Review: iPad 2 – The Verdict

Like the second coming (of which it literally is to Apple aficionado’s), the iPad 2 has landed on our shores, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer squashing a mouse.

Although one Samsung executive has been more than happy to admit that its Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the main contender to take on the reigning King of Slates, you can be forgiven for thinking that maybe Apple is following in the footsteps of its rivals in some places.

For a start, according to the PR blurb it is 33 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the first version – just like the initial Tab. However, the screen size is said to be the same as the original, for which I’ll take their word.  It makes sense to downsize, as portability is the key to a slate, otherwise, why not just get a netbook with its solid keyboard, as opposed to the non user-friendly virtual one available on slates?

So what’s to like? As usual, even the most cynical Apple advocate would have to admit the iPad2 looks cool, and functions well , too. It comes preloaded with iTunes, App store, Maps etc, but again, no Flash. As if!

Not too sure who took the lead here, but, again, like the latest Samsung Galaxy Tab it comes with dual cameras suitable for skype and video conferencing. It runs the iOS 4.3 operating system, while its dual-core A5 processor performed as you would expect from a Jobs-inspired piece of hardware – both video streaming and browsing was super fast, with very little lag time when loading. We used our wifi as well as well as the Optus 3G network, and the device rocked along nicely. Resolution seems pretty good, depending on what videos you were playing (YouTube ok, Nine News Updates, very  good). If you wish to increase the size of the video, you tap on the screen. It offers 720HD recording, which as you would expect is pretty sharp.

A handy little feature is on its Maps app. If you look at the map you will see red lines flowing along. These red lines are traffic. What the app does is track those who have agreed to give information anonymously to Google as they use Google Maps. This in turn gives an indication of the amount of traffic there is out and about. Of course it’s not a perfect science as the number of people using Google Maps at any one time on a particular stretch of road would not be that great even in a populated city like Sydney. Still, the potential of the technology further down the line could be significant.

We spent best part of 6 hours with the unit on – with about two of those hours playing games, running videos etc. Battery when from 99 percent to 86 percent in that time. As expected, the more games/vids I played, the quicker it disappeared.

A cool little peripheral – which will set you back about $50 – is a cover-cum-stand-cum-cleaner.  It’s a three-in-one device that clips magnetically to the back of the iPad 2. It can be used to cover the iPad, then clean it. And if you want to watch a movie, you just fold it into a triangle and it props the device up so you can watch the film.

Overall, this is what you would expect from Apple – a cool device that is better than the original, with a few add-ons, that arguably should have been on the iPad at a reasonable price point. Not too sure how I’d feel  if I had just bought the old iPad at Christmas. A little ripped off maybe?

Pros: Ease of use, portable, great resolution,
Cons: Annoying SIM card slot, can be a little sensitive

4.2 Shacks out of 5

With Wifi
16GB $579
32GB $689
64GB $799

With Wifi +3G
16GB $729
32GB $839
64GB $949