Quick Answer: Should You Buy the iPad 2 and Save Money?

Is the iPad 2 Worth the Savings?

The iPad 2
Apple, Inc.

While the iPad 2 was released in 2011, Apple kept it in production until 2013.  The iPad 2 became Apple's first "entry level" iPad, with Apple reducing the price after the third-generation iPad was released in 2012.  It currently makes up around 20% of all iPads around the world, so there is no real surprise that a lot of iPad 2 models come up for sale on eBay and Craigslist.  But should you buy an iPad 2?  

The fact that the iPad 2 is so popular may make it seem like a good purchase, but the iPad 2 is the second oldest model of Apple's tablet.  By way of comparison, the last time the original iPad was supported by an operating system update was in 2012.   Due to a number of factors including its popularity and the length of time it was being produced, the iPad 2 has benefited from additional support from Apple, but that may come to an end in the near future.  10 Uses for the Original iPad.

What does that mean?  Once Apple cuts off support for the iPad 2, it will still be able to run apps. In fact, because it was so popular, many developers will continue to support it for several years.  But it won't get the new features added to the operating system each year and will quickly slow down compared to newer models.  

So should you skip the iPad 2?  Probably.  The biggest problem is that the iPad 2 often sells for over $100.   Sometimes, the iPad has additional storage space or 3G connectivity that helps drive up the price, but in reality, it is not worth much more than $80-$90 no matter how much storage it boasts.  

The best deal on an iPad right now is the iPad Mini 2, which can be purchased for around $230 refurbished from iPad and slightly cheaper on eBay.  But if you can't afford that much money, buying an iPad 2 for $90 or less can be a good compromise.  Even if you only use it for two years, you are only paying around $4 a month for it.  

It is not recommended to pay much more than $90 for an iPad 2 even if it has features like 3G connectivity.  Let's not forget, we live in a 4G world.  3G would seem very slow.  And if you have a newer iPhone, you can always tether your iPad to it.  

What about the iPad Mini?  Is it worth it?  

The iPad Mini and the iPad 3 both share the same basic chipset with the iPad 2.  The iPad 3 has a faster graphics processor to help power the Retina Display, but for most apps, it will run just like an iPad 2.  The chipset in the first Mini is pretty much the same as the iPad 2.   

The same rule of thumb applies to these tablets as to the iPad 2.  If you can find one under $100, they may be worth it.  But you can't expect their life expectancy to extend beyond the next few years.  

What About the iPad 4?

Unfortunately, the fourth-generation iPad often sells for over $200.  This is around the same price as the iPad Mini 2, which is actually faster than the iPad 4.   This means it is not really that great of a deal.  However, if you are patient, you can sometimes find the iPad 4 selling for around $150 on eBay.   At that price, it can easily be worth it.  While the iPad 2 (and iPad Mini) may lose support in the near future, the iPad 4 should continue to be supported for several more years.  It's also fast enough that apps will still run smoothly on it.  

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