The First (and Last) Words on the iPad 2

By  |  Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 11:43 pm

The iPad doesn’t show up at retail stores until 5pm on Friday, but the first reviews of big tech products usually break on Wednesday evenings–and so a bunch of major sites rendered their verdicts on Apple’s second-generation tablet tonight.

There are no shockers. Everybody likes it. They find it a thoroughly pleasing refinement rather than a reinvention of iPad #1. They all find a nit or two to pick, but nobody identifies another company’s model as superior. Actually, they agree that it’s the best tablet on the market.

As usual, the last paragraphs–or, occasionally, the last two paragraphs–of the reviews tend to nicely summarize the author’s take. So here are a bunch of ’em…

Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal:

As new contenders move into the field, Apple isn’t likely to keep its 90% share of the booming tablet market. But the iPad 2 moves the goal posts, by being slimmer and lighter, boosting speed and power, and holding its price advantages, available apps and battery life. As of now, I can comfortably recommend it as the best tablet for average consumers.

David Pogue, The New York Times (David, take two grafs, won’t you? They’re small!):

But the shocker here, though, is that the iPad 2 actually costs less than its comparably equipped Android rivals, like the Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. That twist must have something to do with Apple’s huge buying clout — when you order five million of some component at a time, you can usually persuade the vendor to cut you a deal.

But that surprising price detail may turn a lot of heads. It means that for the first time, your heart can succumb to the iPad mystique — without having to ignore the more practical input from your brain.

Ed Baig, USA Today:

The iPad 2 doesn’t deliver everything on your tablet wish list. But when it comes to the ever-evolving state of the art, iPad 2 is second to none.

Jason Snell, Macworld:

For everyone else, the iPad 2 is a triumph, an iPad that’s even more iPad than the original. And the original one was really good. The first iPad was a bolt from the blue, a device that defined an entire category, and a tough act to follow. The iPad 2 follows it with aplomb.

John Gruber, Daring Fireball:

The iPad 2 is a solid second-generation iteration. Easier and more comfortable to hold, noticeably faster, equippable with foldable covers that are both literally and figuratively magnetic. Like last year’s iPhone 4, it seems like technology from the near future.

Josh Topolsky, Engadget:

For owners of the previous generation, we don’t think Apple’s put a fire under you to upgrade. Unless you absolutely need cameras on your tablet, you’ve still got a solid piece of gear that reaps plenty of the benefits of the latest OS and apps. For those of you who haven’t yet made the leap, feel free to take a deep breath and dive in — the iPad 2 is as good as it gets right now. And it’s really quite good.

Mark Spoonauer, Laptop:

The camera quality isn’t great, and there’s no 4G data or mobile hotspot feature. At the same time, Android 3.0 tablets such as the Motorola Xoom do a better job with multitasking and notifications. But when you look at the whole package–hardware, software, apps, battery life, accessories, and price–the iPad 2 is the king of tablets.

Tim Gideon,

Overall, the Apple iPad 2 is the best tablet you can buy right now, so it’s our Editors’ Choice. Currently, the Motorola Xoom shows tremendous promise and even edges past the iPad in a few areas (cameras and multitasking to name a couple). But even without the advantage of far more apps, the iPad 2 simply provides a better user experience and operates more gracefully and seamlessly with your media than Android devices. If you live happily outside the iTunes ecosystem, an Android tablet like the Xoom is certainly worth considering. But if you’re in the market for a new device now, and have no loyalty to a specific manufacturer or operating system, the iPad 2 is the tablet to get.

Vincent Nguyen, Slashgear:

For everyone else, though, Apple has put together a superbly capable, class-shaping tablet, which can now legitimately take on not only other slates but lighter ereaders such as Amazon’s Kindle. The iPad 2 benefits from Apple’s cohesive hardware and software development together with the vast third-party developer support of the App Store, consistent and simple to use in equal measure. Apple’s vision of the post-PC world isn’t quite here yet – the iPad 2 still works best with, and at times demands, integration with a “proper” computer – but when it comes to tablets the iPad 2 maintains its position at the vanguard of the market.

MG Siegler, TechCrunch:

Let me sum all of this up in a simple way: the iPad 2, should you buy one? Maybe, it depends on a few factors. Will you want to buy one? Yes. Use that information wisely.

Peter Ha, The Daily (Peter also looks like he wants two short paragraphs):

But should you, reader of The Daily, upgrade?

That all depends on what you’re doing with your iPad now. Cameras and speed aside, the iPad 2 isn’t drastically different than what you have in your hands. It’s just a much sleeker and sexier version of it.

So far, the only hand-on time I’ve had with an iPad 2 was at Apple’s press event last week. I like what I saw (and given the significance of its lighter, thinner case, I liked what I felt). I look forward to sharing more thoughts once I’ve spent more time with one–and hearing what you think if you’re one of the folks in line on Friday to snap one up.


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Says:

    I don't see a compelling reason to upgrade. Smartphones have dual cameras and the review of the ipad cameras are less than stellar. If you want an upgraded CPU for games, then fine. Otherwise a refurb ipad 1 at $350 is a much better deal or wait for a high res ipad 5.

  2. dholyer Says:

    The iPAD 2 is Apple trying to milk the Tech-o-mart. As for me liking Apple, you would have better luck getting them to balance the fed budget with no 4 letter words being said. I guess they want to milk MACheads for every penny they can get. But even I do not think they can get that crazy. Unless their daddy's can do books like the government does, they may run a little low on the dough to feed their ecstasy trips with a new not so different PAD display that is not even a full computer.

    I'm still waiting for one that rolls up like a sheet of paper, never needs batteries, and can even work in mid earth orbit while connecting to the NET.

    By the way mid earth orbit is 1,000 miles above the planet to just outside the moon's orvit (say the same 1,000 miles), that includes the Geo-sync orbits. The good thing is it has added HTML 5 so the Flash road bump is now leveling out, at least when most start using HTML 5.

  3. ipad2cost Says:

    Agree with Dave, don't see a strong comparison between iPad and iPad 2. Although I agree iPad 2 is the best tablet in market as it benefits from Apple's hardware

  4. Ryan Waddell Says:

    I'm sorry, but the guy at Slashgear saying it can take on the Kindle? That's just silly. While you can read books on the iPad, they're not really comptetitors, in the strictest sense. They are LIGHT years apart in terms of price points – and obviously, due to that, also in terms of functionality. The Kindle does one thing, and does it remarkably well, and cheaply. The iPad does many things, does them remarkably well, but you're paying for those extra features.