Review Roundup for the New iPad

We’re only a day away now from the official release of the new iPad and reviews have started to appear on the web. While most components on the tablet have been upgraded – the CPU, the rear camera and 4G wireless capability – it’s the retina display that stands out the most. You get the impression that once you set eyes on the high resolution screen, it’ll be pretty darn difficult to go back to anything else. Sure it’s a bit thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, but overall, the new iPad appears to be a heavyweight champ. Here’s the complete roundup of reviews from around the web:

Joshua Topolsky [The Verge]

Yes, this display is outrageous. It’s stunning. It’s incredible. I’m not being hyperbolic or exaggerative when I say it is easily the most beautiful computer display I have ever looked at. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that you hold this in your hands, or maybe it’s the technology that Apple is utilizing, or maybe it’s the responsiveness of iOS — but there’s something almost bizarre about how good this screen is. After the launch event, I described the screen as “surreal,” and I still think that’s a pretty good fit.

Let’s be clear: the new iPad is in a class by itself, just as its predecessor was. As the latest product in a lineage of devices that defined this category, the iPad continues to stand head and shoulders above the competition. With the addition of the Retina display, LTE, more memory, and a more powerful processor, Apple has absolutely held onto the iPad’s market position as the dominant player and product to beat.

Jim Dalrymple [The Loop]

I’ve been using the iPad for a week now and I’m so impressed. From the first time I turned it on and saw the Retina display, I was in awe of how good it was. Trust me, even if you watched the introduction video, you still have no idea how good this display is. You really do have to see it to believe it.

struggled after the event to put the right words together to describe the display and a week later I’m still lost for the proper analogy. The only thing I can think of that comes close is comparing it to the first time you ever saw an HDTV. Remember how startling it was to go from one of those giant standard definition projector TVs to an HDTV? That’s what this is like.

The Retina display will make you do a double-take the first time you see it. Even on the home screen, it’s crisp and clear — you can notice a huge difference, even from the iPad 2.

Jason Snell [Macworld]

The new iPad is just that: The iPad, updated for a new year and millions of new iPad users. It’s not smaller or lighter, but it’s got a remarkable screen, a much better rear camera, and support for cellular networking that can run at Wi-Fi speeds. It’s the iPad that millions of people have embraced, only one year better.

Users of the iPad 2 shouldn’t fret: Their iPad investment is certainly good for another year. But they might not want to look too closely at the new iPad’s screen. Once you get a load of that Retina display, it’s hard to go back to anything else.

MG Siegler [Tech Crunch]

The iPad 2 is still far and away the best tablet on the market today (the iPad 3 officially comes this Friday, of course), and the new iPad screen manages to make it look like antiquated technology. That’s not to say you shouldn’t get an iPad 2 at the new $399 price, it’s just that if you go that route, don’t bother looking at the new iPad first. It will ruin the iPad 2 for you. Again, this is the best tablet out there right now that we’re talking about.

If you have the original iPad, I say this is a no-brainer. If you have an iPad 2, it’s a tougher call since it still seems nearly as fast as the new iPad. But if you choose not to upgrade (or to spend $399 for the 16 GB iPad 2 now), again, treat the new iPad as if it were Medusa when you’re in an Apple Store. Do. Not. Look. At. It.

Jon Gruber [Daring Fireball]

Reading on the big retina display is pure joy. Going back to the iPad 2 after reading for a few hours on the iPad 3 is jarring. With bigger pixels, anti-aliased text looks blurry; with smaller pixels, anti-aliased text looks good; but with really small pixels like these, anti-aliased text looks impossibly good — and what you thought looked pretty good before (like text rendered on older iPads) now looks blurry.

The retina display is amazing, everything in the UI feels faster, and the price points remain the same. What’s not to love? It’s that simple.

Vincent Nguyen [Slash Gear]

1080p video playback is supported at full resolution, though the 4:3 aspect ratio means there are black bars top and bottom. Nonetheless, the level of detail is incredibly impressive; even those with self-professed tech apathy were drawn in by the new iPad’s graphical prowess. Showing a gallery of images in iPhoto, the slate sometimes looks like a mock-up with a printed, high-res image rather than an actual display, it really is that good. Viewing angles are as broad as we’ve come to expect from IPS panels, no matter which direction you’re looking from, and colors are as rich and saturated as AMOLED.

Steve Jobs would have approved of the new iPad. With its focus on the holistic experience rather than individual boasts around its constituent parts, it’s the epitome of the Post-PC world the Apple founder envisaged. No lag or delay; no frustrating cloud settings or arcane minimum software requirements. Simply pick up, swipe, and you’re immersed in a joined-up ecosystem. Apple doesn’t need another revolution, it has already started one, and the new iPad brings a fresh degree of refinement to a segment in which it is undoubtedly the king.

Walt Mossberg [All Things D]

It has the most spectacular display I have ever seen in a mobile device. The company squeezed four times the pixels into the same physical space as on the iPad 2 and claims the new iPad’s screen has a million more pixels than an HDTV. All I know is that text is much sharper, and photos look richer.

If you already own an iPad 2, and like it, you shouldn’t feel like you have to rush out to buy the new one. However, for those who use their iPads as their main e-readers, and those who use it frequently while away from Wi-Fi coverage, this new model could make a big difference.

Edward C. Baig [USA Today]

You’re probably thinking the displays on the first iPad and the iPad 2 were pretty sweet, and you’d be right. Watching movies, reading books, surfing the Web, playing games and admiring photos on the older tablets is not an unpleasant experience.

But then you have a look at what Apple calls the “retina display” on the new iPad, technology first applied to recent iPhones, and you’re blown away.

Examine the new screen side-by-side with one of its near-10-inch predecessors, and you’ll swear you just had Lasik surgery. Text on Web pages or in books is so crisp and sharp that you don’t want to go back to reading on an older iPad. Movies and photographs reveal rich detail.

David Phelan [Pocket Lint]

Text which had previously seemed perfectly readable is suddenly sharper, with a crispness that rivals print. No more jagged edges on curved lines, no matter how much you squint. It’s hard to convey what a major, but also subtle, change this is. Stare at it in the right light and it looks like it could be a printed photograph, not an electronic display.

Suddenly, even if you completely prefer reading books to ebooks – and who wouldn’t? – the new iPad becomes a much more tempting prospect. Of course, it is still a backlit screen rather than restful-on-the-eyes paper, but this is the first iPad to be a better e-reader than the Kindle in terms of sharpness. Though in bright sunlight Amazon’s e-ink screen still wins out.

David Pogue [New York Times]

But apps that haven’t been rewritten don’t benefit as much. In most apps, text is automatically sharpened, but not in all of them. After enjoying the freakishly sharp text in Mail and Safari, you’ll be disappointed in the relatively crude type in, for example, the non-updated Amazon Kindle app. (Amazon says that a Retina-ready update is in the works.)

Similarly, high-definition videos look dazzling. This is the world’s first tablet that can actually show you hi-def movies in full 1080p high definition. But Netflix’s streaming movies don’t come to the iPad in high definition (yet, says Netflix), so they don’t look any better.

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