Product Type: Apple Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Just when we thought it couldn't get any better
Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi 64 GB
Member Name: steve4oo
Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi 64 GB
Advantages: Thin, fast, light, easy to use.. The list could go on!
Disadvantages: Arguably the price
When I first heard the pre release material for the iPad 2 I just couldn't wait. If you have read any of my other reviews, you will notice I am a loyal Apple fanatic and have bought nearly all of the products they have released over the last few years, including the original iPad. Initially I did wonder what on earth they could add to such a unique product to make it even better and I held that thought until the release date. Guess what? I purchased it. As usual the anticipation for the product was unreal with millions of people purchasing it on the first day of release (me being one of them!) and I made a particularly special effort to get up early and join the queue at my local Apple store.
When I bought the original iPad I decided on the 16GB wifi spec, however I did regret that decision somewhat as I was conscious of running out of memory (... even though 16GB is a lot of memory, I had a LOT of things on there, app here, app there, apps everywhere!) and of the fact I couldn't use it on the go constantly if there wasn't a wifi connection available. So from that I learnt, and this time decided to purchase the 32GB wifi and 3G model for a whopping £579. I also now had the decision of colour as this time Apple have produced both a white and a black one and since I have a black iPhone I thought I better buy a white iPad.
On my drive home after visiting the Apple store I had to wait a whole hour before I could get into the box - possibly the longest drive of my life. The packaging as usual is so simple yet exciting with a picture of the iPad 2 on the front. Inside you will find the device itself as well as some manuals, and a cable for charging and syncing. The device is cleverly packaged and doesn't have too much excess material on the box it comes in to go to waste, very clever Apple. The iPad is easy to remove from the box and you can start playing almost straight away.
The set up has been made very simple and efficient for those of us, like me, who absolutely hate it and just want to have a go on the new toy! It couldn't be easier really - you take the USB cable from the box and sync it with your computer. If you don't already have iTunes you will asked to download the latest version, which is free, then each time you connect your iPad to your computer, if there is new software available for either your iPad or iTunes you will be notified and given the option to download it. It will take no longer than a few minutes to complete the set up process as you have to register the product as if you choose to, sync your music etc. You can also leave it plugged into your computer to charge fully before use as that is supposed to elongate their battery life, but I don't know how true that is!
So, on the all new iPad 2 Apple have introduced 2 cameras - one for photo and video of which the quality is good but I think there is room for improvement and a camera on the front for FaceTime as seen on the iPhone 4 which also could be improved in terms of quality but I wont be using either of them much, only for the fun aspect and nothing serious. Now with the addition of cameras, PhotoBooth can be used as seen on MacBooks which allows you to take photos and put different effects on them which I found really funny and enjoyable the first few times I did it. I found this product differs from the original iPad in that it feels quite a lot different to hold - Apple said they had made it thinner and lighter and they weren't joking. Sometimes I would have to rest my original iPad on something while using it as it hurt my hands to hold it in a certain way, but with this new product its easier than ever to hold, improving usability. You also have the features of the first iPad including, a rotation aspect which changes the screen horizontal or vertical depending on the way you hold it and you also have the option to lock it either horizontal or vertical, you can listen to music, you can surf the web even faster this time and of course, you have the option to download millions of applications from the App Store to customise your iPad to suit you. There are a whole range of things you can download including games, word applications to type documents, TV guides - theres an App for everything. While a lot of them are free, some do charge a small fee for a download but if you're unsure whether you will like it or not you can read reviews on the App store for each individual App to help you make up your mind.
There are so many more features that are somewhat similar to the original iPad, but that make it increasingly likely that I could use this device as a full time laptop instead of just an 'inbetween' device which it has often been labelled as it is neither a phone or a laptop, but simply a product of convenience. The software has also been improved so it allows you to multi task - if you're using an App or email for example and you press the home button twice fairly quickly you'll be presented with a bar along the bottom with a list of other things to switch to on the iPad such as camera or iTunes making it easier to navigate from one part of the iPad to another. Apple have added their own addition of software features to it such as iMovie, Garage band, Keynote and Numbers to name just a few - more information can be found at http://www.apple.com/uk/ipad/.
**THE EXPERIENCE OF USING IT**
As I already mentioned, it is so easy to hold and use with the back of the device having a finish it that makes it feel as it you have some grip - so you wouldn't drop it easily. It is noticably thinner than before, by 33% to be precise! As well as lighter by up to 15% and faster. You can surf the internet at the speed of a laptop, maybe even quicker and the size of the product makes it so easy and convenient to do so. It is so easy to use that even those who are not familiar which technology and the way it works would not struggle with it at all. To turn it on you simply hold down the sleep button on the top right hand corner and to put it to sleep to press it again. To turn it off you hold the sleep button down and wait for the screen to go black and slide the red bar across. You will find a headphone jack at the top left hand corner of the device so you can listen to your music, but it also has speakers so you can play music out loud. Once you start to find your way round it you can change the wallpaper and lock screen picture to either one of the default pictures that are already uploaded onto the device or a picture you have taken yourself which makes the iPad really personal to you. Battery life was a slight problem with the original iPad for me as while I didn't use it constantly it would need to be charged daily - this one however lasts a good 8 hours of use without needing to be charged, making it more reliable while you're on the go.
As always, Apple have designed a range of extra products to enhance the use of the iPad 2. My personal favourite which I bought when I purchased my iPad was the smart cover - it comes in a range of colours from black to blue and has a really clever concept. It has been designed as a multi functional product, acting as a screen protector, a product to 'wake' the iPad 2 from sleep mode and to use as a stand. It has magnetics inside it that somehow cleverly connect to the iPad so that if its in sleep mode with the cover on it and you want to use it, you literally lift one edge of the cover and the iPad will be ready to use. Similarly if you use it and want to put it into 'sleep' mode, you put the cover on and it will automatically sleep. The magnets inside the cover means that they attract to allow the cover to role up into a stand, so you can have the iPad in different positions. They come in either leather, which are £59, or polyurethane at £35, which I opted for in pink and it looks great against my white iPad! Also available is a wireless keyboard which is great if you're not used to, or don't like the concept of touch screens. There is also a camera connection kit, an Apple dock to use for syncing or charging and an AV Adapter that allows you to connect iPad to your TV.
If you haven't tried the iPad 2 yet, next time you pass the store make sure you pop in. I was unsure whether Apple could surpass the original iPad but yet again they have done things I didn't expect to make the product all the more enjoyable. Whatever you plan to use it for, be it education, business or simply for fun, I'm sure you wont be disappointed with what this has to offer. The price might seem a lot if you're just paying for the convenience factor, but when you use the product everything it has to offer comes together to create much more than that - there is more to it than what you may think. Congratulations Apple, you've done it again.
Summary: Better than the original, a clever little device.
|Ease of use:|
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