IT Pro Verdict
Despite some operating system niggles, the otherwise slick iOS combined with elegantly designed hardware leads to some real, tangible benefits for the end user - such as excellent battery life. All this makes the iPad 2 the standard by which all other tablets will be judged. If you've already deployed the original iPad there's not enough in the new model, with the possible exception of the dual core processor, to make it worth upgrading. Although it's currently the best tablet you can get, if you're deploying tablets for the first time and can wait, it'll be worth seeing how well it compares against the numerous upcoming competing tablets from rival manufacturers.
The Apple iPad 2 is not only the successor to last year's original iPad, it's also one of the most eagerly anticipated tablet computers of this year. Although the iPad 2 isn't radically different from its predecessor, the differences are still enough to make it one of the most desirable tablets we've seen yet.
The iPad 2 is noticeably thinner than the original iPad - as our photos show it's even thinner than the iPhone 4 by a hair but it's still comfortable to hold and is evenly weighted so it doesn't feel top-heavy. The WiFi-only version weighs just 601g compared to the 680g WiFi-only original model. This doesn't sound like much but it makes an already lightweight tablet even easier to carry around.
It's still not suited for one-handed use over extended periods though, especially when compared to the smaller Samsung Galaxy Tab which weighs just 384g. We suspect it'd be tricky to reduce the weight or the thickness of future iPads further without abandoning the sturdy, exceptionally rigid aluminium construction or the whopping 6930 mAh battery.
Battery life was incredibly impressive. When playing H.264 videos with all wireless connections disabled and the screen set to 50% brightness it lasted a staggering 17 hours and five minutes a truly remarkable score. This means that in more realistic usage, it's less likely that it will run out of power when you need it most. This incredibly long battery life is longer than any rival tablet, netbook or ultra-portable laptop we've seen so far. When playing Flash video using the third-party VLC app, the battery lasted just 13 hours still lengthy but not quite as impressive. This is in line with our previous tests which show that playing Flash video can dramatically shorten battery life on iOS devices .
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