The iPad 2 has been out in the United States for almost two full weeks and it goes on sale in 25 additional countries beginning tomorrow (Friday). So what's the verdict? Is it worth the upgrade?
...Below is a review down by hipstomp @ core77
The physicality of the device represents what you've come to expect from Apple: It's beautiful, crisp, and well-considered. A careful inspection of the finishes, edges, or any area where one surface meets another reveals design decisions made at the sub-millimeter level. It has the undeniable quality of a product design that has been carefully pored over, which is something that every industrial designer will notice (and something that, hopefully, discerning consumers are now coming to expect, at least from Apple).
The iPad 2 is almost absurdly thin, as if designed to be slipped into an already-stuffed bag that nothing else will fit into.... READ MORE
The Smart Cover
The Smart Cover is a deceptively simple-looking rectangle divided into four slats. Interior magnets both mount it to the iPad and allow it to roll up into itself, providing a wedgelike base that can orient the iPad in a near-vertical or near-horizontal position (in landscape orientation). Most conveniently, when holding the iPad in portrait position you can roll the handle up and use it to grab the device with your left hand while performing on-screen manipulations with your right. The hinges of the magnet cover attach smartly to the side of the iPad in a particular position, so it's impossible to attach the thing incorrectly.
One really sweet feature of the Smart Cover is a subtle one that makes a big difference: Close the cover and the iPad shuts off. Open the cover and it wakes up, instantly. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but compared to hitting a button on the old iPad and then swiping to awaken it, it feels very different.... READ MORE
Since purchasing the first iPad, my reading has skyrocketed. This is not a function of the iPad simply having a reader app; it's the result of having this little techno-ecosystem that works together. If I'm researching something online, it's a quick matter to hop over to Amazon, find books on the subject, read reviews of them, and quickly purchase them. For various reasons I prefer buying books through Amazon and reading them on the Kindle app as opposed to using Apple's iBooks, and I really appreciate that Apple has not blocked this competitor the way that Sony traditionally would have... READ MORE
• As a Technical Manual
I've downloaded PDF manuals and adjuster's manuals to various models, and when I'm working on a particular machine I have the iPad display the diagrams I need to refer to. Using the Smart Cover in the vertical position is great because it displays the material at the angle I need to see while occupying a very small footprint on the work surface.
I prefer using the iPad to paper versions of the various manuals I need to refer to for two reasons: One, I occasionally need to switch from one manual to another, or even over to an instructional YouTube video on how to perform a particular operation. It's much easier to have all of that in one device. Two, sometimes while doing the repairs my hands become oily, greasy or otherwise dirty. If I touched paper with these hands I'd foul the vintage manuals I own, which instantly decreases their value. In contrast, swiping from page to page on the iPad only requires a fingertip and leaves very little dirt/oil/grease on the glass, and whatever residue it does leave is easy to clean off afterwards... READ MORE
• In the Kitchen
The coolest thing about the magnetic Smart Cover is that it sticks to refrigerators (and metal tool cabinets), holding the iPad securely in position even during swiping. If I'm watching something on my laptop but then need to do something in the kitchen, I can slap the iPad on the 'fridge and pick up where I left off. I don't care if there's messy stuff on my hands; as long as my fingers aren't dripping with fluid I'll still tap and swipe the screen readily and give it a wipe at the end... READ MORE
The iPad 2 I tested was a 3G model, enabling me to use the Maps app on the road, which I'd never done before. I had a weekend gig to do out in the wilds of New Jersey, where I always get lost because New Jersey road signage is the worst in the nation. I had my co-pilot navigate using the iPad, which is simple to use even for someone who can't read maps: There's a button you can hit so that the map orients in the direction you're traveling, and that blinking blue dot indicator showing your location makes it hard to fail at navigating... READ MORE
• As a Laptop Replacement
I ask him why he'd take the drastic step of ditching the laptop altogether. "I was using a 2008 MacBook, primarily for web browsing," he explains, mentioning that he uses his desktop machine to do the heavy lifting. "The iPad weighs less, the battery lasts longer, it's easier to carry around, and there's an emotional appeal to it. I haven't found anything lacking in the iPad compared to what I used the laptop for, except for being able to play the occasional Flash video."
via core77...thanks hipstomp.