Product Type: Apple Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Should this be the apple of my i?
Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi 64 GB
Member Name: kevin121
Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi 64 GB
Date: 22/08/12, updated on 02/03/13 (132 review reads)
Advantages: Has 64 GB! Intuitive; Ease of use; It works as quickly as a flash of lightning...
Disadvantages: ... although it doesn't support Flash. Expensive.
I bought my 64gb iPad 2 online from Apple UK for £399. As the second generation is not the latest model they are marketed as a clearance product under Special Deals. A bargain in my opinion, although it isn't perfect.
The hardware and software...
.. could both do with some improvements.
The iPad 2 only has 512MB of RAM. Although it's an improvement on the first iPad it still seems remarkably low to me. In practice this means that the iPad doesn't retain anything which can make life easier such as passwords or usernames. It might sound like a minor irritation but if I log on to Ciao three times in one day, having to type in my details every time goes into the realms of tedium and out the other side. Considering the iPhone 4 also has a memory of 512MB I would have thought this iPad should - and could - be sporting at least 1GB.
The quality of its two cameras. In all fairness an improvement on the first iPad which only had the one camera, this has both a rear camera and front facing one. Quite nifty in theory although in practice they'll present you with rather drab looking results. The rear camera with an HD lens is perhaps only a single mega pixel shooter at best and the front one is a lowly VGA camera. Waving the iPad 2 around like a camera is inconvenient and will make you look stupid, though. I recently saw someone at an RHS garden waving his iPad around taking photos of the plants. Not only did he look daft, but I'm sure the results would have been disappointing. Video footage fairs slightly better than still shots though and anyone that uses Skype to make video calls might be pleasantly surprised with the FaceTime app on here.
Counting pixels. The main selling point of the latest iPad which came out in Spring is it's Retina Display. This has doubled the number of pixels from the 1024 x 768 that my iPad has. While the display quality on mine is perfectly acceptable and I don't have any problems with it (even when reading lots of e-books) I'm sure that Apple could have upped the pixel density from the first iPad without too much problem.
Clean cut and good looking? Most people are probably drawn into buying an iPad simply because it is an iPad. The innards might sound hit and miss but aesthetically the iPad 2 is a gem; it looks good and feels lovely to hold. The back has a brushed aluminium surface which my fingers just glide over and the front has a glossy bezel surround. As with all the other iPads there is only a choice of a white or black surround. Personally I think the white one makes it look like a kitchen appliance so I chose black.
It also only has four buttons. The home button which together with the pinprick sized camera are the only things that sully the front. The back houses it's single speaker and the second camera. The miniscule edging is busier with the power button and a headphone socket on the left and the volume button and a rotate switch which prevents the iPad from constantly switching between portrait and landscape modes on the top. I tend to use my iPad permanently in landscape mode so the latter isn't a button I use often. There's also the standard connector for recharging in the edging on the right.
Something so minimalist could easily look cheap or poorly presented, but no. All told I think it looks svelte and well crafted.
What's in a name? My username as you may have noticed is 'kevin121'. The software on here doesn't like small k Kevin and when I first started tapping the details in it would stubbornly sneak in a capital k. Which Dooyoo in their wisdom won't recognise as being my username. With my desktop this isn't a problem as after enough use it can remember words as you have typed them. The only work around I could find was to add 'kevin121' into the shortcuts on the keyboard settings so that whenever I start typing 'Kev' (as iPad deems it) my username pops up as it should.
Aside from the above, I can't fault the iOS 5.1 operating system my iPad uses. It's incredibly intuitive and easy to get to grips with. Web browsing is not only lightning fast but it displays web pages accurately. It's also far less glitchy than my desktop.
~ Ease of use. ~
Tune in, switch on and surf, in a nutshell. The first time I switched this on it was a case of linking it to my wifi connection (which went a damn sight smoother than setting up my wireless printer) and I could start surfing almost immediately. The battery was shown as being around 86% and so for the first couple of days I didn't even need to recharge it. Apple reckons the battery will last around 10 hours, which in my experience is accurate.
It came pre-installed with the latest operating system software, so I didn't need to immediately update something that was already old hat.
There's a legitimate argument that Apple is too closed a brand and ought to play fairer with its competitors. Frankly I only have the vaguest insight into anything dreary like hardware or software systems, but I suspect that in having one company create both, it surely serves the customer better if the purpose made browser is far less prone to crash than any others (I'm thinking of you, Dell and Firefox. Or IE with just about any PC).
If that's the case, that could explain why I still marvel at how quickly I can get online, especially in comparison with my desktop using the same wifi connection. I can count in seconds the time it takes to get online when I switch this on, whereas my trusty old Dell probably takes the best part of four minutes. And don't get me started about the desktop's 'Not Responding' messages.
~ User friendliness ~
Having read this far you could be forgiven for thinking I find the iPad 2 disappointing. In truth I don't. To redress the balance I thought I'd mention some interesting good points.
Anyone who finds typing with one finger on the touchscreen keyboard difficult can divide the keyboard into two. To use a split keyboard you simply need to touch and hold the keyboard key, slide your finger to 'Split', then release. It's perhaps aimed at younger folk than me who spend loads of time texting on their phone, but even I find this useful as the iPad is light enough to lift and hold in both hands and type using both thumbs. Thank goodness for opposable thumbs.
