New iPad vs iPad 2: which should you choose?

New iPad
Will you choose the new iPad or, er, the old one?

UPDATE: Check out our new iPad 3 review

So the confusingly-named new iPad has been announced.

But how does it differ from the iPad 2 - which, coincidentally, will still be available to buy and - better still - has fallen in price.

The two devices are pretty similar in many ways, so we thought we'd do a straight-down-the-line comparison of the raw specs to see what's been enhanced for the new iPad.

See what's new in the next-gen iPad in our first look video:

It's time for a new iPad vs iPad 2 face-off. Or screen-off, as it turns out...

New iPad vs iPad 2: Processor

The original iPad introduced the spoils of Apple's 2008 acquisition of semiconductor company P.A. Semi. The Apple A4 was an ARM Cortex-A8-based core clocked at 1GHz. The iPad 2 introduced the A5, a dual-core chip based on the new ARM Cortex-A9 design. The A5 is clocked at 1 GHz. We don't yet know what the new iPad's A5X is clocked at, but it remains a dual-core chip.

New ipad

New iPad vs iPad 2: Graphics

What the A5X does have is better graphics capability - with Apple saying the new processor has quad-core graphics. Like the iPhone 4, the iPad and iPad 2 both had an Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX-based graphics chip and we expect the new iPad is the same.

Apple reckons the new graphics are "twice as fast" as Nvidia's Tegra 3, and offers four time the graphics performance of Nvidia's chip. We're not sure Nvidia will let Apple get away with that one - and we're not even sure it can be true - Tegra 3's performance is stunning and the Tegra 3 GPU has 12 GeForce graphics cores...

New ipad

New iPad vs iPad 2: Memory

Like the original iPad and iPad 2, the new iPad comes loaded with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of what is presumably still Toshiba-manufactured flash storage. iPad 2 packed 512MB of memory, but we don't yet have details on the new iPad, though we reckon it has to be 1GB.

New iPad vs iPad 2: Display

The screen is where the big change has happened. The iPad 2 inherited the 1024 x 768 LED-backlit display from the original iPad. The new iPad ups this significantly, with a 2048 x 1536 resolution display that has 264 pixels per inch - the pixels themselves are indistinguishable, just as on the iPhone 4 and 4S. Both are 9.7-inch displays and have a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating.

TechRadar on a new ipad

New iPad vs iPad 2: Communications

The new iPad ups the ante on the iPad 2 by introducing 4G LTE connectivity alongside the Wi-Fi capability.

As you'd expect, both have Assisted GPS and digital compass alongside the accelerometer found in all iOS devices and the three-axis gyroscope.

The new iPad also has separate US models for both the AT&T and Verizon networks, while there's also 21Mbps HSPA+, DC-HSDPA offering 42Mbps. LTE clocks in at 73Mbps. You can also use the new iPad as a Personal Hotspot via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB.

You also get Bluetooth 4.0 on the new iPad instead of Bluetooth 2.1.

New ipad

New iPad vs iPad 2: camera

Both models have the same VGA front-facing camera, but round the back the new iSight camera (Tim Cook obviously likes that name) beefs things up to 5 megapixels. There's 1080p video recording instead of 720p and video stabilisation to boot.

New iPad vs iPad 2: Size and weight

Unlike the change between the original iPad and iPad 2 when the thickness dropped down to 8.8mm from 13.4mm, there's no such change this time - in fact thickness is slightly more at 9.4mm.

iPad 2

Height: 241.2 mm
Width: 185.7 mm
Depth: 8.8 mm
Weight: 601g for Wi-Fi model, 613g for the Wi-Fi and 3G model

New iPad

Height: 241.2 mm
Width: 185.7 mm
Depth: 9.4 mm
Weight: 601g for Wi-Fi model, 622g for the Wi-Fi and 4G model

New ipad

New iPad vs iPad 2: Battery life

Both offer up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music while there's also a month of promised standby time. If you're using the new iPad on 4G, this drops to 9 hours. There's now a 42.5-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery in the new model.

New iPad vs iPad 2: Pricing

The iPad 2 is now available in a 16GB version for $399 (Wi-Fi) and $529 (Wi-Fi+3G). iPad 2 will be £329 or £429 in the UK.

As for the new iPad, for Wi-Fi + 4G, it's $629, $729 and $829 respectively, or £499, £579 and £659 - though the faster data will be of limited use in the UK of course.

For the Wi-Fi only it's 16GB for $499, 32GB for $599 and 64GB for $699. That's £399, £479 and £559 in the UK.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.