When Apple unveiled the third version of its iPad tablet at a press conference in San Francisco last week, it showed off a new screen that had four times the resolution of its predecessor and 44 percent better color saturation. And while most of those present appeared to be sufficiently wowed by the stunning resolution, no one outside of Apple had gotten their hands on the device.
But now that tech reviewers have had the chance to play with the new iPad ahead of its public release on Friday, the stir over the screen appears to be justified.
"It has the most spectacular display I have ever seen in a mobile device," Walt Mossberg of All Things Digital wrote in his review. "The company squeezed four times the pixels into the same physical space as on the iPad 2 and claims the new iPad's screen has a million more pixels than an HDTV. All I know is that text is much sharper, and photos look richer."
"My friends who wear glasses tell me that putting on your first pair is unforgettable," Shane Richmond of London's Daily Telegraph wrote. "Things suddenly look clearer and you can spot details that you didn't know you had been missing before. I don't wear glasses but I've experienced a similar effect over the last week while using the new iPad. It's hard to overstate the significance of the new screen."
Jim Dalrymple at The Loop was similarly blown away. "From the first time I turned it on and saw the Retina display, I was in awe of how good it was," he wrote. "Trust me, even if you watched the introduction video, you still have no idea how good this display is. You really do have to see it to believe it."
Mossberg agreed. "It's hard to illustrate on a Web page or in print how brilliant this new display is," he wrote. "You have to see it."
"Yes, this display is outrageous," Joshua Topolsky wrote on The Verge.com. "It's stunning. It's incredible. I'm not being hyperbolic or exaggerative when I say it is easily the most beautiful computer display I have ever looked at."
"The New iPad Makes Apple's Tablet Domination Clearer Than Ever," TechCrunch declared.
The site's reviewer, MG Siegler, wrote:
Even if you have perfect vision, indulge me here for a second. You know when you go in for an eye exam and you're asked to look at a combination of letters and numbers on a chart against a far wall? You read the first few lines, then realize you actually can't go any further. Then you get prescribed glasses (or contacts) and you can all of a sudden read every letter and number. And even the ones you could read before are now so much clearer.
That's what it's like looking at the new iPad versus the older iPads.
I guess it's just like a pre-glasses world—you never realize how blurry things are because that's just how you've always seen everything. And then you put the glasses on and you wonder how you ever managed without them.
Once you see and use the new iPad, there will be no going back.
Among the upper echelon of gadget gurus, it's hard to find anyone that isn't gushing. Business Insider managed to locate one, MacWorld's Jason Snell. "Buyers of this third-generation iPad will love the Retina display, but the fact is that the iPad 2's screen was also excellent," Snell noted. "It may be that there just isn't quite as dramatic a contrast between the two screens as there was between the pre- and post-Retina iPhones two years ago. Maybe I've been spoiled by my iPhone's Retina display, or maybe the iPad 2's display is really that good."
Still, Snell conceded, "the moment you pick up a third-generation iPad, you can tell the difference. All the slight jagginess and oddly misshapen characters we take for granted on lower-resolution displays just vanish on the Retina display, and you're left with the same sort of typographic excellence you'd expect in a printed book."
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