Those with hearing difficulties can (via the settings and then accessibility option) have a speaking voice read any text on the screen to them. All you need do is highlight the text in question. The voice sounds suspiciously like 'Daniel', the man used by the Siri software on the latest iPhone. I don't have a hearing impediment, but for fun I sometimes select, say, a paragraph of text in a review and opt to have it spoken to me rather than reading it, just for the sheer heck of it. I could, if I were so inclined have every Dooyoo review spoken to me rather than read it myself. 'Daniel' certainly has an impressive vocabulary and hardly ever fluffs his lines. It's even possible to change the speed with which he talks (the tortoise and the hare symbols should be self explanatory). I really must get out more.
Likewise, for anyone with a visual impairment, it's possible in the same menu to alter the screen from having the standard dark print on a light background to light print on a dark background. Again, not something I use out of necessity but when I flick that on or off it does make any photos or visual images somewhat more interesting.
~ Scary monsters, super creeps ~
Dickens, Austin, Emily Bronte, Kipling and HG Wells all have works available for free on the iBooks app. If you haven't been exposed to these authors before, now is a good a time as any to whet your appetite.
Shelley's Frankenstein is also available for free and yet to read about that creepy Grey monster created by E L James will cost you £3.99.
If you decide after a few virtual pages you don't like any book then it's simple enough to bin it. The Sayings of Confucius at nearly 300 pages long (and with no snappy one liners I could use at dinner parties) wasn't a keeper.
For those with a much loved Kindle device I say you can keep your Fred because this is Ginger Rogers. I have downloaded the free Kindle app and so have access to that library yet on a larger screen which I feel is easier on the eye. My iPad should be dancing backwards and wearing high heels.
~ Where it shines ~
The speed in which I can be online, and the general responsiveness when I'm surfing. One of the most important aspects for me.
Printing is painless. The iPad 2 can be linked to any printer deemed Air Print enabled. My HP Photosmart printer is up to the job and once the iPad had quickly identified my printer we were good to go. Again, something which seems to work more quickly via the iPad than my desktop.
It has the most extensive and far-reaching application library of any tablet, something that should be borne in mind by anyone considering an Android alternative. I know precious little about software design but the lack of dedicated applications - and so many software designers choosing the Apple path - could be one of the reasons why the likes of a Samsung Galaxy tablet aren't as commercially successful yet.
The battery life. In part this is due to its lack of supporting Flash which will drain any battery, but it does last for the 10 hours as promised by Apple. The lack of Flash support doesn't bother me; if there is something that I want to view then I'll use my desktop. The difference it helps give the iPad 2 in longevity puts it head and shoulders above other tablets and in real terms it can be the entire length of a film.
With the 64 gb version another strength is its memory size. There are probably as many pandas in Scotland as there are tablets with this capacity. I don't need a huge amount of storage at the moment but given that software is constantly updated and getting ever more sophisticated I would recommend buying the biggest and best you can afford. Also there is no means of adding storage later via a memory card so what you buy is what you will have to live with. A quick check of my usage reveals that 5 gb is pre allocated to cloud storage (not something I use yet) and I have barely scratched the surface with only 3 gb used so far. Plenty more room for e-books and itunes stuff then.
~ Where it lacks lustre ~
Although I really love the simplicity of using this, tasks such as uploading reviews to Dooyoo are a real struggle. For example, to swap between two applications that are running simultaneously you simply double-click the home button but you can't view the two apps side by side in separate windows (perhaps Bill Gates has a monopoly on that?).
The inbuilt dictionary is strange and more importantly inflexible. If the dictionary offers a word which isn't the one you want as you're busy tapping away, to cancel the suggestion you need to finish typing the word and click on the small X which pops up before you move on to the next word. If by accident you complete the word and then press the space bar, you will find the likes of "I'm surprised" becomes "I slurps irked".
Copying and Pasting. While Apple is keen to assist those with hearing or visual impediments, there's no such help for the impatient user. Usually I will write and store reviews on my desktop and then copy and paste it onto the website later. Easy peasy on there but oh so fiddly on here. To start with you have to hold your finger on text to highlight it. This brings up some tiny markers which you have to move around to highlight the exact text you want. This almost requires the precision and concentration of a brain surgeon just to drag the markers to where I want them. For those of you with chubby fingers I say Good Luck.
~ Are we there yet? ~
Not if the 'there' in question is a Post PC world that Steve Jobs wanted. Despite the niggles which might put some people off, it doesn't just feel like a good tablet but rather the only tablet worth buying. Does it outperform my desktop? Yes, in some respects. It's far more responsive and has a speed which feels like it's trying to pre-empt me sometimes. There's no lag whatsoever whether I'm surfing, reading an ebook or watching video content. IOS 5.1 is intuitive and the menus are all easy to access too.
For most of the time that I spend online this is as perfect a device as anything can be. It's far more suitable for long surfing sessions than a teeny mobile phone, and less clunky than any laptops. Will it replace my desktop? Not yet, no. For a start Pages, which is the iPad equivalent to Word isn't highly rated and what with the difficulties copying and pasting how will I ever post any more reviews?
What should concern Apple isn't how to make next year's model ever more stylish, but to concentrate on some of the existing shortcomings. Aside from the copying and pasting I can't manage basic functions like adding attachments to an email. Perhaps there is a way and I haven't found it yet, but that is the kind of shortcoming that Apple need to address if they want to stay ahead of their competitors, never mind making PC's a thing of the past.
Summary: Probably the best Tablet out there. Very responsive although not without some shortcomings.
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