iPad 2 Early Reviews – “The Only Tablet on the Market”

While we’re eagerly waiting for the iPad 2 to hit store shelves this coming Friday, most major tech news outlets such as engadget, Macworld, TechCrunch and AllThingsD had the chance to play with preview models handed out after Steve Jobs’s keynote at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts last Wednesday. The embargo on iPad 2 reviews has been lifted today, and articles started to pour in. Spoiler alert: reviewers unanimously love the new tablet. AllThingsD
The iPad 2 moves the goal posts, by being slimmer and lighter, boosting speed and power, and holding its price advantages, available apps and battery life. As of now, I can comfortably recommend it as the best tablet for average consumers.
It might frustrate the competition to hear this, but it needs to be said: the iPad 2 isn’t just the best tablet on the market, it feels like the only tablet on the market. As much as we’d like to say that something like the Xoom has threatened Apple’s presence in this space, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to do that.
In terms of the other competition out there that doesn’t begin with a lowercase “i”, it’s becoming clearer by the day that most don’t yet stack up well against the iPad 1, let alone iPad 2. I’ve only played with a Xoom for a few minutes, and I was generally impressed, but apparently it’s very, very buggy. The tablets from RIM and HP aren’t out yet, and the pricing details around them don’t sound too promising. Further, the app support support for all the rivals isn’t too promising right now either. That’s one of the iPad 2′s greatest advantages that doesn’t show up on a spec sheet.
For Apple’s competitors in the tablet-device market, the iPad 2 is a bucket of water to the face. After more than a year of struggling to catch up to the original iPad, here’s a new model that addresses many of the iPad’s deficiencies, dramatically improves its speed, and doesn’t cede any ground on price, features, or battery life. The iPad 2 raises the bar Apple set a year ago—and it’s time for the rest of the industry to scramble again to catch up. For everyone else, the iPad 2 is a triumph, an iPad that’s even more iPad than the original. And the original one was really good. The first iPad was a bolt from the blue, a device that defined an entire category, and a tough act to follow. The iPad 2 follows it with aplomb.
New-York Times
But you know what? The iPad will still dominate the market, because it dominates in all the most important criteria: thinness, weight, integration, beauty — and apps. But the shocker here, though, is that the iPad 2 actually costs less than its comparably equipped Android rivals, like the Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. That twist must have something to do with Apple’s huge buying clout — when you order five million of some component at a time, you can usually persuade the vendor to cut you a deal.
And here are some early benchmark results: