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Final Words

Apple's iPad 2 Review: Tom's Goes Down The Tablet Rabbit Hole
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In my opinion, the iPad 2's price is just as ridiculous as the original iPad. But that’s the nature of an Apple tablet. Remember that $499 for the iPad 2 is only the beginning. You also end up paying for a case, cradle, keyboard, HDMI adapter, and don’t forget the plethora of applications that you’ll feel compelled to buy. If you want a better idea of cost over time, don't be surprised to spend more on an iPad 2 than you might have otherwise spent on a mainstream notebook. Clearly, many folks don't know this or don't care.

Apple iPad 2 Pricing
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
WiFi
$499
$599
$699
AT&T 3G
$629
$729
$829
Verizon 3G
$629$729$829


In a beautiful, perfect world, we'd like to see Apple drop the price of its iPad 2. Right now, the entry fee to own one is too high. Consider what you get. The WiFi version lacks proper GPS support. This is a major disappointment if you want to avoid 3G, but need help with directions. If you're a traveler, you really need some sort of cellular plan to get the most use out of your iPad 2 (and that puts you in another pricing bracket entirely).

I won't lie; the poor camera quality doesn't help matters. For a company that's talking up FaceTime and Photo Booth, it's drawing a clear line in the sand that tablets should have cameras. And yet, Apples shows up to that gun fight with a Deringer. The camera sensors are by no means impressive, which is disappointing given the importance Apple places on them. The company is only getting away with this because it has relatively mature software (Ed.: I'd argue it's only getting away with it because the previous generation had no camera at all).

Apple gets credit for setting the bar when it comes to UI. Last quarter, almost 20% of Apple's total revenue ($13.5 billion) came from iPad sales. In spite of more tablet competition, Apple is still doing relatively well because it demonstrated that the software/user experience is just as important (if not more important) as the hardware on which it runs. I think we can all agree that tablets aren't fully evolved, though. They don't really replace anything, and until we get to that point, tablets users are faced with "needing" a device that they can live without.

Depending on how you enjoy using technology, there can be other inconveniences associated with using a tablet in general. Enjoying one almost requires the right physical position. Sitting down with one in your lap feels mighty awkward after a while. Instead, it's best to recline and hold the iPad 2 against your thighs. Call us strange for taking this into consideration, but it goes to show that tablets aren't these uber-portable devices easy to use in transit.

Despite those issues, my biggest gripe is synergy. I don't want to keep track of the files that I have on my desktop, iPad, and cellphone. If you're batting two out of three for Apple (as in, you own a Macbook and iPad), this is even more important. When I'm done working on my desktop, I want to be able walk over to my iPad and have all my applications and data come with me. I don't want to have to worry about docking and synching every time I make a change to a document or add audio tracks. Unfortunately, there is nothing (yet) that enables this. Even the Dropbox App is an incomplete solution. iCloud is supposed to be the answer to all my synergy woes, but Apple's cloud service won't be available until iOS 5 rolls out in the fall. Until then, I still feel like I'm missing an important part of the tablet experience.

If you absolutely have to have the latest and greatest toys, regardless of whether they'll become an important part of your life, Apple's iPad 2 is the way to go. The company continues to set the standard and it's hard to have a serious discussion about tablets without including Apple, which is why we felt it was important to kick off our tablet coverage with this device, even though it's not exactly brand new. Make no mistake; there is plenty of competition. A significant number of competitors will pop up this year. So, hopefully, Apple uses this as an impetus for innovation. Tablets have the potential to be amazing, but I think it will take another generation or two before we're actually there.

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  • 3 Hide
    Yuka , June 16, 2011 4:46 AM
    What about adding other tablets in the mix?

    The XOOM could be a good choice, or the Asus Transformer.

    Cheers!
  • 7 Hide
    acku , June 16, 2011 4:49 AM
    We'll get to the others soon enough, but it's difficult to talk about other tablets without talking about Apple products.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • 0 Hide
    Nintendork , June 16, 2011 5:15 AM
    Samsung Galaxy 10.1 anyday.
  • -6 Hide
    gidgiddonihah , June 16, 2011 5:24 AM
    Here is the article where all the Apple fanboys start to tear this article up :) .
  • 3 Hide
    gidgiddonihah , June 16, 2011 5:27 AM
    Oops, sorry for the poor grammer :) . Posted without rereading...

    Here is an article that Apple fanboys would be glad to rip up.
  • 2 Hide
    Tijok , June 16, 2011 5:37 AM
    gidgiddonihahHere is the article where all the Apple fanboys start to tear up .


    Fixed it for you. ;) 
  • 1 Hide
    Benihana , June 16, 2011 5:55 AM
    Still no HDD expandability? No thanks. I'm not rich.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 16, 2011 6:36 AM
    Disagree.
    Like most computer guys like myself, adding an ipad won't make us to pack our PC/Mac to our closet. But again, mistakes like Microsoft or Linux, the "most computer guys on earth" are actually just a small group in total.
    For example:
    i've been teaching my 80 years old grandma to use pc to download, install and play simple games for years, no success. then she learned how to find/download/install/play many games after few days playing with my ipad.
    my 5 years nephew reads/plays/watch cartoons all on ipad now, she didn't turn on her pc for weeks.
    For myself, i uninstalled all my online video, movie client applications from my laptop, as I found watching these on ipad is much comfortable.

