Apple iPad 3 vs Apple iPad 2

Vs Paul Briden 17:18, 7 Mar 2012

As Apple launches its newest iPad, the iPad 3, we see how it looks against the company's established iPad 2 model

We see how the new iPad 3 compares against its immediate predecessor, Apple's iPad 2.

Form
Both the iPad 2 and iPad 3 look so similar as to be almost identical, the only real difference is the lack of a button on the front of the iPad 3 and that it's a bit thicker and heavier.

Other than that they share the same iconic iPad design and if you put them next to each other you might think at a glance you were looking at the same product.

This one's a draw.

Winner - Draw

Hardware
Apple's iPad 2 is a dual core setup with a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor on the company's own A5 chipset, this also uses a PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics processing unit (GPU) and there's 512MB of RAM built in.

This puts out some rapid performance, particularly thanks to Apple's expert optimisation with the onboard software - it's still debatable whether Apple's tablet really needs two cores, but as it has them it's capable of running most anything you care to throw at it.

For storage you've got options for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB with no micro SD slot.

However, if reports are true Apple will be discontinuing the top two options with the release of the iPad 3, meaning you'll now only be able to get hold of either 8GB or 16GB iPad 2's, though at a lower cost.

The iPad 3 features the company's latest A5X chipset with a quad core graphics processor. Apple claims this is up to four times faster than Nvidia's Tegra 3 tech which many Android competitors are using. Of course, there's no question here that it is much faster than its old stable-mate.

Winner - Apple iPad 3

Display
Like its predecessor, the iPad 3's screen comes a shade under 10-inches, 9.7 to be exact, but unlike the iPad 2 it features a full size Retina IPS LED-backlit display with a 2048x1536 pixel resolution at 264ppi.

You can expect this to be one of the sharpest tablet displays you've ever seen.

The iPad 2's screen technology shows just what a leap the iPad 3 has made with its Retina display.

The iPad 2 features the same 9.7-inch expanse of LED-backlit IPS glass as its updated cousin but with a 1024x768 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 132ppi.

It looks pretty good, but the iPad 3's setup is much sharper.

Winner - Apple iPad 3

Camera
The iPad 3 has been equipped with Apple's new iSight camera congifuration, already found in the iPhone 4S. With this you get a 5-megapixel back-light illuminated sensor (BSI) and a five-stage lens.

The result is pictures and 1080p video more typically associated with 8-megapixel setups and above, proving the actual megapixel count isn't as important as all the extra gubbins under the hood.

Other notable features include excellent video and image stabilisation, autofocus and auto-exposure control.

Apple's iPad 2 has a very lacklustre camera setup by current standards at only 0.7-megapixels, with a 960 x 720 pixel resolution, 720p video capture and a VGA secondary for FaceTime calls. The iPad 3's camera improves on this in every conceivable way.

Winner - Apple iPad 3

Conclusion
It was pretty much a given that Apple would improve significantly on its established formula. While at first glance the iPad 3 might seem remarkably similar to its predecessor it has added muscle where it counts, in the processor, camera and display technology.

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