Apple iPad 2 review

The best tablet of the year or an unnecessary consumer bauble? We take an in-depth look at the 16GB WiFi iPad 2 to see whether you should deploy it in your business.

Homing In

GPS isn't included in the WiFi-only iPad 2 since the Assisted GPS that Apple favours requires a cellular connection to speed up the initial geolocation hence the reason why GPS is currently limited to the 3G iPad 2. However, if you use the portable hotspot feature on the iPhone 4 to share its 3G connection with a WiFi-only iPad 2 model, the iPhone's GPS data is also shared with the Google Maps app. Unfortunately, we didn't have access to an Android 2.2 smartphone enabled with a portable hotspot to see if other smartphones could be used with this workaround.

The 16GB WiFi-only model we reviewed costs just 399 which is a surprise as it's slightly cheaper than the 429 launch price of the equivalent first-generation model. This also makes it cheaper than any other comparable quality tablet launched so far and is remarkably good value.

However the iPad 2 faces imminent competition from the first Android 3.0 tablet, the Motorola Xoom. It will have Flash support, higher resolution cameras and a higher resolution screen. It will also have 32GB of storage, but it will be over 100g heavier and the battery will have less than half the stated capacity of the iPad 2's. PCWorld will be selling the WiFi-only version for 499 around the start of April, but the equivalent 32GB WiFi iPad 2 is 20 cheaper.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

Despite some operating system niggles, the otherwise slick iOS combined with elegantly designed hardware leads to some real, tangible benefits for the end user - such as excellent battery life. All this makes the iPad 2 the standard by which all other tablets will be judged. If you've already deployed the original iPad there's not enough in the new model, with the possible exception of the dual core processor, to make it worth upgrading. Although it's currently the best tablet you can get, if you're deploying tablets for the first time and can wait, it'll be worth seeing how well it compares against the numerous upcoming competing tablets from rival manufacturers.

Connectivity: N/A Display: 1,024 x 768 pixels, 9.7in OS: iOS 4.3 Camera: 0.7 megapixels rear-facing, 0.3 megapixels forward-facing GPS: N/A Processor: 1GHz Apple A5 RAM: 512MB Bluetooth: v2.1 + EDR Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n Storage: 16GB internal Ports: Apple Dock Connector (USB camera adapter sold separately) Slots: None – Apple Dock Connector SD card adapter sold separately Dimensions: 186 x 9 x 9.5 mm (WxDxH) Weight: 601g Battery: Lithium Polymer 6930 mAh

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