Apple iPad 2 (16GB, Wi-Fi, black)
Typical Price: $399.00
CNET Editors' Rating: 4.0 / 5
The good: Apple's iPad 2 is dramatically thinner and boasts front and rear cameras, FaceTime video chat, a faster processor, and 3G options for both AT&T and Verizon.
The bad: The iPad's screen resolution hasn't budged, photo quality is mediocre, there's still no Adobe Flash support, and ports for HDMI, USB, and SD all require adapters.
The bottom line: The iPad 2 refines an already excellent product. Its easy-to-use interface, vast app catalog, and marathon battery life bolster Apple's claim to being the king of tablets.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Editors' note (October 23, 2012): While Apple now sells a fourth-generation iPad with a faster A6X processor and a Lightning connector and a smaller 7.9-inch iPad Mini, the 16GB iPad 2 reviewed here remains on the market ($399 for the Wi-Fi version, $529 for the AT&T 3G or Verizon 3G version).
The competition must really hate Apple. The Apple iPad wasn't just a successful tablet computer in 2010--it was the tablet computer. In one fell swoop, Apple created the new tablet market and sold tens of millions of iPads in spite of a global economic downturn and considerable skepticism.
The same, only better
With the iPad's second go-around, Apple sticks to its successful formula. The iPad 2 is thinner, faster, and includes two cameras, but otherwise, the iPad stays the same: size, price, capacity, and features all carry over.
Oh, except for color. Apple now offers both white and black versions of the iPad 2 in every price and configuration. The base model starts at $499, giving you 16GB of storage and a Wi-Fi connection to the Internet. If you want more storage for all your applications, photos, music, and videos, you can jump up to the 32GB ($599) or 64GB ($699) models.
The freedom to surf the Web over a 3G cellular connection costs an extra $130 for any of the three models mentioned above, plus monthly carrier fees. Unlike with the original iPad, you now have a choice of two carriers (Verizon or AT&T). Choose carefully, though, since the Verizon version of the iPad can't be made to work on AT&T, and vice versa.
The iPad 2 is thin--so thin, in fact, that it feels like a different device. Measuring just 0.34 of an inch, it's thinner than the iPhone 4 and a third thinner than the original iPad.
Despite the thinner design, its construction quality is no less rugged than the original's. The back of the iPad is still made from a durable, single slab of aluminum machined to fit the iPad's internal components like a glove. The face of the iPad is covered in the same scratch-resistant glass, with a home button at the bottom of the screen and a new front-facing camera at the top.
Otherwise, the iPad 2 sticks to familiar iPad routines. The sleep/wake buttons and headphone jack are in the same place as on the original, up top, as are the volume rocker and mute/rotation lock switch on the right edge. On the bottom you'll find the iPad's universal dock connection and the internal speaker. The speaker's perforated grille now wraps around the back, giving it more surface area and noticeably better sound quality.
For the iPad 2, Apple has avoided compatibility shenanigans. With the exception of any original iPad cases, the device works with first-gen accessories (docks, adapters, speakers, video cables, chargers), though first-gen docks don't fit like a glove. An updated standard dock for the iPad 2 is available. For keyboard support, Apple now recommends its Bluetooth wireless keyboard.
The iPad 2 accessory that's really getting all the attention is Apple's new Smart Cover. An answer to all the bulky, overdone, rubber third-party cases made for the first iPad, Apple's unique hinged cover comes in two materials--leather ($59) and polyurethane ($39)--and multiple colors. It attaches magnetically to the left or right edge of the iPad 2 using two aluminum hinges embedded with impressively strong rare-earth magnets. Magnets within the cover are used to detect when the cover is open or shut, allowing the iPad 2 to automatically wake or sleep. It works, but you also have the option in Settings to bypass the automatic wake feature and use the button manually.
As accessories go, the Smart Cover is nifty--not so much for the protection it offers, but for the convenient stand it provides when rolled up. If, on the other hand, you are seriously concerned about protecting your investment, keeping the iPad 2 in a traditional wraparound case is still the best way to go.
