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April 10, 2011

Apple iPad 2 Review

Just when we thought the iPad could not get any better, Apple released yet another one. Though naming it the iPad 2 does not carry that Apple flair (easy to guess the next generation will be called iPad 3), it easily banked on the brand’s super-popularity. Check out our full review of the Apple iPad 2 after the jump.

In my review of the original Apple iPad, I’ve already discussed the pros and cons of a tablet vis-a-vis a regular notebook/netbook so we’ll skip that part {see Apple iPad review to get a better perspective before continuing with this one}.

The iPad 2 strengthens those advantages with a more powerful processor and faster graphics on top of sleeker form factor, great design and solid construction — all at the same price point (that’s how Apple rolls). It’s not much lighter than the original one (600g vs 700g) but the thin design makes it a bit lighter to hold with one hand.

Since the first iPad, market has already been flooded with so many tablets. I counted over a dozen locally-available Android tablets to choose from and eager to take a nice chunk of market share away from Apple. In a way, Apple has re-invigorated the tablet market and even if the others are still trailing behind, they’ve somehow benefited from this new market segment.

Apple is very popular when it comes to making their devices thinner than normal — the way they did it with the iPad 2 is the same way they did it with the iPod Touch. Tapering the edges and making them curved backwards gives you an impression that it’s thinner when in fact, the thickest part at the center is still almost the same.

The dimensions of the iPad 2 is a little smaller than the original one which can be attributed to a thinner bezel (much better proportion to the screen).

The 9.7-inch display is still the same as the old one — bright, crisp and very responsive. Too bad they did not improved on the resolution nor tried to incorporate the Retina Display they so bragged about on the iPod Touch and iPhone 4.

The controls around the iPad are the same, although they are more prominent now because they’re positioned smack right along the tapered edge of the tablet.

One of the most anticipated feature of the iPad 2 is the camera — a missing feature on the first gen iPad that turned off a lot of people from making the purchase. It’s now present on the iPad 2 — not just a forward facing camera that can do HD video but also a front-facing camera that supports FaceTime.

However, what use is a camera if it does not take good pictures? Photo quality is mediocre and can degrade down to “unusable” when taken on low light conditions. It reminded me when Apple attempted to include a VGA camera on their iPod Nano and then completely removed it in the next release.

The camera can be put to some good use though if you’re into videos or loved making FaceTime calls (do people really make FaceTime calls a lot?).

By sporting an upgraded dual-core A5 processor, I expected that would affect on the battery life of the iPad. I was pleasantly surprised I still get the 10 hours (thereabouts) it promised on a single full charge (was hoping they’d push it to like 12 or 15 hours but ten is already fine by me).

Performance of the iPad 2 is something that has been talked about a lot. Is it faster and better? Well, it depends on what you’re using. For the most part, there’s a noticeable improvement on the “snappy-ness” of the device. Apps load faster, games perform smoother but if you’re just doing the normal stuff on the iPad like Twitter, YouTube or simply doing some heavy web surfing you will not feel a huge difference.

To begin with, the iPad 1 was already performing very well. The iPad 2, with it’s improved hardware, allows for future-proofing and will certainly be able to capitalize on upcoming apps that are more CPU-intensive.

Apple’s introduction of iMovie and GarageBand for the iPad is an indication of how they want to extend the use of their tablet. Pair a great tablet OS, a powerful hardware and intuitive user-interface and you have a winner. Just gives developer more room to develop more complex and extensive apps for the device.

Apple iPad 2 specs:
1GHz Apple A5 chip dual-core processor
9.7″ display @ 1024×768 pixels
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR
UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (3G model)
720p Back Camera @ 30fps video recording
VGA front-facing camera
Three-axis gyro
Accelerometer
Ambient light sensor
Assisted GPS

Apple also added a cute smart cover which is magnetized so it attached to the sides of the iPad in a snap. It’s neat, looks really nice with a selection of bright colors and folds like origami to put the iPad is several revealing position. But that’s just it — an expensive magnetic cover that makes your iPad look better. It won’t protect your iPad when it falls, or from bumps and scratches and still leaves the device almost naked.

If you’ll just rely on the smart cover, it won’t take long ’til you’ll notice some hairline scratches at the aluminum back cover of your iPad. I suggest skip that one and get a nice sleeve or jacket for the iPad.

Our verdict?

