Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Meet iPad 2: Thinner And Lighter

Apple's iPad 2 Review: Tom's Goes Down The Tablet Rabbit Hole
By

iPad (left) & iPad 2 (right)iPad (left) & iPad 2 (right)

Apple focused on making the iPad 2 thinner and lighter, and it’s a welcome relief. Holding the original iPad in one hand is quite literally a pain compared to its predecessors specifications. Right away, the iPad 2 offers a better mobile experience.

Apple tablet comparison
iPadiPad 2
Length 9.56"9.5"
Width7.47"7.31"
Height.5".34"
Weight (3G)1.6 lb1.33 lb


The dimensions are similar, but Apple achieves a lighter and thinner design by tapering the iPad's edges.

This has other, less immediate benefits. If you hold the original iPad for extended periods, the two edges tend to leave an uncomfortable square imprint between your thumb and forefinger. The curves of the iPad 2 make it more comfortable to hold, but the thinner profile makes this single edge slightly pronounced. There's a bit of give and a bit of take as a result, but the iPad 2’s design is a marked improvement.

iPad (bottom) & iPad 2 (top)iPad (bottom) & iPad 2 (top)

The physical layout is the same as the original iPad with three minor changes:

  1. The iPad 2 has a slightly larger speaker. This required more space, so it’s now located on the back.
  2. Apple sells “smart covers” to protect the display. There’s nothing “smart” about them, though. Apple is just adding magnets that correspond to magnets located beneath the front bezel of the iPad 2. This is supposed to hold the cover in place.
  3. Apple adds a VGA front-facing and 720p rear-facing camera. We’ll get to this in a bit.


iPad (right) & iPad 2 (left)iPad (right) & iPad 2 (left)

The back of the iPad 2 is covered by a familiar aluminum shell. However, Apple uses a different alloy compared to the original iPad. It's hard to tell from our pictures, but there is a slight blue hue to the iPad 2's aluminum. For those that remember their chemistry, this is a clue that Apple increased magnesium content, translating into more scratch resistance. I purposely took a nail file to the edge, and can absolutely say there is a tangible difference.

The original iPad actually uses the same aluminum alloy as the 2010 MacBook Pros, but neither stands up well against time. After a few months of use, you find your perfect aluminum surface marred by scratches due to little particles grinding up against the surface. That seems to have changed with the iPad 2. Now, this doesn’t mean the newer tablet is scratch-proof, so I’d still recommend a case if you want to preserve the beauty that Apple loves to market.

The button layout on the iPad 2 isn't any different, but the new curves cause the buttons to protrude a little further than before. The result of this is a bit more tactile feedback.

The 3G version of the iPad 2 sees its SIM card slot repositioned to the middle of the left side. There is nothing wrong with this tweak, but I found it extremely difficult to open the SIM slot. The curves on the iPad 2 tend to hold the SIM holster too snug, so it feels like you have to do extra work to get it free.

iPad (bottom) & iPad 2 (top)iPad (bottom) & iPad 2 (top)

The curved design of the iPad 2 has one glaring weakness: its dock connector. It’s still in the same spot, but it’s no longer easy to dock. The flat edge of the original iPad allowed you to line up the cradle and the tablet. On the iPad 2, the process is still the same, but without the bottom edge to guide you. There’s more guessing involved, which results in more scratches as the cable scrapes up against the aluminum back.

Display all 63 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 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.
Display more comments