Features: New stuff
The iPad 2 isn't a radical departure from the original, but it does have a few new tricks up its sleeve.
The banner feature for the iPad 2 is the addition of two cameras, both able to record video or snap photos. The camera on the back is located in the upper-right corner where it isn't likely to be covered by your hand (in portrait orientation, at least). It looks just like the chrome-ringed lens on the iPhone 4 and is similarly blessed with 720p video capture. There's no camera flash, however, and the camera sensor is a far cry from the one used in the iPhone 4. Just like the fourth-generation iPod Touch, the iPad 2 takes photos that are essentially video stills. A gallery of photos taken with the iPad 2 can be seen here.
Even if Apple had gone the route of using a Carl Zeiss lens and a 10-megapixel sensor, the iPad 2 just isn't a replacement for a camera or smartphone. Having tested the camera quality of tablets over the past year, we can't stress enough how silly you feel shooting videos or photos with a tablet in public. It's like taking a picture with a cutting board. Your grandfather's camera was less conspicuous. You get looks, and they're not the envious kind.
Really, the cameras are there as a way to support Apple's FaceTime video chat app, which is now available for Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad 2. If you've been waiting for the Jetsons' video phone, FaceTime on the iPad gets you pretty close. Unlike smaller devices, the iPad's 9.7-inch screen can present faces at life-size. We've seen this before with desktop- and laptop-based video calling, but it can be uncanny to actually hold an image of someone's life-size face in your hands. FaceTime still remains a Wi-Fi-only feature, however, so in-car iPad video calls are an elusive capability (probably to humanity's advantage).
Other iPad 2 apps designed by Apple include GarageBand and iMovie, which must be purchased separately for $4.99 each. The iPad is the last of Apple's iOS devices to be blessed with iMovie (and the camera required for it), but is the first to receive GarageBand. We have separate write-ups of GarageBand for iPad and iMovie for iPad available for more depth.
Under the hood, the iPad 2 has plenty to brag about. The new spec uses a dual-core A5 processor that promises to be twice as fast with nine times the graphics performance. If gaming graphic quality is an important consideration for you, you can jump ahead to the Performance section of this review.
Another feature sure to burn the competition is full HDMI AV output compatibility. Using a $39 dock cable, the iPad can now mirror its output to a TV over a standard HDMI connection. The supported resolution goes up to 1080p, though video playback and most apps never break out of 720p. Unlike previous video-out solutions for the iPad, this cable no longer limits users to simply video playback or presentations. Everything you see on the screen is mirrored on your TV, including video, photos, games, and the home screen. Competitors such as RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook and the Motorola Xoom have been waving HDMI compatibility as a key advantage over the iPad. Now they have one fewer bragging point.
The iPad 2 also adds the same three-axis gyroscope sensor shared by the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch, giving the device a more detailed sense of its orientation in space, similar to the feeling of holding a Nintendo Wii remote. The gyro's appeal is mostly for gaming, allowing for more precise motion control and realistic navigation within virtual environments. In a first-person shooter game like N.O.V.A., for instance, you can tilt the iPad 2's screen up, down, left, or right to explore the game's surroundings, just like a window into the game's universe.
Features: Oldies but goodies
Cameras and gyros are nice, but let's not forget all the features that made the original iPad unbeatable. If you've ever used an iPhone or iPod Touch, the iPad 2 will feel immediately familiar. Out of the box, you get many of the iPhone's capabilities, including Apple-designed apps for Web browsing, e-mail, maps, photos, music, video, and YouTube. More apps can be installed using the built-in App Store software or by connecting the iPad to iTunes via your computer using the included cable. If you already own apps purchased for an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can transfer these apps to the iPad, as well.
The original iPad made its debut with iOS 3.2. That OS' limitations seem prehistoric today. You couldn't bounce between applications with multitasking. You couldn't organize applications into folders. And support for document printing and AirPlay streaming of music, videos, and photos didn't arrive until November 2010.
