I picked up my brand new White 16Gb WiFi iPad 2 on launch day April 25. I dropped into the Pointe-Claire Future Shop to cover the launch and just couldn’t resist picking up the new model. Twenty-four hours later I sold my original iPad on Kijiji.
Starting with my first impressions..the white iPad looks a bit smaller than the black model..it isn’t..The 4.6mm reduction in thickness from the original 13.4mm is really noticeable..it almost feels like a different device and the thinner design makes the 79 gram weight reduction seem greater than it is.
The iPad 2 has the same screen as the original. It’s a 1,024 x 768 9.7-inch LED-backlit display but it is driven by a better PowerVR SGX 535 graphics chip, So, combined with the dual core A5 it provides better graphic performance and sometimes gives the impression that it is a better display than the original..like the perception that the white one is smaller than the black one,it is an illusion. The faster CPU is noticeable when playing games. The more demanding the game, the more noticeable is the improvement.
The improved CPU and graphics performance really shows up in apps optimized for the iPad 2. iMovies for example is fast and smooth and allows you to quickly edit movies shot with the rear facing camera. While that camera shoots 720p video don’t expect ground shaking video from the 1 megapixel equivalent camera. If you are a music fan..then you will love Garage Band on the iPad 2..in a word it is “Awesome”.
Then there is Facetime..made possible by the addition of the front facing camera. This is one of those apps that, if you have a use for it such as distant parents, children or grandchildren you will love it and use a lot. Like the rear facing camera, the “just good enough” front facing camera seems to fight over its weight when used for Facetime. The quality is at least as good as a better webcam on Skype video.
A few little things..the speaker grill on the bottom is bigger and the result is noticeably better sound and the iPad 2 also adds the same three-axis gyroscope sensor shared by the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch which provides for better gaming performance. And if you want the advantage of a huge screen, a $45 Apple Digital AV Adapter will allow you to mirror whatever is on your iPad screen on your HD TV at 1080p (movies will play at 720p)..it is quite an experience to control a game like Real Racing HD with movements of your iPad but watch it on a wide scrcreen TV.
I did apply a ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD to the screen of my new iPad..I have used them for years on phones and my original iPad and feel it is a worthwhile investment. I did not spring for the Apple Smart Cover..I think it is wildly overpriced for a gadget that doesn’t do much more than cover the screen..I do like the magnetic switch to wake up the iPad 2 though. So, once again I am in the market for the “perfect” case. I ordered one from Hong Kong that looks like the Apple case for the original iPad but with the magnets for the wake up function..I’ll let you know what I think when I get it.
Overall the iPad 2 is an incrementally better, more mature device than the original..if you don’t currently own an iPad it is a good buy. For current iPad owners, if you MUST have the cameras then by all means upgrade. If the cameras aren’t a big deal, you may want to wait for the iPad 3 next year..or by Christmas if you believe some of the rumours.
The pricing for the iPad 2 is the same as for the original..$519 for the 16GB WiFi version up to $849 for the 64Gb WiFi & 3G version.