HD movie on both devices reduced 10 per cent more of the third-gen’s battery, while overnight energy seepage clocked in at six per cent, compared to zero from iPad 2.

General, non-intensive use reduced the battery by about 10 per cent per hour, which is bang on Apple’s claimed drainage. Our major gripe, though, is that the new iPad still takes an excessive amount of time to reach full charge.

It’s at least six hours using a mains charger and near double that via USB from a computer. Yes, the battery lasts a decent whack but if you’re used to the speedy re-juicing of most mobile devices, this will irritate. It did us, anyway.