Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Commentary on PCWorlds: "Not So Hot: New iPad Heat Levels Comparable to Android Tablets"

Everyone has been testing the temperatures which the new third generation Apple iPad can reach. PCWorld has conducted its own set of tests in the article "Not So Hot: New iPad Heat Levels Comparable to Android Tablets", comparing the new iPad with the iPad 2 and two Android tablets.

PCWorlds take on it is that it is no big deal since a lot of electronic devices run that hot, like laptops for example. We would have to disagree with PCWorld. They compared the new iPad which ran at 97 degrees Fahrenheit with a Apple MacBook Pro which run at 108 degrees Fahrenheit and Toshiba R700 which ran at 112 degrees Fahrenheit. With all due respect to PCWorld, these two are not typical of most laptops. 

The MacBook Pro really does hit high temps near the exhaust, a review by LaptopMag of the current model shows it running at 109 degrees Fahrenheit. But that is not the typical level of heat you can expect from an a laptop, the MacBook Pro's do hit higher temperatures than your typical laptop.

LaptopMag tests of the Apple MacBook Air show the 11-inch version hitting a top temp of 97 degrees Fahrenheit and the 13-inch version hitting a top temp of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.  More pedestrian offerings like the low cost 11.6-inch AMD E-450 powered Lenovo ThinkPad X130e was tested by LaptopMag to run at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook was tested to hit 93 degrees Fahrenheit

Basically, saying something is not hot, because several other electronic devices run hotter does not make much sense. The MacBook Pro's and Toshiba R700 are not par for the course for laptops. They are on the hotter end of the scale.

The PCWorld article also fails to acknowledge that MacBook Pro's and Toshiba R700 are actively cooled with a fan which diverts the heat from the processor and other components to an exhaust vent. In the case of tablets, they are passively cooled so that the heat stay right on top of the processor, graphics processing, unit memory and other components.

Another issue is PCWorld concludes the new iPads temps are "comparable" to Android Tablets. Titles of articles can be misleading, and "Not So Hot: New iPad Heat Levels Comparable to Android Tablets" looks misleading to me. 

Looking at PCWorlds own chart above, would show that this conclusion is wrong. The Transformer Prime runs substantially cooler  than the new iPad, and if you average the results (79-80-98F versus 85-92-97F) so does the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE. Actually, the Android Tablets temps are more in line with that of the iPad 2. Looks at the figures when operating (playing a game). At one point on the device the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was measured to be 1 degree Fahrenheit higher than the new iPad, and this appears to be the basis of the articles statement. But the Galaxy Tab 10.1 it was cooler by 6 and 12 degrees on the other surfaces of the tablet measured. 

The new Third Generation iPad runs substantially hotter than the previous iPad version, and so far no one has tested a tablet that runs hotter. The heat generated by the iPad 2 may be an issue or may not be an issue. Only time will tell. The new iPad won't melt in your hands, or burn up on its own, but the additional heat will degrade its battery and components faster than previous tablets. How fast it deteriorates is really the question.


  1. I think a temperature difference of between 2-9 degrees Fahrenheit is something that should be taken into account by the buyer especially if we are to consider the ambient temperatures of some tropical countries.

    1. Yes, I would worry less in a different part of the world. But give most iPad tests were conducted at 22 degrees Celcius, where here in the Philippines where the average daily temp is 27 degrees Celcius, heat is something that has to be considered more seriously.


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