Apple’s new iPad vs. iPad 2: Which is best for you?

“We’ve raved about the new Apple iPad’s display. We’ve gauged its graphics prowess in benchmark testing. But it’s not the only iPad in town: Apple continues to sell brand-new iPad 2 models, and at a very compelling price–$399 for a 16GB model,” Melissa J. Perenson writes for PCWorld. “So if you’re in the market for a tablet, which one should you buy?”

“The right answer to that question depends on who you are,” Perenson writes.

Buy the new iPad if…
• High-quality images are important to you
• You love to play games
• You need to use a fast connection everywhere
• You like to keep lots of video and music on your tablet
• You love to take pictures with your tablet

Buy the iPad 2 if…
• Weight and size are important to you
• You hate recharging
• You’re, well, frugal

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Perenson’s first two reasons for buying an iPad 2 are specious at best, leaving only the third as a valid reason to settle.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
After using Apple’s new iPad with Retina display, old iPad screens become absolutely unacceptable – March 30, 2012
Rush Limbaugh reviews new Apple iPad: ‘It is amazing, it really is; and we’re giving one away each day’ – March 20, 2012
DisplayMate: New Apple iPad Retina display decisively blows away all other tablets – March 20, 2012
Apple sells over 3 million new iPads in three days – March 19, 2012
Computerworld reviews new Apple iPad: ‘Gorgeous; the new king of the tablet hill’ – March 19, 2012
Paul Thurrot reviews new Apple iPad: ‘The best tablet on the market by far; the only tablet currently worth considering’ – March 18, 2012
PC Magazine reviews new Apple iPad: ‘The finest large-screen tablet; a truly gorgeous screen; Editor’s Choice’ – March 17, 2012
Daring Fireball’s Gruber reviews new Apple iPad: ‘Pixels pixels pixels. Battery battery battery. Speed speed speed.’ – March 15, 2012
Fox News’ Morris reviews new Apple iPad: ‘Easily the best tablet I’ve ever seen; a giant leap for connected mankind’ (with video) – March 15, 2012
The Verge’s Topolsky reviews new Apple iPad: ‘Otherworldly; easily the most beautiful computer display I have ever looked at’ – March 15, 2012
NYT’s Pogue reviews new Apple iPad: ‘Incredibly sharp and clear; dazzling’ – March 15, 2012
WSJ’s Mossberg reviews new Apple iPad: ‘The best tablet on the planet’ – March 15, 2012
USA Today’s Baig reviews new Apple iPad: ‘The finest tablet you can buy – period’ – March 15, 2012


  1. I just visited the local Apple Store to do just this comparison. Certainly the new screen is very nice to look at, but there is a definite weight difference and it was quite noticeable when picked up in one hand from the bezel.
    However, that was the 4G model and comparing like with like the difference didn’t seem so noticeable.

    1. Your hands and arms must be finely calibrated.

      Yeah, “the new screen is nice to look at….”, which is what one uses an iPad for 99.98% of the time. Since getting the (3), I’ve been going back to the original iPad occasionally just to see what it feels like, and the differences are definitely noticeable. The Retina Display provides much richer and deeper colors, never mind the Swiss-Army-knife sharpness.

      If the $100 difference between iPad 2 and (3) is monumental for potential buyers, then they ought to get the 2. Otherwise, they ought to spend a few dollars more and get a device they’re going to love and be satisfied with for a looooong time.

      1. The display on the new iPad is incredible. I compared the iPad 2 and new iPad side by side, and the new display alone is worth $100 to me. In addition, I figure that the extra $100 also provides greater longevity with respect to future Apple iOS updates and the ability to run new, hi-res and graphics-intensive apps.

        If I were buying hundreds of iPads for schools – ebooks, Safari browsing, etc. – then the iPad 2 might be a good compromise in terms of cost and functionality. For personal use, however, there is no question that the new iPad is the right answer.

  2. Wifey just bought an iPad 2, loves it. 16 GB is probably not enough for the new one (apps and content that are designed for the retina display will swell up) so the savings, in her mind, was more like $200. As our biz is starting to develop for the iPad, it’s good to see what the lower res version looks like as that’s what our clients are most likely to use. For awhile, at least.

      1. Ya, but photos can be 4 times larger for the new iPad. For me, going from an iPad 2 to an iPad 3 meant losing about 20GB on the iPad (with the same content and apps) as well as losing that storage on my Mac (photo cache).

        It’s worth it because it’s all about handing it to a client and having things look as good as possible, but still worth noting if anyone is considering how much capacity they need.

  3. I overheard an 11 year old negotiating with his parents, asking them to let him buy a $399 iPad with his own money. “Now it’s just $399!” was his reason for suddenly wanting one.

    The parents were going back and forth, but it sounded like they were leaning towards No.

  4. A truly frugal person who just wanted maximum capacity for videos and music and had no need for a built-in camera would probably be best off with a refurbished (or at least well cared-for) original iPad 64GB.

    Looking forward to picking up my new 32GB model next week.

    1. I agree. My store buys and sells used iPads. An original iPad with 64GB sells for $299. This is an excellent choice for people with kids etc. that want to store videos etc.

      Apple refurbs cost much more. Yes they come with a new battery, but any iPad will still be good for at least a year more even if it was recharged every day and a replacement battery is only $109.

  5. No mention (here at least) of the feature that really pushes me over the edge — REALLY GOOD VOICE TRANSCRIPTION.

    I’m looking to go from a 1 to a 3, and while the screen is amazing, being able to talk into the thing, easily, everywhere, and have it work — is a big deal to me.

  6. The bottom line for being frugal is that the new iPad will be useful for at least two years after the iPad 2 because of the processor capabilities. Apple will continue to develop iOS, and in 2-3 years the iPad 2 will not be upgradeable to the new iOS, and there will start to be apps which it cannot run as well.

    Sure, you can always sell your old iPad, but in my experience, when you settle for something because it’s less expensive (and get fewer features/older tech in the process), you get a shorter useful lifespan.

    Learned that lesson when I bought an iMac G4 on sale because the new Intel iMacs were coming out. Only 1-2 years later I was regretting that decision. My kids still use the iMac, but it’s use is definitely significantly limited.

  7. MDN take is a little one-sided.

    If you use the iPad air during the day, the weight is noticeable – very noticeable. For me it’s not a deal breaker at all, the much better screen is easily a better trade off.
    The charging time however is a huge issue for me. I never used to charge iPad 2 overnight only during the day…now it has to charge over night every night. If it was low before an evening teaching session an hour or two plugged in to USB would bring it up considerably. The iPad 3 left plugged in to USB for 2 hours climbs little and is a real pain for my use.
    There needs to be a more powerful charger for this beast.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.