Apple iPad 3rd Generation Vs iPad 2 Generation

iPad 3rd generation high-defintion screen versus iPad 2nd generation

iPad 3 Vs iPad 2 Comparison

The new iPad 3 has launched and is up for pre-order. So what are the stand-out new features and should you buy the iPad 3 or consider a cheaper iPad 2?

The iPad 3 has some nice new features but I’m not sure I’d buy it if I could get a good deal on an iPad 2.

High-Definition Screen

The iPad 3 has a high-definition screen (double the amount of pixels on the screen than the iPad 2). This means you have a sharper clearer image and true high-definition (1080p) when watching videos. Reading the screen is also sharper and if you look closely at the screen, the pixel detail is much finer.

But, the iPad 2 already had a great screen anyway – so it depends if that’s important to you. It will be if you want to watch lots of high-definition video on your iPad, or play the latest 3D games that will take advantage of this higher quality screen. But outside of that, the value is less.


There’s also a better rear-facing camera, bringing a 5 megapixel camera on the iPad 3 (compared with a poor quality camera on the iPad 2). The higher quality means you can record true high-definition video (1080p) compared to a lower format of high-definition video on the iPad 2 (720p). A number of other features such as an illumination sensor, autofocus and built-in face detection will further enhance your still photos. The 5 megapixel camera sounds low in specification by today’s standards, however the camera’s optics, the iPad 3’s processor and supporting software will no doubt raise the quality.

However, I don’t think I’ve ever really taken video with a tablet anyway as they’re just too bulky and my iPhone could do a better job.

Dictation App

There’s a new dictation app for the iPad 3 – this is an interesting development as I’ve been using the Siri app on my iPhone to do this via the iPhone’s notes app. Siri works well for dictation, it’s not perfect but it’s very good. It will be interesting to see if this app had smoothed out some of those imperfections. It looks like it will integrate well with other apps such as when you’re dictating emails.

iPad 4G

The 4G iPad 3 version gets you on to the speedier version of the mobile data network so you should get faster internet speeds when you’re out of range of a Wi-Fi signal (although you need to buy the 4G iPad 3 version to get this). The issue here is that there’s not much of a 4G network about in the UK yet, although that is likely to change over the next few years.


There’s also a faster and more powerful processor in the iPad 3, although that’s more relevant if you’re doing lots of graphically intensive gaming or watching high-definition video. Not quite so critical for me right now.

Future Proofing

Having said that, the higher-spec processor means it will handle future improvements in the iOS operating system, and more advanced apps/games as they are created in the coming months and years. Effectively buying an iPad 3 now compared to an iPad 2 means it’s going to last longer as software advances.

iPad 3 vs iPad 2 Prices

The Apple Store online offers the new iPad 3 from £399 and a new iPad 2 from £329, so it depends if you think it’s worth spending the extra £70 for these things.

You can also pick up a refurbished iPad 2 from £289 direct from Apple. I’ve heard refurbished ones are a good deal as Apple put a new case on and replace the battery too. So, they look brand new and operate smoothly as it’s the battery that is the component that would degrade the most on a used iPad. Make sure you’re fully aware of what you’re buying if you choose to buy an iPad in this way.

iPad 3 Size

Everything else remains the same between the iPad 2 and iPad 3. The iPad 3 is slightly thicker and slightly heavier but we’re talking about 0.6mm difference and 10 grams so barely recognisable.

Overall then there’s definitely an improvement with the new iPad 3rd generation, but I think the iPad 2 is plenty decent enough for the time being.

For a full run down comparison of these 2 devices, check out Apple’s comparison here.


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  1. Best looking screen on any tablet ever. I’m buying another iPad3 for my kids this weekend. Cheers -

  2. Honestly, I don’t like the upgrade from 2 to 3. Simply because it wasn’t really an upgrade the way I see it. Sure, they gave it a higher resolution and all, but the important features were all present in the 2nd generation. Given, I would buy the new one if i hadn’t already bought the 2, it’s just too expensive to keep upgrading.

    • Hi Menno, thanks for your comment. You make a good point, for a lot of users these new features won’t be that important. The screen might be noticably sharper but if you’re not that fussed by high-definition then is it really worth the additional cost? The processor upgrade on the iPad 3 will mean that it’s likely to deal with more advanced apps/games as these evolve over the coming years so you may find that an iPad 3 will be able to handle the latest software for a bit longer. As you say though, if you already have the iPad 2, it’s probably not enough to justify paying out for the upgrade.

  3. raza says:

    Two really bad things on the new ipad: heavy as compare to ipad 2. battery takes 2x longer to charger 8hours to fully charge.

    One really really good thing is the new display. It is more than 2x better than the ipad 2 for reading and playing games.

    • Thanks for your comment Raza. I agree, the display is the key reason you’d go for the new iPad in comparison to the iPad but I don’t think its enough to justify upgrading when you’ve already got an iPad 2 – at least not for me.

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