Apple iPad 2 review: Love and hate 2.0

The Apple iPad 2 is about to hit European shelves, fresh form a diet and exercise regime that’s helped it shed weight and build muscle. Faster, thinner and lighter is an accurate account of what’s been going on in the year that divides the two editions of Apple’s tablet.

Apple is taking it easy with the upgrades as usual – everything is carefully planned to ensure smooth traffic of new and repeat customers. It’s weirdly inconsistent with the hype about every new release. Anyway, faster-thinner-lighter is a fair deal to offer new users without making the original iPad adopters feel duped.

It’s a sequel from the creators of a blockbuster. The iPad 2 is in no mood to start a revolution. But evolution should be good enough considering the original iPad is yet to be beaten.

Key features

9.7” capacitive IPS touchscreen display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels; oleophobic coating
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity
Optional 3G connectivity (data only)
Optional GPS with A-GPS support
Apple A5 SoC - 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor, PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics
iOS 4.3
16/32/64GB of onboard storage
Weight of 601 grams (607 grams for the 3G version)
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
10 hours battery life
Accelerometer, compass and three-axis gyro-sensor
Compatible with every iPhone app without any modifications
The cheapest version costs less than an unlocked iPhone
0.7MP auto-focus camera, 720p video recording at 30fps
VGA secondary camera capable of Facetime calls
Impressively slim 8.8mm waistline
Four and five-finger gestures (locked by default, but easy to enable with a Mac and a $5 app)
1080p TV-output with the Apple Digital AV Adapter (purchased separately for $39), 720p video streaming
Magnetic Smart cover ($39 or $69)

Main disadvantages

iTunes required for uploading content
No Flash support in the web browser
Poor still cameras – though, really, this thing isn’t meant for taking candids
No standard USB port
No kickstand – it cannot stand on a table without the help of a dock stand or a Smart cover
Non replaceable battery
No stereo loudspeakers
No GPS receiver for the Wi-Fi only version
No memory card slot
3G model uses micro-SIM, instead of a regular size SIM
iPhone apps designed for HVGA resolution squander screen real estate or look pretty bad uspcaled

The list of disadvantages of any iOS device is the usual long read. Apple’s iOS has limitations that we all have to live with. Apple will never bring Flash support, allow regular file management or make iTunes (or at least the mandatory cable connection) optional. As to the actual iPad 2, if you want real GPS functionality you have no choice but to opt for the 3G-enabled model, which adds $120 to the regular bill.

But if you’re willing to forgive the shortcomings, the iPad 2 brings both a performance upgrade and a redesign. The tablet is powered by the new Apple A5 SoC, with a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor, PoverVR SGX543MP2 graphics and 512MB RAM.

The Apple iPad 2 comes to address one of the main issues of the original iPad: weight. And while the handling is improved we’re less certain about the aesthetics. True, it’s an impressively thin tablet (slimmer than the iPhone 4) but uses the older generation iPhone design.

Apple iPad 2 live shots

Anyway, the speed boost is all there and we’ve enjoyed some impressive performance in our early tests. The Facetime video-calls and 720p videos are nice add-ons too. Unfortunately, higher screen resolution is too much of an upgrade to ask for in only the second release.

The iPad 2 has its ups and downs but, like it or not, it will sell in millions just like the original. But Apple is probably keeping a wary eye on the Android army readying a massive deployment in the coming months.

That’s still to come though. For the time being, the Apple iPad 2 gets our full attention. Follow us on the next page where we start exploring Apple’s new tablet.

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The Top 10 Best Laptops on the Market Today

1. HP Pavilion dv6-6013cl : Front HP Pavilion dv6-6013cl
In terms of looks, features, and cost, the HP Pavilion dv6-6013cl was already a great laptop, but the addition of a second generation Intel processor and dramatically improved graphics and gaming capability make it a winner.

2. Dell XPS 15 (Sandy Bridge) : Angle Dell XPS 15 (Sandy Bridge)
With a Sandy Bridge quad-core processor and excellent battery life, the Dell XPS 15 (Sandy Bridge) is arguably the most complete desktop replacement laptop, even if it isn't the fastest or the prettiest.

3. Lenovo ThinkPad X220 : FrontLenovo ThinkPad X220
The Lenovo ThinkPad X220 business ultraportable is an amazing piece of engineering when you factor in all the features it squeezed into a 12-inch frame, including best-in-class battery life and the new Intel Core i5 i5-2520M CPU.

4. Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Thunderbolt) : FrontApple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Thunderbolt)
The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Thunderbolt) is the fastest, most technologically advanced laptop to grace our Labs benches, thanks to new Intel architecture, a renewed romance with AMD graphics chips, and a connection technology called Thunderbolt.

5. Asus_U41JF-A1 : Angle Asus U41JF-A1
The Asus U41JF-A1 is the most well-balanced mainstream laptop, combining excellent power with all-day battery life.

6. HP Pavilion dm1z : Front HP Pavilion dm1z
The HP Pavilion dm1z and its AMD Fusion APU offer the best of both worlds: faster-than-Atom speeds and great battery life.

7. Sony VAIO VPC-Z1390X Sony VAIO VPC-Z1390X
The Sony VAIO VPC-Z1390X is, hands down, the lightest and most powerful ultraportable money can buy.

8. Toshiba Portege R705-P35 : Angle Toshiba Portege R705-P35
The Toshiba Portege R705-P35 is a more practical alternative to the Sony VAIO Z, bundling a 13-inch widescreen, optical drive, and a standard volt processor.

9. Acer Aspire AS5745-7247 : Angle Acer Aspire AS5745-7247
The Acer Aspire AS5745-7247 is one sweet laptop deal, putting in parts and features you don't normally get at these prices.

10. Asus U45Jc-A1 Asus U45Jc-A1
The U45Jc-A1 is powerful and battery efficient enough to work through an entire day and look good while doing it.
ReadmoreThe Top 10 Best Laptops on the Market Today

Dell Inspiron Mini 11z Review, Specs & Price

The 11-inch notebook category is heating up, with all the major manufacturers now offering netbook alternatives with bigger screens and keyboards. The sleek 11.6-inch Dell Inspiron 11z joins the party with a wide range of personalization options, along with a ULV processor that can handle HD video.

Dell Inspiron 11z Specifications:

* Windows Vista Home Premium (SP1, 32-bit)
* Intel Celeron 723 (1.2GHz, 800MHz FSB, 1MB Cache)
* Intel GS45 + ISH9M chipset
* 11.6" WXGA LED-backlit display at 1366x768
* Intel X4500 Integrated Graphics
* Dell 1397 ABG Wireless
* 2GB DDR2-800 SDRAM (1 Slot)
* 250GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
* 65W (19.5V x 3.34A) 100-240V AC Adapter
* 3-cell 28Wh 11.1v 2420mAh Lithium Ion battery
* Dimensions (WxDxH): 11.5" x 8.43" x 0.92-1.02"
* Weight: 3.05lbs
* 1-year limited warranty
* Price when purchased: $399 (Currently $449)

According to reviews, the Dell Inspiron Mini 11z is slightly ameliorate than amount netbook, offered at a levelheaded value, with an crack 11.6? WXGA strainer, but with some flaws. It has been barrelled discover that the processing noesis of the Celeron mainframe performed beneath expectations, existence slower than the Atom processor. Also, the touchpad is said to be actual bad.

  • X4500 graphics with HDMI out
  • Perfect netbook screen
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Worst ..Touchpad .. Ever
  • Small stock battery
  • Weak CPU performance
ReadmoreDell Inspiron Mini 11z Review, Specs & Price