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Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 11:51 am PT (02:51 pm ET)

Consumer Reports says Apple's new iPad heats to 116 degrees running games

Consumer Reports, the consumer advocacy group that gained notoriety for refusing to recommend Apple's iPhone 4 because of its external antenna, has tested Apple's new iPad and found it can heat up to 116 degrees when running graphic-intensive games [updated].

Update: The tests from Consumer Reports were quickly published on Tuesday afternoon, and the organization said its engineers recorded temperatures as high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit while playing Epic's "Infinity Blade II." The iPad was standing up with Apple's Smart Cover, the 4G LTE connection was not turned on, and the tablet was plugged in while the game ran for 45 minutes.

The highest unplugged temperature for the new iPad was found to be 113 degrees Fahrenheit, while plugged in it reached 116 degrees. Those temperatures were 13 degrees and 12 degrees hotter, respectively, than identical tests conducted with the iPad 2.

"During our tests, I held the new iPad in my hands. When it was at its hottest, it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period," author Donna L. Tapellini wrote.

The testing also found that the iPad wouldn't recharge its battery while the game was running and it was plugged in. Instead, the battery continued to drain, suggesting the power draw of the new A5X processor was too great for the iPad's USB connection to overcome during heavy use.

Earlier Tuesday, Consumer Reports indicated its plans to publish its findings. In a "First Look Review" published last week, Consumer Reports said Apple's third-generation tablet was "shaping up as the best tablet yet."

"The iPad's high-resolution display requires more power, and the efficiency of the A5X should help mitigate the battery drain it causes," the group wrote last week. "We'll post results of our battery life tests soon."

Of course, it's that larger battery, Retina display and more powerful quad-core graphics processing that have led to a slight increase in operating temperature on the new iPad, when compared to last year's iPad 2. Apple issued a comment on the matter earlier Tuesday, stating that the new iPad operates "well within" its temperature specifications.

The issue began to gain traction this week after an infrared test of the new iPad found it runs 10 degrees hotter, on average, than the iPad 2. The new iPad was measured at 92.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while the iPad 2 measured 83 degrees Fahrenheit.

iPad heat test

Left: New iPad, Right: iPad 2. Credit: Tweakers.net


Consumer Reports made waves last year when it ranked the iPhone 4 the best smartphone available on the market, but later changed its stance and stated it couldn't recommend the iPhone 4. The group tested the iPhone 4 inside a controlled radio frequency isolation chamber, and found that covering the bottom left corner of the handset with one's bare hand could reduce reception.

But the consumer advocacy group took a more favorable view of the iPhone 4S when it was released last year, stating that any reception issues were addressed with the updated handset.