Apple iPad 2 Tablet eBook Reader Review
The iPad 2 is lighter and faster than the original.
The iPad 2 is a definite step up from the original iPad, offering more power for smoother browsing and page-flipping, plus a smaller, sleeker profile that makes it more portable. But it is still a farily hefty thing that requires some commitment to carry around on a daily basis.
The screen of the iPad 2 is unchanged from the original iPad. That's not a bad thing, though; the screen is clear and bright and has a good contrast range. It might have been nice to see the higher DPI that the iPhone 4 offers, though; the retina display of that device makes things much clearer on the screen. The screen also does not hold up well outdoors, though: in bright daylight and direct sunlight, the screen becomes pale and difficult to read, so it would not be a good pick for reading books by the pool on a tropical vacation. But the screen looks great indoors and under more moderate lighting.
We expected that the battery life of the iPad 2 would be unchanged from the original iPad because the battery size is unchanged according to a teardown of the device. However, that doesn't seem to be the case: the battery life is significantly improved on the iPad 2, with both the video and eBook reading tests lasting an additional hour, and significantly more power in reserve after our 24 hour audio test. One possible culprit here is that the backlight on our test model seems to be slightly dimmer than the one on the original iPad, so it may be running at a lower power level and consuming less power. Whatever the reason, the iPad 2 seems to have improved battery life over the original.
The iPad 2 remains like the original iPad: a glossy, hardback book of an eReader device that looks great and attracts admiring glances, but which you might not want to carry around all the time. The weight reduction (from 23 ounces down to just over 20) is welcome, as is the thinner, sleeker profile, but it still remains a relatively large device compared to the Kindle.
Audio & Video:
The iPad 2 excels at audio and video, especially the latter, which looks great on the big, bright screen. If you want to watch movies and TV shows on the road, the iPad is an excellent pick, and the availability of apps such as Hulu Plus, which provide streaming TV shows, just sweetens the deal.
Email & Web Browsing:
The iPad 2 offers a great web experience: the Safari browser is as fully featured and easy to use as the desktop version. The extra processing power that the dual core processor adds definitely seems to help here as well: the browser scrolls more smoothly, and image-heavy pages appear quicker.
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