One sticking point in the original iPad that Apple hasn't addressed in the iPad 2 is Adobe Flash support for Apple's Safari Web browser. Apple seems dead set against supporting Adobe's popular tool for presenting video and graphics on the Web, and without it, many corners of the Web are inaccessible on the iPad or present a Swiss cheese of broken content. For the most part, though, the iPad's Web-browsing experience is the best you'll find on a tablet. Navigation is responsive, zooming in and out of text is fluid, and managing multiple open pages is a cinch.
The iPad's device features, such as Bluetooth 2.1 (A2DP, EDR), Wi-Fi 802.11 n, 3G, and 10 hours of battery life, are all here, and in many cases are still the bar by which other tablets are judged.
Wi-Fi versus 3G
For road warriors or those who just get a little itchy at the idea of not being connected to the Internet, Apple offers a version of the iPad with an integrated 3G cellular data connection.
Aside from a negligible added heft of 0.1 pound and the fact that buyers are paying an extra $130 for the 3G capability (compared with Wi-Fi-only models), there's no downside to owning a 3G-compatible model. Unlike the data plans for most smartphones, the iPad doesn't come with any long-term contractual obligations. If you don't end up using the iPad's 3G capability, you can cancel the data plan at any time.
If you decide to go with the 3G option for the iPad 2, you have your choice of two carriers: AT&T or Verizon. Data plans and fees differ between the two carriers (and are always subject to change), and the 3G cellular technology under the hood differs as well.
The AT&T iPad model uses a GSM modem and a micro-SIM card slot, allowing you to easily swap in compatible micro-SIM cards from foreign carriers when overseas. Verizon's iPad uses a CDMA 3G modem and lacks the SIM-swapping feature of AT&T's GSM modem, making it a poor choice for international jet-setters.
As far as data plans go, AT&T offers two options: $15 a month for 250MB of data, or $25 a month for 2GB. Each option can be prepaid for a month, and AT&T's plans do not include an activation fee.
Verizon's plans are a little steeper, but more generous with data. There's a 1GB plan for $20, 3GB for $35, 5GB for $50, and a whopping 10GB for $80. There's an initial $35 activation fee, however, which you run the chance of paying each time you let your account lapse for over three months.
To our eyes, AT&T's plans seem more consumer-friendly and its GSM technology more flexible for travelers. That said, the plans from both carriers seem reasonable, and data quality and coverage should be your first concern. Before making the plunge, do some research to see which carrier provides better coverage for your area, as well as places you frequently travel.
Another advantage of iPad 2 models enabled with 3G is the added capability of assisted GPS (A-GPS), allowing users to accurately pinpoint their locations on a map and take advantage of navigation and location-aware apps. The Wi-Fi-only models of the iPad can use rudimentary Wi-Fi hot-spot triangulation techniques to guess locations, but are much less accurate and consistent.
If you have no plans to regularly use the iPad outside of your home, you'd do just as well to save some money and stick with a Wi-Fi model.
iPad 2 as e-reader
When Apple pitched the original iPad and then-new iBooks app as the be-all and end-all e-book reader, we were skeptical. Apple had only a handful of publishers, and the device was as thick as two Kindles put together.
A year later, the iPad has legitimately seized the attention of the publishing industry. Apple claims to have passed its 100 millionth iBook download. Meanwhile, competitors such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and Kobo have jumped on board with apps for the iPad. Mainstream magazines, including The New Yorker, Wired, and Vanity Fair, all have iPad-specific editions. Even specialty publications, such as comic books, test prep, and sheet music, have found their way onto the iPad. As far as content goes, the iPad has you covered.
In terms of hardware, the iPad is still a little beefy at 1.3 pounds, compared with the Kindle 3's 0.55 pound. And in spite of the iPad's otherwise excellent IPS LED-backlit display, there's no beating e-ink displays when it comes to outdoor readability. Also, a product like the Kindle DX promises up to four days of reading without a recharge, whereas the iPad will only get you 10 hours.
In spite of all these criticisms, the iPad has already proven itself a success as an e-reader. There are certainly cheaper options out there, but none with the breadth of features offered by the iPad. Plus, with the iPad 2's dramatically thinner design, Apple is in much better shape than it was last year.
