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iPad Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

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.

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

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 >>

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
241.2x185.7x8.8mm
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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