Review: iPad’s never looked so good


By Paisal Chuenprasaeng

The big Retina display adds much to the tablet’s appeal, with ample power to back it up

With ample power for all the tasks assigned to it, the new iPad tablet computer is also a beauty thanks to a crisp and high-resolution 9.7inch Retina display. The cameras are terrific, too.

The latest iPad gets its thrust from a 64bit A9 chip that works the apps quickly and fluidly and delivers graphics in a way previously possible only on desktop computers and gaming consoles.

The chip uses Apple’s Metal technology to get the CPU and GPU working together on detailed graphics and complex visual effects in games and other apps.

An image signal processor also designed by Apple is built in to support advance camera features. You’re all but guaranteed top-quality photos and smooth viewing of videos.

The chip has an M9 motion coprocessor as well that continuously calibrates the device’s five sensors so that the tablet is always ready for action. It has a fingerprint sensor, three-axis gyros, an accelerometer, a barometer and an ambient-light sensor.

And credit the chip for making the most of that wonderful Retina display at 2,048×1,536 pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch. The display is not only supervivid but also shielded with a fingerprint resistant oleophobic coating.

This startling display is magnificent for viewing high-resolution photos and HD video clips and playing games with hires graphics. Ebooks and Web pages look great too.

The iPad is as portable as can be at just 7.5mm in thickness and 469 grams in weight. Its durable aluminium unibody feels solid and is available in metallic sliver, gold and Space Grey.

The fastest, latest-generation wireless technology at 802.11ac 5GHz protocol with MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) allows for rapid data transfer of up to 866Mbps with a capable 802.11ac router.

It’s best to connect with an MIMO router such as Linksys EA8500 so that the hookup is seamless and no time is lost waiting for other connected devices to finish sending requests and receiving data from the router.

I tested the tablet with an EA8500 and was connected almost instantly. I streamed videos from iFlix and YouTube without a problem and shared the data with other computers on my home network just as speedily.

The advanced eight-megapixel camera with automatic video stabilisation can shoot 1080p Full HD video – and in slow motion and time lapse if you like.

The front-facing FaceTime camera has 1.2 MP resolution, good enough for nice selfies that can be taken in bursts – continuous capture at 10 photos per second. The FaceTime sensor is equipped for HDR as well for that extra detail in your photos and videos.

The new iPad’s Touch ID is quite cool. The home button is embedded with a fingerprint scanner used to set up Touch ID. With this you can unlock the iPad, secure data stored in apps and, best of all, conveniently identify yourself for downloading applications from the App Store.

The iOS 10 running the iPad includes Expressive Messaging, a Siri voice-command assistant, Multitasking and Night Shift.

Night Shift reduces the blue light emanating from the screen that might disturb your sleep. It shifts the colour spectrum from cooler blues towards warmer yellows.

Useful apps include Keynote, Numbers and Apple Music, the last an intuitive app that combines the best ways to enjoy music in one place. Apple says it has 20 million paying subscribers for this service, in which playlists of new music and artists are provided, based on the kinds of music you prefer.

There are more than 1.3 million applications in the App Store designed for the iPad, and they all look impressive on the Retina display and run smoothly because of the A9 chip.

I tried out several, such as Skilllane, Liquid Text PDF Document Reader (Annotate and Excerpt) and Ookbee.

Skillane provides online video courses, many of them free. You can learn from gurus in marketing, finance, language and technology, for example. Liquid Text lets you add annotation and select and save excepts from PDF documents.

Ookbee is good for purchasing ebooks online, with more than 1,300 wide-ranging titles in newspapers, magazines, books and audio books.

The iPad’s battery life is about 10 hours, more than enough for solid sessions of Web surfing, watching videos and listening to music.

The iPad 9.7inch WiFi costs Bt12,500 with 32GB of storage and Bt15,900 with 128GB.

Key Specs

– Operating system: iOS 10.3.1

– Chip: 64bit A9 with M9 coprocessor

– Display: 9.7inch LED backlit with IPS, 2,048×1,536 pixels

– Cameras: 8MP rear with f/2.4 aperture lens, 1.2MP FaceTime HD with f/2.2 aperture

– Wireless: WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac); dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz); HT80 with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 technology

– Location: Digital compass, WiFi, iBeacon microlocation

– Sensors: Touch ID, threeaxis gyro, accelerometer, barometer, ambient light sensor

– Speakers: Stereo

– Battery: 32.4watthour lithiumpolymer with 10 hours of usage

– Storage: 32GB or 128GB

– Connector: Lightning port

– Dimensions: 240×169.5×7.5mm

– Weight: 469 grams


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