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Product:  iPad 2
Company: Apple
Wi-Fi Only ($499/16 GB, $599/32 GB, $699/64 GB)
Wi-Fi + 3G ($629/16 GB, $729/32 GB, $829/64 GB)
Review By: John Quigley

Being a tablet user for years, I have always been looking for the combination of software and hardware in a tablet configuration that would give me the technical edge over my peers.  I wanted a device that would allow me to be able to handle my duties (Sr Network Admin, Project Manager, Exchange Admin, MS Engineer, Technical Analyst, and ‘The IT Go to Guy’), quickly and efficiently.  I have had everything from a Thinkpad Tablet (T40) to Toshiba laptops/convertibles, Panasonic, and several others, always wanting more power to run the next set of applications that would make my job easier.  Applications with functionality similar to Visio, OneNote were what I was targeting for my desires in a tablet.  Most systems suffered from lack of battery life or network connection, holding back overall functionality and usability. When Apple introduced the first iPad, I took a look and tried it, it was ok, but the applications were not there to be a series contender for me at the time, I still checked it out and found that the slate of applications for the IOS were not mature enough for my needs.  With the release the iPad 2, Apple is intending to change the playing field, expanding the user base and keeping the lead at 90% share in the tablet market.   There are several changes/upgrades to the iPad 2, faster processor and dual cameras, better speaker, slimmer case and less overall system weight.  These changes along with some maturity in the apps start to make this more appealing choice to many people, if they can find one. 

With all the hype and media coverage, you would have thought the iPad 2 is the ultimate device, and that not having one is just lacking in understand of what the iPad 2 can do for you.  They claim it is the next great thing next to sliced bread, with no limits, at least that is what the kids at the apple store were telling everyone.    


  • Go, gamers, go.
    With up to nine times the graphics performance, gameplay on iPad is even smoother and more realistic. And faster graphics help apps perform better — especially those with video. You’ll see it when you’re scrolling through your photo library, editing video with iMovie, and viewing animations in Keynote.

  • Battery life keeps on going. So you can, too.
    Even with the new thinner and lighter design, iPad has the same amazing 10-hour battery life.1 That’s enough juice for one flight across the ocean, or one movie-watching all-nighter, or a week’s commute across town. The power-efficient A5 chip and iOS keep battery life from fading away, so you can get carried away.

  • Two cameras. And a big hello to FaceTime for iPad.
    You’ll see two cameras on iPad — one on the front and one on the back. They may be tiny, but they’re a big deal. They’re designed for FaceTime video calling, and they work together so you can talk to your favorite people and see them smile and laugh back at you.3 The front camera puts you and your friend face-to-face. Switch to the back camera during your video call to share where you are, who you’re with, or what’s going on around you. When you’re not using FaceTime, let the back camera roll if you see something movie-worthy. It’s HD, so whatever you shoot is a mini-masterpiece. And you can take wacky snapshots in Photo Booth. It’s the most fun a face can have.

  • LED-backlit display.
    The view is amazing.
    iPad is one big, beautiful display — 9.7 inches of high-resolution photos, movies, web pages, books, and more. LED backlighting makes everything you see remarkably crisp, vivid, and bright. Even in places with low light, like an airplane. And there’s no wrong way to hold iPad. It’s designed to show off everything in portrait and landscape, so with every turn (even upside down), the display adjusts to fit. Because it uses a display technology called IPS (in-plane switching), it has a wide, 178° viewing angle. Hold it up to someone across the room, or share it with someone sitting next to you, and everyone gets a brilliant view.

  • Multi-Touch.
    Everything’s at your fingertips.
    Technology is at its best when it feels completely natural, almost like there’s no technology at all. That’s Multi-Touch on iPad. You use your fingers to do everything, so everything you do — surfing the web, typing email, reading books, and swiping through photos — is easier and a lot more fun. How does it work? When your fingers touch the display, it senses them using electrical fields. Then it instantly transforms your taps, swipes, pinches, and flicks into lifelike actions. Just like that.

  • iOS 4.
    The world’s most advanced mobile operating system.
    iOS 4 is the operating system for iPad (along with iPhone and iPod touch). It lets you browse, read, and see everything just by touching the screen. It includes all the powerful, innovative, and fun built-in apps you use every day, many times a day. And it’s the platform on which more than 65,000 other amazing apps have been created for iPad. It’s highly secure, stable, and responsive, and it’s made to work seamlessly with the iPad hardware. iOS 4 is the reason no other device has yet come close to iPad.

