Apple iPad 2 Review

By on March 27, 2011
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We look at the updated version of the most popular tablet ever.

Good: Extremely fast, sleek design, amazing apps
Bad: Screen is looking dated, camera quality not that great
Price: AED 3,200 as reviewed. Starts at AED 2,800
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

All these specs mean that you will be able to get a much better experience out of the iPad 2- most visible in games. The developers of Infinity Blade have already released an updated version of their graphics intense game on the iPad 2 and you can see the difference in the details. That does not mean that it will only be games that the iPad 2 will feel snappier in. In general, opening applications, rendering web pages and scrolling through large documents will all result in a much smoother experience on the iPad 2. The following video compares the original iPad to the iPad 2.

As you saw from the video above, the iPad 2 is a lot more zippy than the original iPad. The SunSpider benchmark finished in 2182ms on the iPad 2 compared to 3315ms on the original iPad. The added horsepower on the iPad 2 allows for applications like PhotoBooth and Garage Band to function smoothly. Apple has also released an update to their iMovie app that takes advantage of the iPad 2’s high-definition camera.

So, is everything all good on the iPad 2? No- my biggest complain with the iPad 2 is it’s screen. It’s still not very readable outdoors, especially in the UAE’s extremely bright sun. Also, the 1024×768 resolution doesn’t look that great anymore particularly after the introduction of Retina Display on the iPhone. In comparison, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 will have a higher resolution on a smaller screen. Even the BlackBerry PlayBook will have a higher pixel density because of its smaller screen size. I guess Apple has to save some features for iPad 3.

Wrapping things off, let’s talk about the battery life on the iPad 2. Apple has somehow managed to keep the iPad 2 battery performing as well as the original, even though the device has lost weight and gained performance. Since I only had the device for a weekend, I only managed to charge the iPad 2 and deplete the battery completely once. The advertised battery life of the iPad 2 is ten hours and more often that not, you’ll get more than that on the iPad 2 which was also the case with the original iPad.

In essence, three things separate the original iPad from its successor- the speedy hardware, the added cameras and the thinner profile. If you already own the original iPad and are looking into upgrading, you need to ask these questions to yourself: Do you find the original iPad slow and lagging? Do you really want cameras on your tablet? And finally, does the size and weight of the device make it uncomfortable under extended usage? Unless you answer yes to all three of these questions, there really isn’t much reason for you to ditch the original iPad. Like most Apple products, your best upgrade is not the immediate one but the one after that.

For newcomers to the tablet market, the iPad 2 continues to be the best option with its fluid operation and the vast number of apps. Lack of Adobe Flash has certainly not kept people from buying the iPad and that will also be the case with iPad 2. As for me, I’m going to hold off purchasing my next tablet until at least the PlayBook and possibly the Galaxy Tab 8.9 are released. Things will certainly get more interesting for power users by the end of this year.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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  • Craig Young

    Thanks Abbas,

    I purchased my iPad 2, but still waiting for touchdown. I’m excited about the addition of cameras and Garageband – these are what i was waiting for. I do voice work and want to at least edit my work with the iPad and maybe even record – but we’ll see.

    Low res cams are fine with me, I won’t be doing portraits with it but I use skype a lot.

    Otherwise, I do a lot of writing so it should be just about everything I need with the iWork suite.

    I’m open to other tablets, but so far nothing seems to be bringing the goods. Anyhoo, I held off on the first iPad so I deserve this one.

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