What the iPad still isn't
We have plenty of kind things to say about the iPad, but there is a limit to its "magic." Tablets, in general, sit between the practicality of laptops and the convenience of smartphones, but stop short of actually replacing either device.
The iPad 2 is not a laptop replacement. After spending a year with the original iPad, we've come to appreciate laptops more than ever. In most cases, laptops and Netbooks offer a more natural typing experience, and there's still nothing like a tried-and-true mouse or touch pad when it comes to editing and navigating documents and spreadsheets. Also, if you're really a stickler for the full Adobe Flash-enabled Web experience, traditional laptop and desktop computers are still your best bet, offering more flexibility and compatibility with the Web's many formats (especially when it comes to video content and games).
The iPad 2 isn't a smartphone replacement, either. To point out the obvious, the iPad simply doesn't fit in your pocket. Today's smartphones do more than connect us to the world; they're extensions of us. If it doesn't fit in your pocket, it's not going to stay with you all day, and it will never be as personal.
It's also worth mentioning that the iPad is not a 4G device, meaning that it doesn't take advantage of the latest generation of high-speed cellular data networks. Several manufacturers, including Motorola, Samsung, LG, and RIM, are promising 4G-network-compatible tablets in 2011. Will 4G be the feature that gives iPad alternatives the edge they need to oust Apple as the top tablet maker? Honestly, we don't know yet, but it seems to be the bet the competition is making.
The App Store built into every iOS device is Apple's secret weapon. Any tablet can offer a fun experience right out of the box, but it takes a steady stream of interesting, affordable apps and games to keep people glued over the long haul.
When Apple debuted the iPad in 2010, it also gave developers the tools and guidelines needed to create a new breed of tablet-optimized apps. Since then, more than 65,000 apps have been made just for the iPad. By contrast, competitors such as Google, RIM, and HP are just now starting to create catalogs of tablet-optimized apps, and the chances of them catching up are slim.
The quality and selection of apps made for the iPad represent a kind of fountain of youth for the device, imbuing it with new uses and capabilities whenever you tire of the old ones. It also helps that Apple's App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes software all run off a common user ID, making account setup and purchases just about as effortless as it gets.
The main menu app for Apple's iTunes store is also one of these "sleeping giant" features we take for granted. Here you have one-touch access to what is now the No. 1 music retailer in the world. The world. On top of music selections, you also get movie and TV downloads as well as rentals priced as low as 99 cents. Podcasts, university lectures, music videos--it's all there, and no other competitor has it, or anything close.
To be fair, when it comes to core features such as e-mail, Web browsing, media playback, maps, and contacts, many of Apple's competitors (most notably Google and the Android Honeycomb tablets) are quickly matching the iPad. If third-party apps, games, and media downloads aren't your thing, there are many competent tablets on the market worth considering, and more are on the horizon. On the other hand, if apps and media aren't your thing, you may want to consider skipping a tablet altogether.
Taking Apple's spec bravado with a grain of salt, the iPad 2 is still an improvement. The original iPad was already pretty tough to beat in terms of general system responsiveness, such as keyboard latency, scrolling, and zooming. With the iPad 2, the system is a little tighter and response is more immediate, but the real-world benefits come in the form of app load times and when switching between apps using the multitasking bar.
Is the iPad 2 a gamer's dream come true? It's a mixed bag. To Apple's credit, the iPad has more games than any other tablet out there, and many of the titles feature graphic and play quality on par with full-blown gaming consoles. With the new processor, even graphically intensive games like Infinity Blade run with an uncanny fluidity, free from stuttering. But no matter how fast the iPad 2 can render its pixels, it's still limited by the iPad 2's 1,024x768-pixel display resolution. We had hoped for some of the iPhone 4's Retina Display technology in the iPad 2, but it seems Apple might be saving it for next time.
There's more to a screen than pixel density, though. Apple is still using the IPS panel technology from the original iPad, which offers outstanding viewing angles in every direction. Photo and video playback quality are still great. We noticed a slightly warmer color on the iPad 2's display compared with the original, but the contrast and black levels seemed about the same.
