iPad 3 review

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

new iPad 3 review
The definitive new iPad 3 review

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

New iPad 3 review

When it comes to Apps, you'd think there's nothing much to worry about if you're using an Apple device. And you'd be mostly right: the new iPad 3 offers up over 250,000 apps, with a greater number than ever designed for the iPad specifically.

However, there's a slight worry about those meant for the Retina Display, although probably not to the levels that some in the media are trumpeting at the moment. Sure, there are some that are pushing nearly half a GB in size (iMovie, we're looking at you here) but we still need to see how other upgraded apps fare.

New iPad 3 review

We really don't want to see 400MB-500MB apps becoming the norm on the iPad 3, as even with a 32GB model once you've chucked in a couple of HD films you'll be having to think about which apps you want on there… and that's never a good thing on a device – just ask HTC Desire owners.

But we'll wait until we pass judgement on this, as past performance has shown us Apple's headline apps always seem to take up more space that those from the average developer.

Until then, let's take a look at the apps Apple is telling us just look sooooo great on the iPad 3 Retina Display:


If you're a budding filmographer... well, chances are you'll want something that's a little more high power than the iPad and will want a little more effort when it comes to the program used to cut it all together. But for the average Joe Schmo making a couple of videos of his dogs and deciding it would be fun to make a mini movie of them, you know, professional-like, this is a decent addition.

New iPad 3 review

At £3, it's a little pricey, but once you've made a couple of movie trailers, you'll see why it's more fun than functional - we had a blast once we'd thought about the footage we wanted to chuck in.

The main project option can be really well exploited by putting together some nice interstitials to give your home movies a bit of flair - but be warned, it's a little limited, despite how awesome the films some people seem to be managing.

New iPad 3 review

We will say one thing: it's much easier to cut together a decent-ish film with a better looking screen, and the speed with which the A5X processor is able to keep things running is a plus to us, although the iPad 4 is even more adept at the same trick.


iBooks is a place where the new iPad 3 really shines. It doesn't really manage to beat the likes of the Amazon Kindle when it comes to easing strain on the eyes, but the smooth way the letters are laid on the page make it a joy to use to munch through your favourite tome of the moment.

New iPad 3 review

The likes of a little bookmark animation really make this app pop, and with the prices not terrible on many titles this is another decent stab from Apple at taking another cut of the ebook market.


iPhoto is another app that really takes advantage of the Retina Display on the iPad 3, and it makes editing that much easier thanks to it.

We were quickly applying saturation effects left, right and centre to make our pictures look a little cooler - it's basically the same as the editing tools already in the photo gallery (where you can auto fix, crop, enhance etc) but made 50x better, with a large amount of effects on offer to play with.

New iPad 3 review

You can export the images to things like Twitter, Facebook and your own journal - for those that love to document their life through the iPad 3 (you know who you are) they'll love this option on the larger tablet.


Like iBooks, the Newsstand is a much improved version of the previous tablet app - the Retina Display is a real winner in our eyes for making your publications look that much slicker, and the magazines and newspapers that have embedded video really stand out when it comes to showing off the multimedia advantages of a digital publications.

New iPad 3 review


We've included this here only because we're really disappointed with it compared to the iPhone version: there's no location-based awesomeness to play with.

This is despite the fact the new iPad 3 has a GPS chip built in, but there's no way to make sure a reminder is triggered when you're in a certain area.


You've probably seen the outcry over the loss of Google Maps on iOS 6 in favour of the new Apple Maps system - and yes, it's not the best thing Apple has ever done, with the company currently advising you try other mapping apps on its phones and tablets while it improves the accuracy of its own offering.

iPad 3 review

The accuracy aside (things like being told Marylebone station is 100 metres to the right of where it actually is doesn't sound like much, but if you're navigating there using the directions on foot it can become very irritating) the new Maps app is actually pretty nifty, despite losing some of the functionality like Street View in Google Maps.

For instance, the new app can tell you where there are roadworks, has decent traffic information on the go (although we weren't able to test the exact accuracy of this as we only had a Wi-Fi version to test initially) and the like of Flyover, which gives a 3D render of real life stuff in a slightly peturbing form.

The UI is more than serviceable when it comes to real life use - the speed of rendering is swift and the Apple-esque fonts and art is impressive, especially when compared to Google Maps on Android.

Directions are now included, so free turn-by-turn navigation is available on an Apple device out of the box. It's a very clear system with lovely big blue boxes to look at and multiple routes on offer each time, which is something that it beats Google's offering on. It can also stay asleep and only wake when there's a turning coming up - which means it won't rinse the battery if you don't have a charger.

iPad 3 review

The only problem is there's no inbuilt public transport mode here, which means you have to install apps from the App Store to achieve the same thing... Google Maps can already do such a thing, and thankfully it's now available on Apple's portal as well.

It's a decent mapping service, and can locate you very quickly when asked... something iOS devices have always been pretty adept at doing; it's just frustrating that the new option has managed to forget how to tell you where you actually are.

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.