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Apple iPad 3 (2012) review

Julian Prokaza
20 Mar 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

LTE is unlikely to take off soon, but the retina display alone makes this new model worth having



9.7 in 1,536x2,048 display, 652g, 1GHz Apple A5X, 1.00GB RAM, 16GB disk

The new iPad is also 4G LTE mobile data-capable, for incredibly fast downloads. Tests in the US show LTE download speeds of around 25Mbit/s, which, while well below LTE’s technical limit of 300MBit/s, are still far faster than most home broadband connections. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee the LTE chipset will support the correct frequencies when 4G rolls out in the UK. It will however support HSPA+, up to 21Mbit/s when that's launched in the UK, and DC-HSDPA, a possible future launch at speeds of up to 42Mbit/s.

In order to cope with the huge screen and power-hungry LTE wireless chip, Apple has almost doubled the size of the battery from 25Wh (6944mAh) to 42Wh (11,666mAh). The bigger battery is the main reason for the increased thickness and weight, but it means Apple can claim battery life is unchanged at 10 hours’ mixed use with Wi-Fi, or nine when using LTE. In our tests we saw over 11 hours of video playback with flight mode enabled and the screen at a still-dazzling 50% brightness, so we don’t doubt either figure.

Last but not least, the new iPad also has an improved camera, with a 5-megapixel backlit sensor and the same optics as the iPhone 4S (but no flash). Photos are consequently much better than the iPad 2’s, but a 9.7in tablet is an awkward tool for taking photos and we feel Apple would have been better off improving the so-so VGA front-facing camera for better FaceTime video call use.


Apps supporting the new resolution are more storage-hogging than before

The iPad 2 was the best tablet available, and the new model is even better and the same price. If there’s a catch with the new iPad, it’s that the entry-level 16GB model may not suit everyone. So far, apps updated to use retina graphics are around twice the size as before, which means 16GB of storage could be a squeeze. That makes the 32GB model a more sensible option, but even at £479 it's still leagues ahead of the competition. Apple's new iPad is the definitive Best Buy tablet.

Basic Specifications

ProcessorApple A5X
Processor clock speed1GHz
Maximum memoryN/A
Pointing deviceTouchscreen


Viewable size9.7 in
Native resolution1,536x2,048
Graphics ProcessorN/A
Graphics/video portsnone
Graphics MemoryN/A


Total storage capacity16GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

Wired network portsnone
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsnone
Other portsdock connector


Carrying caseNo
Operating system restore optionnone
Software includednone
Optional extrasN/A

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB

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