Special report: iPad 3 / New iPad : What You Need To Know
Hands on: iPad 3 Review
Despite all the hype, Apple’s iPad 3 is not the only super tablet to come to market. There are some superb Android tablets already available, and many very exciting entrants in the pipeline. Windows 8 will also have plenty of alternatives in the near future, so join us as we go over the mighty third iPad’s biggest actual and potential rivals.
iPad 3 vs Transformer Prime
The Asus Transformer Prime is currently the best Android tablet available. It’s thinner and lighter than an iPad 2, offers more connectivity, more memory, more storage, a better and higher resolution screen, longer battery life, and a keyboard dock that turns it into a proper productivity machine and netbook-killer. The only area where it didn’t win out were its optional 3G, the polish of its OS and of course Apple’s mighty iOS App Store.
To see just now thoroughly it trounces the iPad 2, have a read of our versus article: Transformer Prime VS iPad 2: Battle of the Tablet Titans. But can Asus’ premium tablet match the new Apple heavyweight?
The iPad 3 will likely have a Retina Screen, which in this case should give it a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. That thoroughly demolishes the Prime’s 1,280 x 800, giving increased work space and superior sharpness. The only caveat is that it will require more horse-power to run apps natively, but you can be sure Apple will stick more than enough grunt under the hood to manage this smoothly.
Processor and graphics power:
This is a tough one. On the processor front it all depends on if Apple will ship its latest tablet with a quad or dual core CPU. If it’s a quad-core architecture, it’s likely to annihilate the Prime’s Tegra 3 chip altogether, whereas if dual it’s sure to be faster for many applications but maybe not as quick in heavily multi-threaded ones (rare as those may be).
On the graphics side things are simpler, as even the iPad 2 trades blows with Tegra 3’s 12 GPU cores. We therefore reckon this will be a clean win for the fruity tablet no matter what.
With the Prime starting at 32GB and going up to 64GB, we don’t think the iPad 3 will have much of an advantage here – especially since Asus’ tablet will let you add more memory through dual card slots, something Apple is unlikely to allow. So even if we see a 128GB iPad 3, the Prime won’t be left wanting.
Weight and Thickness:
A super-high-resolution screen doesn’t come for free, and due to this plus the extra power and battery capacity the iPad 3 will probably need to run it, it’s likely to be thicker than its predecessor. Considering the Transformer Prime was already thinner and lighter than Apple’s iPad 2, it should remain the portability champion.
Going by past experience, Apple is unlikely to bow to pressure from journalists, fans and sensible prosumers the world over to give its tablets decent connectivity. In fact, we would be very surprised to see even so much as an SD card slot make its way onto the iPad 3, let alone HDMI for video out or USB for hooking up peripherals and memory sticks. Expensive adapters aside, we can say with some confidence that the Prime will win hands down.
As Android constantly increases in market share, more and more developers will bring their apps out for Google’s platform. For now, however, iOS still majorly wins out in quality.