If you didn’t want to drop the full $499 on the new iPad but wanted the Apple experience, the $399 iPad 2 wasn’t a bad choice at all. The iPad 2 housed a dual-core 1Ghz processor based on a 45nm chip, and Apple took the opportunity to test out a new 32nm chip with the reduced price iPad 2. How does it hold up? Performance is the same, but as it turns out, battery life has improved thanks to the more efficient CPU.
AnandTech managed to track down the 32nm version of the iPad 2, which seem to be quite hard to find. The fabrication process also means Apple can’t ship this variant out in large quantities, so it’s playing it safe by testing the chip out in the third-generation Apple TV while also mixing it in with 45nm iPad 2s as well.
During battery tests, the 45nm iPad 2 achieved a web browsing stress test result of 10.1 hours, while the new 32nm iPad 2 managed 11.7 hours. Gaming saw a similar battery boost, with the 45nm iPad 2 lasting 6.12 hours during an Infinity Blade 2 marathon, and the 32nm iPad 2 squeezing out 7.9 hours. Video playback also saw a nice jump, with the 32nm chip achieving almost 16 hours on a single charge.
AnandTech’s conclusion is that the 32nm iPad 2 is clearly the one to get if you’re after that instead of the new iPad, but the problem is finding one: there’s no way without opening up the box and booting up the tablet. More and more 32nm variants may make their way into the wild as time goes on, but right now it’s pot luck.