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: CheesySpam
Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi 32 GB
Date: 26/09/12, updated on 26/09/12 (21 review reads)
Advantages: Great design; sounds great with through headphones and speakers; powerful; easy to use.
Disadvantages: Somewhat dated interface; poor battery life; cameras; not much different from other iOS devices.
Nowadays, buying an Apple product such as the iPad comes down to whether you are against the company or not. The company used to be well-respected by many but has now gone downhill in terms of its reputation, with high pricing and lack of innovation being used as arguments against it. As such, not everyone will buy the iPad 2 after being told it's a good product. I can recommend it, however, to anyone who, a) doesn't absolutely hate Apple, and b) can afford it. The iPad 2 has its shares of flaws and doesn't outweigh the competition but it should be one of your first choices if you're buying a tablet.
Design is a very important part of a portable device and the iPad 2 doesn't fail to impress in this department. Looking at the front, it's very similar to the previous iPad and all of the iPhones. The 9.7" screen is surrounded by a black or white border, depending on what colour iPad you have chosen. Thankfully, the face isn't cluttered with buttons. The 'home button' is located below the screen, and the front camera above it, with a microphone ever-so-slightly visible above that. The headphone jack and Power button are found on the top, while the volume controls and mute/screen rotation lock buttons are on the right side of the device. In addition, you plug the charger into the port at the base.
Overall, it's a brilliant design. It's simple but effective. Adding to the neat design (in both a literal and colloquial sense) is how thin the device is. The iPad 2 is 0.34 inches deep and has curved edges, as opposed to the square edges that Apple opted for with the iPhone 4 and onwards. You could criticise the tablet for looking just about the same as every mobile device from the company released over the past few years, just bigger. It's a valid concern, maybe, but considering it's such a great design it isn't a massive problem for me.
The user interface, at the core, is exactly the same as all the 'iDevices' before it, with the exclusion of the non-Touch iPods. Using your finger, you can scroll through a series of pages, each one containing a maximum of twenty applications, or 'apps'. In my opinion Apple needs to make a new user interface if it wants to innovate. It has held up quite well over the years, though, and being very basic it is very accessible to anyone who isn't familiar with tablets or other portable devices. Saying that, the fact that you must hold down an app icon to move it or double tap the Home button to close apps means it's not a completely intuitive interface.
The screen is one of the standout features of the iPad 2 and to think that it has been improved upon in the third-generation iPad is astounding. With a resolution of 1024x768, the screen looks sharp and some games look stunning, with titles such as Infinity Blade II coming close to current-generation console graphics. The range of wallpapers available to you, from an image of Earth to a dark mountain, is a great showcase for the graphical power of the device. You can also personalise your iPad by saving images from the Internet or taking screenshots and using them as your wallpaper. It's worth noting that, naturally, games made for the iPhone are available but don't look anywhere near as good as native iPad apps. If used in fullscreen, they look very blurry, but you can reduce the size down to that of an iPhone if preferred.
Taking pictures on the iPad 2 isn't brilliant - the front and back cameras offer a relatively low 0.3 MP and 0.7 MP respectively. You'll need perfect lighting to get the best quality picture possible - neither too bright nor too dark. However, the fact that you can record in 720p HD using the back camera is great. The picture is slightly fuzzy, but the detail is there. On the other hand, the front camera uses more standard VGA while recording. The iPad 2 shouldn't be your camera of choice if you want to take pictures on a safari, then, but it's great if you want to record your child's last Christmas concert.
An app that comes installed on the iPad 2 is great if you want to take barmy photos of yourself or others, for the most part. In addition to the normal camera mode, you get thermal, mirror, X-Ray, kaleidoscope and light tunnel camera modes to play around with. In addition, you can use the squeeze, twirl or strech effects that can lead to some...interesting shots. It's not an excellent showcase for your iPad, but is a great bit of fun while it lasts.
Using the App Store, there are plenty of games available to you, whether free or not. I've listed a handful of my favourite apps available and given them a small review, so you know which apps to look for if you buy an iPad:
GRAND THEFT AUTO III (£2.99) - It's unfortunate that the Grand Theft Auto series is thought by many as only good for turning children into murderous psychopaths, because that isn't true. The third game in the series, this is the first GTA title to be played from a third-person viewpoint. The developers have done a great job of porting to the iPad. As a bonus, you can move on-screen buttons around to cater for your own wants. The only big flaw with the game is the shooting system. Hit the fire button, and the nearest person is locked onto and shot at. It means you might end up killing an old, innocent lady crossing the road instead of the guy you actually want dead.
MINECRAFT: POCKET EDITION (£4.99) - The portable version of Minecraft isn't up there with the PC version but there is plenty to get your hands on. Important features like smithing and crafting are present and correct, plus the unique graphical style is replicated here. Maybe one day it'll end up like the current PC version - the game is improved through updates, so your experience is improved without you having to pay a penny.
