Ever since Apple’s new iPad went on sale on March 16th, the blogosphere has been abuzz with news that the third generation iPad is warmer than the iPad 2, some like Consumer Reports have even tried to sensationalize it by repeatedly using the word hot.
So how does iPad 3 heat levels stack up against other tablets? Macworld has answered that question by comparing iPad 3 with iPad 2 and two popular Android based tablets – Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime and the LTE version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
It is important to note here that iPad 3 comes with a much larger battery than iPad 2 and the Android based tablets (11666mAh for the new iPad, versus 6944 mAh for the iPad 2, 7000mAh for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 6930mAh for the Transformer Prime).
Macworld tested the tablets in the following conditions: idle, after playing a game for one hour and checked the temperature at the following positions: front center, back center, max reading on back while the tablets are plugged in or using battery power.
Despite all of the media attention over the iPad’s (and other tablets’) operating temperatures, the issue seems to be overblown. None of the four tablets we tested ever get so warm that I could detect screen discoloration, of the type that some users of early units of the iPhone 4 reported. Given that the new iPad’s battery has an mAh rating nearly double that of the batteries on the other tablets here, we would expect it to run at least a few degrees hotter than those units.
Other factors can significantly affect a tablet’s temperature, as well. Asus’s Transformer Prime, Apple’s iPad 2, and the new iPad all have metal backs, which pull heat away from the internal components, whereas the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a plastic back. All four tablets get warmer when their brightness is set to maximum. And all will get warmer still if they are sitting in a case or are parked on an insulating surface such as a blanket or your jeans. In one memorable past episode, a Transformer Prime got fry-an-egg hot when I left it inside a foam case with its screen on for an extended period.
Hopefully that puts an end to the so-called “heatgate” controversy.