Ipad 2 vs 3, technical considerations

Discussion in 'iPad' started by iceblade, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. iceblade macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2008
    Hey everyone,

    I have finally decided to take the jump and buy an iPad. I'm currently a college student studying International Business. I am debating between an iPad 2 and an iPad 3 (ok 'new iPad', bear with me for simplicity in explaining).

    I dont' especially care about the retina screen -- its cool, and would be nice to have, but as a cost consideration, I would be fine with going without it. The things I am more worried about are:
    Processor speed (I would like this to last for at least 2 years)
    Wireless radios.

    I would prefer to not have a huge slowdown after a year (or two, I would like it to last 3 years honestly), which is why I am leaning against the iPad 2 in this case.

    My parents both have iPad 2s and are big fans of the 3G, and finally convinced me to buy one with cellular connection. What I am trying to figure out, is whether iPad 2 or 3 will be better for international travel, and whether the Verizon or ATT version is what I need to pick up (my cellphone is ATT, if that matters). I understand I will probably need to pick up a local SIM -- not a problem, I just need the best chance of the physical, 'permanent' hardware working with another countries wireless services. I've read that the iPad 3 has more radios activated or something, so it will work more places. Maybe someone can clarify this for me?

    In terms of wireless plan costs, I don't especially care. Sometimes I'll use a lot of data, sometimes I won't. Theres just very little way for me to be able to figure out how much I will use longterm (to determine whether Verizon plans or ATT plans will fit me better). I'll pay what I need to pay for data, either way...

    I would honestly prefer the iPad 2 if the processor and wireless hardware won't hold me back. But if the iPad 2 is going to start holding me back after about a year (since its already a year old), then I'll go ahead and spend the extra for an iPad 3.

    I hope that all makes sense. If not, please let me know and I'll attempt to clarify. I know these questions get asked over and over again -- if there is a thread that answers them, please let me know and I'll happily go there. I just know sometimes information changes as people become more experienced and hardware matures.

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate it.
  2. iEvolution macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    The app compatibility is going to be the same as the iPad 3 because they both run the same processor. Only difference is of course the quad core graphics which is believed to only be there to support the retina display rather than any real performance advantage over the dual core version.

    Someone else will have to answer your wireless question cause I don't have a clue as I own the Wifi only version of the iPad.
  3. SteveAbootman macrumors 6502a


    May 12, 2008
    Scroll down to Wireless and Cellular to compare the iPad 2 and new iPad.


    Bottom line is new iPad is LTE ready and has better coverage overseas. If you want the thing to last 3 years, you're best bet is to future proof with LTE compatibility.

    Good luck!
  4. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    You being a University student i'd consider a refurbed iPad 2. The major difference between the iPad 2 and 3 is the screen. They also changed the GPU but that's to power the higher res screen. Performance is basically the same between the two.

    The refurbs have a 1 year warranty from Apple and look absolutey brand new. You can buy a 16GB iPad 2 for $319 when they are in stock.

  5. Night Spring, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012

    Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    With regard to wanting your iPad to last at least two years, some people, though not all, are reporting that the iPad 1 is slow / unstable with iOS 5. So if this pattern holds, then you can expect the iPad 2 to work fine with iOS 6, but have trouble with the OS upgrade after that. In other words, if you want something that lasts two years, it's better to go with the 3, and to have any hope of lasting 3 years, then definitely get the iPad 3.

    As for international use, as I understand it, Verizon and AT&T models work exacty the same with foreign SIM cards. However, if you plan to not always keep your data plan active, that is, you want data service only some of the time, then there's been reports that with Verizon, once you turn off the data service, you need to get a new SIM to reactivate it, while with AT&T, you can turn data on and off from the iPad as often as you want.

    I went with the Verizon because I always keep my data plan on, they had a 1 GB data plan that exactly fits my budget and data usage, and they give you free hotspot function. AT&T keeps promising to offer a hotspot function, but so far they haven't come through, and who knows how much they'll charge for it if they ever do.
  6. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    But remember that performance wise the iPad 2 and iPad 3 are fairly equal. The GPU was upgraded not for extra performance but to compensate for the Retina Display. I think the iPad 2 will be right there with the performance of the iPad 3 after the iOS 6 upgrade.
  7. iceblade thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2008
    This is exactly what I am worried about in terms of upgrade -- I may just have to get into my head that I'll have to upgrade tablets more often than my laptops. I suppose thats alright. If I use it enough, it'll be worth it.

    I don't plan to keep the data on all the time... So thats an important thing to keep in mind, I'm glad you let me know that. Is there a cost for a replacement Verizon SIM? or is it just a convenience thing, of I have to go get a new SIM every time? The only advantage I would possibly see with Verizon instead, is so I can have ATT and Verizon coverage both (since my phone is ATT). The hotspot feature with Verizon would be a nice feature to get my MBP online (since I don't currently have tethering on my phone). Perhaps this feature would help me decide between the two. I would like to get LTE, but I would probably be okay with 3G only if there is no major difference besides future proofing (I mean, are they planning to turn off 3G networks in the next two years?).

    Rodster, I like what you're telling me, haha. I think I'm leaning toward the 32 GB just to be sure I have enough space -- may splurge for the 64, we'll see.

    Thanks to everyone for the responses, its helping, but I am open to more opinions (and answers to follow up questions I have)!
  8. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
  9. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    It's mostly a convenience thing -- you may have to pay a few dollars to get a new SIM, but it's not like it costs all that much, from what I understand. I haven't really read up on this, as I don't plan on ever turning off my data plan. You should probably start by reading this thread:

    There's been other threads about various problems people had with Verizon, just scan through the forum topics for "Verizon" going back a few pages.

    The hotspot feature does come in handy sometimes, but only you can decide if it is worth the hassle of dealing with getting a new SIM each time you want to turn your data plan on/off. As for 3G, I think the iPad 2 will be way past it's useful lifespan before we have to worry about it not being compatible wih the cellular network. It's going to be a looooong time before LTE becomes predominant, and even longer for 3G devices to become scarce enough that cellular companies can think about cutting off support for them.
  10. iceblade, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012

    iceblade thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2008
    Very helpful thread, thanks for the link. It looks like I can go about 5 months between activating data without having to buy a new SIM, and I think its reasonable I will need data 2-3 times a year. Looks like I am definitely going Verizon iPad, its just an argument of iPad 2 vs iPad 3. I like the ability to go abroad with the Verizon iPad 3 and use local SIMs to access the internet, the only question is whether its worth the extra $200 over an iPad 2 -- but thats only something I can decide whether or not its in my budget.

    EDIT: I thought I had finished the thread, but I guess not. Looks like some issue with more recently needing to rebuy SIMs... thats ok as well, though inconvenient. Mostly I am updating in case someone stumbles upon this thread and is reading it after having same questions as myself. Unsure if this applies to the iPad 2, information seems hazier in regards to that. /edit

    Thanks for everyones information and help. If I have more questions I'll be sure to post back, but for now, I think I've got the information I need. Thanks!

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