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iPad 2 3G review

The iPad 2 also comes as a more expensive 3G version, but is it worth the extra cash?

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1024 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 700 Kilopixel

View full specification

For

  • Fantastic design
  • Better ergonomics
  • Good battery life
  • iOS 4.3 brings improvements
  • Facetime chats
  • Smudge-resistant screen

Against

  • Where's the innovation?
  • No retina screen
  • Still no Flash
  • Negligable performance boost

Update: Check our our new iPad 3 review

TechRadar has already reviewed Apple's new slimmer, sexier non-3G iPad 2.

In short, it's a keeper, but Apple also makes a more expensive 3G version and it's worth considering what it brings to the table before you make your purchase.

So, with a shiny new 64GB 3G model in our mits, TechRadar set about seeing how 3G can change the way you use an iPad.

You can check out TechRadar's iPad 2 review video below:

Visually the only thing to separate a 3G iPad 2 from the Wi-Fi-only version is the sleek black bar visible along the top of the device.

It spoils the minimalist Apple aesthetic, but only slightly since you can hardly see it from the front of the iPad.

ipad 2 3g

In all other respects it looks exactly the same, it's only 12g heavier and has the same processor, cameras and memory configurations (16GB, 32GB and 64GB), and even comes in the same colours and has the same battery life.

Yet for including a 3G chip (which provides a wireless data connection to the Internet wherever you can get a 3G signal) Apple whacks another £100 onto the price of the basic Wi-Fi model; so a 16GB 3G iPad costs you £499, instead of £399, a 32GB model costs you £579 and a 64GB model will set you back a whopping £659, making it the most expensive iPad on the Apple Store.

ipad 2 3g

Since in all other respects the Wi-Fi and 3G models are exactly the same this won't be a stand-alone review of the iPad as a whole, like we said, we've done that already in our original iPad 2 review. Instead we'll focus here on the 3G aspect of the device, and help you decide if it justifies the extra expense.

After all, there are other, cheaper, if less convenient ways of getting a 3G data connection when you're out and about, which we'll go into later.

Of course, paying an extra £100 upfront for the device is only the beginning of your financial ruin. Once you start considering a 3G iPad you need to factor in the costs of your data plan into your overall cost of ownership.

ipad 2 3g

Although, depending on how tied-down you like to be, and how much data you use, your data plan could end up saving you money, provided you sign up for a fixed term contract. Orange, for example, will sell you a 16GB iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G discounted to £199 if you sign up for a two year contract at £25 a month, and all the major providers like Vodafone, Three, T-Mobile and O2 offer similar discounted deals.

Of course, if you don't plan on using an awful lot of data a short term daily or weekly plan will probably be the most economical in the long run. That way you only pay for the times when you will be traveling with your iPad and need to use the 3G network.

Both Orange and O2 offer daily plans for 200MB of data per day (which doesn't sound a lot, but is more than sufficient for most people) at around £2 a pop, while Three offers a very competitive 1GB a month for £7.50.

Of course, what you should really do is go for the provider that has the best coverage in your area - there's no sense in saving money on a data plan if you can't get a connection where you live anyway. If you'd like to see how the plans compare, Apple has a useful comparison of short term contracts on its website.

For more info on tariffs, check out our best iPad 2 data plans page.

Remember, iPad 2s are sold unlocked from the Apple Store, so you can choose any 3G provider you like.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity64 GB
Processor ManufacturerApple
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Maximum Battery Run Time10 Hour
GPSYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyUMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, EDGE
Product FamilyiPad 2
Cellular Network SupportedGSM
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformiOS
ColourBlack
Operating SystemiOS 4
Brand NameApple
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeA5
Screen Size24.6 cm (9.7")
Screen Resolution1024 x 768
Weight (Approximate)612.3 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Cellular Generation3G
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution700 Kilopixel
Height241.3 mm
Width185.7 mm
Depth8.6 mm
Screen ModeXGA
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMC775LL/A
Product NameiPad 2 Tablet Computer
Product LineiPad 2
Aspect Ratio4:3
Manufacturer Part NumberMC775LL/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

There's more to it. And even less of it. Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core A5 chip. The same 10-hour battery life. All in a thinner, lighter design. Now iPad is even more amazing. And even less like anything else.