iPad 2 Wi-Fi, 3G models show microphone differences | iLounge News

iPad 2 Wi-Fi, 3G models show microphone differences


iLounge has discovered that the microphones in the Wi-Fi and 3G models of the iPad 2 have different sonic qualities. As noted in our comprehensive review, the microphone hole of the iPad 2 has been moved from its position beside the headphone port in the original to the middle of the device, over top of the front-facing camera; the shape has also changed from a circle to a pill-shaped hole. These changes mean that the microphone of iPad 2 Wi-Fi models sits in the metal housing, but in the plastic antenna strip at the top of both the GSM and CDMA 3G models. Perhaps due to this change in materials, the Wi-Fi model offers markedly cleaner audio than that of the 3G, which sounds slightly muffled and echo-prone as a result. Curiously, we found the GSM 3G model’s audio to be slightly preferable to that of the CDMA model, which seemed to suffer the issues more severely. The problem is particularly evident when the iPad’s screen is facing the user, as is the case when using FaceTime and a great many other apps; it is unclear whether Apple will make any modifications to the devices’ microphones mid-production to help minimize the differences.

Related Stories



Tell me - is it worth going for the iPad2 or pick up a bargain original?

Posted by price2price on March 17, 2011 at 5:38 AM (CDT)


If you do not have the original, the iPad 2 has enough to warrant the purchase (IF you have already decided on getting an iPad at all). For those that bought the original, this is not such a drastic redesign/refresh that it would inherently be worth it. It is faster and it is thinner/lighter. But the real selling point is the cameras. If you think you may get use out of Skype or FaceTime, then this is a no brainer.

I have handled both and I will say that holding the iPad 2 is a great improvement. That weight shaved off may be a small amount, but the design makes it feel like a substantial difference.

Posted by Mitch on March 17, 2011 at 8:05 AM (CDT)


I did not get the first iPad because i wanted to wait for the second iPad.  Why? because I knew that that one will have a front and rear facing camera in it, and additional extras.  I know have one and I love it.  it is fast, easy to navigate, good apps store, and and and… before I’ve purchased it, my wife said that she don’t know what the big deal with it it.  Now, today, just a few days after i purchased it… my wife is starting to use it.  She loves it. ... dont get the first iPad… go with the new one ..I promise that you going to love it :D

Posted by dennis on March 17, 2011 at 8:10 AM (CDT)


What is the better ipad2 to get - 3G or wifi. If the answer is 3G, thn which carrier is the best performance wise?

Also what is with the screen bleed rumors that are on the web?  Are they real?

Posted by Wifi or 3g on March 17, 2011 at 11:20 AM (CDT)


was this tested with the 3G radio turned OFF??

Posted by theriverwhy on March 17, 2011 at 1:16 PM (CDT)


Can anybody can upload an audio clip of the four of them (iPad 1, iPad 2 wifi, iPad 2 att and iPad 2 verizon) in order to properly compare? I’d be really interested in hearing the difference!

Posted by Maxime on March 17, 2011 at 1:52 PM (CDT)


The iPad 2 records audio way better than the iPad 1. Very little distortion at high volume levels, I believe it has the same mic has the iPhone 4 which is also very good. Now we can record bands at full volume!

Posted by Aron on March 17, 2011 at 1:56 PM (CDT)


This is not a fair test, the article considers too many variables that could have been further researched (or reported).
For example:

Q: If Verizon 3G and AT&T 3G shares the same housing why would there be a sound difference?

Q: were iPad 2 wifi and wifi 3G models compared in airplane mode?

Q: was the GPS chipset active on 3G models and what is the proximity to the mic?

Q: Is there any evidence in similar devices that might suggest electromagnetic radiation (from 3G/GPS components) can effect microphone operation?

Finally with so many people undoubtedly asking should I buy wifi or wifi + 3G model, this article (and it’s reprints by other sites) could prove a deciding factor.
It may be the case that for editorial reasons possible answers to questions above were omitted, however it looks like these questions have not been considered which could effect the end result.

I would be very interested in any follow-ups. Particularly as we may just need to disable the 3G (and perhaps GPS) for better recorded audio.

Posted by Tim on March 22, 2011 at 5:41 AM (CDT)


+1 to Tim. Anyone want to answer him?

Posted by Stan on March 24, 2011 at 5:01 PM (CDT)


I purchased iPad 2 3G AT&T on launch day from a Best Buy in Portland, Oregon.  Fantastic product overall, but the microphone was almost non-functional.  I recorded some video while on spring break vacation with my family.  (We found a gigantic cockroach in our condo…exciting!)  The video quality was actually fine…better than I expected.  The audio was non-existent.  Lots of scratching, popping noises and a very faint recorded track hidden in a hissing background.  I returned the unit as soon as I returned from vacation.  I’m planning on re-purchasing…hoping my unit was uniquely awful.  The 3G is pretty nice to have.  I signed up for the first month free from AT&T and we were able to do a thorough search using maps while on the way to Joshua Tree National Park.

Posted by Scott Erickson on March 29, 2011 at 12:27 PM (CDT)


Scott, we had the same problem with the 3g attt model.  Apple is going to replace but I’m worried it will happen again.  The pricetag on the fix if it wasn’t warratied is $419! It worked for about two weeks before it busted and all we can now hear is static.

Posted by Bryan on April 19, 2011 at 7:54 PM (CDT)


I am having trouble with the on-board microphone feeding back through on several of my music apps (such as Animoog and Analyzer). I would like to disable the mic when using these apps but cannot find a wy to do it. please help

Posted by Steve Swain on November 1, 2011 at 1:43 PM (CDT)


I am new to this, came across this site when researching whether ipad 2 has better sound or iphone3GS when both listened through earphones? Also which has better built in speaker sound? Please can anyone help me.?

Posted by DTC on July 30, 2013 at 9:25 AM (CDT)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2019 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy