You may remember our post on the iPad 2 being an anti-climax. The tech world held its breath for March 2nd when Apple were finally set to unveil its new and updated tablet computing device, only to leave underwhelmed at what they deemed to be fairly minor upgrades to components. Just to recap what was new:
- Dual-core A5 chip – set to give the device faster computing power
- Front and rear cameras – bringing HD video recordings and FaceTime to the iPad
- 33% thinner – 0.16 inches thinner and just a shaving smaller in all directions
- 15% lighter – now just 1.33lbs
- Smart covers – magnetic and foldable, automatically turning it on and off
- iOS update – AirPlay and AirPrint
- Video Mirroring – with the adapter, you can mirror your display on a monitor, tv or projector. Admittedly, this works for the original iPad too
In review of these, they don’t add up to much do they? No. They don’t. Not when you consider what the competitors are packing into all of their devices at the moment, particularly those with memory card slots and USB input. However, I have always maintained than apple makes devices for use, not for technology experts, and so the proof of the pudding really is in the eating (please note for legal reasons, you cannot and should not attempt to eat your iPad).
I’ve had my iPad 2 for over a month now. I had the first generation iPad as well. I have an iPhone and have had previous models of them as well. I am a fan of some apple products but would not say that I love apple and worship Steve Jobs like a god. I hate Macs, for example, and have never owned an iPod. This is my disclaimer, in a way, to let you know I’m not going to just heap praise on Apple because they’re Apple. So a month on – what do I think, and what do I think you should know?
Well, my iPad 2 never leaves my side. During my day job I am capable of logging in to my remote desktop and working anywhere I go courtesy of 3g connectivity and wifi – even over 3g it is surprisingly fast and helpful. I get the pleasure of using my windows system this way. The Citrix Receiver app is what makes all this possible, but if you’re not using it for work there is a veritable feast of remote access apps out there for the home user. It keeps me company on the tube to and from work, allowing me to keep a huge library with me at all times – well over 4000 books now amassed on my iPad. I am never lost for something to read! I have a few TV series and several movies on there as well to keep me happy and entertained when I fancy it.
I even took it on holiday with me when I went to Miami, on a cruise and to LA, taking travel books, language guides and back ups of all my travel documents. The maps I took with were of definite use, and I can safely say I didn’t get lost in Mexico, robbed in Colombia or shot in Costa Rica. I have a fair few games on there as well, and damn they are surprisingly good at filling the hours – although I refuse to play Angry Birds HD simply because I spent too much time completing it on my iPhone. I used free wifi from place to place to call back to the UK, either from skype or using FaceTime… making friends and family envious of the view behind me and my growing tan.
You may be thinking that most of this the original iPad was capable of doing, and in honesty, you are not far of the mark. I took that away with me and it did a lot of this too. But when you are playing one of the intense games that require some real power behind them, the iPad2 transforms itself into a dynamo of a gaming machine. Now that it is using a dual-core A5 chip, the change in speed and power is definitely noticeable. Everything seems faster, even though it appeared fast on the original, it now feels as slow as an old man on a Zimmer frame in comparison. The original also failed when it came to playing HD movie uploaded to it, and now it does this seamlessly, capable of handling .mkv files and larger .avi files.
The camera on the back is good for videos, but awkward to hold and use. I tried to take a few as I went through the Panama Canal but ultimately it was just so bulky it was impractical. Taking photos from it are not that brilliant either given the poor resolution, and they are quite grainy and poorly coloured. The video quality is far superior and if you fancy taking videos and stills from these, then that is much better, but still, you’re better off carrying a camera.
Weight and size are impressive – its unbelievably thin now and feels much lighter. If you’ve ever trekked up the side of a volcano for hours you may begin to notice every single ounce weighing you down! The new covers are definitely one of the aesthetic changes that make it even better – the covers are fantastic. They look good, feel good, and their functionality is superb, a brilliant idea. Sadly, though, the magnetic connectors holding it in place aren’t strong enough and sometimes the cover comes off if you are holding it awkwardly. It also flaps in the breeze and doesn’t pin itself properly to the back of the iPad when folded open flat.
So what do I think after a month? I think it was worth the upgrade. I don’t need my laptop to work, its lighter, faster, more capable and sexier. Should you upgrade? I think if you can, you should. You’ll notice the difference! It is not moving forwards in leaps and bounds technologically, but from a users perspective, it is for the better and in the right direction as everything about it is better – its even white now! Definitely no anti-climax. Perhaps some people just have wild expectations of a company that rarely revolutionise their own products within 1 year of launch?!
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