Apple iPad 2 review
That’s it for the visible changes, but there’s a hidden addition that caused quite a stir at the launch: Apple has built magnets into the left edge of the iPad 2, allowing the new optional cover to snap satisfyingly into place. Expected to cost about £25, the cover is divided into four segments with a hinged spine that snaps neatly over the iPad’s magnetic edge. It not only protects the screen, but can be used as a stand for typing or watching movies.
It’s clever, and we like the way it turns off the screen automatically when flush with the surface of the screen. But when folded back against the back of the iPad it flops around disconcertingly, to the extent that we preferred to remove it when using the iPad handheld.
There are more changes under the hood, with an updated CPU, a new GPU and a doubling of the original iPad’s 256MB RAM.
The CPU is the most interesting update, replacing the single-core 1GHz Apple A4 processor with the dual-core A5. In real-world use it’s immediately obvious that the iPad 2 is a much faster and more responsive device than its predecessor. Applications seem to launch more quickly, websites appear in the blink of an eye and the iTunes Store and App Store feel more responsive.
It’s even more impressive when compared to its Android rivals. Even the original iPad had a significant edge over the Tegra 2-based Android tablets we’ve seen, and the extra core of the iPad 2 gives a further boost – although it still can’t match the speed of even the most modest desktop PC or laptop.
The benefit of the new GPU is a little harder to measure. Apple claims it’s nine times faster than the first iPad, though games on that platform already enjoyed rich graphics and smooth frame rates. We expect that games enhanced for iPad 2 will use the extra power for more advanced effects such as anti-aliasing, more detailed textures and the like.
We tested Infinity Blade, one of a handful of enhanced-for-iPad 2 titles available at launch, and can confirm that the graphics do look slicker. There’s more detail to figures, edges are smoother with less obvious stepping and textures simply look more lifelike. We also noticed quicker load times and slightly smoother frame rates.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||186 x 8.8 x 241mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,024|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Display type||LED Multi-Touch|
|CPU frequency, MHz||1,000MHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.7mp|
|Built-in flash type||Fail|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|Mobile operating system||iOS 4.3|