iPad Q&A: How many gigabytes do I need?

Consumer Reports News: April 15, 2010 10:44 AM

As promised, we’ll be answering your questions about the iPad here on the Consumer Reports Electronics blog. The first, from Peter Ambrose, asks: “What is a reasonable amount of memory for daily use [of the iPad]?”

iPads are available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB sizes. Each costs $100 more than its next-smallest counterpart, so the 64GB model is the best deal if you’re looking for lots of storage space. On the other hand, if you don’t mind transferring the movies and TV shows you buy from iTunes on and off your iPad to save space, you might be able to get away with the 16GB model.

Here are some estimates to help you determine the size that will work best for you. Songs generally require about 1MB of space per minute. Photos take up about 500kb to 2MB apiece. A standard definition movie needs 2GB at most. High-def videos are the biggest space hogs, eating up about 4GB apiece.

Apps are the heart of the iPad, and so far about 1,000 iPad-specific ones are available. They’re cheap (or free), and you’ll want a lot of them. The good news is that apps require minimal storage compared to movies and Tv shows. We’ve seen some apps as small as 1MB and others as large as 200MB. Expect some games to be at the high end of that range.

Keep the questions coming by posting them below.

—Donna Tapellini and Dean Gallea

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