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Tablet computer heat tests: Consumer Reports

April 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Consumer Reports performed additional tests on the third-generation iPad and 10 other tablet computers to size up what gamers can expect on a hot summer day.

The first Consumer Reports heat tests of the new iPad assessed running a highly demanding, graphics-intensive videogame at room temperature. Testers found the new iPad gets about 12 degrees hotter than the iPad 2.

To test the iPad and other tablets further, Consumer Reports put the computers 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 II," a highly demanding action game.

The iPad 3 ran hotter than the iPad 2 and reached 122 degrees in the hottest spot.

Two other tablets, Asus and Samsung, with fast processors, 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," said Consumer Reports Electronics Editor Paul Reynolds. "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," said Reynolds. "You can lower the screen's brightness to about two-thirds and that should keep your battery going."

In fact, when results of the 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. It has the best tablet screen we've ever seen, and great battery life overall," said Reynolds. "It also adds welcome features, like a 5-megapixel camera and the option for a very fast 4G data connection."

The iPad 3 starts at about $500 and depending on how you configure it, the cost can top more than $1,000. Of course you can always look into the previous generation, the iPad 2. It has come down in price, starting at $400.

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