We tested the iPad 2's battery life at full screen with a iPad-optimized video. See below for results.
|Video battery life (in hours)||Maximum brightness (in cd/m2)||Default brightness (in cd/m2)||Contrast ratio|
The number of accessories made for the original iPad is overwhelming. There are cases, stands, speakers, dock adapters, gaming peripherals--even an iPad-compatible grill. With the iPad 2's new thinner design, fitted accessories for the original iPad (such as cases) aren't likely to work. Even Apple's own dock and keyboard dock for the original iPad are an awkward fit for the second-generation models--though they do work.
Fortunately, Apple hasn't done anything to monkey around with the iPad 2's universal dock connection. Generally speaking, if you could plug it into the first iPad, it should work with the new version as well. This goes for charging cables, video adapters, Apple's Camera Connection kit, or any in-car adapter cables.
For the iPad 2, Apple announced two new accessories. There's the magnetic Smart Cover (which we've gone over already) and a new Digital AV Adapter that allows you to connect the iPad to a TV over HDMI. The same AV adapter also works with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the original iPad, but only on the iPad 2 allows you to output everything from your iPad's screen--the menu, the browser, apps, games, you name it. Priced at only $39, it's a bit of an Apple TV killer, since it will output the entire iOS experience at up to 1080p, including downloaded iTunes videos and even streaming content from apps such as Netflix.
If you'd prefer to beam content wirelessly from your iPad to your TV, the little hockey-puck-size $99 Apple TV is the way to go. Aside from working as a great standalone media streamer for iTunes downloads, Netflix, and others, you can also use it to push media from your iPad to your TV (a feature Apple calls AirPlay). As of iOS 4.3, AirPlay streaming works with music, videos, and photos, as well as selected apps and Web content.
Worth the upgrade?
If you wanted the first iPad but possessed the foresight and restraint to wait until now, congratulations. There's nothing about the iPad 2 that is a step backward from the original. Buy with confidence.
If you're sitting there with a first-generation iPad and wondering whether you should upgrade, the sensible answer is no. That said, we understand that the iPad isn't a device that sells on its sensibleness. It's a fun product, and if fun is your only criterion, then by all means, buy them by the bushel.
Some of the iPad 2's capabilities for some niche audiences may justify trading in the old iPad for its thinner, faster next of kin. If Apple's FaceTime video calling service has become an indispensable feature for your family (via iPhone, iPod Touch, or Mac), it's one feature of the iPad 2 that firmware updates and accessories will just never bring to the original iPad. Some professionals may also find the iPad 2's unique HDMI video output mirroring (adapter required) to be a critical tool for presentations.
For the rest of you original iPad owners, the iPad 2's thinner profile, added cameras, and improved performance probably aren't enough to justify shelling out another $500 to $800. Unless you just have piles of cash lying around, we recommend that most existing iPad owners wait for the iPad 3.
So, is the iPad 2 the tablet to beat in 2011? No doubt. It has the most apps, the thinnest construction, the longest battery life, a competitive price, and an existing pool of hundreds of thousands of satisfied, iPad-evangelizing customers. Competition from Google, HP, and RIM will keep things interesting this year, but from what we've seen so far, they've got their work cut out for them.
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||7.3 in x 0.4 in x 9.5 in|
|OS provided||Apple iOS 5|
|Processor||Apple 1 GHzA5|
|Display type||9.7 in TFT active matrix|
|Wireless connectivity||IEEE 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11g|
|Battery installed (max)||Lithium polymer|
Average User Rating: 4.0 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 70
4 Star: 24
3 Star: 17
2 Star: 15
1 Star: 19
Rating: 3.5 / 5
on April 26, 2011
23 out of 46 users found this review helpful
Pros: see summary
Cons: see summary
Summary: True unbiased review of the iPad 2 Vs. Xoom.
Ok, Cnet editors you have had time with both the iPad 2 and Xoom as have I. Here is the true bottom line on which your readers should buy.
I am not going to touch on everything just what stands out to the buying public.
