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24 hours with the Apple iPad 2

We take the iPad 2 for a spin

The Apple iPad 2 tablet goes onsale in the UK from Friday 25 March. PC Advisor has got one already and we’ve spent the last day or so giving it a try. Here’s what our first 24 hours with the iPad have taught us.

It’s much smaller than the Apple iPad. Yes, at 8.8mm thick it’s only actually 2mm slimmer than the first model, but it seems far smaller. Clad in one of the Smart Covers that Steve Jobs seems so pleased about when officially announcing the iPad 2, it all but disappears. The curved lines it’s inherited from the equally desirable Apple MacBook Air appear to shave half the (already minimal) bulk from the iPad 2’s chassis. Turn the iPad 2 over, however, and you’ll find it’s not so different after all. The main difference is in the label. Like the first iPad, the iPad 2 comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions.

the original iPad on top of the iPad 2

As you can see - the original iPad (shown here on top) is significantly thicker

See also: Pictures: Apple iPad 2 unboxing

Given the shift in focus to a more entertainment producing device with the iPad 2, this extra capacity is likely to come in handy. It took us eight months to come close to filling up our 16GB first-generation iPad with photos, apps and e-book downloads. The iPad 2 not only has a twice-as-fast-as-its-forebear Cortex A5 dual-core processor; its graphics processor is nine times more powerful too. And with plenty of ways to create our own content on the iPad 2, the available space to store it all will be far more important.

Options here include photos – the iPad 2 has two cameras – supports Facetime video calling and is powerful enough for video editing. The sorts of things you can do include goofy photo distortions in real-time and we have to admit this was one of our first stops when we first got our hands on the iPad 2. Swipe the iPad 2’s screen to the left and the search field appears. Type in ‘facetime’ or launch the Photo Booth app to start a web chat or video call and to share those face melts with your fellow FaceTimer. It’s very silly, but very diverting. Not in the least bit flattering however.

The display feels marginally more expansive than the first iPad’s. In fact, the only change to the screen is that there’s now a small bubble under the glass at the opposite end to the Home button. This is the webcam and fooled us at first as it looks like a mark on the otherwise flawless screen.

For technical analysis and an in-depth verdict, read our Apple iPad 2 review

iPad 2 and iPad

You might mentally categorise a tablet as a touchscreen netbook – early Window CE and Google Android Tablets certainly had little wow about them and some very poor visuals. But netbooks can only dream of the display capabilities of the latest generation of tablets like both the original and this second iPad model.

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