Breathtaking Display

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-03-20 Print this article Print


Finally, I got to look through my collection of photos that I'd taken for artistic reasons. I didn't bother to transfer the thousands of news photos I'd taken over the years because I don't care if they're in high resolution or not. But for my personal photos, I always used the good Nikon digital SLR and the good Nikon lenses, and the image quality is very high.

On the new iPad the quality was breathtaking.

I had a photo of a luna moth that had landed on my office door a year or so ago, and it had stayed there long enough that I was able to set up the camera for a perfect, full-frame close-up. On the new iPad each of the nearly microscopic hairs was clearly visible; I could see the scales on the wings. The colors were vibrant.

Another photo was of an emerging fiddlehead fern freshly entering the sunlight on its first spring morning. Every detail was as clear as it had been when I viewed the photo on my production monitor. I went from one photo to another, and each showed clearly how exceptional the new display really was.

Then I tried to look at some ebooks, but found that the Kindle software hadn't found its books. Fortunately the iBooks software had, and the text was so clear and crisp that it seemed printed on the screen.

Even more notable, the aviation software I use could now be expanded to the limits of the device and remained crisp. With the original iPad, the largest magnifications would descend into fuzziness.

I tried video conferencing using Apple FaceTime and Skype. The iPad produced better results with Skype than any of my computers, although when the person on the other end had crummy equipment, it still looked crummy.

The faster A5X processor is surprisingly obvious. I'd expected only marginal improvements given the necessity of supporting the greater screen resolution, but that wasn't the case. Activities that were processor-dependent are noticeably faster. Things that depend on the Internet are not really affected.

Considering that the new version of the iPad costs exactly the same as previous iPads, there's no question that it's worth the cost. It's also worth the cost to upgrade from a first-generation iPad. If you have an iPad 2, on the other hand, the answer depends on what you actually use the device for. If you need the higher resolution or if you use apps that are processor-intensive, then it's probably worth it. If all you're going to do is browse the Internet, you're unlikely to notice any difference.


Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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