Monday, May 02, 2011

Took the tablet plunge: Ipad 2 Review


I had never used an Apple product apart from a 2nd generation Ipod which i had won in a competition, the plain white piece of music playing device did not excite me much, i am a bass junkie and prefer to toy around with customized equalizer feature in any music player which kinda made me sell off my Ipod shuffle as soon as i could. After all these years i resisted the idea of buying an Iphone or an Ipod touch, I kept following the tech news of the growing app market for Iphone over the past few years, and one important thing which kept lingering in my mind was the evolving gaming capacity of this device.

My desktop pc finally conked off after 6 years of use and i was no longer interested in upgrading my desktop, so i got myself a decent laptop upgrade in HP G62-455TX replacing my old acer laptop which had started giving me enough trouble with the battery and overheating issues. I had a plan to upgrade my phone from Nokia N8 to Samsung Galaxy SII because i was planning to shift my mobile OS experience away from Symbian and check out the Android OS catching up to popularity world over. Still my desire to own a good portable gaming device was still pending.  I shelved my plans of the phone upgrade and freezed upon two tablet devices.

Apple Ipad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which is due for late June release in India. I was heavily moved with my decision to choose Samsung GT 10.1 and wait for it, however i knew that with an improved dual core processor Apple Ipad 2 would be a good device for portable gaming that i have being looking for all this while.

I began my extensive research on both these devices for few days and finally decided to buy Apple Ipad 2. I got my Ipad 2 from Reliance Digital Istore at Jewel Square mall in Koregaon Park on the launch day itself, a black 16 GB Wi-Fi Ipad 2. The store representative first called me to inform that due to octroi issues their stock had got stuck and i would get my delivery on Saturday, luckily i got a call again in the evening and got my Ipad.

Dimension Specs
  • 0.34 inch in thickness
  • 9.5 inch tall
  • 7.3 inches in width
  • Weighing close to 600 grams
Holding the Ipad 2 gives you feel of a really well designed tech marvel, not recommended to hold it for long in your palms it would start feeling heavy and having a protective cover is a must for this device as the screen is smudge magnet and there are already some cheap covers + bluetooth keyboard accessories available on ebay india site. Smart cover that is going to retail for Rs 2100 was still not available from the store I purchased my Ipad. Screen resolution of 1024 x 768  is crisp and can be customized for brightness. It also has ambient light sensor, an accelerometer and 3 axis gyroscope . The Power button is situated on the top right corner just behind the screen, with a 3.5 mm jack for headset connection towards top left. Volume control button is placed vertically just below the power button on right hand side.

Powering up the Ipad 2 it boots within roughly 20-25 seconds. Swipe unlock familiar to Iphone and Ipod touch is also present in Ipad 2, factory preset model comes with limited apps like Photo Booth, You tube, App Store, Game Center and FaceTime app. The first thing i did was to download Itunes software on my laptop and load the system updates available from Istore, registered my device and synching the Ipad to Itunes is pretty swift. I got started on the App Store instantly and exploring different useful apps, downloaded few of them.

Using Ipad 2 virtual keyboard is easy in general however you would have to rest the Ipad on a desk or some support because it starts feeling bulky after a while switching palms and hands becomes obvious. Ipad 2 is zippy and does not struggle with orientation changes, home screen swipes opening up multiple applications which i tried with a HD game and camera application and 2 other applications all open while i kept switching between them. the A5 1 Ghz dual core chip within this device handles multi taksing without much issues, still need to check as to what limit would the processor get maxed out. While using the FaceTime app for placing a video call i notice Ipad 2 heating up slightly after almost close to 1 hour of video call.

Ipad 2 scores low on having decent camera for taking photos, HD video recording is almost up to the mark, since taking videos and photographs was not on my priority list of what i was looking from a tablet device so i gave this feature a miss, you can take a look at the sample video and pics i have taken from Ipad 2.

Apple Ipad 2 sample pics

Ipad Camera Pic Sample 1 Ipad Camera Pic Sample 2 Ipad Camera Pic Sample 3 Ipad Camera Pic Sample 4

With 512 MB RAM on the house playing games is much sought relief for me to move up from playing on small mobile screen to a proper portable gaming device, i always kept giving Sony's PSP a miss because i did not want to get tied down to a small screen device for gaming which a lot of new gen smart phones are getting better at. I have downloaded few trial games to see how they look on Ipad2 and i must say it delivers pretty well as a portable gaming device.

