New iPad gets hot, but still comparable to other tablets

Mar 27, 2012
Tech

Users might be complaining that the new iPad gets hot when in use, but analysis from PC World suggests that’s not just an iPad thing, it’s a tablet thing. It seems at least a few owners of Apple’s newly released iPad, which went on sale just under two weeks ago, have complained that the device […]

Users might be complaining that the new iPad gets hot when in use, but analysis from PC World suggests that’s not just an iPad thing, it’s a tablet thing.

It seems at least a few owners of Apple’s newly released iPad, which went on sale just under two weeks ago, have complained that the device gets uncomfortably hot when they’re using it. Some have complained of burns, others have said they can’t use the device because it’s uncomfortable to hold, and still others have said the iPad gets so warm that it locks itself down until temperatures have leveled off.

But as PC World reports, while the iPad does get warm – they were able to push the device to generate a temperature of about 100 degrees on its back panel – it’s not alone in doing so. The fact of the matter is, tablets are computers and computers get hot when they’re working, and no tablet is really designed to disperse heat well.

PC World tested the new iPad against the iPad 2, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime in a number of situations, both plugged in and running on battery power, to see where the tablets ranked. After performing certain actions, like charging or playing an intensive game for an hour, they measured the temperature in the back center of each device. The analysis found that, when plugged in and working hard at rendering game graphics for its Retina display, the iPad hit as high as 100 degrees: the iPad 2 hit 94 degrees, while the Transformer Prime reached 95 degrees and the Galaxy Tab pushed 98 degrees.

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Meanwhile, under battery power, the iPad was hot but not quite the hottest. It reached 97 degrees while the Galaxy Tab topped it at 98 when both had run high-powered games for an hour. The iPad 2 stayed the coolest at 89 degrees, while the Transformer Prime got up to 91 degrees.

The numbers suggest that yes, the third-generation iPad is a hot-running device, but then again, it ought to be given its components. The Retina display draws a lot of power and the device’s battery in order to power that display for 10 hours is huge. It’s interesting that the new iPad doesn’t run hotter, even though its battery carries a substantially higher milliampere-hour rating than its counterparts. The iPads and the Transformer Prime also have metal backs to help distribute heat away from the internal components (the Galaxy Tab’s back is plastic), which could cause them to get warmer as well.

So when it comes down to it, the iPad might be warm but PC World couldn’t get it to warm up that much more than other tablet offerings on the market. In order to avoid discomfort (or worse) using any tablet, the best practices are to do things that help keep it from getting hot – keep it off your legs or blankets so heat doesn’t build up, shut it down when it’s not being used for long periods, and keep it out of insulated environments when it’s running. It’s important to remember that a tablet is, in fact, a computer, and just like in laptops and desktops, too much heat can actually damage the internal components.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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