iPad 2 - to buy or not to buy? Six reasons to drop your hard-earned on Apple's new wunder-tablet.
With the iPad 2 having enjoyed a record-breaking first two weeks of sales across the pond, we've no doubt that a good many of you are already ticking off the hours until its launch this Friday, credit card in one hand and sleeping bag in t'other. But with proper competitors in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the LG Optimus Pad, the Motorola Xoom and the HTC Flyer either here already or looming on the horizon, what are the key reasons you should plump for Apple's iPad 2 over the challengers?
1. Faster processor
Steve Jobs claimed that the dual-core A5 chip which powers the iPad 2 is twice as fast as the original iPad's A4 processor, and up to a whopping nine times faster for gaming. Furthermore, benchmark tests that popped up online after the iPad 2's announcement show the A5 to be much quicker than the Google tabs' equivalent of choice, the Nvidia Tegra 2, at rendering 3D. For gaming and processor-intensive tasks, Apple comes out on top.
2. 65,000 iPad 2 apps
Hardware ain't nothing without software, and in terms of apps, Apple's advantage over the Android Market is laughably huge - reportedly 65,000 to just a couple of hundred. We've got no doubt that once this generation of Android tablets has been released developers will start closing that gap fast, but that's an argument for buying a future generation of Google tablets, not this one.
3. Lower starting price
One of the surprises of the iPad 2 was the announcement for the £399 price point for the 16GB WiFi model. That's £30 cheaper than the original entry model was at launch, and looks like a move to hammer further nails into what Apple hope will be the Android coffin (the Xoom, by comparison, starts out at £499 for its admittedly roomier 32GB base model).
4. Facetime and camera
There's no getting away from it: the cameras on the iPad 2 are poor. There's a 0.7MP cam on the back for videos and photos, and a 0.3MP snapper on the front for FaceTime. This puts Apple dead last in the tablet camera stakes, but if FaceTime was a big omission for you the first time around, it is now - just about - an option.
5. iOS 4.3
It may be functional, but the fact remains that Android's tablet OS, Honeycomb, is still unfinished. Early customers who picked up the Motorola Xoom are still waiting patiently for an OS update to make the memory card slot work, and currently there's no Flash, which is one of the key places Google should be whipping Apple. iOS 4.3, by comparison, is as slick and polished as you'd expect from Jobs and Co, and adds new functionality like AirPlay and HDMI mirroring.
It's a tech rule of thumb at this point: if you want pretty, go Apple. As we saw in our iPad 2 unboxing video, the new Apple tablet is slimmer and lighter than the original and, with the exception of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, all of its competitors as well. Then there's that glossy bezel and the all-aluminium back, which makes T3 Towers' gadget fanciers come over all funny. If you're after a tablet as an accessory as well as a functional device (and, be honest, that's part of it), the iPad 2 is still the fashionista's tablet of choice.
Want more on the iPad 2? Check out our feature, Apple iPad 2: Everything you need to know.
Apple iPad 2 review
Source: T3 Tech videos