iPad 3 review

Sharper screen, faster innards - but is it worth the update?

new iPad 3 review
The definitive new iPad 3 review

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New iPad 3 review

Apple's relationship with battery life on its portable devices has been a rocky one over the years. But we'll let you breathe a little easier: the new iPad 3 has a more than acceptable battery life in our eyes.

It's an interesting situation – we reckon if the same battery efficiency used here has been put in the iPad 2, the device would be rocking a time between charges of between 3-5 days, even with more than moderate use.

How much does that retina display drain the battery? We test the new iPad in exactly the same conditions as the Google Nexus 7 tablet:

As it stands, you'll be getting around two days of juice in the iPad 3, as although the battery pack is so much larger the Retina Display is sucking down the power just to keep all the pixels showing the right colours.

However, our longer-term test showed this will deplete over time: heavy users will only get a day's use, so be warned.

And then there's the issue of 4G or 3G connectivity on top of that screen power – push that a little harder and it's highly likely you'll be seeing maybe a day's use out of the new iPad, although we've yet to test that connection speed fully as yet.

New iPad 3 review

If you're going to be taking the iPad 3 on a long haul flight and are intending to consume a large amount of video, we'd reckon you could just eke things out to three movies if you're lucky – in our tests we were seeing consumption of around 15% per hour when firing up the screen.

To test this we looped a 720p video and tested to see how long it took to drain the battery – although this is atypical use (as you'll likely be prodding the screen every so often and firing up other apps in the background) we managed to get around 350mins of use out of our iPad 3 on a single charge.


There are so many connection options on the new iPad 3 that it's hard to list them all… but we're a diligent bunch here, so we'll give it a go.

The big one we're excited about is Bluetooth 4.0 – the latest version of the wireless technology, and here's our explanation from our lovely 'What is Bluetooth?' feature:

"Bluetooth 4.0 uses even less power than previous versions, and enables various devices to replace propriety sensor technology with Bluetooth.

"This Bluetooth Low Energy has benefits for technology in fitness, such as heart rate monitors and pedometers, which before could only communicate with a specific device controlling them. Now this information could theoretically be checked by any phone or computer."

New iPad 3 review

"The use of Bluetooth 4.0 still isn't that widespread, but it's tipped to grow, with the possibility to even be used to work as a wireless payment system in a similar fashion to the slower speeds of NFC."

We noted that a lot of videos would fall out of sync when watched over Bluetooth headphones, which was intriguing as they would gradually fall back into step with speech only to slip again when new chapters started. Annoying.

Above that, we've got Wi-Fi up to 802.11 n standard, aGPS and a gyroscope. If that wasn't enough for you, there's a cellular data connection that can handle up to 73Mbps depending on the territory you're in, with the likes of DC-HSPA promising speeds of over 40Mbps for those in the less well-connected territories.

As you can probably guess based on past models, Apple has decided to once again use a micro SIM on the iPad 3 – we think you should probably get used to the format, as it seems to be the popular choice for most manufacturers going forwards.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.