Engadget kicks things off with an extremely positive review of Apple’s next-gen iPad.
Battery life is rock solid:
Not surprisingly, Apple promises major battery life on the iPad 2. Though the device has been physically trimmed down, the company says users can expect the same longevity we witnessed in the previous version. In our testing, this was 100 percent true. For the first few days we used the device we didn’t even bother plugging it in.
In our standard video test (running an MPEG4 video clip on loop, WiFi on, screen at roughly 65 percent brightness), the iPad 2 managed an astonishing 10 hours and 26 minutes of non-stop playback. That beats Apple’s own claims, and bests its nearest competitor — the Xoom — by about 2 hours. That’s another whole movie!
As for the cameras? Well, that’s a different story:
Let’s just put this out there: the iPad 2 cameras are really pretty bad. They’re not unusable, but it’s clear that the sensors employed are not top shelf by any measure.
GarageBand impressed on many levels:
We were immediately impressed with the layout and thoughtfulness that’s obviously gone into this app; it doesn’t feel like a watered down version of the desktop application — it feels like a whole new game. Creating tracks and recording pieces for a song couldn’t have been easier, and the provided software instruments provide myriad options when it comes to sound creation and manipulation… Overall, this is a groundbreaking piece of software for tablets
Their conclusion? “It might frustrate the competition to hear this, but it needs to be said: the iPad 2 isn’t just the best tablet on the market, it feels like the only tablet on the market.”
Though the iPad 2 is an improvement on the original iPad in numerous ways, it’s still an evolutionary product, not a revolutionary one. If you’re happy with your current iPad, there’s no reason to dump it just because there’s a shinier, newer one. (This is not to say that millions of people won’t do just that. I mean: shiny!) If you’ve invested in iPad accessories such as a dock or case, keep in mind that you probably won’t be able to use them with the new iPad.
As new contenders move into the field, Apple isn’t likely to keep its 90% share of the booming tablet market. But the iPad 2 moves the goal posts, by being slimmer and lighter, boosting speed and power, and holding its price advantages, available apps and battery life. As of now, I can comfortably recommend it as the best tablet for average consumers.