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iPad Reviews
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Apple iPad 2 review: Apple's second-gereration tablet

£329 for 16GB Wi-Fi-only model; £429 for 16GB Wi-Fi plus cellular model. No other storage capacities available

Manufacturer: Apple

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

After more than two years after launching, the iPad 2 is still on sale from Apple, but is it worth a look? Find out in our Apple iPad 2 review.

Apple iPad 2 tablet

The iPad 2 has been around for couple of years now but Apple has decided to keep on selling it despite the arrival of two newer generations of the tablet, the iPad 3 and iPad 4. The iPad 2 is available for £329 instead of the original price of £399.

Although you can buy the iPad 2 new from Apple, it's only available in one storage capacity, 16GB. You can buy it in a Wi-Fi only model or Wi-Fi + 3G, the latter is priced at £429.

Despite its old age, in tablet years, the iPad 2 remains an attractive option when looking for a tablet. It's thinner and lighter than both its successors, but doesn't have the impressive Retina display. The big spanner in the works is the the Nexus 10 from Google which has iPad 4 rivalling specs but a price tag of just £319.

See below for our original review of the iPad 2 from April 2011.

When we presented our first-look overview of Apple iPad 2 last month, Apple had not even announced its UK pricing. We were surprised, then, to discover that it would cost less than the first-gen model. See also: .

When you consider that the Apple iPad 2 is appreciably faster, thinner and lighter than the iPad 1, and boasts a pair of video cameras, you may wonder where shorcuts have been made in its construction. We certainly were - and we’re still looking for them.

Yet no product is perfect, and discerning users will always be looking for ways in which the experience could be improved. Here’s our rundown of how well Apple has executed its second take on the iPad - and where there’s still room for refining what’s already proven to be an incredibly successful formula.

Apple iPad 2: Screen

First impressions are of a subtly fuzzy screen. That’s from the perspective of an iPhone 4 user. It’s exactly the same resolution as the original iPad, but since that first tablet appeared, Apple updated its phone with the so-called Retina Display. Retina, because the human retina is unable to detect any dotted pixel structure when held at normal viewing distance. An iPad 2 keeps a 132 pixels per inch (ppi) resolution, against iPhone 4’s class-leading 326ppi.

So while iPad 2’s resolution is in line with most screens, when set against iPhone 4’s razor-sharp view, we see softer furred edges to fonts. 

Yet there’s little denying that iPad has the best tablet screen in the business. The incredible sensitive touchscreen is glass-fronted and shiny, but nothing like as reflective as, say, the Motorola Xoom’s mirror surface. And LED-backlit IPS technology here means you get rich, gorgeous colours, everything perfectly viewable from every angle.

Tablet Advisor

Apple iPad 2

Apple iPad 2 review: Apps and choices, choices

Many of our favourite iPhone apps haven’t been recoded for iPad. While iOS lets them work perfectly on iPad’s larger screen, you will be presented with a small working interface in the centre - expandable to fill the screen from the bottom right ‘2x’ button.

For sure, this is no criticism of iPad 2, more a comment on the iOS ecosystem with its 350,000 apps, of which ‘only’ 60,000 are customised for iPad.

The choice of iPad models has been doubled now by the simple addition of a white-border option to the line. We found the snow finish appealing, recalling the look of the original iPod. Buyers should beware that the Wi-Fi-only version still omits GPS, denying the device satnav services.

Apple iPad 2 review: Cameras

While we first questioned the need for rear-facing cameras (somehow, panning with a slate feels wrong), it’s the front camera that tipped this fence-sitter into buying an iPad 2. Apple’s own webchat, FaceTime, works well between iPhone 4s and Apple Macs, but carry-anywhere convenience coupled with larger screen and speaker means FaceTime on iPad 2 is something of a killer app. 

Blown up by the larger screen, FaceTime video is not as sharp as iPhone 4, and 640x480 camera pixels displayed over 1024x768 screen means there’s some softness. This is exaggerated by camera quality that’s barely ‘good enough’ in noise terms.

After some use, we had to concede that, just like the iPhone, a rear camera has its uses to switch views and show your chat partner what you’re viewing. We just wish webchat-leader Skype would optimise its app for iPad too.

Apple iPad 2 Expert Verdict »

1GHz dual-core Apple A5 processor (ARM Cortex-A9)
9.7in (1024 x 768) LED-backlit glass IPS screen, capacitive multi-touch, 132ppi, oleophobic coating
16GB, 32GB or 64GB NAND flash storage
rear camera: HD video 960 x 720, 30fps, still shots with 5x digital zoom
front camera: 640 x 480, 30fps
Wi-Fi + 3G model: GPS receiver, UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz)
Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
built-in 25Wh rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
30-pin dock connector port, 3.5mm stereo headphone mini-jack
built-in speaker, mic
three-axis gyro
digital compass
601g (Wi-Fi only), 613g (Wi-Fi & 3G)
  • Build Quality: We give this item 10 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 9 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

Deservedly, Apple owns this market right now, and it knows it. The price drop is the icing on the competition-killing cake, leaving iPad 2 as statement of the tablet art today. If we had to name a second-place contender, the only device nearing the slickness of operation and natural hardware/software integration is – last year’s iPad. Anyone wishing to explore effortless computing is advised to try Apple's iPad 2.

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