Apple iPad 2

By Loh Ving Sung

At A Glance:
+ Cameras
+ Thinner design

- Is not a huge jump from last year's model

03 June 2011 - The popularity of the original iPad set the stage for the tablet-era, and expectations for the Apple iPad 2 were high. However, the sophomore effort for Apple was to stick to their proven formula – an attractive device with an easy to use interface. Let’s see what the Apple iPad 2 has to offer.

Apple iPad 2 review

In the Box:
-Apple iPad 2
-USB Cable
-3.5mm headphones

Exterior, Controls and Screen
At first glance, the Apple iPad 2 looks very similar to its predecessor, retaining its magazine design and a single home button minimalist design. You will still get the 9.7-inch diagonal screen display at 1024 x 768-pixel screen. It's the same crisp, bright screen you come to expect.

Apple iPad 2 review

On paper the iPad 2 is thinner and lighter when compared to the original iPad. Apple cut almost 5mm to 8.8mm, it is thinner than the iPhone 4. At 613 grams, it is 117 grams lighter than the original iPad. Overall, it feel like we held the iPad 2 longer without feeling it in our wrists, and you'll definitely be holding it with one hand most of the time.
Apple iPad 2 review

The one we have on-hand is the white 32GB running both 3G and WiFi. Apple has retained their button format for the iPad - home screen button, sleep/wake button on top, a volume rocker and a mute/orientation lock trigger on the right side. The lock trigger will fix the screen at either the horizontal or vertical orientation. However the addition of the onboard gyroscope does make the screen orientation more accurate.

Apple threw in the dual-core A5 processor with 512MB RAM, an upgrade over the A4 chip last year. We haven't suffered significant lag when multiple apps were running, and switching through apps felt more streamlined.
Apple iPad 2 review

The battery life is still highly rated during our test, and we actually have to work hard to drain the battery. We watched videos, listened to music, streamed videos from Youtube, and it took more than two days before we ran out of battery.

Much like its predecessor, there are three models that connect to the Internet over WiFi (16GB for RM1499, 32GB for RM1799 and 64GB for RM2099). And three that use a combination of WiFi and 3G (16GB for RM1899, 32GB for RM2199, and 64GB for RM2499).

Instead of third-party cases for protection, Apple released magnetic hinged covers called Smart Covers that come in two materials -leather (RM299) and polyurethane (RM159), and multiple colours.

Software, Applications and Games

The iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3.3, and if you’ve used any iOS device, operating the device should come naturally. In a nutshell, the iPad runs apps, web browsing, email, maps, photos, music, video, YouTube, and the list goes on. The App Store built in the OS will act as the portal to buy and install apps.
Apple iPad 2 review

As before, the iPad 2 retains its use as an e-book reader, Apple's own iBooks app underwent minor changes since we last saw it. It is still organised much like iTunes with a Featured section, but there is now a New York Times bestseller list for reference. You can also browse your purchases, and read PDFs.

The core mechanic of iBooks didn't change much, reading in portrait will display one page, and in landscape mode will show both pages. The text size, font style and the brightness can be changed to suit your reading needs. You can still preview a few pages before deciding on a purchase, and downloaded books will be arranged into a bookshelf.

Comic book lovers will be happy to see a plethora of free comic book readers. While you still have to pay for the comics, they are no longer separated by individual comic brands. It works similar to iBooks, flick a finger to the edge of the 'page' will turn your comic pages either forward of backwards. Double tap on each individual comic panel to zoom in, double tap to zoom out. Reading and browsing comics (free or otherwise) will require an account.

For productivity, the iWork app – Pages (Word), Numbers (Excel) and KeyNote (PowerPoint) are still the go to apps for work. They cost $9.99 each, and are as full-fledged as their desktop counterparts. But like its counterpart, we still found it rather awkward to type long documents with. Don't get us wrong, the full virtual keyboard is intuitive and comes with big keys, but it is better if you opt for Apple's keyboard dock or Bluetooth keyboard accessory, should you need the iPad 2 as your primary workstation.

Speaking of apps, Apple's extensive App Store has plenty of apps for you to choose from, and you can select apps built specifically for the iPad 2 or iPhone. After a year, there are more apps built specifically for tablets, our favourite so far is The Daily. On the surface, it is a news application but it has a got a very slick, carousel interface to choose your favourite stories. Each individual articles are able to display extra content when reading in vertical or landscape mode. After a two week trial, you can opt to pay $0.99 per week or $39.99 for a year's sub!ion.
Apple iPad 2 review

Apple also released two apps along with the iPad 2, the $4.99 each - GarageBand and iMovie. They are essentially apps to create your own music or edit movies. The one thing lacking is an offical Facebook app scaled for the iPad 2's screen. However, there are quite a few worthwhile alternatives in the App Store

Camera, Video and Audio

A major addition to Apple iPad 2 are the front and back cameras, but both of them are VGA quality cameras and do not produce high quality shots. And it is still awkward to take photos despite the lighter weight. Planning on taking videos? Well the iPad 2's rear-camera is able to capture 720p HD video, and its front facing camera is built to support FaceTime, so expect to make calls to iPhone 4's and other iPad 2's.
Apple iPad 2 review

Apple iPad 2 review

During the course of our testing, we find the 0.3-megapixel front facing camera to be able to take clearer images when compared to the rear camera.

Photo albums are supported by multi-touch, every photo folder can be expanded using the pinch movement. The expanded thumbnails can be preview and tapping those thumbnails will blow the photos up to full screen. The photos can be flipped through.

The iPod and Videos App are still around, and with iTunes you can sync in your favourite tracks, and MPEG-4 videos. The speaker grille has much more surface, giving you a clearer sound. If you have high-definition videos, it is possible to output it onto a HDTV with a separate HDMI converter Apple sells for RM119.


The micro-SIM slot on the iPad 2 supports up to HSDPA 14.4Mbps downlink provided you've signed up for a local data bundle. Getting a data plan is recommended if you are constantly on the move and you don't want to rely on your smartphone or mobile WiFi device to go online. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 2.1. Speaking of WiFi, it supports WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, and connecting it to our iPhone's WiFi Hotspot was a breeze. The iPad 2 doesn't support GSM calls, but you can make calls with apps like Viber and Skype.


It is easy to dismiss the iPad 2 as an iPad with minor upgrades. But after Apple managed to cut its thickness, put in a dual-core processor and two cameras, the tablet is accessible to more people. More importantly, it is still fun to use.

So, should you be upgrading? We don't think so, unless you have an extra RM1499 lying around. However, trying to convince our readers to think rationally around Apple products is a whole other challenge. But for those of you who skipped the first iPad, the upgrades themselves should justify your purchase.

Conclusion: Minor upgrades, but Apple's tablet is still the one to beat 

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1 Response to "Apple iPad 2"

Sam D. mengatakan... 10 Agustus 2011 08.11

Your review is very helpful to a lot of consumers and bloggers like me. I plan to buy Iphone but I heard Iphone 5 will coming out soon. Can you give me a suggestions which is better to buy? Thank you in advance?

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