What We Think
The iPad 2 is nearing the 12 month mark and also more than likely replacement. However, it’s still the top tablet around thanks to the longevity of the A5 processor, its great looks and lovely, smooth, intuitive operating system.
With its first birthday on the horizon and the increasing chatter of a new iPad 3 , the iPad 2 may soon be pushed from the fore of the tablet market. However, this doesn’t mean it’s still not thekingpin. Even now as the quad-core tablet market is emerging fast; iPad still holds more than half ofall the tablet market share at this current time – which speaks volumes for its quality.
Priced as a premium product – what would you expect from Apple – it still offers an excess amountof power thanks to the still excellent A5 chip. It’s also the design leader, with most tablets aiming toundercut, the 8.6inch design of the iPad 2, while emulate its beautiful minimalist design.
This slimness comes at no cost to the slate’s strength, and the aluminium back of the iPad 2 allowsfor both this rigidity and also means none of those horrible fingerprint marks that irritated on theoriginal and still a number of other tablets.
The 9.7inch display is smaller than the 10.1inches of most Android tablets, as is the device’s weightof 601g. Out of all the tablets in existence, it is probably the most attractive, essentially due to theslim size, beautiful lines and simple fascia. Apple’s Zen like minimalism leads the field, and to befrank many other devices feel like iPad 2 wannabes.
Its front is centred with the renowned Apple home button below the screen and a camera is placedthe top front centre and also the rear corner. Though similar to many others it just feels it’s that bitmore innovative than the other tablets on the market. The bezel around the screen is the size youwould expect and though the display isn’t the quality, we’d like to rant about; it’s still okay.
The iPad 2 comes with the same 1024x768p screen as the original, which was once an admirabledisplay, however, time has moved on and Samsung and Motorola have surpassed the iPad screen with brighter displays with higher resolutions. Apple’s device offers 132 pixels per inch, which whencompared to the iPhone’s 326 pixels per inch is notably low. It’s even memorible when you comparethe Samsung Galaxy 8.9 offers a pretty high 169 pixels per inch.
Of course, pixel counts are not the be-all and end-all of screens and the iPad 2 has excellent colourrendering and looks brilliantly bright and accurate. Unfortunately the low pixel count means it canlack when reading text and isn’t brilliant in bright light.
The device obviously comes with Facetime, though its cameras are at best lacklustre and the tablet comes with a 0.7mp and 0.3mp set of cameras, which are to be honest laughably bad. Pity as if they were better Facetime would be fantastic. This is a shame considering its intuitive design and plenty of power. One thing we did not about the display was that it attracts finger marks like it does sales,though the latter is down to the seamless performance of the iPad 2.
Upon its release, last March, iPad 2 was among the first tablets to come with a dual-core processor.The Apple A5 is a 1GHz CPU that performs admirably still. It’s now the brainpower of the iPhone 4S,which manages to thrash most other’s in its wake. The iPad 2 comes with a healthy, but notastounding 512mb of RAM; most other tablets come with 1GB nowadays, though this doesn’t really show in performance.
Apple’s claimed that the device is twice as fast as the original and has nine times the graphicalpower and to be honest it feels like it does. The iPad 2 is everything the original iPad should havebeen and wasn’t. From handling the iPad 2, it’s evident the performance increase is very notable,and it’s a great deal smoother and the graphical abilities a lot more prevalent. There are morepowerful machines, though the iPad just seems the smoothest of the bunch, banishing the Sony SSeries and Samsung Tab 8.9 into place as as alsorans. This of course is a triumph of the iOS 5operating system over powerfulhardware.
IOS 5 is a sleek mix of great layout, performance and sound innovation. It brings a number of newfeatures not seen on iOS 4.3 and is notably smoother than Android. It might not offer thecustomisation options, but for the legions of Apple fans out there who don’t question theCupertino’s crew, this won’t be of consequence. Great Apple features such as iCooud Airplay,iTunes Home Sharing and a number of others allow it to surpass anything on other operating systems.
Apple has offered the iPad in a mix of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB options with the opportunity for 3G, orWi-Fi models. It doesn’t come with the choice of adding extra memory via SD card like others, soyour decision in this area will have to be made upon purchase. This is where the choice of Wi-Fi or3G enabled device also has to be made.
Browsing on the device is lovely, as we’ve already mentioned, the iPad 2 is a very fluid affair, andthe new processor means greater pace and nice, smooth pinch to zoom actions. Connectivity isachieved in the usual range of manners via Bluetooth and there are more accessories from themanufacturer and third parties than can be imagined.
Battery life is pretty kosher, and the tablet manages about 6-8 hours in a Wi-Fi surfing environmentwith a bit of downloading and some playing of games. There is no hint of a battery issue causedfrom the new processor, and it’s an admirable experience.
Overall the iPad 2 is essentially what the original should have been. It’s got some issues as regards its poor cameras, low display pixel count, and shows its age a little as we enter 2012. However, it’s still the top notch tablet, thanks to its great operating system, the power of its processor and beautiful innovative design.
There are tablets to rival it, but nothing to equate it – even 12 months on. With the biggest competitor looking like it will coming from Apple’s own stable quite soon, we’d suggest to hold on for the iPad 3 which should arrive in the next couple of months.
Other’s have tried to create better machines through the use of more complex setups, larger reserves of power and more gimmickry. However, as they always say ‘ there’s no accounting for class!’