3G and GPS are supposedly the only notable differences between WiFi and 3G models of iPad 2. Alas, the WiFi model records higher-quality audio than its 3G counterpart. Mind you, it’s a design deficiency rather than a feature. iLounge did some testing and discovered that WiFi units evidently record better-sounding audio.
Blame it on the plastic antenna strip on the back of the 3G model, the site explains. It’s probably nothing to complain about unless you’re a heavy FaceTime user, on-the-go audio podcaster or mobile musician. See, Apple’s engineers decided to put iPad 2′s built-in microphone above the forward-facing FaceTime camera, right in the middle of the plastic antenna strip that improves radio reception.
The microphone hole on the original iPad is found beside the headphone port to the middle of the device. The plastic strip most likely degrades sonic qualities of the microphone, iLounge writes:
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.
Worse, the issue is especially evident when you hold the device in front of you. Like, during a FaceTime call – when need the mic the most.