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 general consensus seems to be that the tablet is easier to hold in your hands, thinner, lighter, and noticeably faster than its predecessor — especially when it comes to web browsing, because in addition to the new dual core chip, the iPad 2 also runs iOS 4.3 which has a much faster JavaScript engine than older versions of the operating system.

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:

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.

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7 replies on “iPad 2 review roundup”

  1. I enjoy the Internet, but since I purchased my first computer (a Kaypro 2), I have used computers mostly for word-processing. My point: the computer market is not monolithic, and not everybody NEEDS a tablet. It would be a fun toy but just a toy.

  2. The two smartest things Apple did were to make it lighter and increase ether battery. Sure, other thing could change…but when you are talking about a portable device attacking the weight and power are huge. I still would not buy one…but at least they are making the weigh an issue for everyone who wants to be in the marketplace.

    Actually, the biggest issue is that Apple still insists on people having to own a computer to make the iPad work. Can we please get to the point where these things can be independent devices?!

  3. iPads have some nice features….my mom enjoys hers for sure. That being said, iOS is simply not a very useful or powerful OS for more technical users (which granted might be a smallish piece of the market). I picked up a Nook Color for 200 bucks that can run circles around the iPad 1 once rooted. (I would seriously consider an iPad if they were easier to jail break and/or if it were possible to load custom ROMs). Most people probably don’t care.

    I will say that my mom wasn’t very happy when I explained to her that she couldn’t use PDANet on her iPhone without jailbreaking (of course I warned her about that before she got it…. caveat emptor)

  4. I’ve not owned an Apple product before. The iPad2 is on my shopping list for this year, as does a Honeycomb tablet.

    The iPad franchise is simply more mature and polished at this stage, and best suited for normal users. Android has more potential, and I think next year, it will be more stable, and have more apps like with the iPad this year.

    I doubt I’ll have the time or the inclination to try a 3rd or 4th platform. That means WebOS and the mythical Win8-on-tablets, being laggards, won’t get much love. When the frontrunners are going full bore, it’s tough to beat the first-mover advantage.

  5. It will be interesting to see where we are in 3 months when everyone and his cousin has their tablets on the street. Stereo speakers, better cameras, HDMI and USB ports and other features might tip the scale away from Apple on similarly priced machines.

  6. I pity the other tablet manufacturers. Unless they reduce their tablets sunstantially below the $499 category, NOBODY will buy them. People are really not bothered about higher pixel screens and cameras. At a time when oil prices are shooting high, people are concerned about price.

    I can safely say, Apple has a winner and its priced well. Unless the Zoom and others sell for $399 or below, nobody is going to bother. Those who are really cost conscious would probably go for an Archos Arnova priced at $199.

    By right, the Zoom should be priced at $299. The same goes with the Galaxy Tab 2.

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