The iPad 2 may have received a price drop ($399 for WiFi model) with the release of the New iPad, but what you may not be aware of is that it now houses a smaller and more efficient A5 chip – 32nm as opposed to the 45nm to be exact (the 45nm chip is found in previous iPad 2s and even the current gen iPad). Known as iPad 2,4, Anandtech recently bought one through Best Buy and promptly put it through a series of tests. While the new A5 chip doesn’t appear to provide a boost in speed and power, it does give users a nice bump in battery life. In the web browsing test, the “new” iPad 2,4 lasted for 11.7 hours, whereas the iPad 2 clocked in at 10.1 hours (9.28 hrs for new iPad).
In the 3D Gaming test using Infinity Blade II as the test subject, the iPad 2,4 provided 7.9 hours of play time, while the iPad 2 lasted 6.12 hours and the new iPad 5.58 hours. Swapping the game with a graphically less intentive one (Riptide GP) provided very similar results. Besides improved battery life, it seems that the 32nm chip runs cooler as well. After playing Infinity Blade for an hour, the iPad 2,4 ran 1 degree Celsius cooler than the iPad 2.
The iPad 2,4 with the battery friend 32nm A5 chip is only found in the $399 Wifi model. But the real question is where to find one, especially if you’re in the market for the sub $400 iPad. According to Anandtech, there’s unfortunately no way of knowing whether the iPad 2 sports a 32nm or 45nm chip unless you open the box. The newer iPad 2,4 is likely to come with iOS 5.1 preloaded, while the iPad 2,1 should still be on 5.0.1 or older. But to be 100% sure, you can run the benchmarking app Geekbench, which will identify the iPad as 2,1 or 2,4. The review also noted that the next iPhone “will almost certainly use Samsung’s 32nm process and require it in significant volumes”. If true, we should expect the iPhone 5 to be not just faster than the 4S, but also more power efficient.
You can read the complete review of the iPad 2,4 over at Anandtech.