MOBILE: iPad 3rd Gen

Name/brand : Apple iPad 3rd Gen, 16 GB, WiFi only
Cost : $499
Phone/tablet : Tablet
Recommend : Yes

My first smartphone was the original iPhone. I liked it a lot, but after reading about the closed versus open arguments between iOS and Android, I went with Android for my next phone. Not to mention I am a proponent of open source anything. Fast forward to 2012, and I found myself at the same crossroads when buying a tablet. Then I read about the retina display on the latest iPad.

Why I Wanted This Device

I have wanted a tablet for a while, but when I started to think about what I would do with it, I couldn’t really think of a use. Enter Star Wars: The Old Republic which was giving me fits when I tabbed in and out of game. By fits I mean annoying load screens. I wanted a tablet to use so I didn’t have to keep alt tabbing from my game to look up something. I also wanted something that traveled better than a laptop, and I’m not sold on netbooks. Are these two conveniences alone worth $500? Time will tell.

Carrier and Data

I would mostly be using my iPad at home. That and the exorbitant prices carriers are charging for data made the WiFi option seem the best route. I can always upgrade my plan to add phone tethering or a MiFi hotspot at some point. Since I’m not using it as a phone, the carrier is unimportant.

Operating SystemThe iPad uses iOS. One reason I bought the 3rd Gen iPad was to make sure I would get upgrades for some time to come. I’m about as set as I can be in this category. Cell phones seem to get updated while they are within the two-year contract lifetime. Funny how that works. I’m interested to see how long tablets will be updated for. Again, time will tell.

Screen Size

Display and Graphics

The iPads all have a 9.7 inch screen, save for the brand new mini. I wanted what I call a full size screen to look at while playing multiplayer games for the iPad. The Asus Transformer tablets had a larger screen, but it was only marginally so. In the end, I made my decision based on the next category.

Processor and Power

Since I was going ahead with buying a tablet, I wanted something that could keep up with PvP games, and multiplayer games in general. I knew this was going to up the price, but if it can’t keep up, then it’s money wasted. Apple has left the competition in the dust with it’s retina display. The 3rd Gen iPad comes with a dual-core A6X processor, and quad-core graphics. This machine is a beast when it comes to handling multiplayer games for iOS. This iPad outpaces nearly every tablet available in performance at the time I bought it.

Memory and Storage

I got the 16 GB model, as I have never even come close to filling up the hard drive on any computer or phone. I also mainly wanted it to surf the Internet, so massive storage wasn’t a priority. If you like music, go with the 32 GB or 64 GB model.

I am less than a year out, and I have filled almost 70% of the storage capacity. I don’t foresee ramping up my memory usage, so 16 GB may be enough in the end. There are a lot of apps I’m not using, and some my wife downloaded. The fact that someone else might use it never factored into my equation.

If you have a big or unlimited data plan, 16 GB may still suit you. Streaming music and movies will take a chunk out of your data allowance, but saves big in the memory department. Think about the data coverage in your area, or if you’re mainly going to be near WiFi. There’s no point in trying to stream music and movies with poor coverage.

Personal Experience

I have ended up using it away from WiFi more than I anticipated. Not sure if that has contributed to using more memory than planned or not, but I thought it worth mentioning.

The one thing I do not like so far about this iPad is its closed ecosystem. If I want to download anything outside of iTunes, I have to download a special app for that. Jamendo.com for example. Legal, free music is available for download there. I have to download a separate music program to download and play those songs. That means no mixing and matching with the iTunes playlist.

Final Thoughts

If you are an Apple fan, don’t hesitate to grab this tablet. The newest iPad was just released, so you may even be able to get a good price on it.  It’s only a slight upgrade.  If you are a looking for an awesome tablet for multiplayer games, don’t hesitate to grab this tablet. If you aren’t willing to commit to a lifetime of Apple products, look at the Android offerings first. You may end up back at Apple based on your personal preferences, but it’s worth seeing if Android can do exactly what you want.

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