Apple new iPad review

After months of speculation about its specification, the new iPad launched in mid-March with an ultra-high resolution Retina display and blisteringly fast 4G LTE. Julian Prokaza puts it through its paces and is seriously impressed.

A5X chipset enhances graphics

The 1GHz dual-core processor in the new iPad essentially the same as the iPad 2's (with much the same performance), but Apple has upgraded its graphics component to a quad-core chip to cope with the increased number of pixels.

Apple reckons that this is four times more powerful than NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core chip, which comes with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and a 12-core graphics processing unit (GPU). The Tegra 3 is used in the latest Android tablets, and it will be interesting to see how the iPad stacks up against rivals such Asus Transformer Prime.

Improved camera, but still no flash

Along with the significantly sharper screen, the new iPad also gets a better digital camera to match. Apple has included a 5-megapixel snapper on the rear with similar optics to the iPhone 4S.

Camera performance is therefore considerably better than on the iPad 2, but the size of the iPad and the lack of a LED flash limit its use for photography and a smartphone still makes far more sense for this.

Apple new iPad - test image

Test shot from the new iPad provides very realistic colour replication

The front-facing camera has not been given such a big boost and still offers users VGA quality. This may irk some who regularly use the FaceTime video calling feature.

LTE is a major benefit if you can use it

The new iPad's other major new feature is the 4G/LTE option, though it's of little use in the UK at the moment as operators won't be launching this high-speed data service here until the end of this year, at the earliest.

In the US and Canada where 4G networks are already available, actual upload and download speeds of around the 25Mbps mark have been reported. However, in the UK the device will be restricted to the 3G network, with speeds that are around 80 per cent slower. IT Pro is set to carry out benchmarking on a 4G iPad soon.