Unless you've been living under a rock, you would know what a runaway success Apple's first tablet, the iPad, was. Elegant design coupled with a fluid software experience resulted in a product that everyone had to have, and everyone could use; YouTube is filled with examples of kids as young as two using the iPad.
So how does the much-anticipated iPad 2 measure up? The device's form factor is identical to the previous model; featuring a screen size of 9.7 inches the iPad hasn't been pocketable (not that you would want to).
The iPad 2 is incredibly thin — with a "thickness" of just 0.86cm it's thinner than the iPhone 4. It's slightly lighter than the original too, but not by much. Of course, this isn't surprising considering what is inside.
And it really is the internals where the iPad 2 shines. Packing a dual core processor and upgraded RAM, this device is a powerhouse. Everything starts and feels much quicker on the iPad 2. And generally with something that packs a lot of power, there's an expectation of lower battery life. On the contrary, the iPad 2 delivers a battery life of more than ten hours (real usage with Wi-Fi on, medium brightness) which is slightly higher than the previous model and beats its competition by hours.
The inclusions of two cameras — one at the front and one rear — was what many were looking forward to in the iPad 2. However, the picture quality on both is weak.
Using an adaptor, the iPad 2 boasts the ability of device-mirroring; this means you can connect it to your TV and see, on a bigger screen, exactly what you're doing on the iPad.
The iPad 2, while by no means a major upgrade, is not a minor shift either. Evolutionary, rather than revolutionary; it is to the original iPad what the iPhone 3GS was to iPhone 3G.
However, it is still the best tablet on the market that is capable of delivering a solid hardware and software experience. It's not perfect, but it wouldn't be Apple if it didn't give you something to look forward to tomorrow, today.