I haven’t had much time to spend on this blog lately but during my absence there has been a fair amount of Apple news including the release in Australia of Apple’s new iPad 2. It’s been no secret I’ve been anxiously awaiting the 2nd version of this tablet having had version 1 for about 9 months. The addition of cameras and a faster processor and better screen has made the possibilities endless.
I posted a review on FaceTime ages ago on this blog and always said that video conferencing on a device the size of a tablet would be awesome! and I must say Apple haven’t dissapointed. There already are several apps available that take advantage of the cameras for video calling including FaceTime and there are several big names in the video conferencing industry planning releases soon which should make this mobile platform reveal even more possibilities.
I purchased a 64GB WiFi model, I see no need for a 3G capable iPad especially as I own an iPhone 4 and I can use the personal hotspot feature to share my mobile internet connection with the iPad negating the need for a seperate mobile data plan for the iPad.
I did test a 3G model for a few days and found the 3G capabilities to be as good as version 1 and on par with the iPhone.
The faster processor makes loading apps significantly quicker, I tested the same app on a version 1 iPad and loaded them at the same time and found the iPad 2 to load most apps almost twice as quick. The processor coupled with the higher resolution display makes this an ideal media consumption and gaming device but it has enough grunt to do advanced music and graphics editing as well as read your email, surf the web or watch YouTube.
One thing I noticed right away was the redesign of the case, thinner with rounded edges and noticeably lighter than my iPad 1. My only complaint about the external design of the iPad 2 is the connector port at the bottom is flimsy, the connector is easily dislodged due to the rounded edge of the case which makes accidentally unplugged the iPad 2 easy (a blessing if you forget its connected and stand up with it in your hands!).
I purchased a red leather smart cover at the same time and I must say this is one of the most simple yet elegant accessories Apple has ever designed for one of it’s products. The magnetic connectors work well, the ability to fold up the cover into a stand that cat sit upright or lying down is brilliant! One thing I noticed there aren’t many back covers out yet that are compatible with the smart cover, I’ve seen a couple and will be checking one out soon. At the moment I use a clear silicon back cover which I have cut on one edge to facilitate the smart cover, it works but it’s not great.
Battery life I noticed isn’t as good as the iPad 1, and it drains quicker when doing certain things like graphics intensive movies etc. The new display must chew a fair bit of juice compared to the iPad 1. Charging seems to take longer as well.
Apps that are specifically designed for the dual core processor and/or higher res display are great, and even regular apps work just as good if not better on the iPad 2 and many app publishers are updating their apps to take advantage of all the new features on the iPad 2 such as the gyroscope for game control etc. My favourite games at the moment are EA Sports Fight Night 2, EA Sports Need For Speed Hot Persuit, Garage band from Apple is great if your into creating music or just messing with a guitar or drums!
All in all the iPad 2 has live up to my expectations and I already look forward to the iPad 3 and what Apple is going to give us that’s new! Whilst this device isn’t cheap compared to other mobile devices and tablets I think the overall design and engineering of the hardware coupled with Apple’s iOS operating system make this the front runner in the market as a mobile media consumption device.
That’s right, a media consumption device. Not a replacement for your PC or laptop or mobile, but a separate portable device designed for consuming local and online media be it audio, video, documents or websites etc this device has many uses and indeed can do most things a laptop can do but not all. If you set your expectations as such you won’t be dissapointed in purchasing an Apple iPad 2.