    Yes I still do my works on my pc, mostly in my office. At home, now the only thing force me to turn on my pc is to play world of warcraft
    I mean, who says ipad can't replace anything?
  • 3 Hide
    acku , June 16, 2011 7:33 AM
    joeyluDisagree.Like most computer guys like myself, adding an ipad won't make us to pack our PC/Mac to our closet. But again, mistakes like Microsoft or Linux, the "most computer guys on earth" are actually just a small group in total.For example:i've been teaching my 80 years old grandma to use pc to download, install and play simple games for years, no success. then she learned how to find/download/install/play many games after few days playing with my ipad.my 5 years nephew reads/plays/watch cartoons all on ipad now, she didn't turn on her pc for weeks.For myself, i uninstalled all my online video, movie client applications from my laptop, as I found watching these on ipad is much comfortable. Yes I still do my works on my pc, mostly in my office. At home, now the only thing force me to turn on my pc is to play world of warcraftI mean, who says ipad can't replace anything?


    I'd actually argue that in your case you're not replacing a PC, you're augmenting it. Granted, there will be others like your nephew and grandmother who can use an iPad as their primary device.
  • 8 Hide
    damianrobertjones , June 16, 2011 7:45 AM
    May I simply say, "thank you" to Toms for writing a well thought out objective, honest and practical review of thr iPad2. Instead of getting carried away you've hit the nail on the head.

    P.s. I use an Acer W500 and I still struggle to justify why i have it.
  • 5 Hide
    Maziar , June 16, 2011 9:19 AM
    Good too see you guys are writing about tablets.Hope this trend continues and we can see reviews of more tablets :) 
  • 2 Hide
    Marcus52 , June 16, 2011 9:45 AM
    In my opinion, the tablet is a fad that will go away when everyone finds out they are very cool looking toys that really don't add anything to what you can do.

    Oh, don't get me wrong; I think they'll make their permanent mark on the smart phone and laptop scenes, the devices that really fit into people's lives - but the tablet is too limited and too clumsy in actual use.

    Certainly, they have their niche uses - as book readers, like the Kindle, for example, but as something that will actually replace anything, I think not. Lots of coolz, little practicality.

    ;) 
  • 2 Hide
    VVV850 , June 16, 2011 9:59 AM
    What about light bleeding? I mean, the number of Ipads 2 that have this issue is staggering and has to be included in a review
  • 2 Hide
    molo9000 , June 16, 2011 10:33 AM
    Marcus52In my opinion, the tablet is a fad that will go away when everyone finds out they are very cool looking toys that really don't add anything to what you can do.Oh, don't get me wrong; I think they'll make their permanent mark on the smart phone and laptop scenes, the devices that really fit into people's lives - but the tablet is too limited and too clumsy in actual use.Certainly, they have their niche uses - as book readers, like the Kindle, for example, but as something that will actually replace anything, I think not. Lots of coolz, little practicality.

    They don't "add anything to what you can do", but they do certain things much better than other devices.

    Reading this article on my iPad while sitting on a sofa was certainly much more comfortable than reading it on my desktop or laptop.
  • 0 Hide
    phraun , June 16, 2011 11:07 AM
    molo9000They don't "add anything to what you can do", but they do certain things much better than other devices.Reading this article on my iPad while sitting on a sofa was certainly much more comfortable than reading it on my desktop or laptop.


    You need a more comfortable computer chair. =)
  • 4 Hide
    damianrobertjones , June 16, 2011 11:07 AM
    Reading this article on a 108" projector screen was a lot more comfortable... :) 
  • -1 Hide
    altoidman85 , June 16, 2011 11:14 AM
    molo9000They don't "add anything to what you can do", but they do certain things much better than other devices.Reading this article on my iPad while sitting on a sofa was certainly much more comfortable than reading it on my desktop or laptop.


    You should have taken the money you spent on your ipad and bought a more comfortable desk and chair for your desktop. Then a few cases of beer.
  • 1 Hide
    brendonmc , June 16, 2011 11:48 AM
    Spot on. Even Microsoft recognized that Windows Mobile applications had to be compatible with the full versions. Unfortunately there just wasn't the hardware to make it run....well....
    Oh, and using a stylus to type sucks.

  • -4 Hide
    jdamon113 , June 16, 2011 12:05 PM
    This is Boring, just like a tablet.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 16, 2011 12:27 PM
    I only justify having a tablet for my girlfriend, who's work place (Hospital ER) will not allow laptop use during her down time, to browse or chat w/ me. But they do allow them to read books, or e-readers, so she has a nook color running Cyanogenmod7, so i guess the onl ytime a tablet is useful to us is when a laptop strictly isnt allowed.
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