As noted – and as you can see from the video – all Web pages load visibly faster than on the original iPad (although without the side-by-side comparisons, no one was complaining about the original’s speed). How much faster depends heavily on your wireless connection, Wi-Fi or 3G.
More importantly, it seems as if the iPad 2 was able to pull in a stronger Wi-Fi signal, consistently offering more Wi-Fi connectivity bars than the iPad. You may be able to spot in the comparison videos, and it may have slowed down the original iPad. Whether due to connectivity or processing power, the iPad 2 loads pages and content from connected apps much faster.
First off, all tablet PCs make lousy cameras. Not because of their usually inferior imaging sensors but because of their ergonomics. Tablet PCs are the wrong size and shape to be used as a camera. It’s like putting wings on a boat – the ungainly thing might get in the air, but it clearly doesn’t belong there.
Even so, it’s a puzzle why Apple didn’t put the iPhone 4’s 5-megapixel camera into the iPad 2. Apple has even neglected to list the pixel resolution specification for the iPad 2 still photos (for the record, the rear camera is .69 MP – 960 x 720 pixels – barely better than the VGA-quality front camera), and for good reason – still pictures shot with the iPad 2’s rear camera are disappointing, bordering on sucking. Indoor shots are impossibly grainy and drained of detail and color, and outdoor shots aren’t much of an improvement.
Video is a different story. The iPad 2 shoots 1280 x 720 HD video at 30 frames a second with impressive results, as long as you hold the iPad 2 still – which you won’t be able to do. While video results are solid, the footage is too shaky.
We don’t think Apple intended the iPad 2 to be used as a still camera; it’s for FaceTime, and the rear camera is designed to show callers what’s around them. But we will use the iPad 2 to take stills, and it’s a shame it doesn’t take good ones.
We haven’t had time to perform a side-by-side comparison, but it does look as if the iPad 2 drains power a bit faster than the original, but not enough to impact Apple’s 10 hour battery life claims.
To answer our original question, the iPad 2 right now is cheaper than any other tablet, easier to use than any other tablet, but not necessarily better endowed than other tablets – but that doesn’t matter. The lines at the box office make the iPad 2 the de facto market leader by a wide margin. But unless you plan on using FaceTime, the original iPad bought new at a discount – as long as supplies last – may actually be a better deal.
- Dual core processor
- 10-hour-plus battery life
- Bright 9.7-inch IPS LCD screen
- A third thinner than the original
- Front and rear cameras
- Highly reflective screen
- No expandable memory
- Poor visibility outdoors
- Poor still image quality