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iPad 2 review (after 6 days of use)

It's here.

PS: I receive a significant amount of Japanese traffic to the blog. Hope all the readers and their loved ones are safe. 

 

A5 processor, better graphics performance, twice the ram, 33% thinner, available in white, smart covers and FaceTime capable. This isn't just an iPad with cameras.


The box. Observation: The new packaging for the iPad and iPhone both show the devices in perspective. It's probably because a direct front shot would make them so similar to their predecessors. Putting the devices on an angle also emphasizes the new features - a steel frame on the iPhone, and a thinner body for the iPad.

 

The presentation is almost identical to the previous generation. Apple has added a soft lining to inside the front cover of the box though. Attention to detail.


I've wanted a white iPhone 4 since launch day, and since that never happened, I got the white iPad.


This is really gorgeous.


The white is slightly creamy in color. Looks great.

 


The FaceTime camera and light sensor (hard to make out in the photo).


It's amazing how much influence color has on the mood of a device.

 

The iPad 2 now features a flat back.


The button and rear camera layout. I really like the new hold switch, the older one was triggered too easily and had some play. The new one is much more "iPhone 4".


New speaker grill design. Don't be mislead by the looks though, the speaker performance seems to be almost identical.


Apple has also ditched the flat surfacing around the device. The new tapered design feels much better in hand, despite how thin the device is.


I picked up a blue polyurethane Smart Cover.

 

The smart cover completely changes how we interact with the iPad.

 

As you probably know already, the Smart Cover is attached to the iPad using magnets. The cover has plastic feet that prevent scuffs.

 

The magnets are aligned in a specific way so the case automatically returns to its normal spot.


Closed position. The blue one is made from polyurethane, which feels much like the old iPad case. However, thanks to the light color, it doesn't attract dust like crazy. The major downfall of this case is the lack of back protection. Although Aluminum is pretty durable, it still gets marred pretty easily, which could be a concern to people.


The killer feature is how the iPad automatically unlocks itself when you lift the case - like a refrigerator.


And it also rolls to make a stand. The stand is pretty stable as it is held in place using magnets. The design is quite similar to the Incase Convertible Magazine Jacket.


The stand's angle is a bit too vertical in my opinion. By the way, Apple has added Photo Booth to the iPad 2. I'll probably never use it but it's something people are going to love. Oh, and how are the cameras? Pretty bad. This is not really an issue though; they really are made for FaceTime and nobody takes photos using a tablet.


Flip the iPad around and you have the perfect typing angle.

 

Let's talk about performance. The iPad 2 is fast; really fast. When Apple said that it was twice as fast as the original, they were bullshitting. Although I can't quantify how much faster the device is, it makes a huge difference in everyday use. Every app loads almost instantaneously and operates with no hesitation. This change is most noticeable when loading something like iBooks, which used to take too long for comfort.

 

This photo really says a lot about the changes Apple has made to the second device.

 

With the original iPad.

 

When I picked up the white one, everyone asked if the bezel was distracting. I personally don't mind it but as you can see from the photo above, the black iPad does have a more "HDTV" like feel. The small concern with the white is the black frame around the LCD, which could be off-putting to some people. Personally, I don't mind it, and it reminds me of the good old days of the 5G iPod and iMac G4.


A completely different beast. The old iPad almost looks like the internal battery is expanding.

 

The new iPad is 33% thinner than the old at 8.8mm.

One of my annoyance with the new iPad is the dock connector design. To keep the device super thin, Apple has literally shaved away at the bottom wall of the dock connector port. This makes it much more difficult to insert the cable. Time for magsafe cables I think.

 

However, Apple did do an awesome job in thinning down the device. It's even slimmer than the iPhone 4, which used to be the thinnest smartphone in the market

 

It's a bit crazy how thin it is.


Of course, FaceTime is a major addition in this iteration. It's really a great piece of software, and the iPad is the perfect form factor for video chatting. I just wish I could Skype.

 

The white iPad almost makes it "feel" more like paper when reading.

 

The display seems to be the same as the old. It does appear to be brighter but that may be the bezel creating an optical illusion.

 

After almost a week of use, I've really come to love this device. Here are the biggest reasons for my love:

- The thickness. Although this may seem like an aesthetic improvement, This makes a big different if you use the iPad to take notes like me.

- The Smart Cover is an obvious selling point of the device. There has been much debate on how to interact with tablets. I think Apple has made a winner. It really is genius.

- The speed. The original iPad just felt a bit too slow to be using for an extended period of time. This should seriously not be underestimated, as it is starting to feel like a no-compromise "computer".

- It's white. I love white things.


We live in the future.