iPad 2 Review – SI Buys the Only Tablet Worth Buying

SI ogled long and hard.

SI fondled several Tablets, front, back and side. πŸ˜‰

SI pored over countless reviews till the eyes glazed over.

Finally, SI took the plunge.

The iPad 2 plunge.

iPad 2 - A Fine Tablet with Battery Issues

Folks, there’s only one tablet worth buying.

And that’s the Apple iPad 2.

The rest are like the humble Nirodh before the ribbed, flavored condoms you get in American drugstores! You get the point, don’t you? πŸ˜‰

iPad 2 comes in two versions: WiFi and WiFi+3G.

The latter costs a few hundred dollars more and is a ripoff because the data-plans from both Verizon and AT&T are laughably inadequate.

If you’re talking storage, the iPad is available in 16GB ($499), 32GB ($599) and 64GB ($699) versions.

iPad 2 – Ask Not What You Can Do

Ask not what you can do with an iPad 2, ask what you can’t.

You can play music, watch movies, browse the Internet, play games, read the newspapers, go on Facebook, make Skype calls and access tons of unique applications in so many categories, all on a large, 9.7-inch screen.

If you’re planning on buying an iPad 2 in the U.S. there are still some availability hurdles. So if you were to head over to the BestBuy store today, it’s unlikely you’ll find all of the iPad 2 models on display. Chances are you might not find any of them. You see, the iPad 2 is still selling like hotcakes and in short-supply at most stores.

Now to satisfy the insatiable curiosity of you quidnuncs, we got the $32GB version ($600).

Tablet Boom

Confounding all expectations including SI’s, the tablet market is going great guns.

Following Apple’s stupendous success, every Samsung, Motorola, Blackberry, Acer, Asus, Vizio, Dell, Sony and HP has jumped into the tablet arena now. And there are rumors of other big names like Amazon.com jumping into the fray.

Analysts predict that 50-million tablets will ship this year. Not bad for a category that didn’t exist until a couple of years back.

Apple, of course, is the leader of the pack with its wildly popular iPadΒ and the later-model iPad 2 tablets.

Apple iPad 2 Review

Why iPad 2?

* We Crave Tons of Applications – iPad has over 90,000 dedicated iPad applications. None of the other vendors have anywhere near this number. Not even a small fraction. Hey, there’s even a free British Library application for the iPad with books on India dating back to the 19th century. Plus, the iPad lets you run another 100,000 plus applications that were originally developed for the iPhone.

* We Like to Read – iPad 2 is also a darn good e-book reader. You can buy books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google eBooks, Borders or get free books from Project Gutenberg. You can read all of them on the iPad via dedicated apps. Our favorite magazine New Yorker has a dedicated iPad app. Now, don’t tell us that the back-lit screen of the iPad 2 makes it difficult to read on the beach. Hey, who goes to the beach to read. You go to the beach to ogle and be ogled at!

* We Love Movies – Watching Netflix Instant Play movies on the iPad via a dedicated iPad application is heaven. There are over 20,000 movies including gems like I Saw the Devil that you can drool over on the iPad. Plus, you can watch movies from Apple and a bunch of other sources.

* We Dig Proven Products – iPad 2 is the second version of Apple’s tablet and presumably the bugs fixed and wrinkles have been ironed out in the upgrade. Since Apple single-handedly reinvented the tablet market and is ipso facto the market leader, analysts, techies and journalists have thoroughly vetted the iPad 2. Almost everyone has mostly nice things to say about the iPad.

* We had a Good Experience with iPhone – After using two versions of the iPhone for over three years, we’re mostly satisfied with the iOS, the operating system underneath all of Apple’s mobile widgetry including the iPad 2. There have been some hiccups with the iPhone 4 but nothing that’s made us want to hurl it across the room.

* We Want Lots of Accessories – It’s a fact of life that the accessories vendors, like the application vendors, flock to the winner of the game. Apple is so far ahead of the rest of the other tablet players that accessory vendors have unabashedly followed it. So, whether you’re looking for a case, a charger or any other accessory, you’re likely to find it with the iPad plus see greater choice here. Hey, we got our Targus case for the iPad 2 at Staples.