  • Instant On.
    The fun starts fast.
    Pick up your iPad, press the Home button, and it wakes from sleep instantly. That’s because iPad features fast, efficient, and reliable flash storage that lets you access data quickly. So everything effortlessly springs to life.

  • Wi-Fi and 3G.
    Two great ways to stay connected.
    Every iPad is built with advanced 802.11n wireless technology. It automatically finds Wi-Fi networks, which you can join with a few taps. iPad is also available with 3G connectivity on either AT&T or Verizon Wireless networks. So if you’re somewhere without Wi-Fi, such as outdoors on a camping trip or on the road, you can still surf the web, check email, or get directions.

  • Gyro, accelerometer, and compass.
    iPad knows your every move.
    With the built-in accelerometer, you can rotate iPad to portrait or landscape, or even upside down, and whatever you’re watching, reading, or seeing adjusts to fit the display. And now the accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, and compass all work together. They sense which direction iPad is heading and how it’s moving. So games, maps, and other apps know your every twist, turn, tilt, and 360. It’s an epic win for gaming. And it’s just the beginning of better-than-ever iPad apps.

  • Video mirroring.
    What you do is what they see.
    Video mirroring is new for iPad and for every app, web page, presentation, video, movie, or photo you want to show a big audience. Just plug in the Apple Digital AV Adapter or Apple VGA Adapter (sold separately) and your HDTV or projector becomes a bigger version of your iPad. One plug, that’s it. Everyone sees what’s on your display — even when you rotate iPad from portrait to landscape or zoom in and out on photos.



The pricing structure is similar to the original iPad, by $100 on the base price to the previous.  The base models available are 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB.  The 3G option adds about $130 to the cost, and there is 2 different AT&T 3G services or Verizon 3G service for the iPad 2 models.  The AT&T GSM is unlocked, allowing different providers for data, but honestly after using 3G, GSM speeds of 100 kbps down and 25 kbps up are not even close to the 1-5mbps down and .3-.9 mbps up. The iPad 2 starts off a little lighter and thinner, with a solid feeling.  The unit feels better in the hand, easier to use and carry around.  It actual feels stiffer than the iPad 1, yet is 33% thinner.   According to Apple, the iPad 2 is lighter, and the glass is thinner, but overall is stronger than original one.  It shows some of the classic Apple design, looking slim and modern.  (Pictures similar to .  


One major difference with the iPad 2 is the new 1 GHz dual core processor and video processor subsystem.  This change is highly noticeable not only in the basic operations of the unit, but many of the applications. Applications that were sluggish now preform at very usable speeds.  Multi-tasking and message queuing no longer seems to bring the iPad to its knees. In the first generation of the iPad, it was not hard to lock the unit up with several message notifications from different applications at the same time.  The system would return, at some point, but it could take two plus minutes on the original iPad. With the new iPad 2, it is not that easy to replicate this system freeze.   Watching video, even HD video is clearer and it looks really good without any noticeable choppiness or pixilating.  I ripped several Blue Ray movies and TV shows at the highest quality, MP4, and was not disappointed watching them on the unit.  Option 1080p out cable connector is available for the iPad 2 for external display.

Operating System

The IOS is starting to show signs of maturity, with IOS 4.3. Many of functions and features are similar to IPhone and other devices, just missing a few things that are needed on the iPad 2. Notable changes are the improved IPOD functions, where the interface is actual pleasing and easy to use. Another change is the interface for mail, the features and functions are much cleaner and easier to use over the iPhone. One small thing that needs to be improved to bring this in a business class device is the icons. Too many of them honestly are cartoonish and I believe the main reason for Apple to add the folder feature to the IOS, to allow the users to hide the icons that they don’t want their friends to know they have installed. IOS 4.3.1 addresses some of the issues, related to battery and networking, or at least that is the current claim is.  Networking fix is not complete at this point. Many times when switching between the 3G or various Wi-Fi connections, the iPad 2 will return a network error, and will do this for 2-3 minutes. The only work around that I have found is to disable the wireless services when I don’t need them, and re-enable them when I do and wait 2-3 minutes. Another major bug that has only gotten worst is the picture sync bug.  Photos are normally synced via ITunes, but there is not guarantee that this will always work. I experience several combinations, some pictures sync, some random folders, but never everything selected.  The sync will show the pictures being copied, but they are not viewable on the iPad. This bug appeared when IOS v4 was released, and the one possible fix is to move the pictures to a fat32 partition, and that may solve the issue, but it doesn’t always work, and in many cases doesn’t do anything but waste time. Another is to wipe the iPad photo cache or wipe the iPad, and start over again, not always guaranteeing results. This is hard one to bypass as an issue, as the iPad 2 offers the Photo album feature including from the lock screen.  It would be nice to have a photo collection that is displayable and useable by the owner. Apple is attributing the bug to Windows 7-64bit, on NTFS partitions, and potentially related to USB ports (power and implementation of standards), my system is a Macbook Pro 17”  i7 unit.  After completely wiping out my ITunes configuration and rebuilding the library, I was able to get the photos to sync over.   Lot of work to get things working.


