How the iPad 2 Measures Up In Real-World Performance

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After the exhausting few days over the weekend showing off my iPad 2 to friends, I did some hard analysis of the iPad 2 compared to my original iPad. Geoffrey Goetz ran the iPad 2 through a series of performance measurement tools, but I took the old-fashioned approach to see how it measured up in terms of real world usage.

All factors besides hardware model were the same for my tests: My iPad 1 was upgraded to 4.3 and I copied over all settings from the iPad 1 to iPad 2. The only difference was my new one is Verizon and the old one was AT&T (AT&T sold out very quickly at my location). However, all tests were conducted over Wi-Fi, negating carrier network speed as a factor.

Boot times were identical: about 29 seconds (from power on to lock screen). I actually expected much better. I’d surmise that the certain amount of overhead can’t be reduced even with faster processing speed.

More intense games such as Plants vs. Zombies or Angry Birds were noticeably faster loading, showing around 50-percent improvements. Infinity Blade showed absolutely no difference in load speed, which was a bit shocking.

Surprisingly, the greatest performance boost was in Safari. Both versions were identical from iPad 1 to iPad 2, but iPad 2 loaded pages around 70 to 80 percent faster. Both tests were done over my home Wi-Fi connection. In reality, the faster Safari makes sense. When you make the hardware and the software you can obviously optimize your app to take advantage of new features.

After a few days of usage, I’m generally pleased with my purchase. The device feels much lighter than the difference in weight on paper would have you believe. The weight distribution makes it feel significantly lighter. FaceTime worked great, but you have to remember that if you want to FaceTime someone who owns an iPad 2, you need to specify their email address to connect, and not their phone number. That got confusing.

My only major disappointment is the polyurethane smart cover. I love the magnetic features and how it instantly wakes and sleeps. Unfortunately it also attracts dust and smudges like a magnet. Less than 12 hours into using it, my lime green cover already had black smudges from the newspaper that was resting on it. I wish I would have gotten a darker color, so let that factor into your accessory purchase decision.

For those who braved the lines, what do you think of your new iPad 2’s performance?

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