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About as warm as a good handshake. We run our own tests to reveal the truth

iPad 3

Let's make one thing clear before we begin, we are more than happy that websites, blogs and mainstream media keep Apple at the top of their game by revealing potential issues with new Apple hardware and software. No company is infallible and it's right and proper that genuine mistakes or problems are pointed out to prospective customers.

However, what concerns us it that a potential customers might miss out on some genuine innovation because of a few sensationalist headlines. That leads us to three potential issues with the new iPad that have recently caught our attention.


Some have said that the new iPad gives off considerably more heat than the old iPad. We were surprised by these claims, so much so in fact that we decided to put them to the test. We put our iPad 3 through a series of graphics intensive testing, starting with an hour of Open GL benchmarking and finishing with 40 minutes of Real Racing 2 HD. At the end of our 2 hour test we could discern no significant increase in temperature on the back on the iPad and only a small increase in temperature on the display. The increase in temperature on the display was noticeable, but by no means uncomfortable. We don't doubt that the new iPad runs slightly hotter than the older model under certain conditions, but we do doubt any claims of it being hot or uncomfortable.

Resolutionary is not so revolutionary

This is a tricky one. There are clearly some users that will not be able to spot a Retina display apart from a standard display in a busy street, but does that make the Retina display less revolutionary? No, the iPad is a giant leap forward in pixel density and hence, genuine image detail. The new iPad display contains four times the amount of pixels as the old display. The difference, to those that have used the new iPad for any length of time, is like night and day. Fonts that were previously collections of anti-alaised pixels are now rendered to a degree of quality that reveals their true beauty. Photos and HD video looks spectacular! In our opinion the new display is a game changer, and if you can afford it you should certainly pick the new iPad over the cheaper iPad 2.


The new iPad is 51 gms heavier than the last version, but still lighter than the original iPad. Over the last couple of days we have seen comments that describe it as 'too heavy'. We are big fans of Jason Bradbury, co-presenter of Channel Five's 'The Gadget Show', but even Jason seemed to be looking for issues with the new iPad, describing it as "… too heavy! & … too hot!". We're sorry Jason, but in our book an extra 50 gms (roughly the weight of a packet of gum) is a small price to pay for the four times the increase in pixel density and a camera that rivals almost any smartphone, not to mention LTE support.

Of all these complaints, it's the overheating accusation that's most worrying as it implies that there is something fundamentally wrong with the design or construction of the new iPad. Just to reiterate, in our CPU and GPU tests we have not managed to raise the temperature of the new iPad to anything close to uncomfortable levels. Be that as it may, we will continue to test other aspects of the iPad to see what bearing they have on the temperature of the case and screen.

Photo Credit: Nicky Coleman

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Reader Comments (6)

What about the "not charging while playing processor intensive apps" claim? Make sure you use the wall charger, not PC charger.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiege

Well, how does one reconcile your "hardly noticeable" results with those from Consumer Report, which empirically demonstrates that the device can get quite a lot warmer than the iPad 2?

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterretrowriter

Hi Miege,

Yes, it is most certainly much slower to charge from a PC or Mac. We'll be testing the charge rate from the supplied USB charger.

March 21, 2012 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

Hi Retrowriter,

We didn't use the phrase "hardly noticeable", we said, "we could discern no significant increase in temperature on the back on the iPad and only a small increase in temperature on the display. The increase in temperature on the display was noticeable, but by no means uncomfortable." Consumer Reports may have proven that the new iPad gets quite a lot warmer, but what does that actually mean to you and I?

Fortunately, anybody with a new iPad and couple of hours to spare can run their own set of tests. And we encourage everyone to try it for themselves to see what kind of temperature increase they experience.

March 21, 2012 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

As with every new Apple product there will always be 'report of issues' and I believe anything posted should always be taken with a pinch of salt until I can try them out for myself (providing its not life threatening of course).
Thanks for your thoughts and open tests on the new iPad, I have yet to upgrade until art apps utilise the increase in res (if they do).
Also, I'm a qualified thermographer and always get a chuckle when I see thermal images being analysed incorrectly/misunderstood.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShaun Mullen

Lets see, you take the iPad 2, massively increase the resolution and battery, add a new screen, and throw in 3 more GPU's and call it iPad 3 (whatever). You expect it to run at the same temp as the iPad 2? Same charge time? The specs aren't even close between the two. Why on earth should it? The real question is if the iPad 3 is running within the specification it was designed for. Mine runs cool most of the time, and slightly warm when it's being stressed (note that I have one). My HP laptop runs much hotter, as does my phone sometimes. That's considered normal. I haven't heard of a single iPad 3 smoking, catching fire, burning anyone or blowing up. So I'm going with the idea it's running within the specs it was designed to. But that won't put some writer's article on the most read list on his/her site, will it? Nah, it's not news, it's gossip. The iPad is just a tool, until something better comes my way - I'll keep using it.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark Mulhall

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