Using speed benchmarks and two weeks of solid testing, PC Advisor's new in-depth Apple iPad 2 review shows that Apple's upgrade to the original Apple iPad is a worthy successor. Updated, 18 April 2011
Apple iPad 2 review: Smart Cover
Apple’s folding slatted screen-cover-cum-stand is a cute solution. The Smart Cover folds back like a book’s cover, serving as screen protector; as a typing stand to raise the rear; or supporting the iPad as a picture frame/webchat window in landscape mode. Shame, then, that a discreet black version forces you to splash £59 on the leather option instead of £36 for polyurethane.
Beware of those powerful magnets that seamlessly secure its edge, mind. It may be coincidence, but our train ticket’s stripe seemed to get wiped shortly after we started testing iPad 2 while commuting...
Apple iPad 2 review: Graphics
Some benighted pundits foresaw Apple adopting dual-core processors just to ‘catch up’ with Android competition; yet iPad 2 launched last month as the world’s first dual-core tablet. nVidia’s Tegra 2 was seen as impending nemesis for Apple’s A4 chip - only now we have an Apple A5 processor. Like Tegra, A5 is ARM Cortex-A9 architecture - only with PowerVR graphics that ironically far outpace nVidia’s mobile chipset.
In use, ably assisted by an optimised OS, graphics shine through, the panel replying to every touch with instant response. Pinch-to-zoom in web pages responds as if your fingertips were physically connected to the page beneath.
Apple iPad 2 review: Instant on, long-time off
What truly separates iPad from Windows netbook/notebook alternatives is an instant-on capability, coupled with instant sleep at the touch of the sleep/wake button. And runtime of iPad 2 between wake and battery expiry is within keeping of the original’s 10-hour figure. For many, iPad use is dip-in, dip-out, rather than power-through until drained.
In our solid testing over two weeks, mixing browsing, video playback and app exploration, we found iPad 2 could survive three days between charges.
With the aid of a £35 HDMI dongle, you can now present whatever’s on the iPad’s screen to an HDMI-equipped monitor, TV or projector. Most apps we sampled mirror output on both displays, while some - such as astronomy app Star Walk - put the main picture on large screen, leaving iPad’s screen as control panel.
Aside from a Retina Display to make pixels disappear to the eye, we’d apreciate multi-user capability, to allow individual user accounts. Since a tablet PC, like a mobile phone, can be a deeply personal device - personal address books, email, photos and app/desktop layout - it’d be great to have distinct accounts. Or perhaps Apple prefers every family member to have their own pad to bolster sales and market share?
Next page: Our original review of the Apple iPad 2, by Macworld US's Jason Snell >>