Ipad 2 Review

Has Apple finally perfected the Tablet design?


Thanks to the Ipad, the Tablet pc is now basically a household name. Before the Ipad, tablets are basically known as pills that you take for certain things (as far as most people knew), not until Apple Inc. stepped in and totally redefined what tablets are supposed to be. It’s been a year since Apple has shipped the Ipad and of course to stay ahead of the game, Apple does what Apple has been known for this past decade: release a better upgraded version. So is the Ipad 2 something that people must have and upgrade to, or has Apple finally reached their peak? We had the chance of actually getting our nitty-gritty hands on the darn thing (Finally, after a freakish long line!) and we’re actually pretty impressed. To summarize it all, Apple has done a fairly good job of adding features to their line of tablets.

Hardware:

To start off, the basic components of the Ipad are still intact: it is smaller and thinner, you have your sleep/wake power button on the top-right (We know that there is no right or wrong way to hold the Tablet, our way is basically having the home button on the bottom), the home button on the center bottom of the screen, volume on the right side and charge/USB plug-in at the bottom. As for the changes; the biggest change you’ll notice at first is the addition of a camera at the front and back of the device for use of face time and various apps, picture taking and video capturing. And to the right side, just right above the volume is the same old trigger, but this time Apple has changed it to the preference of the user, which means that the trigger or slide can either be your mute button or your screen lock button (can be changed with the new iOS), and at the bottom, the sound quality has been remade to make the sound a tad bit louder (but that doesn’t mean you can use the device as a boom box).

Software:

Now that we’re familiar with the outside let’s dive in into the software perspective. The new Ipad runs on the new iOS 4.3, which basically adds some new features such as customizing the trigger on the right side and also adding some new stuff like face time and wi-fi sharing (only for Iphone) aside that, nothing really has changed much with the operating system. We did however; notice a slight upgrade to the speed, especially when using safari (web browser) and other online connected app. This is thanks to the new chip installed by Apple which is the A5 chip. To put it simple, it basically makes the Ipad run at the same speed of a dual core processor. Another great feature is that the new iOS grants you to turn your Ipad into a presentation device that connects to almost any HD TV with full 1080p support. It also grants you face time and…it’s basically the same thing except that you can move the camera pointed at you on different parts of the screen (just in case you can’t see that certain thing at the corner of the screen).

Apps:

We know that there are a lot of apps out there that are new with the release of the upgraded version of the Ipad, but there are 2 apps we want to get into with the release of the new Ipad because it is highlighted and was an exceptional upon use (and yes, by that we mean that when we opened the app we had a blast with it). First off, iMovie; basically the app is a little friendlier than its Mac counterpart, largely due to the fact that it uses the touch-screen interface. It’s pretty simple to use since we churned out multiple videos that are almost at the caliber of a semi-pro homemade movie. Basically you touch to choose the video, stretch out to zoom in or out, plug in sound effects and it even comes background music that easily distinguishes itself to basically look like a commercial when the video is properly edited.

The second app is nothing but amazing, which is simply garageband for the Ipad. The minute we used this app, we were struck with awe (simply because we never really came across an app like this before). Upon opening the app, you get to choose instruments ranging from piano to guitar and when you open the instrument, you can choose what kind of piano or drum set you would like to use. After you play the instrument of your choosing, you can easily streamline the sound into tracks and combine them to make music. Not a musician you say? Well all of the instruments come with a “simple to make music” mode, which basically gives you certain keys and notes that sound good no matter what combination you play them in, plus you can also streamline some loops and turn them into a combination that sounds like  pretty good song.

The verdict:

Hardware: 8.5/10

Aside from the fact that it is smaller and cameras are present, nothing much has changed from the first build, we did like the fact that Apple upgraded into a sleek and faster system, but we just held this thing it feels like the minute we drop it, we break it. The addition of cameras and easy smart covers are a very welcoming incentive to at least get a grip on the device.

Software: 9/10

Why a high score? Well it’s simple, it’s the same easy to use interface, only a tad faster, and yes we are disappointed that we didn’t get much out of the new iOS but, that is what makes this device great because it is simple. Safari has been improved as well as the overall performance of the device which is a good thing.

Apps: 9.5/10

The two apps we talked about, yeah those (as in garageband and iMovie); one simple message: Get it! It a mere 5 bucks each but what you get is two cool apps that are just worth what you get even if you aren’t a movie freak of a music nerd, the fact that you can just make simple entertainment look like it’s been made by a pro (not an extreme pro, maybe a semi-amateur pro) is a plus for us.

Overall: 8/10

Ok, we understand we didn’t calculate the previous scores with the new ones are; that is because the decision of getting the device is really up to how much you like Apple or how much do you need the cameras. (yes it is that simple) If you already have an Ipad, you won’t really need to upgrade, unless you want a camera on the device (like us journalists, we need cameras and a pc to go for instant upload of news). But, if you never had an Ipad before and planning on getting a tablet pc, Ipad 2 is the easy choice. Overall, we weren’t that blown away from the product, though we are impressed by it.

-Jassi Patayon

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