While Cent continues to complain that the cost of the Xoom is too much so they lower the rating to benefit other Android tablets which I think is wrong because the Xoom Wi-Fi cost the same as the iPad 2 Wi-Fi yet they don't seem to be bothered by that even though the Xoom offers more features than the iPad 2. As, to the other Android I have yet to pick one up but from what I know they are made with more plastic parts which reduces cost and durability.
First off let's get some of the needless arguments out of the way.
Cameras: these are tablets not cameras so who really cares if the camera is good or not I really don't see someone going on vacation and pulling out their tablet to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower these two tablets are not made for that.
3G vs. 4G: The idea of paying more for a wireless connection these days is just a waste of money. It cost a $100 plus on both machines then there is monthly fee on top of that. Let's be real here the majority of consumers buying tablets have a smartphone that can tether and be a personal Wi-Fi hotspot. Most of the time this service is free with a high of $15.99 added to your mobile bill still cheaper than what ATT and Verizon are charging. Wi-Fi only is the way to go and with that iPad 2 Wi-Fi and Xoom Wi-Fi are dead even at $599.99 for the 32GB models.
Size and weight:
Yes, the iPad 2 is thinner and lighter the Xoom but not by much, another let's get real moment, you just threw down $600+ on a portable device it is highly unlikely that you are going to hold with one hand at arm's length to use it. Like, me you will probably cradle it like a baby in your arm, place it on your lap, or hold it with two hands in this case the weight does not matter. Also, most will wind up having a case that will stand the tablet up on a desk.
IPad 2 .34in and 1.33lb
Xoom .5in and 1.61lb
A difference between .16in and .28lb not matter how you want to spin it there is not much difference to make this one of the be all end all arguments on why the iPad is better than the Xoom so, stop it.
Prediction for the iPad 3: it will be announced in March of 2012 it will be as thick as a piece of cardboard and weigh as much, it will come with a smart cover that will protect it blowing away on windy days (sold separately of course).
Now, let's get down and dirty on which is a better bang for your buck. I own both the 32GB models of the iPad and the Xoom.
The iPad 2 did not even offer Apples retina display guess you will have to wait until the 3rd to throw more money Apples way. The iPad 2 native resolution is 1024x768 that is a max of 720p HD and the Xoom is 1280x800 also 720p HD. There is not much difference between the two to call a clear winner. The iPad has an odd screen size, 9.7in that works great in portrait but landscape is not true widescreen and when watching widescreen movies you get those annoying black bars. While the Xoom is true 16x9 widescreen and is made to be used that way (just look at where the front facing camera is located iPad top/portrait, Xoom top/landscape) however, when in portrait with the Xoom it very awkward to hold and I really don't like that.
Screen Size bigger is better: Winner the Xoom 10.1in
Rotation: The black bars aside the iPad is more functional in portrait and offers decent landscape function, winner iPad 2
Tiebreaker: Winner iPad 2, there coating causes less fingerprint smudging.
Screen Winner: iPad 2
Tablets are made for one thing and really one thing only full portable web browsing even Apple was advertising that with the original iPad. However, Apple does not support Flash a key element in full web browsing. Even though, companies like Hulu are cutting support to tablets unless you pay Flash is still a big player. Apple states that there is no need for Flash because of their App store you can find whatever you need in an app. Well, searching the App Store just to find an app that will play the video I want to watch seems very unproductive when if iPad had flash I could just push play. Hey, Brain Tong, how can an iPad user view your wonderful and witty Apple Byte segments from there iPad when the video is Flash supported. Well let's see they will most likely have to get the Cnet app or search through the YouTube app to find it and play. Wouldn't it be easier to play from your website? On the other hand the Xoom now has full Flash support where one can experience the web as it was intended to be and also the Xoom has tabbed browsing a gigantic plus for people who love to surf the web. Another big key element is speed in browsing and as Cnet pointed out the Xoom is faster than the iPad 2 (sorry iPad users you did not see the video on Cnet because it was a Flash video however, you can find it on YouTube or through their App).
Speed: Winner Xoom
Full browsing support: Xoom
While both tablets offer more than what I have listed below most users only really care about how fast there systems are and how they can connect them.
