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Should you buy the iPad 2?

by Janani Krishnaswamy on 10 March 2011, 14:58

Tags: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

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Can you resist?

Apple's iPad 2 is expected to hit the US stores tomorrow, and reviewers in the US have managed to put it through its paces. Initial reviews have spotted a few flaws, however most of them feel its improvements outweigh the few drawbacks and omissions. Almost all of them agreed its advantage of being the ‘value-price leader in the market'.

The thinness and lightness of the iPad 2 has caught the fancy of almost all reviewers. Apple's design wizards have made the new iPad feel much' airier'; making its competitors' looks slightly bloated. No wonder it made Samsung feel a little inadequate.

The "improvement in thinness, weight and speed transforms the experience", says David Pogue of the NYT. "But the shocker here, though, is that the iPad 2 actually costs less than its comparably equipped Android rivals, like the Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab."

Like other reviewers, Jason Snell of MacWorld is impressed with the new iPad's battery life. "Despite the boosts in processing power... the iPad's all-day battery life, perhaps its killer feature, remains intact," he notes. As for software, the iOS 4.3 upgrade is "is hardly earth-shattering, but does offers a few nice new features", such as AirPlay wireless video streaming for third-party apps.

The iPad 2 does have some drawbacks. Almost all reviewers have had a pick on the iPad 2's mediocre cameras. Engadget's Joshua Topolsky's review is quite positive overall, except for the bit on the performance of the iPad cameras. As most reviewers would agree, he says the cameras are really pretty bad, "but it's clear that the sensors employed are not top shelf by any measure." In short, he says "it feels like the iPad 2 has a serious photon deficiency."

Walt Mossberg of AllThingsd says "Its cameras take mediocre still photos and Apple won't even reveal their megapixel ratings."

Lauding the speed and performance of the software and processor, Topolsky says "the iPad 2 gets a lot closer to the speed and fluidity you see on your laptop -- and it's obvious Apple is putting time and effort into making this complete."

Edward C Baig of USA Today sums up Apple's latest creation: "The iPad 2 doesn't deliver everything on your tablet wish list. But when it comes to the ever-evolving state of the art, iPad 2 is second to none." Like other reviewers, he notes the screen is no improvement on the first iteration - perhaps a target for the Apple engineers who are doubtless at work on iPad 3.

But after all their usual mandatory warnings, reviewers say the machine mostly rocks. But will the iPad 2 take on the slew of Android tablets? Although Apple might not keep its 90 percent share of the market, reviewers suggest it will maintain the top spot at least for now.  As David Pogue puts it, "the kicker, though, may be the price. Apple is at the top of its game these days - and at the top of the industry."

The coming months will probably witness a snowstorm of tablets that are meant to compete with the original iPad and now its sequel. And they'll all pack in more bells and whistles to outsmart Apple. As for existing iPad users, maybe you can donate your first model to a family member. That is, only if you really need the new capabilities the iPad 2 offers.


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