Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The iPad 3's Achilles heel

I have been a big fan of the the iPad since it was introduced.

If one accepts its limitations it is a very effective device.

In fact I did not take a laptop with me on my tour of the Far East, it has filled the niche so well.

The iOS version of Keynote being particularly excellent for presentations on the fly.

I even tried a Time lapse with it and it was pretty good.

I bought the iPad 1 but skipped the iPad 2 as one can take the purchase of glittering Apple jewels a little too far.

From its feature set the iPad 3 was a candidate for an upgrade, and overall I'm happy with it.

But with one very big caveat.

It's power consumption.

That beautiful retina screen is a power hog.

With my iPad 1 I could manage to get by with sporadic and occasional charges, it would get by on a whiff of power and hang onto the charge quite nicely thank you very much.

If you play this game with the iPad 3 you will pay the consequences
and as a result I'm never far away from some way of topping up the power.

What is more not only does it seem to charge more slowly, but if you are running an screen heavy app while charging you may well experience a 'static' battery situation - where the battery power does not go down, but neither does it go up.

This has caught me out a couple of times, where I have been running an app while it has been charging overnight, and in the morning the battery has been in much the same state of charge as when I plugged it in.

So when I was about to make my presentation I was left wondering if I would make it through, a nerve wracking experience.

The problem further made worse by the fact that you cannot charge the iPad while it is plugged into a projector as the share the only external connection point the device has.

Yes, I should be more organised and together but this is real life and we all have quite enough going on without committing too much mental capacity for a charging strategy for ones mobile device.

Don't get me wrong, I do like my iPad 3 and I'm writing this blog on it as I travel to London.

All I'm saying is that by upgrading the screen Apple has changed the character of the device in my opinion.

Before you buy one try to assess which you value more, the retina display or battery life?

If you want a solution where the battery lasts through the day and beyond you might like to consider the iPad 2 and save some cash too.



Andor said...

'I have been running an app while it has been charging overnight, and in the morning the battery has been in much the same state of charge as when I plugged it in.'

Sounds to me like a design-issue - whether in software (handling of charger / apps in background) or hardware (simply undersized charger), not sure, but its a pity anyway. Though, iPad(s) - and all those other tablet machines as well - are great tools as long as You're ready to accept these were never to really replace laptops. Just used a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 recently and I was surprised by the functionality. (Tried the first version of iPad too earlier, the only slight limitations felt about were the same as about iPhones vs. Android phones only.)

Glyn Dewis said...

Funny but until this post I'd never given the battery much thought. Like you I skipped the 2nd Gen and upgraded to the 3rd Gen but yeah despite the Retina Display being impressive it does tend to drink the battery juice at an alarming rate.

Mike said...

Still using the original iPad and still love it. For what I need I have no use for the the new one. I may find a nice iPad 2 on clearance somewhere with bigger capacity than mine, which would be nice. Other than that, battery life has been a major bonus for me so any decrease would be a deal breaker. Thanks for the insight.

Gordon The Photographer said...

interesting. I've got a 1 and my wife has a 2. I find hers goes through battery faster than mine. I can go days without needing to charge mine. Just use it for flipboard and radio really..as well as portfolio viewing in pub once a week. I was thinking of getting a 3 as that screen is so good...might wait now as it's really just a luxury rather than necessity

Unknown said...

Hi Guys,

Doubtless the 4 (when there is one) will be a step forward.

It is very lovely though.