Monday, March 26, 2012

Should I buy the New iPad or iPad 2? an in-depth review

The release of the new iPad has left many of us in a state of indecisiveness. People who own, and those who have never owned an iPad are facing the same dilemma, to be or not to be. Most of us had high hopes that the new iPad would put an end to our life-long quest for an ideal tablet. Unfortunately, it has not. It now seems that the new iPad is more of an option rather than an upgrade to its predecessor. The market for iPad 2, therefore, has not closed. In fact, even before the release of their 3rd generation tablet, apple had already announced that they will continue to manufacture iPad 2 and sell it at a reduced price.

The purpose of this article is to help you decide whether you should buy the new iPad or stick with its predecessor. We will take a look at the different scenarios where one version may be preferred over the other. But first let's summarize all the important issues that have made the new iPad center of all criticism.

In the order of preference:

1. Overheating: it is now a common knowledge that the new iPad is running at least 13 degrees hotter than iPad 2. There can be two important implications of this issue. First, many people have pointed that they feel uncomfortable holding the warm tablet for prolonged lengths of time. The discomfort might worsen in the hot weather, especially when there is no AC to cool you and your iPad down. Imagine holding a sick child who has a fever of 102 degrees, but this baby is running a temperature of 116 degrees. Second, many are worried about the potential harmful effects of high temperature on the iPad's delicate hardware.

2. Wifi connectivity: there are enough whiners on apple forum who are complaining about the new iPad's noticeably inferior wifi reception. For some this problem is more annoying than the heating issue.

3. Battery: it takes twice the amount of time to charge the new iPad's battery to full than it takes to charge the iPad 2. It has also been seen that the new iPad is falsely displaying a 100% charge figure when, in fact, it continues to load its battery for another hour there after. Another, even bigger disappointment is that the new iPad’s battery does not charge when it is plugged and simultaneously running some 'heavy duty' app, such as games, videos or multitasking.

4. Voracious appetite for data: being an HD model, understandably, it needs more fuel to run than its previous models. I wish there was some kind of 'standard mode' that people could switch to inorder to conserve data; unfortunately, there is not.

5. Higher demand for memory: since most of the apps compatible with the new iPad are HD, the need for both static as well as Random Access Memory is naturally higher. This whole HD concept has transcribed in to rendering the cheapest (16GB) member of its family, more or less dysfunctional, at least for the advanced users. Therefore, if you must buy anything 'functional' you must pick a higher, thus pricier, version.

7. Few more ounces: This may not really be a major issue for those who are first-time ipad buyers but those who were used to holding the previous models argue that the additional ounces will further decrease the number of hours they will be able to support the tablet on their palm. I personally believe that the heating factor would have kicked in way before you felt the strain of those few extra ounces.

8. Same old dorky front camera: even though the rare camera has been upgraded to 8MP the most functional front camera has been ignored. I completely fail to understand the logic behind this idea, or may be this yet another intentional miss to justify bringing of the 4th generation.

9. Lack of Siri: most people were expecting to receive this iPhone 4S feature in their new iPads. But all they got was disappointment. Again, the Apple might have intentionally saved Siri for their next launch. However,
the dictation feature that has been added to the New iPad and may help offset the disappointment to some extent. Of note, both Siri and dictation need Internet connectivity to function.

With this basic information it will now be easier for me to recommend the type of version that will suit your needs.

So, who should buy the new iPad?

The biggest, and perhaps the only visible, plus of the new iPad thus far seems to be its 'Retina' display. All other features are more or less subdued by its lack of basic luxuries. For instance, the higher RAM feature is neutralized by a higher demand for memory, so on and so forth.

So, if you are a digital photographer, the new iPad is the tablet of choice for you. No other display will give you even the closest visualization of the pixels that you have captured.

If you are a low to medium level surfer and like to read books and magazines with colorful graphics and display, the 3rd generation is the way to go.

Game lovers who have extremely sensitive senses for sensing the speed, the new iPad is your gadget.

If you are a big fan of shooting pictures and videos with your tablet (which is kind of odd, though), the new iPad is your tool. But you have to have a genuinely convincing reason for choosing a tablet over a digital camera, or even an iPhone, to shoot high quality photos and videos.

