Black vs white: Which new iPad should you choose?

Black vs white: Which new iPad should you choose?

Picking between one of two color options, black or white, for the new iPad might seem trivial to some or simply a matter of personal taste, but it's a question we get asked a lot. Once you've decided to get a new iPad, settled on your storage capacity, and chosen between AT&T and Verizon if you're going 4G LTE, color is what's left. While the black and white iPads are otherwise identical in terms of size and weight, storage capacities and carriers, there are a few points to consider.

Note: Unlike the black and white iPhones, iPads all have the same aluminum back plate so it's really only the front bezel border that changes.

Is white more distracting?

A white bezel tends not to blend away into the background, so some find it more distracting than black.

Imagine if your TV set had a white bezel instead of black, would that distract you from the show or movie you were watching? The game you were playing? If the goal of the device is to get out of your way so you can become totally immersed in the content, black has traditionally been a much safer color choice for manufacturers to go with.

Many people feel the same way about the iPad. Black disappears. Even if the content is white (like an ebook or web page), the environment around us usually isn't. So black melts out of the way and once the screen lights up it's all but forgotten.

The same can happen with a white bezel, but it depends more on the individual. White is definitely more noticeable than black. For some that means it's a lot more distracting and actually takes away from the viewing experience. For others, it's enjoyable, frames the viewing, and provides a two-tone look that's more fashionable than black.

I've had both a black and a white iPads and have never been distracted nor irked by either one. If white catches your eye a little too much, however, you might want to stick with black.

Will white discolor?

Black will show smudges more, but could theoretically maintain its color for longer.

Rumor has it Apple delayed the launch of the white iPhone 4 in order to improve the UV protection and prevent discoloration. That's just a rumor, however, and white iPads have shipped day and date with black iPads since they were introduced in March 2011. That also means white iPads have been on the market for almost a year now, and there haven't been any widespread accounts of discoloration. My own white iPad 2, bought in March 2011, still looks as crisp and clean as the day I unboxed it.

In 5 years time some more obvious aging issues may present themselves, but 5 years is an eternity in consumer electronics. If it concerns you, stick with black.

On the other hand, black shows fingerprints and smudges more dramatically and don't disappear when the screen is lit up, so if those annoy you, white is a better choice.

Does white look better?

Black iPads let accessories be the star while white iPads compete with or complement them more.

Some people just love the look of a white device, whether it's an iPad, an iPhone, a BlackBerry, an Android, or whatever. They sometimes get shipped later or come in more limited quantities so there's an air of exclusivity about them.

That's not the case with iPads.

White tends to stand out more and can be more obvious with brightly colored cases. Is that something that appeals to you? Or do you want the content and the accessories to be the star?

If you like the idea of a blank canvas, stick to black.

So which color should you get?

At the end of the day, the only real answer is get the color you like better. Everything else is manufactured anxiety at this point. Just close your eyes, picture your iPad in your hand and carefully look at what color you're picturing.

Then buy that.

Any questions?

If you've already chosen, let us know which one you went with and why. If you need extra help or want extra opinions deciding whether you should get, black or white, don't hesitate to ask.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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