Pros: Sleek design, Face Time, Dual Web Cam's, 9.7" touch screen
Cons: No Flash Support (Apps mitigate this to a degree), accelerometer is very touchy
The second generation of the ground breaking innovation brought to the world by Steve Jobs and Apple. When the first iPad was released a few years back it was the only tablet on the market. That has all changed, today just about every electronic manufacturer in the world has come out with their own variety of tablet. Despite the very crowded field of tablets available, the Apple iPad brand still ranks #1 in tablet sales and as what all other tablets are measure against.
Apple iPad2 16GB tablet
Since its inception the iPad has built a large following and for good reason, it delivers form and function second to none. The iPad2 is definitely worthy of carrying on the iPad name with the addition of two cameras and several software improvements over the original iPad.
Right out of the box the biggest difference I noticed was the shape and overall weight difference of the new iPad2 as compared to the original. The ultra sleek shape and feel of the iPad2 is definitely a plus and the lighter weight is huge. It feels like I am carrying half the tablet that I used to and that is awesome.
When I first saw the Apple iPad a few years ago my first impression was that it looked like an iPod Touch on steroids. I can tell you since I started using the iPad2 my opinion has not changed, with all of the hardware and software improvements inside the iPad2 it seems to be the bigger brother of the iPod Touch.
What is to like about the iPad2?
Right off bat the ease of use of the iPad2 is a huge plus, just like all of the other mobile devices from Apple, you have to go through a lengthy process of registering it through Apple. Once that process is completed you are ready to get started. It is a good idea to charge it up before you start using it and that is a very easy thing to accomplish.
The package includes the power adapter and cable that plugs into the port on the bottom end of the device. this cable has. USB connector which hooks up to your PC and syncs during the initial setup process.
One of the new features of the iPad2 is the addition of the iCloud as part of the preloaded software. The iCloud store a backup of your files off site and that are recoverable in case you have to reset it. Another cool feature of the iCloud is you can set it to send a copy of any music, movie or ebook you download from the Apple Store or iTune Store to any other registered Apple product; iPhone or iPod Touch.
This feature really came in handy when I was switching from the old iPad. To my new iPad2. I had several hundred notes stored and I really needed to get them transferred. I started looking for a procedure on Apple's website and before I could get too far I noticed that the notes just showed up inside the notes App of my iPad2 without having to do anything.
If all Apple did was add a front facing camera and the Face Time App I would would have been a very happy camper. With the FaceTime App I can real time chat with coworkers that are in another part of the company campus and this includes all the way across the ocean. Using WiFi and your email address you can connect to other FaceTime users anywhere on the planet. I can also FaceTime with iPhone users by adding their contact information including their iPhone number.
However, Apple did not stop with only having a front facing camera, they added a rear facing camera that is capable of capturing HD video and high resolution still photos. Now, to be honest the video capture quality it not comparable to your standard high quality camcorders on the market, but the iPad2 would have cost hundreds of dollars more to make that happen.
When it comes to mobile devices it's ability to connect and stay to connected to Internet is paramount. To ensure the iPad2 can accomplish its goal, Apple put a fast WiFi adapter inside. The 802.11b/g/n adapter is capable of connection speeds up to 300mbps (megabits per second). So you will be able to connect to the Internet anywhere their is a WiFi hot spot or wireless router.
How does the display look?
I do not have a lot of experience with other brands of tablets, but I can say that I do like overall quality of the iPad2 over the original iPad that I have been using for a couple years now. The ultra high resolution makes everything look spectacular and that includes videos, pictures and even text. In my opinion, the touch response of the screen is second to none. I have used another tablet from Acer, the Iconia A500 tablet and it does not even come close to iPad2 touch response.
The clarity of the screen is unbelievable and the colors are extremely vivid. I have not tested how movies look on it, but watching YouTube videos on is exceptional. The motion is smooth and crisp, so I can only imagine movies would look great on it as well.
Storage capability is one of the things that I would say might be an issue with the iPad2, even with the addition of the iCloud it is still possible to run out do storage since this model only has 16GB of storage and it has no expansion slot to add any more. Most tablets in iPad2 price range have a micro SD card slot and are capable of handling a 32GB memory card. For my use I could never see myself ever running out of space to store my important notes and work files.
What kind of power does it have under the hood?
The iPad2 has plenty of horsepower thanks to the 1 GHz dual core A5 processor. The entire power system resides on a single chip and therefore consumes much less power and yet still delivers all of the performance.
The graphics engine that makes it to possible to power the 9.7 inch Eco friendly backlit LED screen is also inside the single system chip.
