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The New iPad Third Generation, Hands-On [Video]

Thanks to our friends at Kyle Communications and Verizon Wireless, we were invited this afternoon to an exclusive sneak-peek at Apple’s New iPad. The device will be on sale at Apple stores, Verizon locations, and other electronic retailers beginning at 8 am. Though we were only able to spend a brief time with the iPad in the backroom of the Verizon store at  in Castleton, IN, the hands-on was one of the best experiences we’ve had in our recent reviews. Having used a number of tablets, including the previous 2 iPads, as well as several Android-based devices, we’re pretty familiar with what’s out there.

The New iPad

Hands-down, the new iPad outperforms any tablet currently on the market, with the exception of the ASUS Transformer Prime. That quad core beast is pretty much on par with what the new iPad offers, aside from the gorgeous high-res display. Unfortunately, videos and pictures of the screen just don’t do it justice. The Retina display is something that just has to be seen in order to really understand just how awesome everything looks on it. iOS is, as always, buttery smooth when it comes to navigating the interface. That’s helped along by the new A5X and 1GB of RAM, but in the case of this device its all about how it uses those resources. And it does that very well. You won’t see an instance where the screen hangs, and you won’t find any lag between transitions. Load times are minimal when launching apps, and navigating through things like Flipbook is an amazing digital experience.

Personally, I’m well invested in Google’s Android OS. I own a couple of Android tablets, as well as various Android phones from different makers. I’ve reviewed dozens more on top of that. I’m certainly no iOS fanboi, but I must admit that the New iPad is certainly the best of the bunch at this point in time. As mentioned previously, the Transformer Prime is a strong competitor, and to a degree the Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes very close. However, for the price I can’t help but recommend the iPad to those shopping in the $500 range. Do I think it’s worth the cost of purchasing the high-end models up into the $800 range? I do not. Unless you just have the cash to burn, that is. Pricing for the LTE model is, likewise, a little steep at $629 for the base model. Factor in the month-to-month cost of data, and you’re looking at a not-insignificant sum of money.

In summary, the New iPad is a pretty mean machine. The display is absolutely eye-boggling, and has to be seen to be believed. Those that will probably get the most mileage from it are those of you who want to do a lot of photo or video work on the fly, as the display is perfect for such activities. If you’re only looking at a toy to do some mobile gaming, browsing, watching videos, and the like, then it may be worth skipping an  upgrade this year to see what’s in store for iPad 4th Gen. The iPad 2 is also still a very capable alternative, as are the 2012 models of many Android tablets. The point being, don’t buy it for the hype. Make sure you’re factoring in exactly what you’re going to do with it, and purchase your model accordingly.

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