Apple iPad 2

The iPad 2 is Apple's second generation tablet device. Is it worth buying if you already own the original?

Tags: Apple Incorporated
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Apple iPad 2 The iPad 2 sports a 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of memory
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  June 9, 2011

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Key Specs

Audio: Y
Card reader: N
Display adapter: A5 integrated
Display screen: 9.7-inch
Internal storage: 32GB

Display complete specs ›

When Apple introduced its first generation iPad early in 2010, it took the world by storm. The tablet was so successful that it prompted other manufacturers to release their own tablet devices in a bid to capture a slice of this obviously very hot market.

While many of these competing tablets enjoyed decent sales, none of them could challenge the mighty iPad in terms of volume. Opting for a yearly update cycle for the iPad, Apple now has its second-generation device on the market.

Apple has made a number of changes to the iPad 2 in terms of its physical design and hardware. Apple has managed to shave a bit of weight off its latest creation; the iPad 2 tips the scales at 601g (WiFi only) whereas its predecessor is 79g heavier. In hand you can feel this difference but we never thought the original was heavy anyway.

Apple also managed to shrink the iPad 2's thickness to 8.8mm versus the older tablet's 13.4mm. The edges have also been worked on, so the newer model looks slightly more contoured and volume-wise the iPad 2 is definitely the winner. That said because the iPad 2 still features the same overall dimensions in terms of height and width, you won't notice the slimmer design in reality. One positive from the almost similar design is that you can still use most of the carrying cases designed for the original tablet.

In contrast, Apple has made quite a major change to the iPad 2's horsepower. Gone is the old single-core 1GHz A4 chip, the iPad 2 has a new processor known as the A5 and it packs two 1GHz cores. The iPad 2 also has more RAM, 512MB versus 256MB. These two upgrades positively affect performance in day-to-day use; we found the new device more fluid than its predecessor whether it was when loading apps, games or even content-heavy web pages. That said we're likely to see even more differences when developers release multi-core software.

The iPad 2 is also said to have up to nine times the graphics power of its predecessor but given that we never came across any apps or games that stressed the original, we think the iPad 2's graphics capabilities may verge on overkill (when dealing with current apps and games). The great thing is however that Apple has managed to cram in higher-end components while delivering the same battery life as the older iPad. We were able to enjoy almost 10 hours of battery life in mixed use.

One major addition to the iPad 2 is its front VGA camera and a rear-facing 720p HD camera. Used with FaceTime the former is quite competent at capturing clear detailed video. The rear-facing camera is a different story however. Video quality is reasonable at best and actually lags behind the video captures Apple's own iPhone 4 is able to produce.

For: More horsepower under the hood, slightly lighter, looks and feels great, battery life is still brilliant.
Against: Rear-facing camera offers basic results.
Verdict: If you already own the original iPad there’s little reason to splurge on the latest. While the cameras bring new functionality, the results as far as the rear camera is concerned, are basic. If you own another first generation tablet however and you’re unsatisfied with it, Apple’s latest is worth a look.

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