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I bought an iPad 2 over the weekend, after much debate about whether to drop such a large amount of money purchase, but after just a couple of hours i'm glad I decided to bite the bullet.
I now have the iPad in my hands, and i'm using it to type this review. I have to say, against all my previous qualms about the ease of use of the on-screen keyboard, it is actually very easy to type on it when in landscape mode. I was thinking of buying one of the smart covers to protect the screen. But as this is their sole purpose, I thought the £36 asking price was way to high, especially when a better case which covers the iPad all around can be bought cheaper or for the same price.
First of all I must point out that I have ever owned the first generation iPad so I cannot personally compare this new model to the old model, instead I will just have to mention what others have said. However I have used the old iPad various times and this new model feels significantly thinner to the touch - indeed it is 8.8mm as compared to the first generation's height of 13.3mm. The new iPad2 weighs in at 1.3 pounds whereas the first was 1.5 pounds, although this is hardly noticeable.
New additions to this new iPad include two cameras, a gyroscope and a 1ghz dual core processor. The cameras are of passable quality. The front camera is only VGA quality but the back is capable of recording in 720p video, however the quality is rather grainy. I suspect Apple are saving HD camera/video camera capabilities for future generations of Ipads. One of the major advantages which puts this tablet way above its competitors in terms of functionality is its speed. The dual core processor really comes into its own when on games and opening apps and web browsing on the device.
One negative aspect which I have picked up on is that after a few days of usage, the screen has shown signs of 'bleeding'. This is when the back-light of the screen is clearly visible when looking at a black background, you can see light coming through the edges if the screen. I'm hoping that this will go away within a week or so. I have heard people saying that if you lay the iPad2 facedown onto a flat surface then this issue may go away, which is what I have been doing, but with no luck (yet).
The new iPad2 does not increase on the10 hour battery life of its predecessor. However, this is still extremely high in my opinion, so is not an issue for me. Since setting up my iPad on Monday, I have only had to recharge it once in two days, and I've used it a lot.
I have bought a couple of apps - a Flickr app called Flickr Studio. This was £2.99 and offers a great way to upload, edit and view photos on your local device or stored on your Flickr account. I also downloaded a number of free apps - the Facebook app and a few of the free games offered by Apple. Overall I find the interfaces on all of these apps are intuitive and very easy to use.
Unfortunately, the box doesn't come with many added accessories because Apple seem to think that the consumers ought to purchase them separately if they really need them. It doesn't even come with any headphones - a bad move by Apple in my opintion, especially because the iPad comes with an iPod program built in.
Overall if you are looking for your first tablet, I would definitely recommend the Apple iPad 2, mainly down to it's refined user interface, amount of apps (around 65,000 specifically for the iPad) and because of the amazing battery life. Although there are issues with the display, that does not bother me because each iPad does come with a one year warren try which covers the battery, touchscreen and other parts, I will also be contemplating getting an extra year hardware warranty with the AppleCare service. If you're looking for a tablet computer - I'de say this is one of the best on the market.