And, who should buy the iPad 2?
Well, everybody else who did not meet the above criterion. If you are an aggressive tablet user and must hold it for an infinite number of hours without having to feel the discomfort due to its higher temperature or weight or strain to your ‘retina’, the iPad 2 is your solution.

For advance ipad users a sluggish charge time is definitely going to be a deal breaker when buying the new iPad. Additionally, the fact that the new iPad’s battery does not charge when it is plugged and simultaneously running some 'heavy' apps will add further to its disability.

For Navigation lovers, iPad 2 will certainly have an edge because of its quick charge time which will come handy when you are on the go.

People who live in wifi unfriendly homes should think twice before buying the new iPad.

iPad 2 is light on your pocket if you are a big-time GSM user. Since there are no unlimited data plans for iPad
one must spend the data prudently to avoid being billed multiple times in a month. Both Verizon and AT&T offer no more than 5 GB of data per charge for iPad. Here again the classification of intense vs low or medium user should help you choose between the iPad 2 and the new iPad.

If you are low on budget you could save some extra money by choosing the iPad 2. This is not only because of the recent price slash of the iPad 2 but also due to the fact that the new iPad’s higher memory requirement has only left you with the choice of purchasing its pricier version with more memory.

If you are a big-time video chatter buying the new iPad will not make your experience any better than the ipad 2 since no change has been made to the front camera of the tablet. Besides,
if you are chatting on a GSM plan you will now be burning more Mb/minute that you would with the previous models.

Conclusion: Consider the New iPad if you are a digital photographer (professional or advance hobbyist) and/or if you are a low to medium tablet user. For everybody else, there is iPad 2.

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Update 04/20/2012: I did eventually end up buying the new ipad. I took a chance and bought the least expensive third generation. I placed the order on apple website. The product was shipped straight from China. The cool thing about the online order was the free personalized text engraving. I wrote 'Made for ...our names' and added my address as well.

So, what is the deal with the New iPad?

To be honest, the heating issue was barely discernible eventhough I really did not hag it to the limits so I am probably not the best person to pass the final verdict on this particular problem. But the real issue here seemed to be the most talked-about feature, the display. Yes, 'issue'. I was quite disappointed to see the pictures on most of the websites on my new ipad. Avatars on social networking sites such as facebook and twitter appear fuzzy and ugly. People say that this effect is similar to the one we experienced when HD cameras and LCD TVs became available. The high resolution imagery would expose even the slightest wrinkle on your face and make you look darn ugly.

Another important thing that I would like to mention is the quality of the YouTube videos. Contrary to what everyone would have expected, the new ipad is no better than ipad 2 when it comes to the image quality of the videos, even HD videos, on YouTube. Infact the colors on the new iPad appear distorted as compared to the more natural looking ones on the ipad 2. The new ipad does, however, have a slight edge over its predessors when it comes to high resolution pictures downloaded straight from a high pixil DSLR camera.

The most impressive feature of the new ipad's so far seems to be its dictation. The transcription is more accurate than most other dictation apps. The best part is that this feature is integrated in to the keyboard so you do not have to open a seperate app to use it. You can use it where ever the ipad's keyboard pops up. But the question really is how many people will actually use this option regularly to make it a 'must-have' feature, not too many. Besides, you must be connected to the Internet to be able to use this feature either through wifi or GSM. The speed of your connection will determine how fast your spoken words will be transcribed in to text.

I did not come across any issue with the wifi connectivity. Both changes in thickness as well as heaviness were completely beyond my perception levels when compared with iPad 2. It even fit into the tragus leather case that is made exclusively for ipad 2 without ANY problems.

And now I am sure most of you would like to ask me whether my opinion about the new ipad has changed after I purchased it. My answer would still be, NO. I still think that all the 'yummy' features that the new ipad has been stuffed with are 'optional' and do not justify the release of yet another brand new version. People could have comfortably lived with the iPad 2 for another 2-3 years.

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(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are solely my own. I am neither a professional product reviewer nor affiliated to any electronic company, whatsoever. Please use your own judgment in deciding what products you want to buy. This material is copyright protected. Please avoid plagiarism)