You get all the really nice features of the iPad 1 — great display, simple and snappy UI, tons of apps, long battery life — and the iPad 2 improved on that, all at the same price. But, there’s not much compelling reason to upgrade to the iPad 2 when you already own the first generation iPad. However, if you’ve been holding off on the iPad since it was officially released in the Philippines last December 2010, the iPad 2 should easily convince you. Go ahead and grab one.

The iPad 2 now comes in white and black color with options for WiFi only and WiFi + 3G. Storage capacity starts at 16GB, then 32GB, up to 64GB. US price starts at $499 (I suspect it will go for Php23,990 when it hits the local market). Availability in the Philippines is TBA.

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72 Responses to “Apple iPad 2 Review”

  1. pinoypads says:

    mac apple has been long time in IT industry and if I’m not mistaken they are the one who released the computer for public use but 10 or 15 years ago there OS and hardware is not so friendly and it cost a fortune to buy one compare to the PC it cost less and perform the same functionality and use.
    I love there Ipad because of the branding and performance and durability of the hardware.
    And I think the dawn of Iphone, Itouch and Ipad tablet is the new trend gadget of the century and I’m looking forward seeing more of there new ideas coming out.
    May be tomorrow there will be an Iwatch, or Iglass, or Iear for deaf people or probably an Ieyetouch for blind people that could watch movies by integrating some few wires connected to your brain.
    We never now what kind of gadget will come out tomorrow and I’m happy that I’m here to see them on my lifetime.

  2. bennix
    Twitter: ben_baygas
    says:

    Good day to all specially to sir Abe!
    guys, your long wait is over.iPad 2 is now available at PCWORX.Check it here:http://www.bennixville.com/2011/04/ipad-2-is-now-available-at-pcworx.html

    Thanks Yuga…:)

  3. mangberto says:

    nice review! i would definitely wait for the upcoming gen/version ng ipad. :)

  4. SulongTikPinas says:

    For those who prioritize apps availability and ease-of-use, get the ipad 2.

    For those who are looking for strong and powerful hardware, go with Galaxy Tab 2 (8.9 or 10.1).

  5. elle says:

    what if i already bought ipad2 in US,would it still work here in philippines?

  6. irin says:

    there’s no the USB port?????????
    OMG !!! so bad !!!

  7. wreek888 says:

    Ipad2 out of stock in the states!

  8. OurTechieWorld
    Twitter: OurTechieWorld
    says:

    Please check out my review http://ourtechieworld.blogspot.com/ Thanks

  9. the_evil_one says:

    when are you doing a review of the acer iconia a500? i’ve used both it and the ipad and find the android tablets to have much better functionality, better web browser and ability to use usb devices (500 gb external drives, keyboards and flash discs). would be interested to hear what you have to say about the two options.

  10. jake says:

    According to reliable sources.. there is new ipad (named as ipad 2 HD or ipad 3) this Q4 2011. This new generation ipad has higher resolution (retina display) and faster processor.

    So, would you buy the ipad 2 now or wait for the ipad 2 HD this Q4?

    Google it for your reference..to see is to believe!

  11. chinodavis19
    Twitter: chinodavis19
    says:

    i’m confused to what is the better tablet, Ipad2 wifi, Archos 101, Galaxy Tab P1010 wifi…

  12. gege says:

    help naman.. saan ba may murang ipad2? may discount ba if cash bbilhin ko sa aplle reseller? or hintayin ko na lang ipad3?

  13. iPhone Games says:

    Makakaread at edit ba ng excel/word files yung iPad 2? Next week darating na iPad 2 ko. Sana masatisfy ako. :)

  14. Ipadrox says:

    Explore nyo lang yun mga apps at lahat ng katanungan nyo ay masasagot. Makakapag office ka, edit ng pics para photoshop, onthe fly na powerpoint presentation, videoke, “magic” like games, fps, magbasa ng cbr and pdf files, skype, ym, camfrog, flowchart/graphs, reviewer, etc.

  15. Cindy says:

    Next week mgkakaroon n din aq ng ipad2. Ok nb yng ipa-jailbreak?

  16. Bartholomeu
    Twitter: Bartholomeu
    says:

    Makakaread at edit ba ng excel/word files yung iPad 2?

  17. isabella says:

    Those look really nice. I’m trying to find some cool notebook style cases, and I came across Portenzo.com. I really like all the custom options, and I am considering ordering one. Does anyone know about the Portenzo custom ipad cases?

  18. niko says:

    guys, do you know a store that accepts 24 month credit card payment? thanks

  19. […] ran out stocks of the iPad 2), because the Cupertino-based firm has finally pulled the plug on its three year old slate in favor of the Retina-display-touting iPad […]

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