iPad Retina Display backlight key heat culprit claims expert

Chris Davies - Mar 21, 2012, 5:19am CDT
iPad Retina Display backlight key heat culprit claims expert

Apple’s new iPad heat issues are likely a side-effect of the increased backlighting for the Retina Display, according to one screen expert, though Apple itself maintains the toasty tablet is still within operating limits. The nature of the 2048 x 1536 panel and the 2.5x stronger backlighting needed to illuminate it are probably the key cause of heat, DisplayMate’s Raymond Soniera told CNET, with both the LEDs themselves and the extra strain on the battery contributing to the warmth.

According to DisplayMate’s examinations, the new iPad’s backlighting system needs to push 2.5x the amount of light through the tablet’s LCD panel in order to match the brightness of its predecessor. That’s a side-effect of the extra transistors required to hook up the denser pixels. The company’s earlier testing indicated that at maximum brightness, the new iPad chomped through its battery 20-percent faster than the iPad 2, though at mid-brightness – a more common setting for most users – the two were roughly equal.

Apple has issued its own, terse statement, pointing out that the new iPad is “well within our thermal specifications” and advising owners who find the tablet running particularly hot to contact AppleCare with their concerns.

Meanwhile, Consumer Reports has waded in, running its own tests and warning would-be buyers of the extra heat. In practice, while we found the new iPad to get noticeably warm in the lower back corners during our review testing, it generally only happened during extended periods of system strain, such as processing Full HD video. Longer use of LTE connectivity also appeared to contribute.

As for users themselves, feedback is mixed as to whether the heat is an issue or not. Let us know how you’re getting on in the poll below.

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