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Apple iPad 2 Vs the new iPad: Which iPad should I buy?

The new iPad has joined Apple’s tablet line-up with a new selection of specifications. But Apple has kept the iPad 2 in its line-up, dropping the price to £329 for the 16GB entry-level version; much like it’s smartphone line-up, where it offers the Apple iPhone 3GS and Apple iPhone 4 in capacities of 8GB.
But what’s the difference between the two iPads? And which one should you buy? Check out our review of the new iPad here.

Apple iPad 2 and new iPad

Apple iPad 2 VS the new iPad: Design and build

At first glance, the two iPad’s look identical, clad in aluminium and available in black or white. The iPad 2 comes in 16GB and the new iPad 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.

However, there are some subtle differences in the size and weight.  The Apple iPad 2 measures 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8 mm and weighs 601g (WiFi) or 613g (WiFi + 3G). The new iPad is a tiny bit thicker and heavier, with dimensions of 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8 mm, weighing 652g and 662g respectively.

What we think

There’s very little to choose between the two tablets here – unless you want a larger capacity than 16GB, in which case the new iPad is the one to go for.

Apple iPad 2 VS the new iPad: Performance

The Apple iPad 2 has a dual-core Apple A5 chip. Although most iPad 2 users would probably agree that it never feels slow, in a market beginning to be infiltrated with quad-core processor’s, dual-core is certainly looking a little bit tired.
The new iPad didn’t come with the A6 quad-core chip as rumoured, instead it has a dual-core A5X chip with a quad-core processor for graphics, which Apple claims is twice as fast as the iPad 2. This means that photographs should load more quickly and graphically intensive games – like Sky Gamblers Air Supremacy, will look smooth.

To make the most of the quad-core graphical support apps need to be developed. At the moment there are only limited apps including: Sky Gambkers Air Supremacy (right), Sketchbook Ink and Infinity Blade Dungeon, although more will be released over time.

What we think
If you will be downloading, editing and viewing high-resolution photos or want to experience quad-core gaming, then get the new iPad.  For everyday use for the majority of people, the dual-core iPad 2 will be powerful enough – as anyone who has ever played Dead Space on an iPad 2 can tell you.

Apple iPad 2 VS the new iPad: Screen

The iPad 2 and new iPad have 9.7-inch screens, but while the iPad 2 has a resolution of 1024×768, the new iPad has a resolution of 2048×1536. The new iPad is described as a high-resolution Retina Display and Apple has also doubled the number of pixels per inch. More pixels means more detail and much more vivid colours.

What we think
We don’t even need to debate this. The new iPad’s screen is fantastic and easily the best we’ve seen on a tablet. Photographs look incredibly lifelike and text is razer sharp, so if you are watching movies, viewing photographs or reading, this is the tablet to go for.

Apple iPad 2 VS the new iPad: Connectivity

The Apple iPad 2 has Bluetooth 2.1, N WiFi and alternatively a WiFi+3G version is available.

Apple has described the new iPad as having ‘the most wireless bands any any device that has ever shipped.’ But what does this mean? Well there’s WiFI and Bluetooth 4.0 and like the iPad 2, there are WiFi-only and WiFi+3G versions – except it’s called WiFi+4G. Yes, the new iPad supports 4G (or LTE in the US). This will mean much faster browsing times.

What we think
4G hasn’t launched in the UK, beyond trials in Cornwall and London, so for 4G alone it’s not worth getting the new iPad. In addition the type of 4G it supports won’t be coming to the UK, which we cover here.

Apple iPad 2 VS the new iPad: Camera

Apple never officially confirmed the resolution of the iPad 2’s camera. Suffice to say, still photographs weren’t fantastic. However, for shooting videos camera was actually pretty good, capturing sharp 1024×768 HD movies.

Taking photographs isn’t something that springs to mind when you think of a tablets functionality – that’s web browsing, email and games. But Apple clearly wants saw room for improvement in the new iPad, Apple has included an iSight camera (right), with a new backside illuminated 5-megapixel sensor. Features like tap to focus and face detection are new, making it easier to focus a subject – particularly people. It can also capture full HD movies too.


What we think

Lets get this clear, the iPad 2’s camera isn’t bad at all for movies – and will be more than adequate for most people to shoot quick films. But if you’re a keen photographer who wants better stills, or you need the minute detail the iPad’s screen provides for playing back images, go for the new iPad.

Apple iPad 2 VS the new iPad: Which iPad should I buy?

If you already an iPad 2 owner you certainly shouldn’t feel the need to upgrade to the new iPad, the iPad 2 is still a fantastic tablet.
For new customers looking for tablet for general use – and by this we mean: gaming, movies, browsing and reading the Apple iPad 2 will be adequate, especially if money is tight.
Camera, graphics and connectivity aside, there’s no getting away from the fact that the new iPad has a truly amazing screen – easily the best we’ve seen on a tablet and once you see it you’ll want this tablet, so you can stretch to the extra £70 for the new iPad, go for it. If you can’t, the iPad 2 is still a fantastic tablet.


This article has been amended regarding the tablets 4G capability


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