Apple iPad 2 review
The second generation iPad is a revision of the original, and it's a shame the screen hasn't been upgraded. The cameras produce fairly poor quality video and photos, but the new processor is an improvement as is the lighter weight.
Review Date: 17 Mar 2011
Price when reviewed: £499
Reviewed By: Jim Martin
There's no doubt that the original Apple iPad has been a huge success, with more than 15 million sold since it went on sale in April 2010. Since many people hold off buying Apple products until the second generation is launched, the iPad 2 could be even more popular.
With so many rival tablets being launched this year, it's no wonder Apple has been quick to get the iPad 2 onto shelves. However, although there's been plenty of hype surrounding Android 3.0 devices, particularly over the Motorola Xoom, the new tablet OS is still in its infancy. By comparison, Apple is onto its second generation already. We've got one of the first units available to find out what you get.
The first thing you notice is that the iPad 2 is thinner, lighter and faster than the previous iPad; but in several respects it's actually the same. For example, while we imagined Apple would put a much higher-resolution screen into the iPad 2, it has exactly the same 9.7in 1,024x768 panel as the original. We're not saying it's a bad screen - far from it - but it's not nearly as impressive as the Apple iPhone 4, where the pixel density makes it virtually impossible to discern individual pixels.
So what is new? Well, the front and rear cameras are certainly useful. The front camera's 640x480 resolution is just about good enough for FaceTime, Apple's video calling application. You'll be able to make FaceTime calls to other iPad 2s, iPhone 4s and Macs. As with the iPhone 4, you can freely switch between the two cameras while using FaceTime or when taking photos and videos.
Unfortunately, although the rear camera can technically shoot video in 720p at 30fps, quality is far from great. Instead of the 5-megapixel camera in the iPhone 4, it appears that the iPad 2's sensor is the same as that in the iPod Touch 4th Generation. Colours tend to look flat, but the lack of detail and presence of compression artefacts is more of a problem in both videos and still images. Also, there's no LED flash as you get with the iPhone 4. Overall, quality's good enough for some occasional impromptu shots, but you'll still want a dedicated video camera for anything where quality is important.
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