iPad vs iPad 2 - Which one is better? Review and Comparison Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 44 reviews
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iPad vs iPad 2 – Which one is better? Review and Comparison

iPad vs iPad 2 – Apple did something really revolutionary a year back. They launched the iPad. It took the struggling tablet industry by storm and sold over 15 million in just a year. Entry-level notebooks were given a run for their money and people started looking at tablets in a completely new way. However, the path to success wasn’t so easy for Apple.

Some people called it an oversized version of the iPod Touch, others mocked at its name while some laughed when Apple said it was magical and revolutionary at an unbelievable price.

While the success of the iPad was a very good thing for Apple, they possibly had to face a big challenge making the device better in the form of the Apple iPad Air 2.

iPad vs iPad 2

New Apple iPad
  • 10. 2-inch Retina display
  • A10 Fusion chip
  • Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • 8MP back camera, 1. 2MP FaceTime HD front camera
  • Stereo speakers

Apple iPad 2
3,733 Reviews
Apple iPad 2
  • 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • Make sure to plug the product to a charging base for about 3 hours.
  • Back camera: Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio
  • Compatible only on Apple's iOS 9.3 and access to Apple's app store.

iPad vs iPad 2 Review

They had to make sure that the iPad 2 would meet expectations and kept the momentum flowing. So as per the 1 year life cycle of Apple, they launched the iPad 2. The devices lies in the line between a redesign of the original iPad and a modest bump in the specs to keep it ahead of its competitors.

The original Apple iPad was probably pumped with steroids and put on a treadmill to give way to the Apple iPad 2 which is considerably slimmer than the first version with better specs and features such as the Front and Rear facing camera, faster processor, more RAM, a gyroscope etc. Plus you have many more options to choose from now.

Design – iPad vs iPad 2

The aluminum body and the fingerprint attracting glass face have been left the same on the devices by Apple. The screen size is also the same at 9.7” diagonally. However, the thickness of the metal bezel present around the front glass as well as the glass itself has been reduced. This may have made the second tablet version much thinner but has definitely increased the chances of it cracking if you drop it. There is the presence of a front facing camera right above the screen. The home button at the front is the same size as in the original version except that it now clicks more quietly.

The rear of the device has got the majority of differences. Even though both the original and the new model look the same from a distance the differences are more noticeable when you look at them closely and when you hold both the models. There is obviously the small round rear facing camera on the left hand rear side the iPad 2. If you buy the 3G versions you will find a black plastic band on the top. This is where the 3G antenna is situated.

Colors – The iPad 2 is available in two colors- white & black. Both color versions are identical except for the color of the front screen’s border and the colour of the Home button. The colour you choose all depends on your personal tastes.

What’s new under the hood of the second generation?

Having covered the Camera and the CPU+RAM improvements lets us now look at two enhancements which will definitely please gaming fans.

New GPU – Apple claims that the iPad 2 comes with up to 9 times the graphics performance of the original version. The GPU which is supposed to provide this blistering performance is claimed to be the PowerVR SGX543MP2 which is a big improvement over the SGX535 found in the first version. To put things in perspective the new GPU inside the iPad 2 should be able to provide you with the same graphics performance as the Sony Play Station 2 however, with better special effects namely anti-aliasing. Let’s give you a list of what improvements you can expect with the new GPU.

Games – Games meant for the first version will be smoother and have a better frame rate on the iPad 2. New/updated ones will have much greater texture detail levels as well as polygon levels. Take for example Infinity Blade which has been updated for the second version. It’s much more fluid and has greater detail on the second version than on the first generation. Real Racing 2 HD is the iPad 2 optimised version of Real Racing 2 for the first version. It works almost flawlessly owithout any frame rate stutters. Also the graphics are mind blowing. In the coming days when newer titles come out optimised for the second generation tablet things will only get better.

The improved GPU allows for improved video output capabilities. The iPad 2 is screen mirroring upto 1080p of video output. iTunes-synced videos can be played at 720p. HD and SD movies purchased from iTunes work flawlessly.

