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Apple iPad 3G review

Now out in the UK, we look at the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G - is it worth the extra cash?

Our Verdict

Another fantastic device from Apple, but we're not so happy about the price premium you pay for the 3G version.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1024 x 768

View full specification

For

  • Great user interface
  • Fantastic app experience
  • Great screen
  • HD video looks brilliant

Against

  • Not convinced about the keyboard
  • It's pricey!
  • Tariffs not cheap either

Update: check out our Apple iPad 2 review

After many delays, the Apple iPad is now available in the UK in both 3G and W-Fi-only flavours. The model we're testing today is actually called the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G in full parlance, but iPad 3G will do for us. (Read our review of the iPad Wi-Fi version.)

If you're hoping to get your hands on one you'd better be quick though - Apple Stores had limited stock on launch, while website orders now cite just 'June' as a shipping date.

The iPad 3G checks in at a pricey £529 - £100 more than the Wi-Fi only version. And that's just for the basic 16GB edition - it's an extra £70 for the 32GB model and a further £100 if you want the full 64GB. That means the top end iPad 3G that we're testing here checks in at a sobering £699 – ouch.

Then, of course, you need to budget for an iPad data tariff – check out the fourth page of our review for more details on all the costs.

If you're more interested in the iPad Wi-Fi, then check out our main Apple iPad review.

The iPad 3G is a little different in terms of appearance – it has a black plastic strip at the top of the back of the iPad, which makes sure the iPad gets decent 3G reception. An all-metal case wouldn't be any good for this.

There's also the microSIM slot, so you also get a SIM eject tool as well as the Dock Connector to USB cable. Sadly, there's no dock in the box, but you do get a power adapter.

The other big boon of the iPad 3G is that you get GPS capabilities, so you'll get a better experience in, say, Google Maps and geo-tagged tweets, for example. Both models do have a digital compass, though. However, testing in our other iPad review for the Wi-Fi-only model indicated that the iPad Wi-Fi was still fairly good at picking up the current location via Wi-Fi.

ipad 3g

The iPad uses iPhone OS which, at the time of writing, is yet to support multi-tasking. However, iPhone Os 4.0 is imminent, which will mean that multi-tasking apps will be supported.

The use of the iPhone and iPod touch OS means that the iPad is a great living room-type device. It's great for just popping online or emailing sporadically. We've seen tablet-type computers before, of course – most notably courtesy of Microsoft – but they haven't stepped up to the plate. Instead, they've had dodgy handwriting recognition and poor controls.

As usual with Apple, they've taken something established and done it better – and that's even before you get to the apps which take the iPhone and iPod touch model to a completely new level.

Even Windows 7, with its touch compatibility, isn't quite up to the job of providing a completely intuitive touch-based interface.

So no wonder Apple has had so much success with iPad. But remember this is just the beginning – we'll soon see tablets based on Android (like the Dell Streak) and, later in the year, Google's Chrome OS. So let's look at iPad 3G in depth.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Hard Drive CapacityNo
Flash Memory Capacity64 GB
Processor ManufacturerApple
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Maximum Battery Run Time10 Hour
GPSYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, HSDPA, UMTS
Product FamilyiPad
Cellular Network SupportedGSM
Operating System PlatformiOS
Operating SystemiPad OS
Brand NameApple
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeA4
Screen Size24.6 cm (9.7")
Screen Resolution1024 x 768
Weight (Approximate)725.7 g
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Cellular Generation3G
Height12.7 mm
Width242.8 mm
Depth189.7 mm
Screen ModeXGA
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMC497LL/A
Product NameiPad Tablet Computer
Product LineiPad
Aspect Ratio4:3
Manufacturer Part NumberMC497LL/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

The best way to experience the web, email, photos, and video. Hands down. All of the built-in apps on iPad were designed from the ground up to take advantage of the large Multi-Touch screen and advanced capabilities of iPad. And they work in any orientation. So you can do things with these apps that you can't do on any other device.