What are the Differences Between the iPad 1 and iPad 2?

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Apple’s new iPad 2 takes the original iPad design and improves on it in a number of key ways. But in a head-to-head comparison, which tablet is better? Do your research, and make a more informed iPad purchase decision as you weigh the options of a first gen vs the newest iteration.

The differences are certainly noticeable. One of the biggest differences is the case. The second generation is certainly shorter and squatter. It’s about half as much so as the original iPad. It makes the first one look a tad clunky in comparision. This is largely due to the fact that you can hardly see the aluminum on the edges of the iPad 2. It’s just sleeker. It weighs roughly the same. I know it IS lighter, but you honestly can’t tell the difference by holding it in your hands.

Another advantage of the iPad 2 hardware is the speaker. Even though the first gen speaker is louder than this new one, it doesn’t produce as rich of a sound. Your ears will definitely hear the difference, but the sound is just so much better this time around. You’ll enjoy the clear quality when playing music and videos.

There was a slight change made to the port where you plug your charge/sync cable in on the device. The connector for the original iPad was flat whereas this new one is more rounded. I haven’t had any trouble plugging it in as of yet, but I would have chosen the flatter area if I could have. Even though I’m not a fan of this new style of cable opening, I do much prefer the overall design ethos of the iPad 2. It just FEELS nicer in my hands.

Another difference is that the mic on the iPad 2nd gen is right about the area where the front-facing camera sits. On the WiFi only version you’ll find it in the same position. The sim card slot is in a different area. The bezel seems to be roughly the same thickness and I don’t notice any difference in the screens. They both collect way too many fingerprints. I can’t wait to get a good screen protector.

The iPad 2 comes with two cameras. Keep in mind that this device is not “A” camera. It has a camera built in as an added feature. I’ve published my thoughts on the whole camera debate already. They aren’t that great – and it doesn’t really matter. If you’re slagging Apple for having low-quality cameras, then you’re missing out.

The position of the Home button seems to be the same. Size-wise, the profile is pretty much the same. As I’ve said, the first gen iPad seems to be just a smidgen larger and more of a kluge. I can’t get over how much I love the rounded edges on the new version!

If people were to pick up the two devices and choose between them, they’re more likely to want the second version. It just looks – and feels – so much smoother.

What differences are important to you when shopping for a device? How do you decide between an older (and cheaper) model and the newest one on the market?