Apple iPad: The Retina Display Redefines the Tablet


You'll also see the difference whenever you play or capture a 1080p movie, or take photos with the new 5-megapixel camera (now dubbed "iSight," and vastly improved over the iPad 2's pitiful less-than-1-megapixel camera). The camera app was a pleasure to use compared with those on the Android tablets we've looked at, too. Sure, it lacks the finer exposure controls that the Android models offer, but Apple's app simply works more smoothly--it's quicker to focus, and it's more responsive overall, which means you're more likely to get the shot you're after.

Inside the iPad, Apple has applied moderate improvements to the tablet's guts. The new slate runs on an A5X dual-core Cortex A9-based system-on-chip, but it now has a quad-core graphics engine. That translates into what appears to be reasonably powerful graphics muscle, and solid overall performance. In the benchmark tests we ran at launch, the iPad excelled at some metrics, as you can see in the GLBenchmark 2.1.2 charts below.

On other metrics, including two other GLBenchmark tests and our Web-page-load and Sunspider tests, the iPad matched the iPad 2's performance.

[See "" for more in-depth analysis of how the new iPad stacks up to the top Android tablets.]

Ultimately, how good the iPad looks and performs will depend largely on the content you're viewing. Most things you view on the new iPad will look better than they do on the iPad 2. Books, magazines, apps, and Web pages all have the potential to look great, like nothing you've seen before, and games will be able to advance in graphical complexity beyond what we have today. It will take time, however, for developers to catch up and make that wholesale shift. Until then, be prepared: Your results will vary dramatically, ranging from disappointing to brilliant.