The newest version of the iPad, (dubbed the “iPad 3″ by consumers) is now available to purchase, and just like the previous iterations, it is being advertised as an all-in-one wonder machine. From shooting video to doing business, the iPad 3 is being touted as the only tablet you’ll ever need. For the most part, the iPad has generally lived up to such claims, but one area in which it has always received criticism is in its usefulness as an eReader. From glare to battery concerns, the iPad has always had some issues that need addressed, so the question then becomes, “Does the new iPad address these issues?”
Dedicated eReader devices like the Kindle have tailored their screens to be easy on the eyes. Since the iPad isn’t just an eReader, it naturally can’t tailor its display in the same way. If it used the same technology that the Kindle does, for instance, movies on the device would lack a lot of definition (not to mention they’d be in black and white).
It’s because of this that glare has been an omnipresent issue with both of the previous iPad models. The newest iPad thankfully uses a different display than the previous iterations; a 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina display.
The new Retina display has four times as many pixels as the iPad 2, and it looks great, but it unfortunately doesn’t do anything for making the iPad a better eReader. While a picture book might look better, most users of the iPad are still likely be reading plain text eBooks, and a higher resolution isn’t much help when reading basic text. Especially when something such as the Kindle is designed to be even easier on your eyes as reading actual paper books.
Further still, glare is still very much present in the device. This is likely because of the fact that the display itself is protected by a coating that seems to reflect light at a higher than normal rate. That said, the new display does seem to offer a bit less glare overall, but many users won’t notice any difference.
Considering the fact that the iPad is essentially a full-fledged computer in a tiny package, the battery life has always been fairly good. The iPad 2, for instance, could be run at full brightness for more than 8 hours. While this is good for a tablet, though, it isn’t exactly a benchmark for eReaders. Dedicated eReaders can run for days, sometimes weeks on one charge because they don’t have to power as much hardware and the display isn’t as power-hungry. Considering the fact that the battery on the iPad is powering a lot more, however, 8 hours is pretty good.
The problem is that the new iPad, according to multiple reports, seems to run for only two to three hours at full brightness. This could be due to multiple reasons, but the most likely cause is all of the beefed up hardware in the iPad requiring a lot more power to operate. Turning down the brightness to fifty percent can raise the run time back up to close to eight hours, but you may have more trouble seeing what’s on screen.
So does the new iPad make reading eBooks easier? The answer seems to be “no” on pretty much all accounts. That isn’t to say it’s not worth buying, however. If you’re looking for an eReader that can also act as a tablet, the iPad 3 is still probably your best option thanks to its overwhelming selection of apps, eBooks and music.
Despite its flaws, eBooks are still very much readable on the device, after all. If you’re just looking for a dedicated eReader and you want something that’s much lighter to hold, however, you’re better off spending your money elsewhere.