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

Better Gaming: Infinity Blade And Real Racing 2 HD

There are two games specifically optimized to take advantage of the iPad 2's hardware. Infinity Blade is one of the most popular iPad games, and it's the first mobile game powered by Epic's third-generation Unreal Engine. This game comes straight from the company's studio, Chair Entertainment, which states:

One of the most popular gaming apps released to date, the ground-breaking Infinity Blade will be updated tomorrow with new optimizations specifically for iPad 2. Taking advantage of the processing power of iPad 2, Infinity Blade looks and plays better than ever and is the ultimate "show off your iPad 2's graphics prowess" app.

The difference in actual gameplay is much more significant than what a single screenshot can convey, but the iPad 2 clearly enjoys less aliasing, while we also see more complex geometry. Click on the images to see the full gallery for yourself. There is more detail in every scene, especially those with lots of lighting. We also noticed that gameplay is smoother on the iPad 2, whereas some scenes seemed to stutter on the original iPad.

Infinity Blade: iPadInfinity Blade: iPad

Infinity Blade: iPad 2Infinity Blade: iPad 2

Next up, Real Racing 2 HD is a continuation of a popular racing series from the Australian developer Firemint. According to the company:

For iPad 2, full-screen anti-aliasing, fully-modeled vehicle interiors visible through translucent windows, high-detail objects and surfaces and enhanced reflections

The difference is immediately noticeable when you open up the game. With the iPad 2, edges are fully anti-aliased, while reflections bounce off the surface of our 2010 Volvo C30 R-Design. Like Infinity Blade, gameplay is much smoother. There are no skipped frames or stutters.

Real Racing 2 HD: iPadReal Racing 2 HD: iPad

Notice that the scenes are slightly different. Developers that optimize games specifically for the iPad 2 execute an additional code path. In the case of Firemint, the company has two different schemes for background detail. Only on the iPad 2 can we see flags above the race track's observation building.

Real Racing 2 HD: iPad 2Real Racing 2 HD: iPad 2

There are a lot more differences in Real Racing 2 HD than Infinity Blade. Thanks to more powerful graphics processing, there are enhanced scenes on the iPad 2 that you don't see on the iPad.

Racing Intro: iPadRacing Intro: iPad

Racing Intro: iPad 2Racing Intro: iPad 2

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63 comments
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  • Yuka
    What about adding other tablets in the mix?

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

    Cheers!
    3
  • acku
    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
    7
  • Nintendork
    Samsung Galaxy 10.1 anyday.
    0
  • gidgiddonihah
    Here is the article where all the Apple fanboys start to tear this article up :).
    -6
  • gidgiddonihah
    Oops, sorry for the poor grammer :). Posted without rereading...

    Here is an article that Apple fanboys would be glad to rip up.
    3
  • Tijok
    gidgiddonihahHere is the article where all the Apple fanboys start to tear up .


    Fixed it for you. ;)
    2
  • Benihana
    Still no HDD expandability? No thanks. I'm not rich.
    1
  • Anonymous
    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?
    2
  • acku
    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.
    3
  • damianrobertjones
    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.
    8
  • Maziar
    Good too see you guys are writing about tablets.Hope this trend continues and we can see reviews of more tablets :)
    5
  • Marcus52
    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
  • VVV850
    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
  • molo9000
    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.
    2
  • phraun
    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. =)
    0
  • damianrobertjones
    Reading this article on a 108" projector screen was a lot more comfortable... :)
    4
  • altoidman85
    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
  • brendonmc
    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.
    1
  • jdamon113
    This is Boring, just like a tablet.
    -4
  • Anonymous
    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.
    2