iPad 2 review

The hype for the iPad 2 has been everywhere since it was officially announced 2 weeks ago. With long lines and a frenzy of people trying to be the first to get the new iPad its finally here. Now the question is does the iPad live up to the hype? After using the new iPad for a day i’ll cover my initial thoughts here and also will be posting a few looks into the iPad’s cameras in a separate post shortly. (Update: here is our iPad 2 camera review)

Design – On paper the new design sounds pretty small and insignificant. Its 30% thinner and lighter but still pretty much the same form factor compared to the first iPad. But some of these small changes do make a big difference in your hand and overall it has a much better feel. I watched part of a movie, read a book, surfed the web and checked email and the new iPad really fits in your hands nice and is so lightweight that using it for hours is really no problem. The silver bar around the edge of the iPad has also been significantly thinned down which makes much less of a distraction to your eyes when viewing content on the iPad. Here are a few images to compare the iPad vs iPad 2. The original iPad is on the left.

first ipad compared to ipad 2

iPad 2 on the right

iPad vs ipad 2

ipad 2 on the right

thickness of ipad  2

The thickness of iPad 2

Speed– When the iPad 2 was announced Apple stressed the speed of the device and they weren’t kidding, this thing is super fast! There really is no lag time moving around the iPad and even launching very heavy apps like certain games is much faster. Browsing the web is faster with safari and another very nice thing about the additional RAM that the iPad 2 has is that once you have loaded a website and open up a new tab to go somewhere else the first website is still cached in memory. So when flipping back to that tab the website comes right up instead of loading again like it does with the first iPad. Here are a few quick videos to see the quickness of launching an app and also how fast safari is on the iPad 2 vs the original iPad.

Here you can see the speed difference on safari. The iPad 2 is at the bottom.

The iPad 2 is at the bottom. Here is a quick launch of an app to show how much fast it loads in the iPad 2

New Features – A few things I spoke about the other day in our iPad 2 intro post are pretty awesome and a huge plus in my mind. With Apple’s new HDMI dongle ($39) you can plug in your iPad 2 right into your HDTV. This can be a great tool that we can use to show off our portfolio to our clients on a HDTV. We can now not only show photo slideshows like you could before with the original iPad but now show any app or even a web browser. I think this now is a perfect tool to showcase your work and make a perfect presentation to your clients and really WOW them!

FaceTime is also pretty awesome on the iPad. If you love to Skype people this is a much better experience. I had mentioned before that one thing I love about the iPad for immersing into your content is that by removing the keyboard from a laptop and just having a touch device really changes the experience of interacting with your content. You can read more (it’s a pretty long post so warning) about what I think about the iPad here: iPad review for photographers.

The only new feature that I don’t think is a homerun is the cameras for still quality. Apple added photo booth which is a fun app that you will be used to if you have a Apple laptop. However indoors in low light situations the quality of stills on photo booth is pretty bad. It’s still fun to warp your face for a minute but after that wears off and you start to see the noisy quality of the camera in low light, its a little bit of a disappointment. I’ll cover the camera in more depth though in another post so stay tuned for that.

Is it worth the upgrade? – So the real question is… Is the iPad 2 worth the upgrade. I think if you are brand new to the tablet market, its a great device at a very good price and totally worth it in my mind. If you are considering upgrading from the iPad its a little more tricky. The extra speed is very nice but is that alone worth the minimum $500 price tag? Not really, unless you are into gaming on the iPhone. For photographers the extra speed is nice but I don’t think essential, the iPad 1 was already a pretty fast device. Some of the other features might make the upgrade definitely worth it depending on how you are going to use the iPad 2. Do you currently use FaceTime on your iPhone? If so that is a nice feature to have on the iPad. Would you use the iPad to display your work on your HDTV to new clients? The mirroring feature is pretty cool so might make it a worthy upgrade.

Another thing to take into consideration that makes upgrading a little easier for most Apple products. The iPad 1 is still a pretty amazing device and in high demand. The resale value is very strong so for the base model I have seen people still getting $400 for these used. That makes the upgrade really only $100 and for that price in my mind it’s totally worth it.

Overall the iPad 2 takes something that was just a breakthrough device and really a game changer and makes some very solid upgrades to it. Also check out our review of the iPad camera connector kit if you want to learn more about downloading your images right to your iPad.

Would love to know your thoughts on the new iPad 2. Leave a comment below if you have one or head over to our Facebook page and discuss.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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