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Which iPad Should I Buy? 16GB vs 32GB vs 64GB

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If you’re planning to buy the new iPad on release day, you need to figure out which size iPad you will buy.

Apple still offers all sizes for iPad 3 release date delivery. In case you’re late to the party, the new iPad is the iPad 3.

(Read: New iPad Buyer’s Guide)

While the new iPad looks a lot like the iPad 2, there are a few key differences that you should consider before you go with the smallest and cheapest iPad.

(Read: Should I Buy the New iPad?)

What Kind of iPad User Are You

In order to pick the right size iPad for you, you need to know how you want to use the new iPad. I share common uses below, which should help you  figure out how big of an iPad you need to buy.

Web Surfer and eBook Reader

If all you plan to do with the iPad is read eBooks, surf the web and download a few apps, the 16GB iPad should give you moe than enough space. My grandma and my mother fit into this category, as do many others.

Streamer (Netflix, Hulu and Pandora)

If you get all of your media form the cloud, you won’t need a huge iPad either. Even if you want to watch tons of movies and TV shows on Netflix and Hulu Plus, you won’t use up much of your storage space. Same goes for apps like Pandora, which don’t keep a local copy. If this sounds like you, a 16GB iPad will suffice, but you’ll be more comfortable with the 32GB.

Basic iTunes Afficionado

If you buy all of your media in iTunes, subscribe to iTunes Match and store your movies and videos in iCloud, you can still be a media junkie and get by with a smaller iPad. In this case I would still jump up to the 32GB model if you can afford it, because you may need the extra storage when you go on trips and are away from WiFi.

App Addict

App sizes are going to climb once developers start pushing out new iPad versions to take advantage of the Retina Display. If you love apps, especially beautiful apps, I suggest starting at the 32GB iPad and going up to 64GB if you can afford it, especially if you plan to keep music or movies on your iPad as well.

iPad Gamer

If you want to play the great new games that are coming to the iPad with stunning visuals, like Epic’s Infinity Blade Dungeons and Namco’s Sky Gamblers, be prepared for apps that eat up lots of storage space. Infinity Blade II clocks in at 1 GB, and you can expect this next wave to come closer to 1.5Gb or even 2GB. If you want to game on the new iPad pick up the 32GB or even better the 64GB.

Photo and Video Nut

If you plan to use the camera on the new iPad to take photos and video, as well as manage your photo library using iPhoto for the iPad you should get the 64GB iPad, especially if you plan to import photos from your point and shoot or a prosumer DSLR.

3 Reasons to Buy a Bigger iPad

If you had extra room on your old iPad, you might think that upgrading to the 16GB new iPad would be enough, but there are several reasons you might want to upgrade to the next size up when you buy the new iPad.

Retina Display Apps

The new iPad has an incredibly high-resolution Retina Display that makes apps, movies and even web surfing look incredible. The downside is that apps for the iPad will soon be much larger, as developers incorporate the higher resolution graphics into their apps.

Food Run iPad 3

Food Run on a Retina Display

The new graphics will deliver crisper looking images and stunning visuals like you can see in the image above, and the new Retina Display ready game trailer for Infinity Blade Dungeons shown below.

Apple already knows that app sizes are going to grow to accommodate the higher resolution images. During the new iPad announcement Apple announced that users will now be able to download apps up to 50MB in size over 3G and 4G networks. This is an increase from the earlier 20MB limit, and should give you an idea of how much Apple thinks apps will grow now that they are including huge image files file the new iPad.

Improved Camera

The new iPad has a vastly improved camera, capable of taking good-looking stills and 1080P HD video. Both of which can eat up storage space faster than on the iPad 2.

Add in iPhoto, which could convince you to carry around a larger selection of your photo library, and you have reason enough to jump up to the next size iPad when you upgrade.

1080P movies and TV

itunes 720p vs 1080P

Left: 720P, Right: 1080P - Notice the sharpness of the bottle.

iTunes now offers 1080P HD movies and TV shows. While iTunes uses great compression, you will still see file sizes increase by 15-20%. That may not sound like much, but if you want to keep whole seasons of TV shows, or even two movies on your iPad for a trip, 16GB will be cramped and 32GB may be ”cozy” once you add in your apps and photos.

I purchased the 32GB version of the new iPad, though I ay soon regret it. I filled up my 32GB iPad 2, to just 500MB left when I sold it. This time around I am not keeping any local music on the new iPad, and I plan to do most of my video watching on Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO Go.

Which size iPad will you buy?

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

15 Comments

  1. James

    03/12/2012 at 3:24 pm

    It should be known that iPhoto on the new iPad can Only accommodate 16 megapixel images, so cameras like the Nikon D800 won’t make images that play nicely with it, unless you shoot lower res images.

    • Josh Smith

      03/12/2012 at 7:00 pm

      Great point. I missed that restriction and have updated the post.

  2. Amin Vasefi

    03/12/2012 at 5:05 pm

    The subject for this post is so ridiculous that I may reconsider checking gottabemobile as a technology blog. Dissapointed. :(

  3. haomeng64

    03/12/2012 at 6:04 pm

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  4. Elsie

    03/12/2012 at 10:03 pm

    I’m the kind of user that’s so crazy over apps and games… so, if I were to buy the new iPad, I’d go for the 64gB.

  5. Paul

    06/09/2012 at 11:46 pm

    Contrary to Amin’s opinion I found this post extremely useful Josh thanks! Think the 32gb is the minimum – storage of HD video to take on holidays for example makes that necessary. But I’m leaning towards 64gig now … I always do that … bells n whistles habit.

  6. Rich

    06/17/2012 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for the great info! Love the help with this topic!

  7. Doug

    06/29/2012 at 5:15 am

    I picked up the 32gb wifi only model. I chose 32gb over 16 gb because you dont get the full 16 gb bc of iOS and default apps. i think my 32 had 28gb of available memory when i bought with default apps installed. right now with about 5 large games, a couple hundred songs, and several apps, i have used 9.5 gbs and 18.5 gb left. this is good for having enough space for videos or photos. also remember you can delete your large games after you beat them and download them again later for no fee if you want to play them again. Also, a must is a good case you can prop the ipad up with and a bluetooth keyboard. i have both and it makes ipad like a laptop. i bough $45 dollar amazon basics keyboard and rotating leather case for $20 off amazon. both make it perfect.

  8. Liza

    07/12/2012 at 8:47 am

    I think I need the 32gb IF i ever get one lol prbly not haha

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  10. your dad mother fucker

    08/15/2012 at 7:31 am

    you dumbb asshole fuck diss shut up

  11. Johanna

    08/17/2012 at 2:50 am

    This article really helped me. Thanks a lot!

  12. ashlyn

    08/28/2012 at 9:09 pm

    thanks for the help!

  13. Ashanti

    09/22/2012 at 3:50 pm

    you are worse than me hu!

  14. Don Shave

    10/09/2012 at 5:49 am

    An absolutely awesome set of perspectives for an aging English gentleman who wants to be online with youthful enthusiasm!!
    Any thoughts on which server/service to hook up to?

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