First Impressions: I bought a New iPad on launch day

Bigger Battery

With a quad core processor for graphics and a very hungry display to feed, the new iPad retains the same batter life as its predecessor. How can that be? Is the A5X processor just so much more efficient? Not quite. But battery technology has improved.

It looks like the new battery is 70% larger in capacity – 42.5W compared to the previous 25W. That’s great, and it certainly explains how a warm backside doesn’t impact on battery performance – because to me it suggests that some energy is converted into heat, which results in a loss. Great, bigger battery to offset the problem. Nice. Or is it?

A 70% larger battery also means it probably takes quite a bit longer to recharge it. The internet suggests it takes almost twice as long with the 10W charger (which has not changed compared to the previous model) – not to mention underpowered USB ports. I’ll get back to you on my experiences here, it’ll be an interesting one to watch.

5MP iSight Camera

Great news on the camera front: Apple said that they’re using the same camera that’s been designed for the iPhone 4S in the new iPad. Why I wonder does it not have 8MP like the iPhone 4S then?

Ah well, that’s just me being picky I guess. It’s a major improvement over the previous one, no doubt about it. Over are the days when I needed to take a quick picture of a document for my accountant, only to see that text in said picture is nearly impossible to read, let alone questionable in terms of legality.

Let’s take a quick look at some still comparisons between the two cameras:

Ninjas and Apples, shot on iPad 2 (1MP) - click for full resolution

Ninjas and Apples, shot on the new iPad (5MP) - click for full resolution

Ninjas and Apples, shot on iPhone 4S (8MP) - click for full resolution

The camera has autofocus which can take a second or so to find the sharp points in your picture. This is great for a still picture or a very stabilised shot, but I find it can get awkward with spontaneous action shots. I’ve seen the same when I used the iPhone 4S: if you move it around a lot, autofocus gets confused. But hey, in that case your shots will probably look rather rough too.

I’ve not found a way to switch this feature off so that the camera gets turned into a fixed-focus jobbie like the previous one.

How about focal length and video? Let’s take a look.

One thought on “First Impressions: I bought a New iPad on launch day

  1. So I’ve spent a week with my new toy and I can tell you this much: the display rocks. Seriously. You get used to being able to read everything no matter how small the font is.

    Pictures I had taken weeks ago shine in a new light as I discover details that I didn’t know was there before – it’s a great enjoyment. HD video is the same: the extra clarity just adds a new dimension to it.

    But I’ve also found a couple of things that appear to annoy me, which really is a shame.

    For once, the new iPad is heavier – and that’s not just on paper. I can feel it when I pick it up and use it, especially with the unhealthy “reading while holding it in my left hand hand” approach. You’ll think I’m crazy making a fuzz over the additional weight of a chocolate bar, but I can feel it. The extra strain on your wrist isn’t fun. Not a dealbreaker either, but enough to annoy me.

    Then there’s the battery. When previously I would have put my depleted iPad to on charge for half an hour, I could take it out again for half a day. Not so with the new iPad. It takes nearly twice as long to charge. Again not massive issue, but it eats into the smooth cool of the iPad 2. I’ve heard reports that charging the new iPad on a well powered USB port or iPhone charger now takes 4x longer than before. That’s mathematically correct: we still only have 10W on the iPad charger, and a maximum of 5W on a USB port. So if the new iPad uses 10W just to operate, and you put 5W in, then you’re still down 5W. iPad 2 on the other hand may have only used 2-3W max, so the extra wattage goes into charging the battery.

    Software is a biggie though: I have a feeling that the new iPad isn’t as responsive ans slick as iPad 2. I understand there are more pixels to be moved and all, but what made iPad 2 so cool is its slickness. The magic touch if you will. The new iPad feels a bit like an Android tablet, where moving the screen sometimes jitters. Would Steve have approved of this? Certainly not.

    In addition, many apps are still not (yet) running well on the new iPad, and I don’t mean they haven’t updated their hi-res graphics yet. Some apps just don’t run. I know that’s only a matter of time until developers have sorted this, but my point is we HAVE a well-working version right here today (granted without the Retina Display). Why but up with a Beta Version if you don’t have to?

    3G (or 4G) is another minor issue: iPad 2 had better reception on AT&T – at least where I am right now. I wonder if HSPA+ is actually thinner in coverage compared to the previous UMTS, and since my new device supports HSPA+ it only connects to that band, neglecting the other. Hmmm…

    So I’m now thinking: it’s certainly great to have the new iPad, but maybe I’ll keep my old iPad 2 as well and use it depending on the situation. Maybe 2 devices is the answer, especially having one eye on developing apps.

    None of this really matters, and they’re all minor minor issues that only spring up if you compare both devices. I guess what I’m saying here is that if you have a choice which one to get, and you’re stuck asking yourself which once should you pick up, don’t see the iPad 2 as old technology. It still rocks, so much so that it has advantages over its new brother.

    I can’t help but wondering that if Steve would be alive… had the new iPad come out thicker and heavier? Or would he have said: “not an option – find a way or you’re fired”!

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