3-axis gyroscope

Not everyone cared too much about the 3-axis gyroscope which was released on the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch 4G last year. Either way, the iPad 2 now has a gyroscope in built. The potential for gyro supported is huge with its applications in games, location-aware mapping as well as augmented reality apps. For example in games, the gyro can help in providing precise and accurate movements. Some games which have gyro support for Apple’s second generation are Real Racing 2 HD and Nova. Try them out on both Apple tablet devices and you will see the difference.

Camera on the iPad 2

Yes the second version has two cameras- a front facing and a rear facing one. This may be good news but the sad and blunt truth is that these cameras’ are definitely not up to the mark. Yes I know, tablets aren’t supposed to replace your hand held camera but even then.

The front camera sports a resolution of 640×480 (VGA) for both still photos and videos while the rear camera sports a resolution of 1280×720 for video while a dismal 960×720 (yes, that’s less than a megapixel) for still photos. Also, it does not support either a flash or autofocus to aid camera quality. Quite disappointing, when you consider what upcoming tablets from other manufacturers have to offer.

So the cameras may not be the best (the same hardware as the iPod Touch 4th generation) but the most important question is whether they deliver the performance they are meant to? Well, they do it just about average providing sub-optimal quality for taking photos, videos or even video calling.

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iPads Resolution

The photos which come out from the iPad 2 have very low detail, the videos have a high-contrast grain while the colours are rendered with unnatural ruddiness. One of the major reasons for this is that the low-quality photos have to fit the huge screen of the iPad 2 (as compared to the smaller one of the iPod Touch) while there is poor hardware support. Hopefully, the next generation has a 720p front camera to support FaceTimeHD and at least the same camera of the iPhone 4 at the back.

Apart from the quality of the cameras being bad the location of the front camera isn’t very ideal also. While reclining the iPad 2 on a stand and using video calling the user’s face would not be in the centre but rather instead left or right. If the camera was placed in the centre of when the iPad 2 is in landscape mode then perhaps the case would be better. For now the best option is to keep your device upside down and use the front camera. However, this results in more of the user’s body showing than the face. Well, at least it has cameras!

Size & Weight

The biggest difference between the two generations of is obviously the difference in thickness. The first generation measures at 9.56 x 7.47 x 0.5” in contrast to the iPad 2’s 9.50 x 7.31 x 0.34”. As you can see the second generation is actually smaller in dimensions than the first one. Of course, the major difference is in the thickness with the iPad 2 being a whole 33% thinner. Physically the difference is when you see the second generation tablet. The flat edges and central bulge of the previous device are no longer there. Instead you get a more rounded design on the edges.

The second generation weight is also slightly lesser than the first generation device being around 0.25-0.27 pounds lighter. The iPad 2 definitely feels lighter, thinner and easier to hold than the original one. All the top/side buttons are still at the same positions. The speaker however, is now present as a ‘grid of dots’ rather than a metal grill. The performance of the speaker is around the same on both devices.

Unfortunately due to size restrictions the connector port curves with the rounded edges of the iPad 2 making it more difficult to connect dock connectors. This difficulty is even more noticeable when you have to do it in low lighting conditions and can result in you struggling to get it connected resulting in scratches.

Two things however remain exactly the same-The screen and the reflective nature of the front glass. Some people have reported that the screen seems to be slightly better than the original version but these differences are minimal. The reflective glass can still be an annoyance when viewing in direct sunlight. The fingerprint-attracting nature of the glass also remains the same.

Bottom line conclusion

Apart from the three different storage capacity versions i.e. 16GB, 32GB and 64GB and the two different wireless versions i.e. Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G you can get to choose between two carriers- AT&T and Verizon. Oh and how can we forget the options for two different colors-either a Black bezel or a white one. You get a mammoth of 18 different options to choose from which is strange as Apple has always liked keeping things simplified. Well what can we say? You have an iPad for every need for every person-just the way Apple wanted it, to sell probably more than 15 million units. The best part about of the second generations is that it remains as expensive (or cheap depending on the way you look at it) as the original one.

Though all the rumors which went on, about the iPad 2 most noticeably the one about the retina display did not come true and some people may consider the Apple’s second version not a very big improvement over the first version, it is still safe to say that the second version is a stunner of a device.


Last update on 2020-02-08 / Affiliate links

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