This review is slanted towards the suitability of the iPad 2 as an eReader but concerns many aspects of the device.
There’s no denying that in the world of tablet computers, the Apple iPad is king. That’s not to say that the iPad is the most technically capable tablet PC, there is tough competition from other devices that actually offer more features and have more drag-and-drop functionality.
However, the current generation (the iPad 2) saw a great deal of improvements over the previous iPad. The addiction of two cameras and an improvement on the original processor to boost speed, the iPad 2 is shouting out to be treated as a serious computer and not just a pretty face. It’s also sleeker and thinner than ever, but is it really the right tablet computer for you? We’re going to help you decide.
Key Specs For The Apple iPad 2
* Costs $499 – $829
* Released in 2011
* Runs on iOS 4 (soon to be iOS 5)
* 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches in size
* Weighs 1.33 lb. / 0.60 kg
* 9.7 inch screen
* 1024 x 768 resolution[easyazon-image-link asin="B0013FRNKG" alt="Apple iPad 2 MC769LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi, Black) NEWEST MODEL" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31mRJLNfKlL.jpg" align="right" width="270" height="375"]
* Storage options: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
* Apple A5 1 GHz processor
* Wi-Fi/ 3G & Bluetooth connectivity
* 1MP & 0.3 MP cameras
* 10 hour battery life
So what’s so great about the iPad 2?
We like to break things down.
Design: Let’s start with one of the iPad’s most impressive of features: the design. No one can deny that the iPad 2 is a sleek beast and feels lavish in your hands. It’s got more customization than ever with the choice of two different colors and the option to use one of the new smart covers that has been so heavily advertised.
We all know that Apple always set the bar high when it comes to quality. We don’t mean that there are other tablets out there that don’t look as good or as sleek as the iPad 2 but the consumer knows that, with Apple, they expect nothing short than stylish design.
Weight: Weight is important when discussing a Tablet PC for the benefits of those that like to read eBooks. The new iPad 2 is lighter than before, coming in at 1.33 lb. When compared to the other bestselling tablets on the market, this is extremely light (only beaten by the Samsung Galaxy Tab) and it’s the all important factor when wanting to relax and read a book.
The fact that the iPad 2 has packed in more power but a in a smaller weight is great for eBook lovers because it is more portable, powerful and easier to hold than the previous iPad.
Processor: The new dual core processor in the iPad 2 means that it’s on a par with the other high-end tablets currently on the market. The original iPad was slightly lacking when it came to power – especially since it was overtaken by other tablets. While a powerful processor isn’t necessary to read small files such as eBook files, it’s a great addiction to have so that you can use all of the other features that the iPad has to offer.
What it does mean, however, is that you can browse the web or load your apps (including eBook apps!) with a faster speed.
Gaming: The proliferation of apps and games on phones and tablet computers has had an amazing increase in popularity. Many people who own a tablet play some games on their tablet, at least to some extent.
While the gaming controls are no different from the original iPad, what is noticeable somewhat is the way that the graphics appear to be of higher quality on the iPad. There’s a crispness to the graphics with the iPad 2 that you don’t get with the original iPad.
Apps: Despite a growing competition from Google’s Android system, the Apple App Store is the biggest in the world. There are hundreds of thousands of apps available: this is where Apple really has the edge over all other tablets.
That said, Android Market is catching up and is more open to developers. This means that the Apple App Store won’t necessarily hold the crown forever. For now, however, it will probably have everything you could ever want from an app (and more).
Operating System: Apple’s App store isn’t the only great feature of the Apple iOS operating system. iOS is widely regarded as having the best interface among tablet computers and it’s very simple and very effective. Apple have included a number of inbuilt “gestures” that will assist you in achieving what you with just five fingers.
Despite this, there have been a few complaints about the device. There are many people that are opting for Google’s Android operating system on other devices. This is either because they have already got an associated account on Android and they don’t want to have to transfer and purchase apps again – or because they simply don’t like the fact that Apple make you have to synchronize your media as oppose to drag and drop.
It’s obvious that the operating system that you choose does come down to personal preference and there are a few different forms of the Android operating system so where as Apple only offer the one iOS. If you already love the iPhone, then you’ll be happiest sticking to iOS for your tablet because you will already have a great feel for it.
