Apple’s New iPad Reviewed: Epiphanies, Some Near-Fainting and Screen Delight

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The new iPad will come in white and black, with prices starting at $499.

Thoughts about Apple’s new iPad are popping up everywhere as the review embargo lifts and we head into the final hours before the newfangled ultra-high-definition tablet with a better camera and 4G support hits the public grid. Our review is on the way, but while you’re waiting, here’s what folks are saying around the web.

All Things D’s Walt Mossberg likes adverbs that begin with ‘d’, calling the new iPad’s doubled 2048 x 1536 pixel display “dramatically better” and content delivery “dramatically faster.” His only complaint about it: The glossy, hyper-reflective screen, and its inability — still — to perform well in direct sunlight. That said…

My epiphany came when I placed my iPad 2 next to the new model, with the same text on the screen. Letters and words that had seemed sharp on the older model five minutes earlier suddenly looked fuzzier … Since it launched in 2010, the iPad has been the best tablet on the planet. With the new, third-generation model, it still holds that crown.

(MORE: 8 Ways to Survive Apple’s New iPad Launch if You’re Standing in Line)

Macworld‘s Jason Snell takes the glass-is-half-full approach to the iPad’s display, dubbing it “Retina”-worthy despite its lower pixel-per-inch count.

The result is similar to going from an early iPhone to an iPhone 4—it’s a big leap in quality. Text, video, and photos all benefit. Whether you’re reading a webpage in Safari, a long article in Instapaper, or an even longer work in iBooks, text is razor-sharp. Of course, the display on previous iPads was no slouch. But the moment you pick up a third-generation iPad, you can tell the difference.

The Verge’s Johshua Topolsky reaches into his bag of over-the-top adjectives and pulls out a few like “outrageous” and “breathtaking,” concluding “[the] new iPad is the most functional, usable, and beautiful tablet that any company has ever produced.”

Let’s be clear: the new iPad is in a class by itself, just as its predecessor was. As the latest product in a lineage of devices that defined this category, the iPad continues to stand head and shoulders above the competition. With the addition of the Retina display, LTE, more memory, and a more powerful CPU, Apple has absolutely held onto the iPad’s market position as the dominant player and product to beat.

USA Today‘s Ed Baig is “delighted” with the new iPad overall, but notes what are for him some “mood shifting” letdowns once you’ve gotten past the new screen, improved 5-megapixel camera and high-speed 4G data support.

People bummed out by the features that Apple did not put into its freshly baked tablet computer weigh in. No extra storage or expansion options, no smaller-screen model to compete against the likes of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Still no Adobe Flash, and no camera flash, either. Not even Siri, the chatty personal assistant who, depending on where you are coming from, either charms owners of the iPhone 4S or bugs them.

And finally, The New York Times‘ David Pogue takes a measured look at the tablet, calling it “a polishing of the old” and concluding it’s more of an incremental upgrade, and that “if you already have the iPad 2 … this time around, you don’t have to feel quite as obsolete as usual.”

The new iPad doesn’t introduce anything that we haven’t seen before, either in the iPhone or in rival tablets. There’s no Steve Jobs “one more thing” moment here; Apple just took its white-hot iPad and added the latest screen, battery and cellular technologies.

MORE: 7 Reasons Apple’s New iPad Could Replace Your Games Console

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