Apple iPad 4 tablet

The iPad 4 is Apple's lead full-size tablet but the firm still sells the now seemingly ancient iPad 2, so which one do you choose? We'll help you decide in our iPad 4 vs iPad 2 comparison review.

See also: The 10 best tablets with 3G/4G connectivity: best tablets with cellular connectivity.

iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Price

Both of these iPad models are still available from Apple, despite the discontinuation of the iPad 3. Naturally the iPad 2 is the cheaper option starting at £329. The iPad 4 starts at the traditional £399 and goes up to £739. See the table below for full pricing.


iPad 4

iPad 2

16GB Wi-Fi only



32GB Wi-Fi only



64GB Wi-Fi only



128GB Wi-Fi only



16GB Wi-Fi + cellular



32GB Wi-Fi + cellular



64GB Wi-Fi + cellular



128GB Wi-Fi + cellular



iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Design

The iPad 4 still has the classic iPad style, shape and curvy look with a 9.7-inch screen, black or white bezel and aluminium rear cover. However, the device is thicker and heavier than the iPad 2.

The iPad 2 measures in at 8.8mm thick and 601g for the lighter Wi-Fi only model but the new iPad is 0.6mm thicker and 51g heavier at 9.4mm and 652g. Models with cellular data are 613g and 662g respectively.

iPad 4 vs iPad 2

iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Screen

The main difference between the iPad 2's screen and the iPad 4 is the resolution. The new iPad 4 still has a 9.7in display sized screen but a resolution of 2048 x 1536 (Retina) compared to 1024 x 768 on the iPad 2.

You'll probably have spotted that it's twice the amount, meaning four times the amount of pixels. It's a noticeable difference and one of the main things to consider when picking between these iPads.

iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Processor

The iPad 2 is not a sluggish tablet with an A5 dual-core processor but the iPad 4 has a speedier A6X chip. It's also dual-core but has quad-core graphics so will give you better performance when gaming.

iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Cameras

If tablet photography is important to you then the iPad 4 offers superior front and rear cameras. It has a 5Mp iSight camera whereas the iPad 2's is less than 1Mp. The front camera will get you a better picture for FaceTime calling with 720p HD video compared to just VGA on the iPad 2.

The iPad 4 has additional features including video stabilisation, face detection and backside illumination (BSI).

iPad 4 iSight camera

iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Connectivity

A key difference connectivity wise is that the iPad 4 uses Apple's Lightning connector while the iPad 2 uses the older 30-pin proprietary connector.

The new iPad 4 also offers 4G LTE connectivity if you buy the cellular model whereas the iPad 2 is limited to 3G. Furthermore, the iPad 4 adds GPS and has a newer version of Bluetooth – 4.0 compared to 2.1.

iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Storage

As you can see from the price table above, there's a big difference in what storage capacities are available. Straight from Apple there is only 16GB for the iPad 2 but you can, of course, find other if you buy second hand. The iPad 4 has four different models: 16, 32, 64 and 128GB.

iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Software

Both iPads have the same software, iOS 6, and looking forward both will get an upgrade to iOS 7 later this year. It's likely that the iPad 4 will continue to be upgraded beyond iOS 7 but we can't say for sure whether the iPad 2 will be or not.

One difference is that the iPad does not have Siri while the iPad 4 does.

iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Battery life

Apple touts a battery life of up to 10 hours for the new iPad 4 which is the same as the iPad 2. There's no difference here.

iPad 4 vs iPad 2: Summary

While the iPad 2 will save you a bit of cash, the iPad 4 brings a lot more to the table. Key benefits include the Retina display, better graphics processing, cameras and 4G connectivity.

Follow Chris Martin and @Tech Advisor on Twitter.