Chip: 1GHz duel core A5
Storage: 32GB not expandable
Connection: Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
Connectivity: 30pin dock connector (all items sold separately besides the USB cable) 3.5mm headphone jack.
Chip: 1GHz duel core Tegra 2
Storage: 32GB (expandable to 64GB)
Connection: Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
Connectivity: HDMI, USB, 3.5mm headphone jack and SD slot
Take out the Chip and wireless connections and the Xoom is the clear cut winner.
Components: Winner Xoom
Android 3.0 vs. iOS 4
The most annoying thing about Honeycomb is the obvious fact that even with a duel core chip the UI is still sluggish. However, the fact that you can make it fit you personality in more ways than just changing the wallpaper is another huge plus. Unlike, the iPad in which the only thing you can change is the wallpaper and move the tiles around. Personally I am quite tired and board with the same old tiles Apple is on its fourth version of iOS and nothing has really changed in the UI which had become mundane and is not productive. Android has constantly changed the user experience each time they have updated their OS. As, someone who likes to make things their own the Honeycomb OS allows you and me to create a completely personal experience, be more productive with their widgets. With Honeycomb you can see your calendar, e-mail, books, weather, popular videos, and much more on your home screens without opening the app. Also, Xoom and Android have a wonderful notifications system so you don't miss out on important events. The force close is single most annoying thing about Android all versions and both OS's freeze from time to time which is also quite annoying.
Clear cut winner: Xoom:
App store Vs. Android Market:
This one is simple (sort of) the App Store has thousands of apps way more than the Android Market, however, not all of them are good or even worth downloading. The majority great apps are available on both stores and as Android continues so will their apps. I will still have to hand this one to the iPad because they have (at this time) more productive apps to make the tablet more useful than just an entertainment device. Since Double Twist for Android came out so one can use their iTunes playlist on Android OS it kind of nullifies the whole which is the better Mp3 player.
For now: Winner iPad.
I am sure there have been a lot of test out there on battery life on both machines but we only here praises for the iPad when both tablets have about the same battery life. In my normal everyday used of the tablets I had to charge my iPad before I did my Xoom.
I am going to call this one a tie.
I am not a portable gamer I have Xbox 360 and PS3 for gaming, however, I do play Angry Birds when I am on the move and I know it is not the ultimate test on frame rates and graphics but it looks good on both tablets.
Both tablets are very good but not yet excellent both have their drawbacks but overall the Xoom has a better feature set for the same price as the iPad 2. It also has a ton of features that are more notebook/netbook like. The Xoom is also faster in the areas where you want it to be and the iPad is .28lb lighter so you can carry it longer. Anyway, the best buy would be the Xoom because it will have a longer life span giving you more bang for your buck because we all know that the iPad 3 will be out next year with a retina display and better camera and everyone will flock to it but be saddened that not enough changed to drop another $600+. On the other hand I am sure that Google and Android continue their advancements with their OS and developers will add more apps and you will more change unlike Apple where they keep on giving you the same Kool-Aid to drink just in a lighter thinner glass.
I am going to give to the Xoom 3.75 stars to 3.25.
Great Toy, but not quite there yet.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
on April 27, 2011
12 out of 19 users found this review helpful
Pros: Best of the tablets. Sleek, smooth, fun. Fantastic for gaming, checking some news headlines, quick weather reports. I don't see it as a powerful travel device as much as a fantastic little house gizmo. A coffee table / couch novelty if you will. The graph
Cons: Let's be frank. The tablet market, not just Apple - but the industry as a whole has yet to define its purpose. What is it doing better than laptops, netbooks, and especially the new super slim laptops like MacBook Air or comparable PCs? iPads, like all ta
Summary: So while tablets are fun toys, I don't think they've justified themselves just yet to be more than gaming / casual surfing / movie devices. I don't like the lack of Flash on the iPad, a huge setback in terms of maximizing the web experience - why pay for Hulu when its free on your laptop? I don't think they or anyone has yet to come up with a viable solution to the difficulty of inputting data on these things. I think that will come, I imagine the future being a more effective multi-part laptop of sorts, or a re-introduction of the stylus, or lip reading recognition. Thought recognition? This issue needs to be addressed because as smooth as the interface is, the beauty of the web is the two way conversation you can take place in, not just mindlessly paying for apps and viewing content slobbering all over your little thing in your lap. That's the other struggle, I find using an iPad or any tablet, you eventually want to set it down. This means on your lap, or on a table and in either instance, it's far more awkward on your neck and body than a basic laptop.
