In the wake of continued reports claiming that the third-generation iPad continues to aggressively draw power long after it reports a 100 percent charge, iLounge has run its own collection of tests that suggest otherwise. Use of a Kill-a-Watt power monitoring tool showed that the new iPad draws up to 12W of wall power under peak conditions—screen brightness at 100 percent with Infinity Blade II playing—but more typically draws 10-11W under two conditions: active “full-speed” recharging with the screen off, or when being used for less graphic-intensive apps with screen brightness at 100%, after having fully recharged. By comparison, with the screen on and brightness set to 50 percent, it draws roughly 7W from the wall while it’s being used after a full recharge, and 5-7W for slower trickle charging. Moreover, after reaching the 100% mark, it quickly drops to drawing only 1-2W of power when the screen’s off and it’s sitting idle. Notably, we saw very similar numbers for the iPad 2, which drew 11W at its most power-hungry, and fell to 4-5W for slower charging.

There’s no doubt that the new iPad is more power-hungry than its predecessor, and there’s also atypical disparity between when the new iPad reports a 100 percent charge and when its battery is actually charged to full capacity—an error that should and hopefully will be fixed in the near future. However, we are not seeing unusual continued charging times or power drain after it reaches the 100% mark. To the contrary, it appears to be drawing less power at that point, just as was the case with the iPad 2. That’s right in line with what we’d expect from an idling device that’s sipping energy to keep its fuel levels at max for eventual disconnection and portable use.

Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.