iPad 2 vs. iPad Original: Worth the Upgrade?

iPad 2 vs. iPad Original: Worth the Upgrade?

As expected, Apple has made a huge splash with the iPad 2. Though the company hasn’t officially released sales figures yet, many industry insiders estimate that as many as 1 million devices were sold within the debut weekend. Initially it was tough to track an iPad 2 down at retail, and the estimated ship time for one on Apple’s site grew to 4 to 5 weeks before settling back down this week to 2-3 weeks. But what if you already own the original iPad? Now that the launch hype has dissipated, does it make sense to ditch your old one to pick up the latest and greatest?

There’s no argument that the original iPad set the standard for the media tablet category, combining a top-notch display with a fun and intuitive multitouch interface. You also get more than 65,000 apps, all of which work on both the iPad and iPad 2. The iPad 2 certainly is an improvement with its size reduction (33 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter) and faster processor (dual-core A5 CPU). Still, it’s not exactly a quantum leap forward.

Both tablets feature the same size 9.7-inch screen (1024 x 768), can run Apple’s latest OS 4.3 software, and have been offered in identical memory allotments (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB). Rated battery life is comparable, too, with both slates’ having a claimed endurance of 10 hours. However, we saw nearly two hours more endurance from the iPad 2. The iPad 2 also sports some features the original iPad lacks, such as dual cameras.

The back 720p camera works fairly well, but only when recording video with ample ambient light. The front VGA camera enables FaceTime calls, which are easy to set up. The quality isn’t fantastic, but we found the picture to be brighter than the Motorola Xoom in our recent face-off.

So what about performance? The iPad 2′s dual-core A5 chip does cut down on lag–although that wasn’t much of a problem to begin with–and enables swift video editing via the iMovie app. The A5 also enables beefier graphics performance, which is why it can handle Photo Booth without breaking a sweat. We also anticipate that developers will be able to tap into this chip’s power over time.

Then there’s the little things. When you combine the iPad 2′s thinner and lighter design with the magnetic Smart Cover, this sequel just feels right. Is all of this enough to warrant an upgrade? As much as we love the iPad 2, we’d say it’s not necessarily worth shelling out another $500 or more. The original iPad is still superior to every other tablet on the market.

On the other hand, if you like the idea of staying in touch with FaceTime and want the best performance for the most demanding apps and games, the iPad 2 could be worth the splurge. You also get built-in Verizon Wireless 3G as an option, which wasn’t available previously. Before you had to choose between an iPad + MiFi combo for Verizon or get the AT&T version with integrated broadband.

But don’t let us do all the talking. Take a look at this comparison chart and our full review of the iPad 2 to help decide for yourself if its worth making the upgrade.

Product iPad 2 iPad
Price $499 to $699 (Wi-Fi), $629 to $829 (3G)
$499 to $699 (Wi-Fi), $629 to $829 (3G)
Operating System iOS 4.3 iOS 4 (Upgrade to iOS 4.3)
Size (inches) 9.5 x 7.3 x 0.3 9.56 x 7.47 x 0.5
Weight (pounds) 1.3 1.5
Processor 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 1-GHz Apple A4
Display 9.7-inches (1024 x 768 pixels) 9.7-inches (1024 x 768 pixels)
Camera 960 x 720 pixels, VGA front-facing

None

Video Recording 720p @ 30 fps NA
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n, AT&T and Verizon 3G options 802.11 a/g/n, AT&T 3G option
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light, 3-axis gyroscope Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light
Internal Memory 16GB, 32GB, 64GB 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Battery Life (Wi-Fi) 11:11 9:23
Geekbench Performance 742 458
Graphics Performance (GLBenchmark app) 852 Million 164 Million



LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

  1. Brock Says:

    Always surprised few reviews mention mirroring ability of anything you see on the iPad 2 screen to a projector or a tv. That is huge to me.

  2. pinaud Says:

    No Flash ? No Ipad. Sorry …

  3. Guillaume Says:

    Ive asked the app est re guys Brock: they say this works on iPad 1 if you upgrade to latest iOS version.

  4. vova Says:

    Flash on Ipad – easy with Skyfire browser!

  5. Steve-would-say Says:

    Flash does nOt reallocate memory properly.
    Adobe tried to fix that and it’s security holes.
    Adobe officially concedes and no longer will be developing it.

    Adobe is actively innovating HTML 5. Most web sites quickly following adobes wisdom.
    Why is Flash better for us?

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE