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Thermal testing shows new iPad no hotter than Android tablets, notebooks

New thermal testing of the latest third generation iPad by PCWorld has confirmed what CNET reported last week: "the issue seems to be overblown," the magazine stated.

PCWorld tests tablets' temperatures

Infrared thermometer testing by PCWorld found that the new third generation iPad can run 2-7 degrees Fahrenheit (less than 4 degrees Celsius) hotter than the previous iPad 2, but noted that its temperature readings were inline with comparable tablets, including the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime and Samsung Galaxy 10.1.

The site noted that temperatures rose during charging, but that even when continuously playing a computationally intensive game for a hour while plugged into a power adapter, the highest reading they could capture was 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 degrees Celsius), within 2 degrees of the Galaxy tablet.

Operating under battery power, the latest iPad hit a top temperature reading of 97 degrees Fahrenheit (about 36 degrees Celsius) in the tests, a similar spread of about 6 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than iPad 2, but a degree cooler than the more similarly specced Galaxy tablet.

"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," the report stated.

"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," the magazine noted.

"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."

CNET compares iPad to notebooks

The PCWorld tests were inline with numbers reported by CNET, which found in its tests that "the new 2012 iPad runs warmer than the iPad 2, but it's no hotter than many laptops under similar conditions," adding that "the operating temperature is no reason for CNET to change its buying recommendation (the new iPad is currently the highest rated tablet on our site, and an Editors' Choice)."

Its testing did not measure temperatures higher than 98 degrees Fahrenheit (about 36 degrees Celsius; cooler than the human body temperature) on the new iPad even when setting the screen brightness to high and continuously playing Infinity Blade for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Playing Netflix movies over WiFi the new iPad's hottest point was 85 degrees Fahrenheit (about 29 degrees Celsius).

CNET also ran compatible tests on conventional laptops, and reported that Apple's i5 MacBook Pro ran about the same temperature as the new iPad when similarly playing Netflix movies at full brightness, while a similarly configured Dell Inspiron reached a peak temperature of 113 degrees Fahrenheit (about 45 degrees Celsius) playing games.

"The higher temperature generated by the new iPad compared with the iPad 2 was noticeable to the touch but not uncomfortably so. The warmest point we recorded on the iPad is the Apple logo on the back. In our tests it got up to 98 degrees, but it's important to put that number into perspective. Ninety-eight degrees may sound high, but that's actually less than your normal body temperature," the site noted.

Consumer Reports iPad testing

Last week, Consumer Reports reported temperature readings on the new iPad as high at 116 degrees Fahrenheit (about 47 degrees Celsius) while charging, activating 4G LTE, and continuously playing "Infinity Blade II" for 45 minutes.

"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," Donna L. Tapellini wrote for the magazine.

Epic's graphic intensive "Infinity Blade" series of games is not available for Android.

Following a minor media frenzy surrounding the new iPad's temperature readings, Apple's spokesperson Trudy Miller issued the statement, "the new iPad delivers a stunning Retina display, A5X chip, support for 4G LTE plus 10 hours of battery life, all while operating well within our thermal specifications."