We’ve used the iPad 2 for some time now and for the most part it’s a dream. No issues.

The touchscreen works smoothly and there’s lots of stuff to keep us preoccupied for 25 hours in a day.

On the 10-hour battery that everyone talks about, we remain a little skeptical since we’re charging it at least once in two days. The other disappointment is the crappy camera.

A full charge of the iPad 2 takes about four hours.

There are not many India-oriented iPad applications but we did find a few:

* Times of India – A superb application for the iPad of India’s best known newspaper

* Galatta – An English showbiz magazine from the Galatta publishers in Tamil Nadu.

* NDTV – English and Hindi news channels. Not good because of the buffering issues for live video.

Overall, it’s currently impossible to find a more compelling tablet in the market than the Apple iPad 2.

13 Responses to "iPad 2 Review – SI Buys the Only Tablet Worth Buying"

  1. guruji   June 22, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Having used both, I would say the Gal Tab 10.1 is quite superior to the iPad 2, if for a short period of time, you can live with fewer tab-apps. The apps have already started flooding the Android market for tabs and it is only a matter of time until it can catch up.

    Considering the fact that it took less than 2 years for Android phones to surpass the seemingly unbeatable iPhone, I see the same trend happening with the tablets as well, but only time will tell.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Besides the big issue of few dedicated Tablet apps for the Android, early reviews of the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 also cite serious battery issues. 5-hours 38-minutes for Galaxy 10.1 vs 10-hours 9-minutes for iPad 2. Source: Wall Street Journal

    Are you seeing the battery issues in Galaxy 10.1 mentioned in the WSJ piece/chart?

    • boopalanj   June 22, 2011 at 4:12 am

      HoneyComb tabs from google, may likely become famous among those who cant afford an iPad. [Just like Samsung android phones – galaxy series captured a reasonable market in India, among those who could not afford an iPhone which is insanely priced at ~35k. People may go for a laptop in India for that cost. Middle class people, that is.]

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      You write: HoneyComb tabs from google, may likely become famous among those who cant afford an iPad.

      The price-point for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Blackberry and other big-brand tablets are not different from the Apple iPad 2.

      Your argument on lower-priced tablets may work with the third-tier players like Vizio (a low-priced TV powerhouse in the U.S.) or Acer that have jumped into the fray.

    • guruji   June 22, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Battery life wise, I found myself charging the Gal Tab about 30 – 60 minutes earlier, than I usually charge the iPad 2. For me, the battery life was not much different to stand up and notice. Over the entire day, with moderate usage (web browsing, HD videos, games etc.) the iPad 2, seems to last slightly longer, but not to the amount mentioned in the WSJ.

      This was quite understandable, given that the Gal Tab has a higher resolution screen, where more battery power would be required to illuminate more pixels. Plus, HD videos with 16:9 aspect ratio, fill up the entire screen of the Gal Tab, whereas in the iPad 2, you could see the black strips at the top and bottom. Plus there is flash – but all said and done, battery life matters; but I did not see a major difference which would bother me.

  2. munish   June 22, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Sir! Have you deactivated your facebook handle (searchindia reviews)?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    No, sir. You can find us on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/searchindia

    If you’ve not already befriended us, please do so and we’ll confirm it right away.

  3. munish   June 22, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Whoa! I use facebook on my mobile and Sir I must say its search is a huge fiasco. I tried the term ‘Searchindia reviews’ & got ‘no results found’.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We just did a search on SearchIndia on the iPhone and selected the Everyone tab in the middle.

    Lo, the first result is SearchIndia Reviews

  4. Naveen   June 22, 2011 at 1:08 am

    SI… I am looking for an used car. Torn between the spacious 2002 Buick LeSabre @ 67000 miles vs 2003 Volkswagen Jetta @ 59000 miles.

