Review roundup: Apple's iPad 2 is best tablet yet, but cameras disappoint

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
The first reviews of the iPad 2 have emerged, declaring Apple's new touchscreen tablet as even farther ahead of its competitors than the original iPad, though some reviewers were disappointed with the image quality of the device's new front- and rear-facing cameras.



The iPad 2 sports several new evolutionary enhancements both inside and outside. On the outside, the tablet is thinner, has a flat back with tapered edges and a front-facing VGA camera and a rear-facing HD camera. Internally, Apple has upgraded the original A4 processor to a dual-core A5 chip with significantly faster graphics.



The device goes on sale on March 11 at 5 p.m. and starts at $499 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi version.



Reviewers were impressed with the changes Apple made to the iPad, though minor complaints ranged from poor image quality on the cameras to the lack of Adobe Flash and 4G connectivity.



Wall Street analysts have reported being impressed by Apple's new iPad, with one analyst warning that the success of the iPad 2 could burst a bubble for its rivals in the tablet market.



The Wall Street Journal



In his review for The Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg found improvements to the device to be "generally pleasing and positive," noting that the tablet "worked very well" for him.



For Mossberg, evolutionary enhancements made to the second-generation iPad outweigh any drawbacks or feature omissions. "For most average, nontechie users, I would recommend it over the handful of tablet competitors I?ve tested so far, especially given that the entry price remains attractive," Mossberg wrote.



"The iPad 2, in my view, offers an excellent balance of size, functionality and price, and keeps Apple ahead in the tablet race, at least for now," he continued. However, Mossberg doesn't advise current owners of the iPad to "race to get the new version," since he sees nothing particularly "revolutionary" about the new iPad.



Mossberg found the new iPad 2 to be "airier" and noticeably lighter. The device "felt very snappy," with apps launching and running "a bit quicker" than on the first-generation iPad. And, unlike the reviewer's tests with Android tablets, the iPad 2 never crashed in his tests.



Mossberg found still photos taken by the iPad 2 to be mediocre and battery life to be slightly less than the original iPad, though still above 10 hours. Another drawback to the device was that the new tapered edges make the dock connector port more difficult to use.



The reviewer also missed the lack of Adobe Flash compatibility and the fact that the iPad 2 will be unable to take advantage of 4G cellular data networks.



In spite of these drawbacks and omissions, Mossberg said he can "comfortably recommend it as the best tablet for average consumers."



The New York Times



The New York Times reviewer David Pogue wrote that the iPad experience had been transformed by Apple's improvements in thinness, weight and speed.



At just 0.33 inches thick, the iPad 2 makes the Motorola Xoom tablet look "obese," said Pogue, who views the iPad's success as a function of its emotional appeal, rather than its 'on paper' qualifications.



Pogue also spent ample time praising Apple?s new Smart Cover as "a perfect symbol of its fondness for high-tech magic tricks."



Even as dozens of rival tablets are set to hit the market in the coming months, Pogue believes "the iPad will still dominate the market, because it dominates in all the most important criteria: thinness, weight, integration, beauty ? and apps."



According to Pogue, Apple's aggressive pricing could help the iPad maker stay ahead of the competition. Despite Apple's usual reputation for costing more than its competitors, "the iPad 2 actually costs less than its comparably equipped Android rivals, like the Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab," Pogue noted.



Associated Press



AP Technology Writer Rachel Metz wrote that Apple, with the iPad 2, "is pulling further ahead" of its competitors, even as numerous companies are trying to catch up to the original iPad.



According to Metz, Apple's improvements "make an already excellent tablet even more enticing," revealing that the iPad maker "refuses to be bested."



The iPad 2's "sleeker lighter body with a curved back" help the device "fit more naturally" in the reviewer's hands, making it "easier to hold for extended e-reading sessions."



Metz enjoyed the addition of front- and rear-facing cameras and Apple's FaceTime video chat application, though she did find still photography "awkward given the tablet's size."



After spending time with the new GarageBand app for the iPad 2, Metz "was wowed by how simple it was and how well it took advantage of the iPad's touch screen."



Metz did find herself wishing for a second speaker, but noted that the lone speaker "did sound quite crisp, even with the sound turned all the way up."



