Product Type: Apple Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... a tablet would be useful for me. Apple products have a good repuatation and for good reason. The Ipad is so user friendly you can use it s... more
Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi 32 GB
Member Name: rosebud2001
Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi 32 GB
Advantages: Looks good, light and easy to carry, functional, starts up quickly
Disadvantages: Concerns over build quality, poor camera, software glitches can be annoying
I've owned an iPod Touch for a few years now and one of the things I love about it is its ability to work as a media player and a tool for surfing the web. When Apple announced the launch of the iPad I was intrigued as it struck me as being like a larger version of my beloved iPod Touch, which was something I had been hankering after.
~~The iPad ~~
I purchased my iPad 2 late last year while I was on holiday in Boston. I decided to get the wifi only version as I have a generous data allowance on my mobile phone and some simple research revealed I could use my phone as a wifi hotspot on the go. I felt this rendered 3G connectivity on the iPad redundant although it's also worth bearing in mind it does cost more to buy an iPad which has 3G capabilities.
The iPad I purchased is a 32GB version. My iPod Touch has a 64GB drive and I decided to retain that as my main music player. I wanted enough memory to enable me to upload films to my iPad for when I am travelling however so I felt 32GB was fine.
The iPad came with a connection lead and a plug. The plug was obviously an American one but you can purchase spare plugs in the UK which I did on my return home. The US one has already proved itself incredibly useful on my travels however.
You don't get a screen protector or a case with your iPad - you have to buy these separately. I purchased one of Apple's Smart Covers for my iPad 2 - these cost £35. Screen protectors can cost upwards of £15 in stores however so my advice is to check Amazon or eBay for these as they are far more cost effective that way.
The iPad 2 looks very sleek - mine is has a black frame around the screen and has a silver back. I like how the silver back doesn't have the hugely polished appearance on my iPod Touch as that's very difficult to keep looking decent for any length of time. The dimensions of the iPad 2 are 24.2 x 18.6 x .88 cm and the device measures a fairly lightweight 603 grammes.
~~Setting Up the iPad~~
When I got my iPad 2 I had it set up in the store so I could surf on it straight away. It wasn't until I got home that I set it up via my computer and I found the process fairly straightforward via Apple's iTunes softward. A new operating system had been released so I had to update that via my computer but it's worth mentioning you can do this wirelessly if you so desire.
The iPad 2 is also compatible with Apple's iCloud service which means you can access content saved there on your Apple device. I have yet to use this however.
I found the initial set up which included adding media to the device took about an hour or so although it's worth mentioning it takes longer for video content to upload than music.
I've had my iPad 2 for 5 months now and while Apple have since released the new iPad, I am happy to stick with this one for the time being, in spite of some issues.
Firstly I'll say what I love about my iPad. I love how easy it is to set up - unlike even my netbook, the iPad is set up and connected to wifi within a minute. The Safari browser is quick and rarely crashes, and I love how you can use apps as shortcuts to websites you use regularly, or for your e-mail.
I like the screen and the quality of resolution on it. I appreciate the new iPad claims to be even better in this regard but for now I am happy to watch downloaded film content on my iPad 2 as it's crystal clear. Even the speaker sound is good on the iPad 2 - it's certainly not hifi but nor is it tinny lo-fi as evidenced on the iPod Touch.
I have mixed feelings about the camera on the iPad 2. I love how you can use it for FaceTime, which turns your device into a video messaging service. I use this to annoy my daughter at bedtime (she really hates getting a call on her iPod Touch from mum checking to see if she's in bed or not!) or to chat with my sister on her iPhone.
The camera itself however is pretty woeful - it has no flash and the camera has a pretty low megapixel capability of just 1.0 MP but can handle HD images at 720p. The camera can handle video shots but once again the quality isn't really up to much. If light is good you will get some decent pictures and footage but in the dark it's hopeless. I should add the new iPad does have a far better camera so if that's important to you then you should consider it over the iPad 2.
The versatility of the device is probably what I love most about it. Not only can you listen to music or watch video, you can surf the web and read books. I have the Amazon Kindle app downloaded and it means I can download books to read on the iPad 2. I can use the calendar to keep note of important appointments and can send messages (not just video ones via Facetime) using one simple app.
