We're hard at work on our review on the new iPad but with a fair bit of display analysis under our belts I thought a quick post might be in order. One of the major features of the new iPad is its 2048 x 1536 Retina Display. Apple kept the dimensions of the display the same as the previous two iPad models, but doubled the horizontal and vertical resolution resulting in a 4x increase in pixels. As display size remained unchanged, pixel density went through the roof:

Pixel Density Comparison

Although the iPad 2 has a fairly high pixel density compared to most of Apple's Mac/display lineup, you're more likely to hold a tablet closer to your eyes which made the low resolution/pixel density problematic. The new iPad addresses this issue as you can see from the chart above. I can't focus closely enough to the panel to actually make out pixels on the new iPad, much less at a normal viewing distance. With the aid of a macro lens we can definitely identify individual pixels. The improvement over the iPad 2 display is striking:

To the left we have the original 1024 x 768 panel, and to the right we have the new Retina Display. At this distance you can still identify individual pixels, an ability that quickly vanishes at normal viewing distances. The Music app icon is an even better example of what you gain from the newer display as it has more high contrast edges that appear more aliased on the 1024 x 768 panel:

The old iPad's 1024 x 768 resolution was fairly bothersome when it came to reading text on web pages or books. Most Android tablets standardizing on 1280 x 800 offered an advantage in that respect, albeit not delivering significantly higher pixel density. The new iPad completely resolves this issue. Hover over the links below to see roughly the same paragraph of text from our retail Radeon HD 7870 review on the iPad 2, new iPad and ASUS Transformer Prime:

Apple iPad 2 Apple iPad (3rd gen) ASUS TF Prime
original original original

While it's still obvious that you're looking at a screen and not an e-ink display, the pixels perform a good disappearing act on the new iPad.

Going Into the Pixel: Retina Display Under a Microscope
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  • B3an - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    Why have you left out the 1080p version of the Asus Transformer Prime in the pixel density comparison?

    You always seem bias towards Apple.
    Reply
  • hieuhef - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    Hey, where can I buy one of those? Oh, it's not out yet. Reply
  • Subzero0000 - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    Really like your profile pic with the comment, priceless XD Reply
  • ArmanUV - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    Totally!
    stupid anandtech fanboys didn't even bother to go forward in time and review the infinity pad.
    Reply
  • mcnabney - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    And it isn't really 1080p. It is 1200p (1920x1200) and much less letterboxy. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    B3an post Reply
  • Origin32 - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    [tinfoilhat] because then Apple wouldn't look this good now would they [/tinfoilhat]

    Back on topic: even though this screen looks promising I think I'd rather wait for higher-res PC screens. (with 3D support)

    Furthermore, I just played around with an iPhone 4S for an hour yesterday and I really found it quite frustrating to work with.
    What's that? You want a wifi toggle? Mwuhahaha no can do sir. iOS seriously lacked a lot of options that I like to have, especially compared to my rooted Galaxy S, but even on its stock rom it was more versatile than that. Also, I did not find the user experience as smooth as everyone keeps telling me. Sure it's a little better than on Android, but the lack of a big fat back or menu/multitask button really took that advantage away. Apps open faster but it takes longer to navigate them.
    Also, I found that most of the onscreen buttons (back most notably) to be way to small and rather hard to hit. And I managed to crash the browser unintendedly in under 10 minutes.

    So this is useful in the long run, but the iPad's really not for me. Let's just hope display manufacturers actually start to innovate and start building 4k2k pc-monitors. Cause I want 'em and as the iPad 3 proves, it's perfectly possible to build them.
    Reply
  • Kvaern - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    Inquiring minds want to know how on earth you managed to spend an hour with an Iphone 4S and not find the the big fat back/multitasking button and the wifi toggle?

    Superuser you are not.
    Reply
  • Graag - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    I guess "Settings>Wifi>Off" is too complicated... Reply
  • Mystermask - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    " with an iPhone 4S for an hour [...] but the iPad's really not for me."

    I recommend testing an iPad when considering an iPad. Everything else is stupid. Unlike Android, tablet usability is much better on an iPad because many apps are made with the iPad form factor in mind. This goes right down to basic OS usability e. g. 5 finger gestures on the iPad (app switching, task manager, closing, etc.) which do not exist on the iPhone (5 finger gestures are not suitable for smaller screens) and to the primary apps (layout adaption to bigger screens, etc.)

    But I guess you didn't want to hear that, did you? Your posting actually reads like a typical troll post of the kind "I know X and now expect Y to be exactly like that and if it isn't, it must be bad (and in case Y is better, I will find some other points that make my choice for X the right choice for me and the rest of the world)."
    Reply

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