We should also point out that the eReader apps that you will be using for reading eBooks are available on devices other than the iPad. However, if you want to use the iBooks app for the iPad2, it’s only available on the iPad and not any other tablet PCs.
Keyboard: The iPad keyboard works very well. Not only is it extremely responsive, but Apple have used fairly reliable autocorrect function when you type things incorrectly (something that’s really important when using a touchscreen keyboard).
If you business or personal life means that you have to do typing such as emails, documents and long messages on social networking sites, a good quality keyboard is a essential.
If you like, you can also get a keyboard dock or a wireless keyboard that will allow you to turn your iPad into a device more like a laptop.
Obviously, since the iPad is the most popular tablet computer on the market and so, with that, comes a great range of accessories, there and endless additions and accessories that you can use to get you started.
All of the accessories range from being either official Apple products or extra third-party accessories that are can be used with the Apple iPad for easy customization and personalization.
Whether you’re looking for a fashionable case for your iPad – a keyboard dock, car charger, speakers or anything else, you will be able to find them easily.
The new SmartCovers are something that you will have seen in commercials for the Apple iPad2. They’re brightly-colored, fit onto your iPad with a magnetic strip that just latches onto one side. They’re snazzy and useful at the same time. It’s probably recommended that you get yourself on of these if you’re going to get an iPad 2 – that’s unless you’ve already decided to go for a leather closable case.
Battery Life: The battery life on the iPad 2 is up there with the best on the market. With modern computer tablet usage, there’s no point having all of those great features if you’re going to only be able to use them for under an hour. The only other tablets that match the advertised 10 hours for the iPad 2’s batter life are the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom.
The great battery life good news if you want to be able to take your iPad out and about for longer periods of time, away from a power source. The ten hours of battery means that you can be truly portable and take your iPad while communing or out with you for the day.
Parts We Don’t Like:
No Flash Support: This is the biggie. Any review of the Apple iPad 2 would not be complete without having to mention the lack of support for Adobe Flash. Yes, if you haven’t already heard, Apple decided to purposely choose for the iPad2 to not support Adobe Flash – even though it’s widely used across many games, videos and website across the internet.
Apple have allowed support for the use of YouTube however and some other Flash websites. Another option that you can consider is purchasing an App that has been designed you to use flash functionality on the iPad. The app is not free, however, and it’s a shame that Apple left Flash support out of the iPad 2.
Screen: There’s no denying that the screen on the iPad 2 looks great and has a perfect viewing angle. However, at 9.7 inches with a resolution of 1024 x 768, there have been no improvements since the original iPad. Not that’s necessarily a bad thing – the screen quality is still great and if it’s not broken, why fix it?
Some people were a disappointed that the iPad 2 didn’t come with an HD screen to go with the double camera capabilities of the device.
Cameras: When the original Many people have also questioned Apple’s choice not to include cameras in the original iPad. Although the cameras make a welcome addition to the iPad 2, they are unfortunately still far behind most other tablets on the market.
The front-facing camera – a feature that was mainly designed for video chats using FaceTime – is extremely poor quality considering the cost of the iPad. It’s almost shameful.
The rear-facing camera, that would mainly be used for photographs and videos isn’t a great deal better. That’s not to say that they don’t work at all – it does, but it’s just disappointing.
No USB: If there was to be another criticism of the iPad 2 that is as annoying for many users, it’s the fact that the iPad 2 does not have a USB port – the most widely-used connection that is available out there in the electronics and computing industry.
This isn’t helped by the fact that Apple want you to only use their own connection for the device and they have not included an external flash memory transfer memory card slot.
Even the king of tablet computers is not a perfect and flawless device. As it stands there’s no perfect tablet computer on the market but everyone will have their personal choices. Those that already love the Apple iPhone and are used to using it will find that the iPad 2 is a breeze.
Obviously, we’re interested in ways to read eBooks and so we’re interested in the reading apps that can be used on the device. The iBooks App is a great ebook reader App and so we’re satisfied.
We’re sure that no one reading this is going to purchase an iPad 2 in order to only read eBooks – the price wouldn’t be justified. But, if you’re looking for a whole bunch of extras and an undoubtedly classy device, the iPad 2 may just be the device you want to use to read your eBook collection.