Which Color iPad Is Right For You?

Choosing the color of your iPad may seem like a trivial thing, but there’s several more things to consider when making the choice than you realize.

Apple iPad Air - CopySo you’ve got it all figured out. You’ve decided between the Air or the mini, cellular or WiFi, and how much storage to get. That leaves one last thing: Color. This may seem like a trivial thing, but there may be more to consider when making this decision.

iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display both come in Apple’s new colors: Space Gray (aka black) and Silver (aka white). When choosing the color for an iPad, it’s important to think about what you’ll mostly be using it for. If you plan to use it for watching TV shows and movies, it’ll probably make more sense to get Space Gray. After all, you don’t see many TV sets with bright white borders around them. Black blends in with the black bars on widescreen HD video. It makes the borders of the iPad invisible and actually makes the video appear to be bigger.

Color and Aspect Ratio

The reason white looks awkward with video on an iPad, I believe, has more to do with aspect ratio. The white border just emphasizes the fact that you’re watching a 16:9 video on a 4:3 screen. To see what I mean, try double-tapping on the video playing to make it fill the whole screen. Suddenly the white border isn’t as distracting, because the aspect ratio of the video matches the screen.

If you’re mostly going to be reading and browsing the web, then Silver may make more sense because the white gives the illusion that the page extends beyond the screen. Apple’s iOS 7 could sway the decision more, too. The operating system’s persistent and clean use of white seems to be designed specifically for white devices. In fact, if you check out Apple’s website, the vast majority of iPhones and iPads on display are white. It’s clear that Sir Jony Ive’s vision favors white over black when it comes to Apple hardware and software. This could be enough to make you want to choose white since most of the operating system is made up of lighter colors.

Personal Preference

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. It’s always a good idea to go to an Apple store and check them out in person first. If one or the other really “pops”, go with that instinct. You’re still not sure after looking at them, then the safer choice is Space Gray. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll find that the white frame around widescreen video is more distracting than a black frame around lighter content. Chances are, if you’ve made it this far into this article and still haven’t decided, you’ll be happier with the more subdued Space Gray. However, if you’re used to white devices, Silver may be a natural fit.

The White iPad

Owning a white iPhone might not mean you’ll be happy with the same color iPad, however. The iPhone isn’t typically used to sit back and watch a lot of longer shows or movies. It’s also a 16:9 aspect ratio, meaning there won’t be the same black bars that appear on an iPad. I also found myself really liking the look of the Space Gray iPad, whereas I don’t care for it as much on iPhone 5S. I chalk this up to the two-tone back of the iPhone–the black glass on the top and bottom clash too much with the lighter color gray anodized aluminum. The iPad doesn’t have this same disparity.

At the end of the day, the good news is whether you go with Space Gray or Silver, it’s still an iPad. And if you find yourself dissatisfied with the decision, the Apple store gives you 15 days to change your mind and bring it back to swap it out for the other color.



  1. iPadded

    November 14, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I do like the space gray, but does it show scratches more?

    Does it’s aluminium scratch as easily as the older black iPhone 5?

  2. Josh Windisch

    November 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    I definitely think the space gray will fare better with normal use than the black did, but I can’t say from much experience yet as I’ve only had this iPad Air about a week. But yeah, I’m pretty sure a big reason Apple switched from the black to Space Gray is because black was showing wear too much.

  3. phlegmon

    November 17, 2013 at 6:25 am

    Useful scratch test videos. The second one features the new series of iphones, forward to the 5 min mark (the space gray iphone and ipads must have similar build qualities, so this video may also be useful to you.)



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