It doesn’t have a higher resolution display than the original, but the Apple iPad 2 has a slimmer case, a faster dual core processor, and cameras on the front and back. It hits stores on Friday, but at least a dozen publications have posted reviews of Apple’s new tablet tonight.
The iPad 2 also gets more than 10 hours of battery life. On the down side, the front and rear-facing cameras are apparently pretty lousy. They should be good enough for basic video calls, but you might not want to throw out your DSLR camera just yet.
Here are some of the sites that have published reviews:
- PC Magazine
- Laptop Magazine
- Wall Street Journal
- New York Times
- USA Today
- The Daily
- The Root
Generally, pretty much everyone agrees that the iPad 2 is the best consumer tablet on the market today in terms of overall user experience. Of course, if you already have a first generation iPad, the new model might not be quite different enough to justify plunking down your hard earned money — although sites like Gazelle can certainly help by allowing you to get some cash for your old iPad which you can use to buy a new one.
The Motorola XOOM and other upcoming Android tablets may have higher resolution displays, better cameras, and other features that the iPad 2 lacks. But the cheapest XOOM available right now costs $599 with a 2-year contract of $799 without it, while you can pick up an iPad 2 for $499. Apple also has the most robust touch tablet operating system at the moment, and the most third party apps.
On the other hand, I suspect many Android fans aren’t necessarily looking for the tablet with the best out-of-the-box experience, and would instead appreciate a tablet that’s more customizable. Apple’s iOS 4.3 doesn’t support home screen widgets, alternate program launchers or keyboards, or any number of other customization options that are available for Android.
The iPad 2 is also a WiFi and/or 3G device. If you’re looking for 4G, you’re going to have to look elsewhere for now.
Just because Apple has what many reviewers consider the best tablet on the market today doesn’t mean it’s the right tablet for everyone.