    I am trying to avoid the desi standard Corolla, Civic, Camry, and Accord.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Camry and Accord are safer bets.

    Of course, in SI’s ideal world no one would be driving cars and we’d all be using public transport.

    Alas, we’ll never see that day.:(

    Be skeptical of all mileage claims and always get a Carfax. You can get a Carfax report for a few bucks by searching on Craigslist from those who’ve already purchased it for a two-week or 1-month period.

    Also, run it through Edmund’s used car estimate for pricing by inputting details such as year, mileage, model, condition of car, color, extras and dealer/private party/trade-in transaction.

    • Naveen   June 22, 2011 at 1:24 am

      I’ve checked the Carfax report and both seem good and priced in the same range. I am torn between the old fashioned spacious buick vs the sporty and efficient Jetta. If you had to choose what would it be?

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      1. You write: If you had to choose what would it be?

      None of the above.

      2. Look on http://www.autotrader.com for Camry, Honda or Nissan.

      Less headaches over the long-term.

  5. munish   June 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Offtopic: Just came to know your favourite Jr Bachchan is now an expecting father.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    What’s the Big Deal?

    If Abhishek had any humanity in him, he’d have adopted a child. There are tens of millions of unwanted, destitute children in India.

    In our not-so-humble view, having a child in India is a sin!

  6. munish   June 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Maybe you are right Sir, maybe not..

    But Sir, In this context I feel that having one’s own baby is a natural human desire. For instance, Although Angelina-Pitt have adopted 5-6 kids , yet they have also biologically parented two kids. Further, breeding surely is a sin, be it !ndia or any other nation. But the root problem lies with illiterate people adding masses to population, not with the economically sound people who can bring up their child(ren) aptly.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: Although Angelina-Pitt have adopted 5-6 kids , yet they have also biologically parented two kids.

    Remember the sequence, kid: Adoption came first, then the breeding in Brangelina’s case!

    2. You write: But Sir, In this context I feel that having one’s own baby is a natural human desire.

    Rubbish! Just because a billion mosquitoes do it in India doesn’t make it right.

    Siring a kid in India is a sin. How hard is that to understand given the tens of millions of urchins roaming the streets, collecting garbage, being exploited/sexploited and harassed in every possible way!

  7. MAK   September 9, 2011 at 3:07 am

    I tried to control myself not to buy this and wait for the iPad 3. But, the sensuality and curves overtook me.

    Are you guys planning to roll out a SI app? It would be awesome in my opinion.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: But, the sensuality and curves overtook me.

    Hey, that’s an iPad, not an iPornPad! πŸ˜‰

    The iPad 3 is unlikely to see the light of day before Q1 or Q2 of 2012, going by media reports.

  8. shadowfax_arbit   February 2, 2012 at 4:14 am

    I’ve bought iPad2 32GB WiFi+3G.

    Obviously here in India WiFi alone would be a waste. So I bought this 3G one. There was a slot for SIM card but it was very small. My SIM wouldn’t fit into it. Luckily I can get a small SIM from Airtel.Will receive it shortly.

    But I hear I cannot make calls from iPad with my SIM card – which means I can use the iPad only for data access and I won’t receive any calls while in iPad. Is that true? If it is true, it makes no sense right?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:
    1. Yes, you can make audio & video calls via Skype or Facetime (to other iPad, iPhone, iPod touch users). Or get an app like Talkatone, Truphone etc.

    We’ve tried Skype (video) & Facetime. They work fine on WiFi (we don’t have 3G, which few people buy in the U.S, anyway). The video may not work well on your 3G and may be bandwidth intensive causing you to go over your limit soon but voice should work fine on 3G/SIM card.

    Some apps are free while others have a monthly/one-time fee.

    Go to App Store, type voip in your search box and filter results by device to iPad. You can see a lot of calling options.

    As we said earlier, Skype and Facetime work fine for us on WiFi. Tried Facetime twice & Skype several times.

