First-gen iPad still a good choice

First-gen iPad still a good choice

Now that Apple’s iPad 2 has been released and is set to arrive in the Middle East at some point soon, the question is whether you really need it?

By Magnus Nystedt

Published: Sat 16 Apr 2011, 10:38 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:00 AM

The answer is, for most of us, pretty obviously “no, we don’t”. But I’m specifically talking about the choice between Apple’s new iPad and all its bells and whistles and the original iPad, released just a year ago. Perhaps you own an iPad 1, and you’re considering whether to upgrade or perhaps you are thinking about buying your first iPad; let’s look at your choices.

With iPad 2, you get mainly three things: cameras, more speed, and a slimmer design. The slimmer design is the point that is most subjective, although there’s no denying that Apple did an amazing job packing more into a smaller space while keeping battery life the same.

Cameras are no doubt a great attraction, and an obvious reason to get the latest model. The camera on the rear may shoot 720 HD video but it takes stills only at 960x540 pixels, not even a megapixel worth. The front-facing camera only supports 640x480 and is good only for video conferencing. If you plan on use FaceTime for video conferencing you should be aware that in the UAE, that service is blocked and the application will most likely not installed on official iPads sold here.

The added speed in iPad 2 is probably where you would see most difference in everyday use. Apple’s dual core A5 processor adds significant boost in processing power and better graphics also helps to make iPad 2 really fast. If you like to play games, especially graphics-intensive 3D games, you will definitely see a difference. What also matters is double the RAM in iPad 2; 512MB up from 256 in the original model.

One important thing to remember is that the software is the same on the two iPads. Currently the latest version is iOS 4.3.1 and it runs just as well on both. With Apple’s track record of keeping older products running on the latest software, there’s no need to worry about the original iPad becoming obsolete anytime soon.

With all what’s new in iPad 2 you’re wondering why should you even look at buying the old model? Well, the truth is for most of what you would do with the tablet, like browsing the Web, e-mail, social networking, reading a book, etc. you will not see any difference. So then you’re left with whether you need the cameras and I would put it to you that most users may say they want cameras but will hardly, if ever, use them.

The bottom line is this: you can save some money by going for Apple’s first-generation iPad and it can do almost everything the new one can and just as well. So, why not look beyond the “latest and greatest?” Even if you buy the original iPad, I’m sure you’ll be very happy with it as it is still quite simply a stunning product.

Magnus Nystedt talks and writes about technology as much as he can. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt for the latest on consumer technology in the Middle East.

More news from TECH