The all-around best tablet on the market

Home Editorial & Opinion The all-around best tablet on the market

Apple iPad 2

What’s this? Me, writing a review of a device – a tablet, no less? Well, I feel I have to, for the pleasurable experience I’ve had with it this weekend.

Apple’s iPad 2, released March 11, 2011, set a new bar for tablet computers. This weekend, I finally had the good fortune to get one.

First, let me tell you about the device itself. I would estimate it’s about 9-10 inches in diagonal length, with a depth of less than half an inch! This is simply amazing for the kind of power, speed and flexibility this device offers you.

The display is sharp and clear, and quite high-resolution at 1024×768; the pixels, on close examination, look like those of earlier Apple devices, but you’re not supposed to look that closely regularly, anyway.

The profile of the unit is much slimmer than that of the first iPad; the inner structural wall is removed from the back, resulting in a smooth, graceful, aluminum slide to the face of the device, which is of a thinner glass material.

To protect said face from scratches and nicks, Apple now offers Smart Covers, polyurethane or leather sheaths that hinge perfectly onto a side of the iPad via a strangely firm yet pliant magnetic hold. What makes it Smart? You can pop the cover neatly over the iPad and it goes to sleep automatically, and it wakes up when you peel the Cover back! The Cover can also sturdily fold using the same strong magnetism throughout, to serve as a stand for watching movies or as a typing surface.

And speaking of the software supplied with and available for our beloved black (or white, now) tablet, the iOS operating system seen in iPods, iPhones and the first iPad is out in force! Once again, apps seem to be the call of the day, and the new on-board cameras (front- and back-facing) are not neglected in the pack-in selection.

Once again, FaceTime video chatting, which first saw the light of day on iPhone 4, is offered. New to our experience is Photo Booth, which applies detailed, real-time filters to camera input, made possible by the new A5 dual-core processor.

Apps are also available on Apple’s ever-evolving App Store; over 500,000, to be exact! Offerings by Apple themselves include portable versions of the popular Mac productivity programs Pages, Numbers and Keynote (collectively bundled for the Mac in iWork: word processor, spreadsheet and presentation programs respectively), and multimedia suites by Apple, GarageBand and iMovie (multitrack audio editor/virtual instrument player, and video editor). Besides these, hundreds of companies, as well as independent app makers, submit their wares to the App Store monthly, wanting to make your iPad experience the best it can be.

When you’re ready to relax with your iPad, you can do so in many ways; curl up with a good book using iBooks or Amazon’s Kindle app, where many can be bought with ease. Look up articles on any subject from the most famous (and infamous!) source around with Wikipanion! Save documents you find on the web for reading later with Instapaper! And keep up with your favorite websites using Feeddler (sic), a beautiful front-end for Google Reader!

You can also check out the games available, many of which are integrated with Apple’s own Game Center! This innovation keeps track of leader boards, achievements (specific milestones or accomplishments set out by the developers), and your friends’ progress in their games! My recommendations range from the old standby, Angry Birds (redone with high resolution especially for the iPad), to any number of officially-made classic remakes: Namco and Atari classics, DOOM and Wolfenstein 3D, and many more!

Overall, I am extremely happy with my iPad, and I would highly recommend it to everyone who can afford it!

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