Apple iPad 2 Tablet Review

Article Index

Performance Summary and Conclusion

iPad 2 Performance Summary:  ARMed with a custom dual-core 1GHz processor, PowerVR GPU, and 512MB of RAM, Apple's second generation tablet has the horsepower to outrun would-be iPad killers. This is especially true for the tasks you'll end up doing most on the iPad 2, such as browsing the Web and firing up apps, both of which are noticeably faster than on the iPad 1. Glare is still a problem if you intend to use the iPad 2 in direct sunlight, and the hardware is ahead of the software at this point, but we expect only one of those to remain a nuisance 3-6 months from now as developers hit a stride coding apps for the new hardware.

We have to admit that it's been a bit of a letdown in the tablet market, which we figured would be a lot more competitive at this point than it is. But here we are looking at Apple's second generation iPad when most other manufacturers have yet to release their first. Whether by sheer luck or thoughtful planning (or a little bit of both), Apple's well timed release of the iPad 2 again sets the bar, and it's up to everyone else to try and leap over it. Those hoping to usurp the iPad and steal away a significant portion of market-share have their work cut out for them.

The iPad 2 is slimmer than an iPhone 4 and up to 15 percent lighter than the iPad 1. It's not on the same level as Amazon's third generation Kindle ebook reader, and most people aren't going to feel comfortable holding the iPad 2 with one hand for very long like you can with a Kindle, but if you're using two hands or resting it on your body as you lay back in your recliner, you'll have no trouble using the iPad 2 for hours on end, should you find something to occupy your time for that long.

Where things get tricky is if you already own an iPad 1. Should you dropkick your slate on Ebay/Craigslist and place an order for an iPad 2? Only if you'll lose sleep at night from not having the latest and greatest. Otherwise the more sensible thing to do is hang onto your iPad until the next generation tablet comes out, or a compelling alternative pries you way from iOS. FaceTime is fun, but don't let the built-in cameras sway you to upgrade, because quite frankly, their image quality isn't very good at all. And while the iPad 2 is lighter, we didn't notice a significant difference. If you remove those two features from the equation, it comes down to performance. The iPad 2's performance is impressive but there aren't enough apps optimized specifically for the new architecture (yet) to justify taking the hit on your iPad 1 investment.

Things change if you're in the market for a first-time tablet or upgrading from a sub-par, first-generation slate that was slow from day 1. Apple somehow managed to upgrade the iPad without upgrading the price, which means the cost of entry is still $499 (16GB Wi-Fi model). Seemingly overnight, it feels like the world's gone topsy-turvy and now it's Apple undercutting the competition at the register. Apple did drop the price of the iPad 1 by $100, which is something to consider, but unless you just can't swing an extra Benjamin, we feel it's definitely worth springing for the iPad 2. You'll be getting a faster, lighter, and more functional tablet for the same price that iPad 1 owners bought their slate for prior to the price cut. Looking at it from that perspective, you're paying the same for better hardware rather than forking over $100 more.

Until other manufacturers step into the ring and show us what they've got (we're looking at you Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion), we have to declare Apple's iPad 2 the current champ.

  • Dual-core processor results in snappier performance
  • Twice as much RAM as the iPad 1
  • More comfortable to hold
  • Color options (black and white)
  • Price
  • Built-in cameras sub-par
  • Still no USB port, microSD card slot, or Flash support
  • Needs to be even lighter for one-handed use

Tags:  Apple, tablet, Apps, slate, ipad, ios, iPad2, A5

Related content