BASTION (£2.99) - I was incredibly happy when this game was announced for iOS (the operating system which the iPod Touches, iPhones and iPads use) as previously, it was only on PC and Xbox 360, the former of which I don't really use and isn't powerful enough to play today's PC games, and the latter of which I don't even have. There's always the issue of poor ports to touchscreen devices, but the end result here is excellent. Touchscreen controls have been implemented well, so they feel very natural to use. Admittedly, I haven't yet completed the game but the several hours I've played of it have been excellent. If you are interested but can't take my opinion for granted, as I haven't completed the game, there are plenty of reviews elsewhere.
ANGRY BIRDS (£0.69) - Owned and loved by many, this should be one of your first app choices if you enjoy a slice of casual gaming. The premise is extremely simple: you must launch birds into the air to kill some odd-looking pigs. You simply pull back on the bird and let go to launch it. Levels can become very hard later on and even some of the first levels are challenging - you need to be very precise and know where to aim. For all the content you're getting, it's more than worth your purchase.
TEMPLE RUN (free) - I'm sure most iPad users know that most free apps are cash-grabs. You are made to pay REAL money for certain things in-game. Temple Run is an exception to the rule. Although you can spend money towards coins, it's much more fun to actually play the game and earn coins. It's slower, but you're not spending your own money. The game utilizes the touchscreen and tilt functions of the iPad very well. Your character is running from demon monkeys, and you must dodge obstacles to survive in this endless running game. You simply swipe left or right to turn in the desired direction, swipe up to jump, swipe down to slide, and tilt the iPad left or right to move. As you run further you amass a higher score, and you can collect coins to buy character skins, wallpapers and power-ups such as a coin magnet or limited invincibility. Warning: it's very addictive!
Of course, games wouldn't be much fun if the device weren't powerful enough to run them. The iPad 2 uses a dual-core Apple A5 chip with 512 MB of RAM. Every game that I've played has run very smoothly, even some of the most graphically powerful games such as Infinity Blade and Real Racing. Rock Band: Reloaded is the only game I've played which has suffered from occasional lag. It's a fantastic tablet gaming device, then, which is highly recommended if you want to play games on the go.
My experience with an iPod Nano tells me that headphones are absolutely essential if you want to listen to music, because the audio didn't sound very good at all without them. The iPad 2 sounds great with or without headphones. Every album in my library, from Queens of the Stone Age's 'Songs for the Deaf' to Nirvana's 'In Utero' sounds brilliant both through the speakers and through headphones. The only downside to listening out loud is that the speakers are on the back of the iPad, so having the device on your lap isn't completely ideal - you'll need to hold it up or put it down on its face. Other than that small issue, it is great as a music player.
There are a number of issues I have with the iPad 2- these aren't major, but not ignorable either. My foremost worry is that the device may become dated in the near future; much like the original iPad is now. This is evident with the recent iOS 6 update, which was available but didn't make Siri available on iPad 2, while it was available with the update on certain iPhones and the third-generation iPad. In all honesty, I don't really care about Siri but either the hardware is becoming old or Apple is encouraging us to upgrade to the next iPad. We'll see in the future. Neither camera is great at taking screenshots which is no surprise considering the small MP sizes. The front camera isn't all that good at recording either, though this isn't too big an issue unless you want to film your face. The battery of the device is disappointing; on average it lasts the length of a day. An hour of gaming can suck the battery life down considerably, so think twice before buying if you think you are going to be playing games a lot on the device. Innovation is another flaw, as this is just a larger version of an iPhone but without the call function, and more/less powerful depending on which iPhone you are talking about.
There are plenty of good things about the iPad 2 that make up for the negatives. The design is excellent: simple but effective. It is definitely an eye-catcher, and looks very nice whether you have it in black or white. The screen is a definite 'wow' factor, as it looks very sharp and the graphical potential is very high. The back camera, although not perfect, can produce some nice looking videos provided it's the right time of day. This is one of the best devices available if you want a tablet gaming device. The App Store offers some brilliant games, with plenty of choice that rivals that of the Android Marketplace. There's something for everyone whether you want to play casually or play games for more experienced gamers. Music is a strong point of the device, too. Whether you're listening through headphones or not, music and games sound fantastic. The user interface is a mixed bag, but is possibly the most accessible and easy to navigate tablet out there at the moment. The iPad 2 isn't perfect, but the wealth of great features means that overall, it's a very good device and worth buying.
The 32 GB version of the iPad 2 is a great choice if you're going to install a lot of games and have lots of photos and videos. If not, my recommendation would be to choose the 16 GB version. The iPad 2 is admittedly quite expensive. At 16 GB it has dropped quite recently to the under-£300 mark, but purchase the 32 GB iPad 2 and the price goes up by around £100. If you want a tablet on a budget my recommendation would be to get the Google Nexus 7 tablet, which you can purchase from around £160.
This review is also on Ciao under my username YoshiCheesePuff.
Summary: One of the top-quality tablets on the market - steer clear if you're on a budget, though.
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