    2. You write: If it is true, it makes no sense right?

    Only in Incredible India people buy iPad to make/receive calls. πŸ˜‰ Not that convenient but you can do it.

    Get a headset. BTW, the white-colored headset that comes with every iPhone works well with iPad.

    3. The points we made above pertain to the WiFi version since we don’t have a 3G iPad.

    4. Most iPad usage will be in the home. So set up a WiFi network. It’s so simple that even Vadivelu Ajith can do it. πŸ˜‰

    • shadowfax_arbit   February 3, 2012 at 12:38 am

      Thanks SI!

      But the reason I bought iPad 3G version is because in India WiFi coverage is very low. My 3G SIM card from Airtel is quite fast. So I thought on the move I can access internet through 3G from iPad along with attending normal phone calls.

      But I’m quite surprised that I cannot send/receive phone calls while my SIM card is in iPad. So whenever I insert my SIM card into iPad I would not receive any incoming calls to that mobile number right? And also I cannot make any outgoing calls right? Not voip call, but the actual phone call that I can make if the SIM card is in my mobile.

      Any idea? Bcos in galaxy tab I can use it like a phone also.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Sorry Sweetie. No can help here.

      We don’t think we’ve even seen a SIM card in the last five or six years.

      Bottom line, we think the iPad was not built to function as a phone and so just inserting a SIM card may not make it like a regular mobile phone.

      Although you can use it as a phone with third party apps like Skype and the other ones we mentioned in the previous comment.

      ————->**** One thing you could try is to put a new SIM card into the iPad. Some people who tried to put an old iPhone SIM card into an iPad had difficulties that they managed to overcome with a new SIM card.

      iPad is more of an entertainment device, movie-player (via Netflix, Mela etc), e-book reader (Kindle, iBook, Google Books etc), news reader, coupon buying (Groupon, LivingSocial etc) gaming device etc.

      Caveat: Some of the apps may not work in India because of geographic restrictions.

      • shadowfax_arbit   February 5, 2012 at 9:13 am

        The phone converter apps are not working in India πŸ™

        Also, I beg to differ with your point that most of iPad usage will be at home.

        The reason I bought iPad is that I can have access to all the stuff you mentioned like e-books, movie player etc on the move.

        If it is in home, I would rather use my existing laptop. Laptop is heavy to carry around, so I bought iPad.

        May be iPad makes more sense in US since there is pretty good WiFi coverage there.

        In India there is no WiFi coverage, and now that I can’t put my SIM card also (don’t want to shut down my phone functionality), it is pretty much useless (without internet) πŸ™

        That said, still thanks for your suggestions and for bearing with my boring rant against iPad πŸ™‚ It is anyways a cool device and I’ll flash it around wherever possible!

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        You write: The reason I bought iPad is that I can have access to all the stuff you mentioned like e-books, movie player etc on the move.

        You don’t need connectivity to read e-books because they’re downloaded to the device.

        You don’t need connectivity to listen to music because they’re downloaded to the device with iTunes.

        Even if iTunes doesn’t work in India, there are plenty of other apps for audio/video entertainment. Just type India in the Search box of the App Store icon the iPad and filter results by device to iPad.

        Some apps like India Tunes, TV India offer even live TV including the regional channels, Star, BBC, Russia Today and even the terrorists’ favorite channel Al Jazeera. πŸ˜‰

        Plus, Times of India, ET, IBNLive, NDTV, Business Standard and Indian Express have dedicated iPad apps. There’s always YouTube as a fallback, of course.

        Since you have the 3G model, you can pretty much do most things on the iPad including typing/taking notes except maybe make/receive calls.

        BTW, if we see or hear anyone in India using iPad in public to make/receive calls, we’ll quickly post it in Incredible India. πŸ˜‰

        Free WiFi coverage outside is not that great even in the U.S. Maybe, better than India but still not ubiquitous. Starbucks, McDonald’s, some parks, Times Square (NYC) etc offer free WiFi. Only inside the home, do most people have excellent WiFi coverage.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login