The up-close screen intimacy and the feeling of it not being a computer is what we're falling in love with. One can realize that an iPad actually feels like a bigger screen than even a huge screen computer because you're so close to the image when you use it. There is something to this, and there is something to the ease of use of touch screens. Clearly, it's a natural thing to touch reach out and grab what you want to manipulate, but thus far tablets feel more like prototypes. I'm excited about them, and patiently waiting to see where the market goes, but I don't think we've found the laptop replacement just yet as so many are claiming.
Don't waste your money...
Rating: 2 / 5
on June 16, 2011
9 out of 13 users found this review helpful
Pros: Great form factor, fast processor, bright display...
Cons: Fonts on the screen are fuzzy and bleed. Camera is a complete joke.
Summary: I have the iPad1 and the iPad2 64GB models. I don't understand why no one seems to be mentioning how bad the font resolution is. Reading a email the font clear is fuzzy and not crisp, side by side there is a huge noticeable difference between iPad1 and iPad2. I even went to the Apple Store and looked at every iPad2 they had on display and every one of them had a fuzzy/bleeding type font when in email, then i went to the Verizon Store and SAME thing. So this is not just my iPad, this is all of them. I would take it back but i just realized you have to wait 10+ days to get a company check for a refund. Im very disatisfied, for the kind of money i spent on this i assumed the quality was above average but it wasn't. Also... not that i take pics with my iPad but if I wanted to i couldnt, ive seen camera phones from 3 years back with a better picture res than the iPad2. Why slack in such important areas such as the display and the camera? Anyways, waste of ALOT of money.
Expensive limited connectivity and capability
Rating: 2 / 5
on June 8, 2011
5 out of 7 users found this review helpful
Pros: Good quality construction
Cons: No USB , NO SD card, No HDMI, No Flash support. It is very hard and inconvenient to get you pictures documents etc. on this device It is hard and almost impossible to connect to any TV device, No possibility to expand hard drive capacity via use of SD ca
Summary: Look I am not a computer wizard or else I just an average consumer who happens to be like an option of connecting through usb because this type of connection is widely available, established and support by huge number of devises I am a person who likes to have the option of expanding the memory through SD card and transfer favorite pictures and all kind of files from SD card to my device because it is very simple and convenient. People who blindly support Apple can say whatever they what to defend and explain why no usb why no sd why no flash, no hdmi in my strong opinion it is just example of super duper marketing strategy from Apple where they (Apple) trying to sell you a very thin and no question, manufactured with high quality standards device that are lacking in functionality so basically it is easier(cheaper) to produce for Apple thinner, good wrapped device(toy), then pay fee for usb, sd, hdmi connectivity. However at the end of the day when you will need productivity from your device and not just a good looking toy look, I would prefer something more substantial that can be used today with today technology, connectivity and standards. Not just excuses from Apple's experts with dumb explanation why not ...... and in the future it will be.... and something like O you don't need it because we will connect everything through thunderbolt connector..... our connector so we don't pay anybody else... or like flash is not good enough because ..... Basically Apple for 90% is a huge marketing machine which I can give them quite successful.
Minor upgrade disappoints
Rating: 2.5 / 5
on March 13, 2011
7 out of 14 users found this review helpful
Pros: Very thin and sexy; Smart Cover is cool; near perfect UI; lots of apps; long battery life
Cons: No Flash support; still too heavy; so-so cameras; same resolution display; still not great at multitasking; needs SD expansion
Summary: No Flash support is a major drawback. That's why I'm looking at alternatives such as Xoom, PlayBook, and TouchPad. For everything but web surfing, it's great. But I rely on the web...
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