Apple iPad 2 expert review
Apple’s iPad 2 tablet was a game-changer when it launched in March 2011. With heaps of new features and a super slim design, it upped customer expectations and made the tablet computer attractive to a whole new audience. I have been using my iPad 2 for everything since picking it up last September. These are some of my thoughts on whether it’s still a worthy investment, now that the new iPad is out.
Slimmest iPad yet, great design, 3G option, wide variety of apps available for download.
Poor camera quality, screen less sharp than the new iPad.
The first thing that stands out about the iPad 2 is its beautiful shape. It is noticeably thinner than the original iPad, at 241mm tall, 186mm wide and 8.8mm thick. It is worth noting that this is the thinnest tablet Apple have produced so far, with the new iPad, Third Generation, coming in at a slightly more chunky 9.4mm. The hardware specs are impressive too, with an Apple A5 chipset, and a dual core 1GHz processor. Like the original iPad, you can choose either the Wi-Fi only, or Wi-Fi & 3G version. Personally, I prefer the latter, as I travel a lot, and the extra flexibility and access is really important to me.
It’s not quite as speedy as my boyfriend’s new iPad, but it doesn’t lag far behind. The screen resolution is 768 x 1024 pixels, providing a 132 ppi pixel density. I use the iPad 2 for playing games such as Song Pop and Angry Birds, for web surfing, and also for photo editing and graphic design and it copes admirably. The screen is not as crisp as the new iPad, as it lacks the Retina display, but it is much brighter and more sharp than some of the other tablet devices I have seen.
Apple equipped the iPad 2 with two cameras. The rear camera is 0.7MP and the front facing one is VGA. I do notice that these low resolution cameras do sometimes produce grainy results, and I wish that even just the rear camera had been 3MP plus. The front-facing camera does mean the device can be used for FaceTime video calls, over a Wi-Fi network.
The iPad 2 comes with a Li-Po 6930 mAh battery, which has a 720h standby time. I can get a good two days out of my device with moderate use, but when I use the 3G connection extensively this drains the battery quickly, and I then have to charge it daily. Over the months I have had the device, I have learned some tips and tricks for prolonging the life of the battery, for example dimming the screen brightness, and switching off 3G when I am not using it.
My iPad 2 came with iOS 4 initially, but I upgraded it to iOS 5 and then 5.1 with ease. One of the main benefits of the upgraded software is the iCloud functionality, which means my device backs up to iCloud automatically, and I don’t have to worry about losing important photos or documents. I am looking forward to upgrading to iO6 in the autumn and seeing how this improves the device further.
When I first bought my iPad 2, friends asked if I would use it, as I already had a smartphone, a MacBook pro and an iMac. Over the past ten months, however, I have probably used it more than all my other devices put together. The combination of the large screen, plus the 3G functionality means I can access my emails, connect with my friends and use all the embedded entertainment features while I am on the go. I would be lost without my iPad 2 now.