The addition of the cameras to the iPad 2 definitely adds to the value of the system. The rear camera does a good job with pictures and videos with good quality, it is claimed to be 720p quality, 30 fps, and 5x digital zoom, where the front camera is VGA quality and 30 fps, both with audio and geotagging. The photo app is lacking a bit, but this is where 3rd party apps shine.  Gorillacam is a good replacement for the default application, but the free version is missing a few parts, but overall has a lot of benefits over the built in app, but is not a native iPad app. The front facing camera is good for video conferencing and self-pictures, and even better for the cheesy horror self-shooting camera shot.  The video shooting was straight forward and easy. Use of the rear camera to copy documents is a nice little side bonus the quality is better than fax, and very usable.  The iPad 2 will not replace digital cameras nor the iPhone for quality or ease of use, and there is no jitter control either.  The lack of a flash on either camera is another issue, and honestly the picture quality overall is good, but it could and should be better.

Check out the sample iPad 2 video we took on YouTube:


The display has not really changed. Many were asking for the Retina display, which would have pushed the cost of the system over $1000 for the base model. The adjustments on the brightness are very handy and from my experience, the range is much better than the original iPad. In a few tests, the iPad 1’s display was not bright enough outdoors or just could not handle the amount of ambient lighting. The iPad 2 did not have the same problem. The display looks great in the bright light and dim never disappointing me with the quality of the display.


This is where it shines. The Lithium-Polymer battery makes the difference. The packaging included wall to USB charger which is a 10 watt unit USB port. Charging the unit connected to a computer takes a lot longer and the screen on the iPad must be off, and it is a trickle charge only. Several tests preformed of just video with networking disabled, gave about 10 hours of video with 18% of the battery left, (tests  were performed watching the complete season 1 of Modern Family (ripped from the Blue Ray in 1080p) and three episodes of Keen Eddie). 


This is the part that maturity is lacking. There are hundreds of thousands of apps, proving the old saying wrong ‘A million monkeys at a million keyboards in a million years would create War and Peace’. The current app market proves that completely wrong. The iPad has a nice large screen compared to the iPhone 4, with plenty of display area, but the majority of applications waste the space.  Why give me a 2x button, I mean honestly, iPhone apps and iPad apps that  make the device feel cheap, and make it look more like a joke remote or over-sized iPhone rather than a useful and powerful tablet pc. The 2x button at the bottom right in some cases even makes the application almost unusable, as the text is hard to read. Even some iPad apps like Chase for iPad is nothing more than a glorified iPhone app that uses the larger display.

When it comes to apps, I am a little cheap, a’ lot cheap’.  I have only purchased one app, MobileNoter sync tool so that I can use my OneNote files on my iPhone, and now on my iPad.   I have been tempted to purchase other apps, but honestly don’t mind the ads in ones that I use or just don’t see the value in wasting 99 cents on an app when there are some free ones that do the job.   (I don’t have an issue paying for them; just have not seen anything worth it yet.  I did purchase plenty of apps (about 10-15 of them) for my windows mobile phone, but they can be used, so I have restarted from the beginning.)   It would be nice if the apple store apps would take a hint from the jailbreak apps and allow you to try before you buy. 

Applications that make the iPad 2  a better tool for me are;  iBrainstorm, MobileNoter, iBooks, TeamViewer, Doodle Buddy, WebEx, VmWare View, Netflix, Kayak, Mypad Friendly, Topo Maps, Sleep, PocketCloud, Dropbox, USAToday, TWC Max+, Photo Booth, TWCable TV, The Sun, Mobile RSS, DrudgeReport, .  All these are the iPad versions of course.   They all serve a purpose, and are major improvements over the iPhone version.  Applications that store the data locally are handy and to me provide more value.  One application that I really wanted but is a major disappointment is OneNote by Microsoft for IOS.  I love OneNote, and use it to almost everything on my PC, but the crappy IOS version is a joke, MobileNoter (iPhone and iPad versions) blow it away, they allow the notebooks to be stored locally, and the notebooks look better than they do in OneNote.  (Maybe someday they will do it right, but until then, I’ll pass, as many others have decided to do)   Some people add iMovie, but I have not tried it yet (but it is tempting, just want to test it out first, which might mean a trip to the Apple Store).  Further maturity has come at some expense of Apple, where hacks have been now adopted by Apple, leading the way to credit card processing, EKG and blood pressure monitoring and several other medical uses that all can plus into the headphone jack and save thousands of dollars or real machines. 

