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iPad 2 Hands-On

If you live on the planet Earth, you probably knew that the iPad 2 launched on Friday March 11th.

With that in mind, I went to my local Apple store to pick up Apple’s new beauty, going hands-on with a couple of titles along with testing out the speed and such.  And while there’s not a huge difference between the first and second versions, one of the most notable differences is the speed.

Performance

The first iPad ran most games at a buttery-smooth frame rate, but the iPad 2 has taken that butter and nearly melted it.  Exiting out of games is extremely smooth, and switching from one app to the other executed flawlessly.  I haven’t been able to get my hands on any of the iPad 2-optimized titles except for Infinity Blade, which ran great, but I didn’t see any huge differences.  Infinity Blade is exactly like it was before, and I didn’t exactly notice any huge graphical differences (maybe because I’m used to playing it on the iPhone 4′s Retina display).

Weight

This is another huge improvement from the first iPad: it’s much easier to hold the device.  Before, I thought the iPad was a little unwieldy but bearable, although playing dual-stick shooters in which the controls were on the bottom was a little difficult.  Launching up Meteor Blitz on the iPad 2 was much more comfortable, and I was able to play at a more comfortable position.  Does it still get heavy while playing Meteor Blitz?  Yes, it does.  But the lessened weight allows you to play games for a much longer period of time, let alone being able to actually read books without having to readjust everything.

Width

This is really the only subject I’m going to rave about, as the width of the iPad is extremely thin.  It’s definitely A LOT thinner than the old iPad, and it’s extremely comfortable to hold at such thin sides.  It almost feels like I’m holding a magazine while reading The Daily (great app, by the way), and it really adds to the whole “lightness” factor.  The speed and lessened weight wowed me, but the thinness of this device has wooed me the most.  But hey, Apple seems to always do this to me.

I don’t think that iPad users NEED to upgrade to the iPad 2, but it’s pretty fast and pretty light.  The three factors I mentioned above are the only good reasons I found with purchasing the iPad 2, but they’re enough to justify the purchase.  And if you’re smart, you’ll buy two and sell one to save some money (hint, hint).



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