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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

Although the weight reduction doesn’t sound much on paper, it makes a big difference in practice. The iPad 2 feels far lighter and wasn’t as much of a strain to hold for long periods as the old model. At 601g, it’s the lightest 10in tablet around – Motorola’s Xoom weighs a ‘hefty’ 730g.

The new iPad is arguably the best-looking tablet as well, especially the white version, which we expect will prove more popular than black. There are six models to choose between, and they’re the same options as the original iPad: 16, 32 or 64GB of storage, all with the option of 3G. Prices for each model also remain the same, making the iPad 2 appear good value compared to its rivals.

Apple iPad 2 smart cover

However, the price doesn’t include the clever magnetic Smart Cover, which automatically wakes the iPad when you open it, and puts it into standby when you clip it back on and close it. It has a microfiber lining, which helps rub fingerprints and smudges off the screen when you move around, plus it can be folded into a Toblerone shape to acts as a stand when you’re using the iPad on your lap or table.

The standard cover will cost around £25, but leather ones will cost around £43. Another annoyance is that the HDMI adaptor will cost around £25 – it would have been far better if Apple had installed a mini HDMI port. As usual, there’s no card slot whereas almost every rival tablet has one for increasing storage.

Hardware is important, but software equally so. It’s here where the iPad has a big lead. The OS is incredibly easy to use, with neat and clear icons to launch your apps on the home screen. Everything about the OS is slick and fast to use from zooming in by pinching to firing up the latest games. As with other iOS devices, there’s just a single physical button to interact with the OS: one click takes you back to the home screen, two brings up the task switcher.

Apple iPad 2 button

Then there are thousands of apps to choose from, all optimised for the iPad’s large screen – two of particular note are iMovie and Garage Band. The former makes it surprisingly easy to edit video clips on the iPad’s screen, while the latter is equally appealing to musicians, and could be enough of a reason for some to buy an iPad. PhotoBooth comes preinstalled and lets you have some fun with the iPad 2’s new cameras. It will feel familiar to anyone that has the application on their Mac and allows you to apply wacky effects to live video from the cameras, and snap photos when you see the effect you want.

However, don’t forget that all this software, bar iMovie, works on the original iPad, and few require the iPad 2’s extra power. All of this makes it hard to sum up the iPad 2 easily. If you’ve got an original iPad, there’s little reason to upgrade to this version; if you’re buying a new tablet, this is the best one you can buy. All you have to do is decide which one’s best for you. Looking at the prices, the 32GB Wi-Fi only model (£499) appears to be the best value.

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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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