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Apple iPad 2 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £499
inc VAT

The second generation iPad is a revision of the original, and it's a shame the screen hasn't been upgraded, but it's still incredibly quick


9.7 in 1,024×768 display, 601g, 1GHz Apple A5, 512MB RAM, 64GB disk, Apple iOS 4.3

The iPad 2 does have one significant upgrade: the new dual-core 1GHz Apple A5 processor. This has potentially twice the power of the single-core 1GHz A4 chip in the old iPad. RAM is doubled from 256MB to 512MB, and given the efficiency of the OS this should be plenty. Apple says that the graphics are up to 9x faster, and the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 is certainly a lot quicker on paper with four times as many pixel pipelines – though we’ve yet to find a way to test this properly using actual in-game benchmarks.

Browsing performance is better than on the original iPad, with pages loading faster. Running the SunSpider JavaScript test the old iPad completed the test in 3,450ms; the iPad 2 completed the test in 2,168ms. Websites were generally quicker to load, too. While the BBC took around seven seconds to load on the iPad, the iPad 2 did the same job in less than five seconds.

It’s fair to say that the iPad 2 feels a lot more responsive, too. Opening apps, such as iPod, and browsing the web are all faster and more responsive. The extra core in the processor gives the iPad 2 more system resources to change between apps and run tasks, making it much faster overall.

Apple iPad 2 landscape

Switching from landscape to portrait is extremely smooth, and even faster than on the original iPad. It’s good to see that iOS 4.3 reintroduces the feature to turn the slider (above the volume buttons) from a Mute switch to an orientation lock.

Apple iPad 2 rear camera

Despite increased performance (and a thinner case), battery life is just as good. Playing H.264 video with wireless disabled, the iPad 2 lasted a staggering 17 hours and five minutes.

Other additions include a three-axis gyroscope – the same as the iPhone 4’s – which works with an accelerometer for better detection of the iPad 2’s position in space. This will be most useful for games. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi model lacks a GPS receiver, so geo-tagging photos and videos can only be done via Wi-Fi positioning, but you still get a digital compass.

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Basic Specifications

ProcessorApple A5
Processor clock speed1GHz
Memory slots0
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory0.51GB
Pointing deviceN/A


Viewable size9.7 in
Native resolution1,024×768
Graphics ProcessorPowerVR SGX543NP2
Graphics/video portsHDMI via convertor
Graphics Memory512MB


Total storage capacity64GB
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

Wired network portsN/A
Wireless networking support802.11a/b/g/n
PC Card slots0
Supported memory cardsnone
Other portsApple dock connector


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemApple iOS 4.3
Operating system restore optionN/A
Software includedApple iBooks, PhotoBooth

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB

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