Watching movies, video clips also looks great. The default video player would only accept MP4 format videos and that too copied via Itunes, you need to buy a seperate camera connector adapter to copy images and videos from a SD card, USB drive. for playing video format other than MP4 you can either download some free apps like Ipad video converter from Aleesoft, which would work for small videos but becomes a tedious process for converting full movies if you have got them in popular formats like DivX or Xvid etc. So i brought a paid app for $3 from the App Store called CineXplayer which is a good and stable software to play your movies without the trouble of conversion, however it does not support .mkv video and AC3 format yet. Unfortunately Itunes store for India does not feature music downloads, you can still download audio and video podcasts for your device. There are some paid apps that are available on the app store to allow viewing of microsoft office documents, not sure how many of them allow creating word, excel and powerpoint format docs as ipad does not have a Microsoft supported office productivity app.

I am yet to test the 10 hour battery claim, so cannot comment much about it right now. You can feel the fluidity in the accessibility and navigation while using the device which is a pleasant experience and i must say that i have got hooked to my Ipad in no time. iOS 4.3 does not herald any significant changes from it's previous versions again i cannot delve much into it because i have not being a iphone or ipod touch user before. ipad 2 also has Airplay feature which enables wireless broadcast of songs, images, videos and other media content on an apple enabled device which supports airplay technology. Using FaceTime app is great and pretty simple to use which i liked the most. Applications like Garage Band, MovieTime also seem to be interesting from the videos i have watched over Youtube not planning to spend much on apps right now, as getting a decent cover with screen protector is the priority right now. Was just amazed by the plethora of accessories and stuff available on the web for ipad 2, no wonder Apple products sell like crazy in US and Europe.

If you already have the first gen Ipad it is really not worth going for Ipad2 unless you are really willing to let go of your previous device and opt for a faster, improved graphics enabled ipad 2 that comes along with front and rear camera. ipad 2 falls short on lack of flash support, no USB connectivity for external HDD devices, missing SD/micro SD card slot (for heavy downloaders storage could easily become a challenge), the same missing checkpoints is where Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was scoring on with also being a telecom device along with tablet i decided to enter the world of iOS opting over Android as it has a long way to go in garnering developer support to build a strong app library like iOS currently has and also user base that would further drive the success of Android. Samsung GT 10.1's rear side 8 megapixel camera and front 2 megapixel camera with a stunning AMOELD screen almost tempted me but i think i am not regretting by choosing ipad2, people like me who have never used an apple product like macbook, mac pc, ipod or ipod touch and are seeking a good tablet device that provides a rich experience of media viewing especially gamers looking for a cool portable gaming device you can undoubtedly go for ipad2.

Check the video review below


Sajiv said...

How much does it cost here???

KreativeGeek said...

INR 29,500

Hardik Joshi said...

Good review loyal Nokia Laureate taking its first step into Apple world...they say it's an addictive sphere, only time can tell if it proves right again :)

Enjoy the Ipad 2 :)

Btw Did u consider the Moto Milestone, a good Android device. Samsung would still be strong choice for me too.

KreativeGeek said...

Yes Apple OS and app world is definitely addictive, the only logic I applied to divert my mind from Samung galaxy tab 10 was that getting a high spec device which does not have a strong app library right now, I was keen to use Android OS looks like I would wait, Samsung galaxy tab 10 which I liked is going to be priced at 35,000 INR. Portable gaming was my priority which got adressed finally

Hardik Joshi said...

Hey sorry, I mentioned the moto milestone n samsung android for ur phn upgrade...thrs no question that apple is the leader fr tablets or phones...didnt mention iphn cos ipad is already in nw...wld be a grt combo btw, an android phn n the ipad2

KreativeGeek said...

No Hardik not considering phone upgrade anymore, happy with Nokia N8 for now. Personally i never liked Motorola brand much. Did u go for your phone upgrade ?

Hardik Joshi said...

Not yet, probably want to evaporate any left over loyalty towards Nokia as I haven't completed a year with the E5. In the time, doing what I love doing best, exploring all the options without any strong motive of buying :)

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