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Apple iPad 3 vs iPad 2 head-to-head review

The new iPad comes with a raft of enhancements including a Retina display and LTE technology. Khidr Suleman compares the latest iOS tablet to the iPad 2 to see if it really is worth the upgrade.

Hardware iPad 3 has the longevity

The iPad 2 was no slouch when it came to performance. The tablet was shipped with the A5 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM. Although the 0.7-megapixel camera isn't great for taking still images it is able to recording in 720p. Apple has upgraded nearly all of these features for the iPad 3 to improve performance and entice users.

The iPad 3 comes with a bumped up A5X chipset, which introduces a quad-core graphics processing unit in addition to the 1GHz dual-core processor. There is now 1GB of RAM to allow the device to cope with more intense applications and to help render graphics that aren't too far off console quality.

Surprisingly, our 3G iPad 2 scored higher (761) than the LTE iPad 3 (750) in the Geekbench app. This has been a common occurrence, but shouldn't be too much of a cause for concern for those wanting an iPad 3.

Geekbench results

The Geekbench app benchmarks devices based on processor and memory.

Although surprising, the scores are not too dissimilar. In real-world usage we found the iPad 3 to be very responsive, but as the benchmarks suggest, it doesn't quite trounce the iPad 2 when it comes to general performance.

There are two areas where the third generation tablet is significantly better than the iPad 2. The first is multimedia content specifically games. The iPad 3 is capable of rendering higher quality graphics, but this is unlikely to be top of the priorities of a business user, who may only have the time to play the short games like Angry Birds rather than a full-blown titles like Infinity Blade II.

The second area where the iPad 3 is significantly better than its predecessor is the camera. The 5-megapixel camera on the rear is dubbed iSight and comes with optics that take much sharper images and replicate colours naturally.

iPad 2 test shot

iPad 2 test shot - Images lack sharpness and it is not possible to read small print.

iPad 3 test shot

iPad 3 test shot - The 5-megapixel camera provides much sharper images and the small text is readable when you zoom in (even more so than the screen-shot suggests.)

Winner iPad 3 - Despite being outperformed in the benchmarking test by the iPad 2, after real-world usage there is no doubt that the iPad 3 is the better performing tablet.

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