I have now spent a few days with my
precious iPad 2 and have collected a few thoughts. Keep in mind that these are based on my very positive experience with the original iPad; and is not meant as a thorough review of the iPad 2. If you are one of those poor lost souls still trying to figure out the answer to “Why should I get an iPad?” then you need to seek help elsewhere.
Size and weight
They made it considerably thinner and a little lighter. Lightness and thinness are things you can never have enough of in a gadget such as this. You can really feel the difference while holding it and it’s nice.
Most reviewers complaining about the low quality back-side camera (good for HD video but not good for still photos) are missing the point: Nobody will ever hold up an iPad (nor any other tablet) to use it as a camera – even if it had DSLR-like quality. It’s so uncomfortable and so awkward. My take is that since every iPad knockoff added a back-side camera, Apple had to do it in the iPad 2. If you want to take photos or videos, use a real camera or your iPhone 4.
The front-camera is perfectly adequate for FaceTime video conferencing although I seem to keep blocking it with my hands.
It was very rare for the iPad 1 to ever feel slow, so for the most part the iPad 2 does not make a huge difference. But for those things in which the iPad 1 felt slow you can really really tell the difference. Web browsing is one good example of this. Facebook feels waaaay faster and this sentence alone will be enough to make several people upgrade.
The smart cover is slick as hell. See the video if you haven’t. As a stand it’s much better than the old Apple case. The big caveat: It doesn’t protect the back of the iPad. I personally don’t want this thing to get all scratched from tossing it on hard surfaces. I will be getting a case once I find a decent one. In the meantime I’ve settled on a cheap temporary solution. More on that in a future post.
Battery life is still excellent. The screen is exactly the same – but the stupid Internet has planted dreams of Retina iPad displays in my brain: I can’t wait. The lock and volume buttons are all harder to reach when the iPad is on a table because they are tilted to the back. But the case locks it so I rarely need to press that one. The docking cable protrudes strangely. The speaker sounds about the same.
The original iPad substituted 90% of my home computer use. It was also a great book reader and a joy to travel with; and the ultimate toilet companion. For those reasons I was willing (aching) to upgrade: I use it so much that any improvement on the experience is worth it to me. Highly recommended.