Skip to main content

Apple iPad 2 review

Second iteration of the Apple iPad looks similar, but it's faster, lighter and slimmer Tested at £400

Our Verdict

Best tablet, Awards 2011. The marriage of content, functionality and performance remains unsurpassed

For

  • Unrivalled usability
  • tons of apps and content
  • AirPlay
  • svelte design

Against

  • Closed shop for content
  • no Flash
  • more features elsewhere

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best tablet, Awards 2011. The marriage of content, functionality and performance remains unsurpassed

Pros

  • + Unrivalled usability
  • + tons of apps and content
  • + AirPlay
  • + svelte design

Cons

  • - Closed shop for content
  • - no Flash
  • - more features elsewhere

Is it possible to say something about the iPad 2 that hasn’t been said before? Well, we could say it takes a while to get used to (it doesn’t), the interface is a little sluggish (it isn’t) or that content is a little thin on the ground (there’s tonnes of it). So... that’s a no then.

In design it remains ahead of the pack. Light, slim and smart. But as has happened in the phone world, the iPad’s interface no longer drops jaws, with Android rivals more customisable and dynamic.

Interface is still the daddy
In use, it’s still unsurpassed. The operating system (OS) is fast and intelligent, and renders web pages better than anything else – provided they don’t use Flash, which Apple still refuses to adopt.

Applications are increasing in functionality and adoption, and Apple’s App Store remains the leader in quantity and quality.

The iTunes Store is similarly powerful when it comes to audio and video. Nowhere else has the breadth of legal content for download from tunes to TV shows to films.

But if you don’t like iTunes or want more choice of content or software, you are, of course, out of luck (bar complex workarounds).

Top class audio
Audio remains top of the class, with better detail and dynamics than any rival device we've heard. Support for Apple Lossless is great, but note that iTunes doesn’t support FLAC.

It’s less clear cut with video, where rivals offer sharper edges at times – but the iPad is still in the mix-up for the top slot.

An increasingly crucial string in Apple’s bow is AirPlay, which offers simple wireless streaming to a range of compatible products.

You can get a bigger screen (it’s 9.7in), a higher resolution (1024 x 768 and more features (from USB inputs to keyboards); but a better all-round experience and level of performance? That’s a tough ask.

Follow whathifi on Twitter

Join whathifi on Facebook

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


Read more about how we test