Apple iPad 2
Apple iPad 2 review: The iPad 2 is faster, thinner and lighter than its predecessor and now has dual cameras, but flaws remain
- Excellent design
- Slick user experience
- Improved performance
- Poor quality cameras
- No memory card slot
- No Flash support
The iPad 2 is faster, thinner and lighter than its predecessor, but it inherits most of the original models flaws. If you liked the original iPad, you'll love the iPad 2, but for current iPad owners the second generation iPad isn't a necessary upgrade, and it has poor quality cameras.
Price$ 429.00 (AUD)
Apple's iPad 2 tablet is finally here. A successor to the original iPad, which created a completely new category of devices and sold almost 15 million units worldwide, the iPad 2 is faster, thinner and lighter than its predecessor and now has dual cameras. If you liked the original iPad, you'll love the iPad 2, but for current iPad owners the second generation iPad isn't a necessary upgrade.
Read our comprehensive iPad 2 resource centre for all you need to know including pricing, availability, and competitors.
iPad 2: Design and display
The Apple iPad 2 is thinner and lighter than the original model. Apple says its 8.8mm width makes it 33 per cent thinner than the first iPad, and the 613g weight makes it 15 per cent lighter than its predecessor. The new size and weight makes the iPad 2 much more comfortable to hold and carry around, and it feels incredibly well constructed. The iPad 2 is now available in black and white models — three with Wi-Fi and another three with Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. Both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+3G models of the iPad 2 are available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions.
The iPad 2 features the original model's same, single-button front fascia and a similar brushed metal rear, but the back is now flatter so it sits stable when placed on a desk or table. The edges of the iPad 2 curve as they meet the front edge of the device. The speaker grille on the back of the iPad 2 is larger than the original iPad's, but sound quality is similar.
The iPad 2's screen is identical to the original model. It sports a 9.7in IPS display with a resolution of 1024x768. Though the iPad 2 screen is no slouch, and still looks good, we would have appreciated a slight upgrade here. The iPad 2 display is also very difficult to see in direct sunlight, which is an issue on a device that has been designed for portability and travel.
iPad 2: Software and performance
If you have used the original iPad, the iPad 2 isn't much different: it still runs Apple's iOS4 operating system, offers a familiar swipeable home screen enhanced by folders, and has a consistent Apple UI look and feel extending across all of the standard applications. The iPad 2 also benefits from a well-populated App Store, and has excellent multimedia capabilities — it is a great device for viewing photos, watching videos and listening to music.
The biggest change from a usability perspective is speed — the iPad 2 feels much snappier when conducting even basic operations than the original model. The driving force behind this speed increase is a new Apple-designed dual-core processor called the A5, and a RAM increase from 256MB to 512MB. Apple claims the A5 processor doubles the speed of the iPad 2 and makes graphics processing up to nine times faster. During our testing, opening and closing apps, switching between running apps, sending an e-mail and using the Safari Web browser all occurred noticeably swifter than on the original iPad.
Though the iPad 2 remains the slickest and easiest tablet to use on the market, Apple's closed platform means it doesn't offer much flexibility. There remains no easy way of storing files on the iPad 2, the intrusive notifications pop-ups are annoying and clunky, and there is no SD card reader (unless you purchase an optional dongle). There also remains no way to view Flash videos through the browser.
iPad 2: other features
Along with its revamped design, the Apple iPad 2 now comes with two cameras: One on the front of the tablet, the other rear-facing. The rear camera records 720p HD video, and takes still photographs, but both cameras have low specifications — the front camera is VGA, while the rear camera is just 0.7 megapixels. Unsurprisingly, both cameras take poor quality still photographs, and while video quality through the rear camera is passable, it still lacks the vibrancy and quality that you should expect from a device in this price range. The best use of both cameras Apple's FaceTime video chat application, which debuted on the iPhone 4 but even then, the front camera is grainy and lacklustre.
The iPad 2 is capable of 1080p Full HD HDMI output, but only if you purchase an optional Apple digital AV adapter that plugs into the standard Apple dock connector, and then into a television or monitor. Incidentally, the new digital AV adapter also works with the original iPad, though it outputs in 720p rather than the 1080p the iPad 2 is capable of.
Apple has also released a new cover for the iPad 2 called the 'Smart Cover'. Described by Steve Jobs as "not a case," the Smart Cover has a magnetic flap that clips onto the side of the iPad 2, and automatically wakes and puts the iPad 2 to sleep depending on whether it is open or closed. It also folds into a stand, and comes in 10 colours, including five in Italian leather. It is a handy accessory and the magnets are a typical example of Apple thinking outside the box, but the Smart Cover is overpriced, and doesn't protect the back of the iPad 2.
The iPad 2 has the same impressive 10-hour battery life as the original iPad, but we were able to achieve almost 11 hours in many instances, depending on the applications we used.
The Apple iPad 2 is priced as follows:
iPad 2 16GB — Wi-Fi $579.00
iPad 2 32GB — Wi-Fi $689.00
iPad 2 64GB — Wi-Fi $799.00
iPad 2 16GB — Wi-Fi + 3G $729.00
iPad 2 32GB — Wi-Fi + 3G $839.00
iPad 2 64GB — Wi-Fi + 3G $949.00
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the newsletter!
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Ballistix Sport AT
Apple iMac Pro
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Toys for Boys
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Internet Security
ESET Smart Security Premium
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Tivoli PAL BT
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
If you own an action camera, it’s probably a GoPro. But if you are planning on sharing any footage of your latest outdoor adventure with friends and colleagues, you will need more than just hardware. You will need software.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 3 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 4 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
- 5 Huawei Nova 3i review: All Sell, No Soul
Latest News Articles
- Alcatel launches family tablet
- Panasonic launches Toughbook FZ-T1 handheld device
- 6 ways the iPad Pro refresh makes Apple’s tablet exciting again
- Samsung unveil Galaxy Book 2
- Apple tease 30th October iPad Pro reveal
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?