'Should I upgrade my iPad to the iPad 2?'

Well, it's your money and I'm not going to tell you how to spend it, but here are a few things to bear in mind.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

A lot of you seem to want to know my thoughts on upgrading an iPad to the iPad 2. I'm not sure why this question is popular all of a sudden, I assume it has something to do with the annual gift-giving event that's on the horizon.

OK, let's begin with a quick iPad vs. iPad 2 rundown.

What's new

  • Front-facing VGA camera.
  • Rear-facing 720p camera.
  • Gyroscope.
  • New case (optional) that attaches to the iPad 2 with magnets and features a microfiber surface for keeping the screen clean.
  • HDMI output dongle (optional).

What's changed

  • Processor: Gone is the single-core 1GHz single-core A4 chip and in its place is a dual-core 1GHz A5 chip.
  • RAM: The iPad had 256MB of RAM, while the iPad 2 doubles that to 512MB.
  • Graphics processor: The PowerVR SGX 535 chip and instead Apple went with the PowerVR SGX543 which offers between 3x and 7x faster framerate.
  • Dimensions: While the footprint has remained the same, the thickness is down from 13.4mm to 8.8mm. The weight is also down for all models (WiFi model down from 680g to 601g while the WiFi + 3G is down from 730g to 613g for the AT&T model and 607g for the Verizon model.
  • Radios: The original iPad featured EDGE plus triband HSPA while the iPad 2 features EDGE plus quadband UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz) and GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) for the AT&T versions and CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz) for the Verizon model.
  • Color: Now available in black and white.

What's the same

  • Screen: No change to the 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS 1024 x 768 screen.
  • Storage: The options for storage remain the same - 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.
  • Battery life: Despite the faster hardware, Apple managed to keep the battery life the same.
  • Price: No change here - iPad 2 starts at $499 for the 16GB WiFi-only model.

Note: There is no Siri voice control on the iPad 2.

So what should you do?

Well, it's your money and I'm not going to tell you how to spend it, but here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Faster CPU and graphics doesn't necessarily mean noticeably faster apps. Games and video playback are where you're going to see the biggest difference.
  • The forward-facing camera mean the ability to use FaceTime.
  • It's likely that there's a new iPad just around the corner (March/April).
  • Second-hand iPads hold their value well ... you should be able to get a few hundred bucks for it on somewhere like 'The Bay.'
  • That case you bought for your iPad might not fit your iPad 2 not only because it's thinner but it will more than likely obscure the cameras.

So there you have it. Personally, I'd hold out to see what the iPad 3 brings, but at the end of the day it's your decision.

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