Apple's hotly anticipated iPad 2 tablet has finally been released in the US, meaning the first reviews have been published. So, what do the experts think of Apple's 'faster, thinner and lighter' tablet?
Jason Snell, PC World US:
Likes: "For Apple's competitors in the tablet-device market, the iPad 2 is a bucket of water to the face. After more than a year of struggling to catch up to the original iPad, here's a new model that addresses many of the iPad's deficiencies, dramatically improves its speed, and doesn't cede any ground on price, features, or battery life. The iPad 2 raises the bar Apple set a year ago — and it's time for the rest of the industry to scramble again to catch up. For everyone else, the iPad 2 is a triumph, an iPad that’s even more iPad than the original. And the original one was really good. The first iPad was a bolt from the blue, a device that defined an entire category, and a tough act to follow. The iPad 2 follows it with aplomb.
Dislikes: "The iPad 2 is easier to carry with one hand, and the decreased weight makes it easier to hold for longer periods of time. But if you’re planning on using the iPad 2 to read a lot, you’ll still find yourself propping it against your chest or setting it on a table — the tablet is still not light enough to hold in one hand for extended periods of time.
The cameras in the iPad 2 are essentially the same as those in the fourth-generation iPod touch: it's nice that they’re there, but they're not particularly impressive in terms of quality. The front-facing camera is the same one used in the iPhone 4 and the iPod touch, offering only VGA resolution (640 by 480 pixels)."
Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal:
Likes: "I've been testing an iPad 2 for about a week and I like it a lot. While it's evolutionary rather than revolutionary like the first model, the changes Apple has made are generally pleasing and positive, and the device worked very well for me.
Its improvements, including front and rear cameras, outweigh the few drawbacks and feature omissions I found. For most average, non-techie users, I would recommend it over the handful of tablet competitors I've tested so far, especially given that the entry price remains attractive."
Dislikes: "The iPad 2 does have some drawbacks. Its cameras take mediocre still photos and Apple won't even reveal their megapixel ratings. The company says they were designed for video, not still photography. They did capture decent video in my tests, including high-definition video from the rear camera and video good enough from the front camera for satisfying video calling. But, for a company known for quality, which bundles a new still-photo app with the device, the cameras are disappointing."
David Pogue, The New York Times:
Likes: "On paper, Apple didn't do much. It just made the iPad one-third thinner, 15 percent lighter and twice as fast. There are no new features except two cameras and a gyroscope. I mean, yawn, right? And then you start playing with it. My friends, I'm telling you: just that much improvement in thinness, weight and speed transforms the experience. We're not talking about a laptop or a TV, where you don't notice its thickness while in use. This is a tablet. You are almost always holding it. Thin and light are unbelievably important for comfort and the overall delight. So are rounded edges, which the first iPad didn't have.
Dislikes: "Now, the coming months will bring a blizzard of tablets that are meant to compete with the iPad. And they'll offer some juicy features that the iPad still lacks. On an Android tablet, you can speak to enter text into any box that accepts typing. You also get an outstanding turn-by-turn navigation app — and GPS maps are a different experience on a 10-inch screen. It's like being guided to your destination by an Imax movie. Furthermore, new Android tablets will be able to play Flash videos and animations on the Web, something that both Apple and Adobe (maker of Flash) assure us will never come to the iPad (or iPhone). Flash on a tablet or phone can be balky and battery-hungry, but it's often better than nothing. Thousands of news and entertainment Web sites still rely on Flash, and the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch simply can't display them."