A No Holds Barred Review of the (3rd Gen) iPad (2012)

Article Index

Performance: CPU and Web Browsing

Test Methodology:
In all of our test vehicles for the following benchmarks, we ran each tablet at its performance optimized settings where available, with the exception of the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which was tested at Normal and Balanced power profile settings. Normal mode on the Prime offers the full performance of its NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, whereas Balanced mode compromises performance a bit to conserve power, capping the CPU at 1.2GHz max frequency. Beyond that, each tablet was also connected to a wall power source to ensure full performance. Here's a quick spec rundown for each tablet tested.
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime - NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.3GHz Quad-Core
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer - NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz Dual-Core
  • Apple iPad 2 - Apple A5 Dual-Core
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet - NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz Dual-Core
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz Dual-Core
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus - 1.2GHz Samsung Exynos Dual Core
  • Sony Tablet S - NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz Dual-Core
  • Apple iPad (third generation) - Apple A5X Dual-Core
Let's get this benchmarking party started, shall we?

CPU Performance Testing
iOS CPU Testing

Linpack is a benchmark that's becoming a bit long in the tooth at this point, but since we ran it on previous generation iOS devices, I wanted to see how the new iPad would compare. As it turns out, very well. I don't put a whole lot of stock into Linpack, especially since the new iPad is still rocking the same 1GHz dual-core CPU as the iPad 2 yet more than doubles it's score, but for those of you who are curious, there you go.

Web Browser Performance Testing
  iOS and Android Browser Testing

Things shake out a little differently in BrowserMark. The new iPad runs neck and neck with the iPad 2. This suggests BrowserMark isn't influenced by additional memory, as the new iPad sports 1GB of RAM and the iPad 2 totes around 512MB. Both tablets are shoved out of the way by high performance Android slates.

Once again, Apple's upgrade to quad-core graphics isn't yet paying dividends (it will in a moment), though the new iPad does manage to outpace the iPad 2 by a solid 142 points in SunSpider, a JavaScript heavy benchmark. My hunch is that the additional RAM is giving the new iPad a slight performance boost.

Subjective Performance:
One thing that can't be measured quantitatively is pinch-to-zoom performance. It may sound like an insignificant thing, but one of the primary uses of a tablet is surfing the Web. Apple's iPads have always felt responsive and snappy, and the new iPad is just as slick, if not more so. Pinch-to-zoom performance is super fast without any lag, scrolling and Web browsing are silky smooth, and navigating iOS is as responsive as ever. The UI experience, at least in terms of speed, is what competing tablet makers should shoot for.

Related content