Earlier today, we reported that the “heatgate” controversy was starting to pick up media attention with Consumer Reports announcing it is officially investigating the issue. Consumer Reports has now published its report claiming the new iPad “can run significantly hotter than the earlier iPad2 model when running an action game.” In fact, its tests with a thermal imaging camera found the new iPad could hit 116 degrees, which is much hotter than 92.5 Fahrenheit recorded in earlier GL benchmark tests. The tests were conducted with LTE turned off and Wi-Fi running.

Consumer Reports explained:

Using a thermal imaging camera, Consumer Reports engineers recorded temperatures as high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit on the front and rear of the new iPad while playing Infinity Blade II. That’s within one degree of the 117-degree average temperature recorded at Furnace Creek Station in Death Valley, CA in July… We ran our test while the new iPad was propped on the iPad Smart Cover, plugged in, and after it had run Infinity Blade II uninterrupted for about 45 minutes. The device’s 4G connection was not turned on, though its Wi-fi link was. The ambient room temperature was about 72 degrees.

Was it too hot to handle? (No.)

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.

The report found that when unplugged the device hit a maximum temperature of 113 degrees, so some of the heat is obviously attributed to the battery while charging. Apple’s own documentation stated iOS devices should operate in temperatures between 32º F and 95º F.

Perhaps even a bigger concern: Consumer Reports claimed the new iPad did not continue to charge when running “Infinity Blade II.”

We also noticed that the new iPad wasn’t charging while the game was running and it was plugged in. In fact, the battery continued to drain. It charged normally, however, when we weren’t running a game.

It would appear the new iPad uses so much power when playing high graphics games that the USB power source is not able to keep up.

Consumer Reports published an early review of the new iPad on Friday claiming it is “shaping up as the best tablet yet,” so it is unclear if the results of the thermal imaging test will play a role in its final recommendation for the new iPad. Consumer Reports originally would not recommend the iPhone 4, despite giving it its highest rating ever for a smartphone due to the antennagate issues that plagued the device’s launch. It has since begun recommending the device again.

Apple already issued a statement claiming the new iPad operates “well within our thermal specifications,” but concerned customers continue to post complaints in support forums on the company’s website.

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