Apple iPad 2

Blog Oct 11, 2011

 Apple iPad 2 from £399 (16GB Wi-Fi) ★★★★  PERFORMANCE ★★★★★  EASE OF USE ★★★★★  VALUE FOR MONEY ★★★★★ Th


Apple iPad 2
from £399 (16GB Wi-Fi)


There’s no denying that Apple’s original iPad revolutionised the tablet market, setting an incredibly high benchmark that other manufacturers are still chasing. As with most Apple products, its appeal lies not in the specifications of the device, but how Apple has created a seamless balance between hardware, operating system and app store.

The iPad 2’s 9.7in screen (1,024 x 768 pixels) is slightly smaller than the other tablets we tested. It lacks a widescreen ratio and is outperformed on contrast and viewing angle by some of its competitors. The front-facing camera is adequate for Apple’s FaceTime application but, at 0.3 megapixels, it’s a bit puny. And although the rear-facing camera can shoot video up to 720p at 30 frames per second, we weren’t overly impressed with the results. Colours lack vibrancy and images are heavily compressed. There’s also no flash, so the results are even worse in low-light conditions. 

Yet what seems like a long list of complaints becomes nit-picking when you use the device for anything else. Apple’s software is an absolute joy and the processor and graphics hardware work together beautifully, making everything you do fast, smooth and fluid.

The iPad 2 also comes with thousands of apps from other companies and developers that cover a massive range of subjects. Most developers write software for Apple’s hardware first, so its apps tend to be a step or two ahead of Android versions.

Best of all is the battery life. We tested all the tablets by disabling the Wi-Fi and running a looping video. The iPad 2 lasted for a very impressive 17 hours and 5 minutes, beating its closest rival (the Motorola Xoom) by well over four hours.


It doesn’t have the most sophisticated hardware specification but it doesn’t matter. The software is slick and easy to use, and there are more apps for this platform than any other, including Android.

The downside is the screen isn’t as bright or colourful, and while the squarer shape makes the device look neater, it doesn’t do justice to widescreen movies.

However, you can watch plenty of content on a single charge – our test of the battery life yielded more than 17 hours of movie playing.