We look at the updated version of the most popular tablet ever.
Until yesterday, my iPad felt like an engineering marvel. Even after playing with the Xoom and the PlayBook, the construction quality and the design of the Apple iPad made it the standard that other tablets are judged against. Until yesterday, my iPad also felt pretty fast and zippy. But then comes the iPad 2 that, very much like the iPhone 3GS, makes the outgoing model look like Crysis running on an Atom powered netbook.
Thanks to the guys at JadoPado, I received the Wi-Fi only 32GB iPad 2 in white for a few days to do a quick review on. Also available are capacities of 16GB and 64GB and all models come in black as well as white and with or without 3G. The iPad 2 is yet to officially land in the UAE and the official distributors say that the wait will be a lot shorter than the original iPad. However, considering the fact that the original iPad took almost a year to officially get to the UAE, even “a lot sooner” might not be soon enough for many which is why we have sites like JadoPado importing and selling the iPad 2- and that too, at a lot more reasonable price than many other local and reputed vendors.
The iPad measures 241.2×185.7×8.8mm and weighs 601g which, compared to the original iPad’s measurements of 243x190x13mm and weight of 680g doesn’t sound much but when you hold the iPad 2, it just feels a lot smaller and lighter. Like the original iPad, you have volume keys and an orientation lock/mute switch on the left, a power button on the top and a 30-pin iPod connector on the button. Since the iPad 2 has a tapered design along the edges, these connectors are not placed on a flat surface making them a bit harder to use than the original iPad. The back side shows the speaker grill as well is a lot louder than the original iPad.
The most notable additions to the iPad 2 is a front-facing camera and another one on the back. Apple doesn’t like to disclose specifications on these cameras with the front one being called FaceTime camera while the back one being able to record 720p movies. Truthfully speaking, cameras on the tablet don’t excite me much. The idea of having a front-facing camera for video conferencing is fine but I doubt I’ll ever use the back camera on a tablet to take pictures or videos. If that is important to you, then you will be disappointed by picture quality of the camera on the iPad 2. The following are picture is taken in broad daylight using camera of the iPad 2 and you can see, it appears quite grainy even with ample light. What is impressive is the speed of the camera though- it snaps a picture almost instantly.
Continuing with the specs, the biggest boost that the iPad 2 receives is with its new dual core A5 CPU and the PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. The CPU is dual core compared to the original iPad’s single core, however, it adjusts its frequencies dynamically- running at a slightly lower 900MHz clock speed compared to the original iPad’s 1GHz. What is super impressive is the PowerVR GPU that Apple has used on the iPad 2. This is supposedly the same GPU as the one Sony is using in their upcoming NGP although it has two cores instead of the four found on the NGP.