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In the world of tablet computers, the Apple iPad currently holds the crown. The current generation (the iPad 2) saw a number of improvements to the original iPad, notably the addition of two cameras and an improvement on the original processor to boost speed. It’s also sleeker and thinner than ever, but is it really the right tablet computer for you?
Key Specifications For The Apple iPad 2
* Costs $499 – $829
* Released in 2011
* Runs on iOS 4 (soon to be iOS 5)
* 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches in size
* Weighs 1.33 lb. / 0.60 kg
* 9.7 inch screen
* 1024 x 768 resolution
* Storage options: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
* Apple A5 1 GHz processor
* Wi-Fi/ 3G & Bluetooth connectivity
* 1MP & 0.3 MP cameras
* 10 hour battery life
What’s You Will Find Great About The Apple iPad 2…
Design: Let’s start with one of the iPad’s most impressive features: the design. There’s no denying that the iPad 2 looks fantastic, and feels great in your hands. There’s now a choice of black or white versions of the device, and the new smart covers (see below) help you to personalize the color even more.
Apple has set the bar high when it comes to build quality. Other tablets come close to the iPad 2 in terms of the way they look, but there’s no denying that the iPad has lead the way in terms of how tablets are expected to look.
Weight: The new iPad 2 is lighter than before, coming in at 1.33 lb. When compared to the other bestselling tablets on the market, this is extremely light (only beaten by the Samsung Galaxy Tab). This is an important improvement, as not only does it make it more portable but it also means that the iPad’s now easier to use for longer periods of time.
Processor: The new dual core processor in the iPad 2 means that it’s on a par with the other high-end tablets currently on the market. You can browse the web or load apps with speed (a lot faster than with the original iPad).
Gaming: Many people also use the iPad to play games, and the good news is that the graphics are noticeably better with the iPad 2. Couple this with having the best app store in the world, and the iPad 2 is probably the most attractive tablet option for gamers.
Apps: As mentioned above, the Apple App Store is the biggest in the world. There are hundreds of thousands of apps available: this is where Apple really has the edge over all other tablets. That said, Android Market is catching up and is more open to developers. This means that the Apple App Store won’t necessarily hold the crown forever. For now, however, it will probably have everything you could ever want from an app (and more).
Operating System: The App store isn’t the only good feature of the iOS operating system. iOS is widely regarded as having the best interface among tablet computers. It works well, with a number of inbuilt “gestures” that help you achieve what you need to simply with the way you move your fingers.
That said, there are some complaints of the system. Many people opt for Android because it’s what they’re already used to from their smartphone, or they simply don’t like Apple’s system for notifications and multitasking. There’s no doubt that the operating system you choose does come down to personal preference. But if you already use and love the iPhone, then you’ll be happiest sticking to iOS for your tablet.
Keyboard: The iPad keyboard works very well. Not only is it extremely responsive, but Apple also has a good autocorrect function when you type things incorrectly (which is very important on a touchscreen keyboard). If you do a lot of typing (emails, documents and so on) then a good quality keyboard is a must. You can also get hold of a keyboard dock or wireless keyboard to turn your iPad into a more powerful desktop computer alternative.
Accessories: Because the iPad is one of the most popular tablets on the market today, there is a huge range of accessories available (both official and third-party). Whether you want a trendy case for your iPad, a keyboard dock, speakers, car charger or anything else, it’ll be easy to find it.
With the release of the iPad 2, Apple also unveiled the new Smart Cover. Although it doesn’t come cheap, it is somewhat unique in the world of tablet computers. It attaches to your iPad magnetically, and automatically wakes up or puts your iPad to sleep when you remove it or put it back on. This is a great, colorful way to keep your screen scratch-free (unfortunately it will scratch if you leave it uncovered).
Battery Life: The battery life on the iPad 2 is second to none. There are currently only a few other tablets that can match the advertised 10 hours (namely the Samsung Galaxy and Motorola Xoom). This is good news if you want to be able to take your iPad out and about for long periods of time, away from a power source.
Apple iPad 2 Review
What You Will Find Not So Great About The iPad 2…
No Flash Support: Any review of the iPad has got to include one of its biggest complaints – there is no Flash on the device! Apple have purposely chosen not to support Adobe Flash, despite the fact that it’s used in many games, websites and videos around the net. Thankfully Apple does employ technology that means you can watch videos from YouTube and other websites. However, if you’re into Flash games then this could be a deal-breaker for you.
Screen: There’s no denying that the screen looks great, and has a good viewing angle. However, at 9.7 inches with a resolution of 1024 x 768, there have been no improvements since the original iPad. Many people have questioned why Apple didn’t bring out an HD screen, even though the camera can record HD quality videos.
Cameras: Many people have also questioned Apple’s choice not to include cameras in the original iPad. Although the cameras make a welcome addition to the iPad 2, they are still far behind most other tablets on the market. The front-facing camera (designed for video chats using FaceTime) is extremely low quality. And the rear-facing camera, for photographs and videos, isn’t much better. These don’t make for fantastic photographs, but they do the job.
No USB: This is another common criticism of Apple’s iPad. USB ports are something that many of the iPad’s rivals have chosen to include. The lack of USB ports means that you can’t attach flash storage drives or external peripherals (unless they use Apple’s specific connection), and there’s also no memory slot for adding additional storage space.
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