Final Comments

How It Grades

Ease of Use: 90%
Performance: 90%
Design: 95%
Price/Value: 90%
Overall: 88.75%

Apple has done a fine job with the iPad 2, sure it doesn’t have removable storage, or 1080p video cameras in the front and back that do 24p in 16x9 or 22x9 format, or 4G or Wi-MAX, etc but it does a great job for what it is. The screen resolution is a short coming, being stuck at 1024x768, with many other tablets having a higher resolution, giving more area for application to use. The trade off with the iPad and iPad 2 is the stability of the IOS, (or in English single source for the OS and hardware) eliminate a lot of the common issues that many experience with other platforms. Android suffers from the issue with the OS being controlled by the hardware vendor, and not what the manufacturer has released to eliminate security or system issues.

I do like this device with the functionality making it well worth the money for me. I went for the 64 GB unit, and have purchased a replacement to get the AT&T 3g service, getting the 5 GB enterprise account. A minor issue with both AT&T and Verizon is data classification; if you use active sync mailboxes you must have enterprise data plans, and comments from AT&T that the use of HTTPS should be limited unless you have an enterprise data account. AT&T is offering a free month of data service for 2 GB or greater service.  AT&T service does allow me to start and stop the data services without paying additional fees, where Verizon stated there was a charge (about $35) each time.

My overall impression is that the iPad2 is very usable, and very nicely build. It is handy and has saved me from carrying my laptop everywhere, but doesn’t give me everything I really need, just enough. My wife uses it to read ebooks and some of the other features and programs, but she is still on the fence if it is the right tool for her.

Differential points

The lack of flash is a blessing and a curse.  With all the security issues related to flash, it is nice not to have to worry about it, but with the number of sites running flash, and it usefulness, you are stuck until the pissing contest is over between Adobe and Apple. 

Bonus points

IOS devices support up to 27 Exchange/ActiveSync mailboxes, there is no other mobile OS that will support more than one without issues. Androids ‘can support several, but it is not recommended for all devices and depends if the hardware vendor has enabled it. Windows mobile has never supported multi active sync mailboxes, and no information is available on if or when they will be supports it.

Negative Points

The browser: Safari. I have used Safari on my Mac session, and played with the standalone version for windows, but on IOS it is lacking. It incorrectly identifies it’s self as mobile browser (with a 1024x768 video area), and many sites just do not render correctly. There are other ‘pay for browsers’ like Mercury, but after testing it, I found no major differences between the two, except tabs versus separate pages.  It would be nice to see Chrome for IOS or another full feature browser to enhance the experience of the iPad.

The applications lack of true exit or close function. If you ‘close’ the app, it most likely just sends it to the background. I am regularly hitting the home button twice and closing the programs out by touching and holding over the app, then clicking on the delete (little negative sign in the upper right corner).  I have had the issue where to many apps were open and the system was really slow.  Honestly you would figure Apple would have made this easier.

The inconsistency of ITunes and system management of the library. I found several episodes that were ripped will not properly play on the iPad, or that either the sound or video would not function. By deleting the videos and re-adding them back, the issues seem to go away. iTunes is not as mature of a product as one would expect.  Maintaining a library, keeping files organized, are basic functions, but adding new media to the library is not as easy to  manage as it should be. If you store the files on a network share, the use of 3rd party tools to update the library can be a concern and cause issues, if the software is not aware of changes that ITunes you are using.   On several occasions my library has lost configuration data, linking the MP3 files to artwork; which leaves me with no artwork, having to use 3rd party tools to update the ITunes database, and fixing some of the files. My library is not anything special, about 23 GB of music, with over 200 GB of movies and TV shows and over 20 GB of digital books and additional documentation in PDF formation.

Managing the library should not be this hard, except Apple seems to want it that way. Apple did add the ability to have network based library, (Home Share), but only for items actual purchased from Apple iTune stores.


Specs & Package
Overall Score 88.75%
Version Reviewed  Apple iPad 2
Release Date Out Now
The Good Points See Conclusion
The Bad Points See Conclusion
In The Box iPad 2
1 USB Cord & Power Adapter
1 Set of Instructions
Similar Product  Apple iPad
Technical Specifications See Specifications (Apple Site)



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