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iPad Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Apple iPad 2 vs iPad 3 comparison review

£329 for 16GB Wi-Fi-only model; £429 for 16GB Wi-Fi plus cellular model. No other storage capacities available

Manufacturer: Apple

Apple discontinued the iPad 3 because it replaced it with the iPad 4. However, you can still pick it up second hand or refurbished so we've compared it to the still available iPad 2. Here's our iPad 2 vs iPad 3 comparison review.

Apple iPad 3

Apple discontinued the iPad 3 because it replaced it with the iPad 4. However, you can still pick it up second hand or refurbished so we've compared it to the still available iPad 2. Here's our iPad 2 vs iPad 3 comparison review. Updated on 01/07/13.

If you don't want to splash out on an iPad 4 or wait for the iPad 5 then the iPad 3 and iPad 2 are still good choices. But which one is the better tablet choice right now? Read on to find out.

See also: iPad 4 vs iPad 2 comparison.

iPad 2 vs iPad 3: Design

The iPad 3 still has the classic iPad style, shape and curvy look with a 9.7-inch screen, black or white bezel and aluminium rear cover. However, the device has actually got thicker and heavier rather than getting trimmed down.

See also: Best cases and covers for the new iPad: protect your tablet in style.

The iPad 2 measures in at 8.8mm thick and 601g for the lighter WiFi only model but the iPad 3 is 0.6mm thicker and 51g heavier at 9.4mm and 652g.

iPad 2 vs iPad 3: Display

The main feature change on the iPad 3 is a high resolution ‘retina’ display. The iPad 3 has the same 9.7-inch sized screen as its predecessor but with a resolution of 2048 x 1536.

It is the first time that the firm has upgraded the display since the first iPad. The iPad 2 has a resolution of 1024 x 768 so the new iPad has four times the amount of pixels on the same size screen. This means the iPad 3 has a pixel density of 264ppi compared to the iPad 2’s 132ppi.

iPad 2 vs iPad 3: Processor

The iPad 2 is not a sluggish device but the iPad 3 has been equipped with an A5X chip. It’s an upgrade from the A5 1GHz dual-core processor which is found in the iPad 2.

The A5X is a dual-core chip with quad-core graphics. Apple claims it is four times faster than NVIDIA’s Tegra 3.

Apple new iPad 2012

iPad 2 vs iPad 3: Cameras

Another upgrade is to the tablets’ cameras. The 720p rear camera on the iPad 2 has been bumped up to an iSight 5MP camera capable of recording 1080p. It has features including autofocus, tap to focus, face detection in still image and video stabilisation.

There’s no change with the front facing camera which remains at VGA quality. Apple has decided to call it the FaceTime camera, though.

iPad 2 vs iPad 3: Connectivity

The iPad 3 still has the traditional 30-pin proprietary connector but inside there has been a change for the better. The iPad 3 comes in a 4G LTE model which means faster mobile internet than 3G.

The 4G iPad has the same 9.4mm profile as the WiFi only model but is a further 10g heavier at 662g.

iPad 3 screen

iPad 2 vs iPad 3: Storage

The iPad 2 is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities and that’s exactly what the iPad 3 come with too. The iPad has never had a memory card slot for expansion and still doesn’t.

If you're buying straight from Apple, then the iPad 2 is only available in 16GB.

iPad 2 vs iPad 3: Battery life

Apple touts a battery life of up to 10 hours for the iPad 3 which is the same as the iPad 2. This can be considered an upgrade due to the fact the hardware, mainly the screen, is considerably better quality.

Siri for iPad

iPad 2 vs iPad 3: Pricing

Although the iPad 3 is newer, Apple only sells the iPad 2 out of these two tablets. You can, of course, get hold of an iPad 3 second hand or via Apple's refurbished store.

The iPad 2 is now priced at £329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model and £429 if you want to add 3G connectivity. For some comparison, at the time of writing, a refurbished Wi-Fi only iPad 3 is available for £315.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

Apple iPad 2 Expert Verdict »

1GHz dual-core Apple A5 processor (ARM Cortex-A9)
9.7in (1024 x 768) LED-backlit glass IPS screen, capacitive multi-touch, 132ppi, oleophobic coating
16GB, 32GB or 64GB NAND flash storage
rear camera: HD video 960 x 720, 30fps, still shots with 5x digital zoom
front camera: 640 x 480, 30fps
Wi-Fi + 3G model: GPS receiver, UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz)
Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
built-in 25Wh rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
30-pin dock connector port, 3.5mm stereo headphone mini-jack
built-in speaker, mic
three-axis gyro
digital compass
241.2x185.7x8.8mm
601g (Wi-Fi only), 613g (Wi-Fi & 3G)

Overall the iPad 3 is a decent upgrade from the iPad 2 in a number of key areas. The retina quality display is the most impressive and there’s a faster processor and better cameras. 4G connectivity is handy if you want that feature. All this for roughly the same price refurbished makes this a no brainer.


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