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New iPad review roundup: Retina Display + LTE are a killer combination

With one day left until Apple’s new iPad launches, review embargoes on the tablet have lifted, and geeks everywhere are getting their panties in a twist.

Not surprisingly, reviewers have gone head-over-heels for the new iPad’s ultra-high resolution Retina Display and its built-in 4G LTE capabilities. While there are other improvements in the tablet, like it’s quad-core graphics A5X chip and better camera, it’s the screen and LTE that steal the show as the most significant upgrades.

Apple’s new iPad goes on sale in stores at 8 a.m. Friday morning, and the wise shoppers who pre-ordered the tablet will also start receiving their shipments in time for the weekend.

Here’s Daring Fireball’s John Gruber on how the new iPad handles text:

Reading on the big retina display is pure joy. Going back to the iPad 2 after reading for a few hours on the iPad 3 is jarring. With bigger pixels, anti-aliased text looks blurry; with smaller pixels, anti-aliased text looks good; but with really small pixels like these, anti-aliased text looks impossibly good — and what you thought looked pretty good before (like text rendered on older iPads) now looks blurry.

Not everyone considers the new iPad a computing revolution though. David Pogue of the New York Times, who is often criticized for being a major Apple fan, didn’t think the tablet was a major upgrade over the iPad 2:

Really, the new iPad should have been called the iPad 2S. In the past, Apple added the letter S to iPhone models that weren’t exactly new but had been tastefully enhanced (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S). That’s exactly what’s going on with the new iPad. Its technical improvements keep it at the forefront of desirability — just ahead of the snapping jaws of its Android competition — but don’t take it in any new directions.

The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg was impressed with the iPad’s 4G LTE speed (and he wasn’t the only one):

On Verizon’s network in Washington and Austin, Texas, I averaged LTE download speeds of over 17 megabits per second, faster than most home wired networks. A colleague using a new iPad on AT&T’s LTE network averaged over 12 mbps. My iPad 2 running Verizon’s 3G network averaged just over 1 mbps.

For people who bought an iPad 2 in the past year, Joshua Topolsky at the Verge doesn’t think the new iPad is a must-have upgrade:

For owners of the iPad 2, this isn’t necessarily a slam dunk. While the updated features are boon to the new iPad, it doesn’t offer an experience that is significantly different from the previous version. If your screen never bothered you, and you never wanted a faster cellular connection or a better camera, there’s not a great argument to upgrade (especially considering many of you just shelled out for a new tablet less than a year ago).

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