Apple iPad 2 review: Love and hate 2.0

GSMArena team, 23 March 2011.
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Tags: Apple, iOS, Touch UI

Unboxing the iPad 2

The iPad 2ís retail package brings no surprises. Only a tad wider than the device itself the box holds your brand new iPad 2, a short manual, a very compact charger (think the original iPhoneís) and a USB cable.

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Unboxing the iPad 2

If you opted for a Smart Cover the only thing youíll really miss is a headset. Their thinking must be that this is not a phone but a computer. You donít get headphones when you buy a MacBook. Or maybe it is more likely for iPad buyers to have an iPhone than not.

Design and construction

Apple kept the aluminum unibody but gave the iPad 2 the tapered edges typical of the older generations of the iPhone.

A metal case is always a premium feature especially with the iPadís thickness of just 8.8 mm. Itís the slim girth and the reduced weight that make the iPad 2 notably more comfortable to use and handle. However, we do find the original sharper and more attractive with its hard square edges.

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The iPad 2

The first iPad looked more like the iPhone 4 while the iPad 2 returns to the curvy shape used in the first three generations of iPhones and the iPod Touch family. The new design and the somewhat different choice of materials make the iPad 2 more comfortable to hold in hand. You will instantly feel the difference to the slippery first-gen iPad.

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The curvy-shaped iPad 2 next to its predecessor

This time, the iPadís back is completely flat so it doesnít wobble when you place it on its back. It also wonít scratch badly around the Apple logo as the original one did. Itís not to say that the iPad 2 will better cope with the daily wear and tear. Itís just that the design doesnít make a particular part of the device more vulnerable.

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The back of the first-gen iPad after a year of use

The iPad 2 doesnít have many hardware controls: thereís the Home key on the front, of course, the power/screen lock key on top, plus a volume rocker on the right.

Just above the volume rocker is the screen rotation lock, which doubles as a mute button Ė you can assign either function to the key.

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The volume rocker and the rotation lock/mute button

The top of the iPad 2 features the 3.5mm audio jack, the Power/Lock key and the microphone.

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Topside of the iPad 2

At the bottom is the proprietary Dock connector and the single loudspeaker. The connector position on the tapered edge of the device so plugging a cable is a bit trickier than usual.

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The iPadís bottom houses the Dock connector and the lone loudspeaker

Above the screen is the front-facing camera (VGA). Thereís also a hidden ambient light sensor, which is in charge of the automatic adjustment of the screen brightness levels.

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The FaceTime camera at the front

The only thing to note at the back is the tiny 0.7MP camera lens (and the centrally placed Apple logo). The rear facing camera can also be used in FaceTime but its more important feature is the 720p video capture.

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The Apple logo and camera lens at the back

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