Display & Camera
As we mentioned before, the iPad 2 sports the same 9.7-inch LED backlit capacitive multi-touch screen that's found on the iPad 1. This is probably one of the areas that will get upgraded in the iPad 3 or iPad 2S, or whatever Apple dubs its third tablet PC. It's not a Retina display, like the iPhone 4, and Apple opted not to upgrade the screen resolution from 1024x768, though we find it hard to complain about the IPS display, which is again bright and vibrant with excellent viewing angles.
What we will complain about are the built-in cameras. With FaceTime being as popular as it is, the smart money was on Apple including a front-facing camera with FaceTime support, and it did. The big question was, 'Will Apple include a rear-facing camera, too?' Apple did, and it can shoot video in 720p and snap photos, but if you have even a passing interest in photography, the image quality is pretty disappointing. Let's have a look.
Click for high res.
To have any chance at taking a picture you wouldn't be embarrassed to post online, you'll need excellent lighting. The photo in the top left was taken during a sunny day and is about as good as it's going to get. On the top right is a snapshot we took using indoor lighting. There's a considerable amount of noise, as if we took it with a webcam from yesteryear, and there's no LED flash to lend a helping hand. Finally, the bottom pic is a slow action shot. There's no image stabilization that we know if, so if your object is moving, your picture will come out rather blurry.
Results from Apple's Photo Booth App - Don't be alarmed, you're not losing it.
We're not stoked about the camera, but it's much more forgiving when you play around with the included Photo Booth app. This novelty software includes eight funky camera effects, including Kaleidoscope, Light Tunnel (shown on the right), Mirror (shown on the left), Stretch, Squeeze, Thermal Camera, Twirl, and X-Ray. The app works with both the rear- and front-facing camera. It's good for a laugh for about 15 minutes, or when showing off your iPad 2 to a friend or family member.
Image Credit: Apple
Image Credit: Apple
You can shoot up to 720p video with the rear-facing camera, although Apple doesn't include editing software with the iPad 2. The popular option for piecing together videos is iMovie, a $4.99 app from Apple's App Store. It's easy enough to use if you plan on taking video clips with your tablet, though advanced videographers will want to stick with using their Mac or PC.