It's easy to use with a Settings app located on the home screen and it's worth getting the hang of these as it's useful to know your way about if something goes wrong. It's also worth keeping an eye on features such as screen brightness which can eat into battery life. Battery life on the iPad 2 is brilliant - even if you are using it purely to watch video it should last 8 hours which makes it ideal for long flights. I can't imagine travelling without my iPad 2 now and certainly in comparison to my netbook it is far more lightweight yet has a far more efficient battery.
Unfortunately not everything is perfect in the world of the iPad 2.
I have had the occasional problem where it quite simply refuses to recognise my wifi network, despite having the correct network key stored in the system. This seems to be a fairly common problem and I have discovered that resetting your wireless router should solve it. Unfortunately when it's happened to me I have had to reset the wireless router several times before the issue is resolved.
More seriously however after just 2 months of ownership, my iPad developed a flaw on the screen which looked like a dead pixel only worse, as the area affected was larger than a pixel. Apple apparently suggest that the odd dead pixel is something of a hazard on iPad screens, so I was a bit nervous of taking this to the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store but I did feel strongly that this sort of flaw isn't acceptable on a product that costs over £400.
I was informed it's actually a flaw with the LED backlight which occasionally burns out and "bleeds", leaving an area on the screen which is much brighter than the rest of it. Because my iPad 2 was still under guarantee (and it's to Apple's credit that they honour the one year guarantee irrespective of which country you bought your device in) I was given a new iPad 2 there and then. I've had my replacement iPad for three months now and no such flaw has developed I am glad to say.
My other gripe is with glitches in the software. Apple regularly issue software updates to their operating system and when I did my first update I noticed that the app I used for Twitter would open and then immediately crash. Furthermore I couldn't add contacts to my device, which rendered FaceTime completely redundant. Another visit to the Genius Bar resulted in a complete reset of my iPad, something I wasn't too bothered about as I had backed up all content to my desktop computer at home.
Unfortunately what I wasn't told was when I got home and added all the content on again, the same problem would return, which meant I had to completely wipe my iPad twice in one day and then start all over again adding content. It takes far longer to do this at home too as the Genius Bar staff have more powerful tools to speed the process up.
These may sound like minor niggles but I reckon most people will agree that there is nothing more irritating than a fault on a computing device which isn't easily resolved. I can forgive the software glitches more than the physical flaw on the screen but only because Google searches can more often than not throw up a solution. It does worry me that flaws with the screens seem to be fairly common and if this flaw were to develop outside Apple's one year warranty then you would be on your own when it comes to fixing it.
It's also worth bearing in mind the extra cost of accessories for your iPad. I generally cannot use mine without the Smart Cover, which not only protects the iPad when it's not in use but also works as a stand for the device which I find makes it much easier to use when sitting at a desk. Also, for all Apple claim the screen is fingerprint and scratch resistant, having used it for a week without a screen protector I was appalled at the fingerprints on show and opted not to take a chance in getting it scratched.
Finally, for all the functions available on the iPad 2, I cannot find a decent app which can be used for typing up documents. There are several commercially available but the general consensus is they aren't actually very good, and until something decent appears on the market I have decided to hold off buying a keyboard for my iPad, even though I do find touch typing on it fiddly at times.
I love my iPad 2 and couldn't imagine life without it now - it goes with me whenever I travel, and is a bedside companion now for surfing the web, reading books and watching video and TV content. I love the speed with which it opens up, and the smooth and speedy manner in which the software operates. Certainly when I compare crash prone Firefox on my desktop computer to Safari, which is far more reliable and can seamlessly take me on a tour of the world wide web, I know which I prefer. The iPad 2 is also incredibly easy to use and when my technophobe brother in law finally got home internet he opted for the iPad 2 over a desktop or laptop computer.
I would be a liar if I were to say the iPad 2 is perfect however, because it isn't. Aesthetically it does look wonderful and let's be honest here - Apple products are desirable because of their aesthetics - however I have some reservations about build quality, and of course with this being an Apple product the entire system is closed. This is fine when your item is under warranty but the warranty itself is pretty short for such an expensive item - one year in comparison to the standard 3 years you can get for almost every other electronic brand.
The software on the iPad is generally good but the annoying little glitches you can sometimes get via updates does spoil the experience. Generally I would say that current platform iOS5 is better than Android for browsing the web on wifi (using my Android phone for comparison) but there isn't a lot in it and my concerns over build quality and short guarantees mean that my next tablet may well be an Android one.
For now however I am happy to stick with Apple for my tablet computer because for all the little gripes it's just a really lovely and functional gadget which can keep me entertained both at home and away.
Summary: My favourite way to surf the web
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