Metz concluded by saying that the iPad 2 is, without question, a "great tablet," while recommending that those looking for the latest and greatest should "go for it." "Chances are, it will be the best tablet in town -- at least until the iPad 3 arrives," she quipped.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 117
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    The iPad2's getting really good reviews, I've read a bunch of them already.



    The android fantards and other whiny losers are going ballistic over at engadget, because it got 9/10.



    It's good to see that the iPad2 doubled the ram. There was some concern about that. As for the cameras, they're fine in my opinion. They're for video chatting, not for taking high quality still pictures. If somebody is interested in taking real pictures, then use a real camera.
  • Reply 2 of 117
    Like most people, I don't care much about the camera at the back, but front-facing one I did hope for a better one for video conf.



    Other than that, it'd be nice to have 1GB ram, but I guess for now it's not a big deal.
  • Reply 3 of 117
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Asst. Prof. View Post


    Mossberg is always slanted.



    I saw a video of him interviewing Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and he, along with some silly woman were asking the stupidest questions possible. He was a terrible interviewer. And I wasn't too impressed by his iPad2 review either.
  • Reply 4 of 117
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    I don't get what part of 'the back camera is for AR and chat, not photography' these guys (especially mossberg) don't get.
  • Reply 5 of 117
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    I don't get what part of 'the back camera is for AR and chat, not photography' these guys (especially mossberg) don't get.



    I heard that there's a new copycat tablet coming out in 3-4 months. It will feature five 17 megapixel cameras, it will weigh 3 pounds, it will look like a brick and cost $1199. It will also crash at least 8 times per day and the battery life will be 4 hours (2 hours if you enable flash) and standby will be 35 minutes. Oh, and there will be 7 apps available for it.

  • Reply 6 of 117
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,187member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    I heard that there's a new copycat tablet coming out in 3-4 months. It will feature five 17 megapixel cameras, it will weigh 3 pounds, it will look like a brick and cost $1199. It will also crash at least 8 times per day and the battery life will be 4 hours (2 hours if you enable flash) and standby will be 35 minutes. Oh, and there will be 7 apps available for it.





    Sold... to the Fandroids!
  • Reply 7 of 117
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drobforever View Post


    Like most people, I don't care much about the camera at the back, but front-facing one I did hope for a better one for video conf.



    Other than that, it'd be nice to have 1GB ram, but I guess for now it's not a big deal.



    1GB RAM minimum should be in this Tablet. Its going to be running Garage Band. I've seen desktops that didn't run Garage Band well without lots of memory. Good luck multi tasking. I don't buy anything first day especially an Apple product. Give it a month of so and let the suckers buy it first. Always seems to be something wrong with the first run.
  • Reply 8 of 117
    ipad999ipad999 Posts: 27member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andykemp View Post


    I don't buy anything first day especially an Apple product. Give it a month of so and let the suckers buy it first. Always seems to be something wrong with the first run.



    No hardware is going to change in a month. These iPad 2's have been stockpiling for at least a month now. The only thing is a software update and that will take a week if there is a major issue which I doubt there will be. I bought the original iPad and had absolutely no issues not even with the WiFi. Will be buying iPad 2 on Friday without a doubt in my mind. Best Buy here I come!
  • Reply 9 of 117
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    I don't care much about the cameras as long as they can FaceTime well. The battery life is still 10hr+, which is really good.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andykemp View Post


    1GB RAM minimum should be in this Tablet. Its going to be running Garage Band. I've seen desktops that didn't run Garage Band well without lots of memory. Good luck multi tasking. I don't buy anything first day especially an Apple product. Give it a month of so and let the suckers buy it first. Always seems to be something wrong with the first run.



