Consumer Reports: iPad still hot, but not dangerous

April 2, 2012 6:50:38 AM PDT
In a follow-up to the heat issues raised by new iPad owners, Consumer Reports has done additional tests on the third generation iPad - and 10 others - to size up what gamers can expect on a hot summer day.

Consumer Reports' first heat tests of the new iPad assessed running a highly-demanding, graphic-intensive video game at room temperature. Testers found the new iPad gets about 12 degrees hotter than the iPad 2, sparking lots of coverage, including Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, who showed an iPad user literally on fire.

Consumer Reports says there's no danger of anything like that happening, but to test the iPad and other tablets further, Consumer Reports put them in a special chamber with the temperature at 90 degrees to simulate a hot summer day.

The screen was set to full brightness and testers ran Infinity Blade Two, a highly-demanding action game.

The new iPad again ran hotter than the iPad 2 and reached 122 degrees in the hottest spot. Two other tablets with fast processors, from Asus and Samsung, reached similar temperatures of 117 and 121 degrees. But Consumer Reports says there's no risk posed.

"The way you use a tablet, it's unlikely that your skin will be exposed to the hot spot for long," Consumer Reports' Paul Reynolds said. "And in most uses the tablet just won't get that hot."

Consumer Reports also discovered an issue with how the new iPad battery recharges.

If you're playing a highly-demanding game with the iPad plugged in, the battery might not fully recharge, or could even continue to drain.

"It's mostly an inconvenience," Reynolds said. "You can lower the screen's brightness to about two-thirds and that should keep your battery going."

In fact, when results of Consumer Reports' standard tests for the new iPad and 10 other new tablets were in, the new iPad topped the ratings.

"The iPad is an excellent product," Reynolds said. "It has the best tablet screen we've ever seen, and great battery life overall. It also adds welcome features, like a five-megapixel camera and the option for a very fast 4G data connection."

The new iPad starts at about $500 and, depending on how you configure it, the cost can top more than $1,000.

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