The juice to run everything is provided by a 24 watt hour Lithium Polymer battery, with enough power to deliver up to 10 hours of use. This includes running the WiFi and streaming video from the Internet. To ensure the battery get charged when necessary, Apple included a power adapter and cord that plugs into the unique 30 pin port at the bottom of the iPad2.
Apple did not build in much capabilities of adding extra input devices like expansion slots or USB slots. What it does have is a mini audio port for plugging in headphones/ear buds to listen to your music in private. It has the 30 pin connector that is only compatible with adapters from Apple. It has a built in microphone which works great with FaceTime.
The built in speaker is not the best quality, but it works fine and I am able to hear my reminders that I have set. When watching YouTube videos the sound was decent, but I would not think that the sound would be very good watching a streaming movie from the web.
Things not to like about the Apple iPad2
If I had to point out a flaw or two in the iPad2 that really drive me crazy; the screen orientation movement and the lack of Flash support. I understand the benefit of the use of the accelerometer to anticipate the rotation of the screen, but in my humble opinion it is way too sensitive. It simply move around way too much especially when I am holding it.
The lack of Adobe Flash support in an era that just about every website you visit contains elements of Flash signifies that Apple really does not have much concern for it users. They are far more concerned about money and not willing to work out a working relationship with Adobe. It is very telling when their only answer to questions about why they do not support Adobe Flash is "there is an App for that".. So instead of being able to simply access videos online from any website you have to use a special App (like the YouTube App that comes preloaded).
Preloaded Apps and the App Store
When you first take the iPad2 out of the box and turn it on you will see that it comes loaded with several very useful Apps showing on the desktop. The complete list of preloaded apps is 21 and way too many to list here, but here is a small sample:
FaceTime, iTunes, App Store, Notes, YouTube, Music, Videos Mail, Safari and so on... I think you can see that it is a very extensive list and it includes many of things I need to get what I need done.
I would think that many people people would say that they App Store is the most important app, but I can say that I have yet to use it. I am able to use it for my job without having to download a single app.
The three most used used apps on my iPad2 are the Note,FaceTime and Messages. I use it strictly for a communication device with my partner at work. We are a two man computer support team and it is very important that we can communicate with one another. Messages works just like texting for short messages and Face Time works great when visual communication is necessary. I think Notes is pretty much self explanatory and is very useful for jotting down notes during repairs for future use.
My Final Thoughts
I would not consider my self a fan of Apple, but I will give credit where credit is due. The Apple iPad2 is a huge improvement over the iPad in many regards and I could easily find myself recommending it to my friends under the right circumstances. I think that it has limitations that when speaking to an individual that says that the lack of Flash support would be a deal breaker then I would say stay away from it. If they are looking for a tablet that delivers great HD quality graphics and streaming video, then I would highly recommend it.
For all that it does it does it very well and for what it does not do Apple makes no excuses. In my opinion it is one of the sleekest tablets you will find for its size and it will not break your arm to carry it around with you.
I have watched a few training videos using the YouTube App on the desktop and the quality of the video playback was very crisp, clear and the sound from the built in speaker was decent. If I get a chance to watch a streaming movie in the future I will update you.
It is a huge plus having the iPad2's 9.7" touch screen, when it comes to watching the training videos. I can setup the Smart Cover in a way that props the tablet in the perfect position that I do not have to hold it while I am watching the video.
When it comes to surfing the web, the Safari browser is very capable and serves up web pages as quickly as IE9 and FireFox does on my desktop PC. The websites I have visited all seem to look great and except for not having Flash enabled I can see all that I need to see.
I think the dual core processor delivers as Apple advertises and I have never had any apps not want to launch quickly. I would imagine that might change if I downloaded a whole bunch of apps from the App Store and filled up all of the storage space.
I rarely pay attention to exactly how much time a battery last on a single charge, but if I would have to estimate how long the battery lasts no-stop I would say it is at least 8 hours. I use it mainly at work and carry it with me when I leave my desk for a repair job. I have never had it run out of power before the end of a 9 hour day.
To help conserve power Apple incorporated a couple of power saver features like; auto dim and sleep. the auto dim basically lowers the brightness automatically when the device is idle for a set amount of time. To change the setting of the auto dim feature just tap the Settings icon on the front screen and adjust the timing.
The auto sleep mode shuts down the screen when idle for an extended period of time. The cool thing is that it does not close out what you were working on when it goes to sleep. Simply push the button and it brings you to slide to unlock screen and after you slide to unlock it brings up what ever you were working on.
I think that the Apple IPad2 is really quality tablet and you really need to take a look at it for yourself.