    You don't seem to know anything about how iOS works. This memory thing was discussed days ago.
  • Reply 10 of 117
    citycity Posts: 522member
    Maybe the magnets for the peel back cover could be used for a peel back keyboard.
  • Reply 11 of 117
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    that pretty much sums up all the reviews. more time was spent nitpicking than anything else. browser much faster? ho-hum. much more graphic power, meaning some great new stuff coming soon? yawn. killer new Garage Band app? well, two guys did notice that. a 720p camera no one needs? we want more megapixels! and so on ...



    of course, despite its rapidly decreasing importance, No Flash!



    and as usual, no one mentioned the unique walk-in support/service available globally at Apple's retail stores. we're talking gadgets here - specs! nothing ever goes wrong. you never need help. that's irrelevant to a review.



    still, they all had to grudgingly admit it's better than the Xoom ...
  • Reply 12 of 117
    It was sort of expected. It looks like the only reason Motorola's Xoom can compete is that it can get LTE, so a premium is reasonable. Although people are saying that the HP TouchPad will be able to compete, but without a price it's hard to say.
  • Reply 13 of 117
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    The camera thing is true, but... Who is it that needs a high-quality still cam... and doesn?t already carry one? Those 7 people, if they were counting on the iPad to solve the issue for them, can be disappointed. (I?d suggest they upgrade their phone to console themselves.)



    But I?m not disappointed; a white 64GB will be mine! I want the cameras for video alone: FaceTime first, augmented reality second, and iMovie third. Whereas when I?m out taking stills, it won?t be my iPad I?m lugging along! My iPhone is always with me for that.
  • Reply 14 of 117
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    You don't seem to know anything about how iOS works. This memory thing was discussed days ago.



    You seem to know nothing about Operating Systems in general. I guess they ones you use don't need any RAM. Don't give me that crap that iOS is "Special" and manages its RAM differently. It still needs RAM and the more the better in my book. I've seen to many spinning beachballs / circles to know iOS runs out of memory.



    I'm saying its not hard to design something this size with a minimum of 1GB of RAM. If a phone can hold it this hunk of plastic can. Apple just wants to wait till iPad3 so you will buy that also. Its their modus operandi to release very small incremental improvements so you will buy another one in 6mos to a year.
  • Reply 15 of 117
    guch20guch20 Posts: 173member
    Poor Xoom. Poor Honeycomb. Poor Motorola.



    http://www.afterdawn.com/news/articl...comb_is_a_mess
  • Reply 16 of 117
    macnycmacnyc Posts: 342member
    Why isn't anyone quoting Gizmodo? Steve hand delivered a dozen of them to their offices a month ago so they could be the first to give a non-biased opinion on them...



    Oh wait, he didn't? My bad!
  • Reply 17 of 117
    pennywsepennywse Posts: 155member
    This whole 'not supporting' 4g thing has little teeth. Most cellular companies are not pushing out true 4g (there are many articles out there discussing this concept). LTE and so called 4g are in their infancy stages and therefore are not truly proven on effects of against the battery, performance and so on. I'm sure by the time true 4g and LTE are delivered to the masses, Apple will have iPad 3 out to utilize the technology.



    The discussion about 'MUST HAVE 1 GIG OF RAM' are also laughable. The iPad, flat out, smokes the competition on smoothness, and that's against tablets that have much more Ram. Shut up about the f*&king Ram already. It's a tired and annoying argument that has NO merit.
  • Reply 18 of 117
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post


    that pretty much sums up all the reviews. more time was spent nitpicking than anything else. browser much faster? ho-hum. much more graphic power, meaning some great new stuff coming soon? yawn. killer new Garage Band app? well, two guys did notice that. a 720p camera no one needs? we want more megapixels! and so on ...



    of course, despite its rapidly decreasing importance, No Flash!



    and as usual, no one mentioned the unique walk-in support/service available globally at Apple's retail stores. we're talking gadgets here - specs! nothing ever goes wrong. you never need help. that's irrelevant to a review.



    still, they all had to grudgingly admit it's better than the Xoom ...



    Honestly neither of them are worth buying. Save your money and buy a refurbished iPad. Then wait another year and see what the tablet market is like.
  • Reply 19 of 117
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by guch20 View Post


    Poor Xoom. Poor Honeycomb. Poor Motorola.



    http://www.afterdawn.com/news/articl...comb_is_a_mess



    Poor Safari. Safari hacked in 10 seconds at annual PWN2OWN
  • Reply 20 of 117
    guch20guch20 Posts: 173member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andykemp View Post


    Poor Safari. Safari hacked in 10 seconds at annual PWN2OWN



    Whew, then it's a good thing Apple isn't banking much on the success of Safari to pay their bills. The same can't be said about Motorola with the Xoom and Google with Honeycomb and the incredibly hack-friendly Android system.



    Whew.
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