Early Impressions: iPad 2 Is a Must See for New Tablet Buyers


To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the $829-dollar question. I mean, if you have an iPad, should you line up outside the Apple store and buy the new iPad 2? Is it worth it?

I mean, it has a faster chip. It has two cameras. It has a new OS. It has a gyroscope. It can do HDMI video out. It can play nice with all iTunes content. It sure is thinner — about one-third thinner than the current iPad — and 0.2 pounds lighter that the current iPad, which weighs 1.5 pounds.   (Apple iPad2: What you need to know).

Like many others in the media who follow Apple, I was at the iPad 2 launch event held earlier today. I had a chance to spend some time playing around with the new device and have some quick impressions. Now you have to remember, I’ve had only ten minutes to play with the iPad 2, so take these impressions with a pinch of salt.

  • The 3.2 ounces in shaved weight actually does feel a lot lighter than one might imagine just from looking at the spec sheet.
  • The slimmer size makes holding the device a lot easier. It’s very much like the iPod touch vs iPhone comparison.
  • The screen is no different from the current generation of iPads, except the dual-core processor and additional graphics oomph make it feel livelier and more responsive. Still, I wish Apple offered higher resolution on the screen.
  • I can’t really tell how other apps — games, for example — perform on the device.
  • The new Safari is actually pretty fast and handles JavaScript fairly well, which makes sites such as Google Mail and Google Apps quite handy to use.
  • The two cameras are great addition. I am a big FaceTime and Skype Video user. Facetime looks pretty hot on the bigger screen and makes video calling more useful.
  • I like that the iPad 2 is more video friendly thanks to cameras, iMovie, and scores of other upgrades like watching iTunes content on it via Home Sharing and sharing videos to big screen televisions via a HDMI adapter and/or AirPlay.
  • No matter how hard Steve Jobs tried to convince us that the white iPad 2 is cool, I am so NOT into the whole white Apple devices thing, and that means the iPad 2, as well.

That said, being an owner of a 3G iPad, I’m hard pressed to spring for the upgrade. I am still getting maximum mileage out of the first-generation device. The price cuts announced earlier today are only going to devalue the resale value of my top-of-the-line iPad 3G. (Related: How to prepare a used iPad for sale.)

I have a MacBook Air, which does a great job at video conferencing, and now with a Verizon iPhone 4 in my pocket, I can FaceTime anytime. I’m still waiting to see how developers leverage this new hardware.

That said, if you’re a first-time tablet buyer, it’s perhaps your best option on the market right now. It has a fast processor, is light, is ultra thin, is available in a week, and more importantly, it’s far ahead of what else its rivals are selling (or are planning to sell.)

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