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How the iPad2 overcame my concerns

Given all the hype, the iPad2 had some high expectations to live up to when I put it to the test.

On first look it has a sleek appearance slightly more streamline than the original model with some neat new features added.

Its key selling point is its portability and ease of use as I found when I tried it out for a week.

In the true Apple fashion it is minimalist with a magnetic cover which unfolds to turn the device on and off and can be used to prop up the screen, a home page button and a volume control located on the side.

But as the owner of a laptop with a defective battery that needs to be plugged in to work it was a refreshing change to use a device with an average battery life of eight hours.

My main concerns prior to test driving the iPad2 were about using the on screen keypad, as someone who has only ever experienced a physical version, and the fingerprints left on the screen, but both of those fears were soon allayed as I found myself writing e-mails and surfing the Internet with surprising ease. The issue of the dirty screen was also dealt with by giving it an occasional wipe with a clean tissue.

The biggest difference between the first and second iPads is not only the size but the camera which allows users to Skype and use Face Time (to speak to other iPad users) and despite taking video cameras for granted having never used the original prototype, I found the connection, picture and sound quality to be a good standard.

An initial attempt to converse with my parents in the UK, however, reduced us to sign language as I inadvertently switched on the mute button, but I soon made up for that downloading various BBC podcasts and highlights of my football team’s latest game in full glorious audio.

There are some other cool features installed on the tablet including iTunes (which comes as standard with every Apple device) where you can download music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and audiobooks to your heart’s content.

Possessing an Apple TV, a lot of these options were already available to me, so I didn’t dwell too long, suffice to say that most can be downloaded almost instantaneously (provided they are not in high definition) or do so while you are checking out other applications, and come in a high quality.

New to me and again exclusive to Apple was Ping a social network for music enabling the user to follow their favourite artists and friends and keep in touch with the music they are talking about, listening to and downloading, and iTunes U an educational tool providing the student with everything from lectures, lessons and audiobooks to films and virtual tours.

The App Store is where it is at, with all of your favourites available at the touch of a button, as well as a nifty little feature called Genius that comes up with recommendations based on the apps you already have.

A cool app that Gateway Systems installed on my test model was WeatherLink, which allows the user to find out the conditions almost anywhere in the world including temperature, wind, humidity, rain and barometer levels, and I had some fun comparing Bermuda with its East Coast counterparts and the likes of Singapore and Australia.

Of course the iPad2 also comes as standard with the usual calender, contacts list and notebook to organise your life, in addition to maps, and the ability to take pictures and record videos.

For the gamers there is a Games Centre while video footage can be downloaded on YouTube.

Meanwhile the jetsetter can select Airplane Mode every time they hop on a plane and all the usual services of Safari web browser (which I admittedly spent the majority of my time using, never making full use of the plethora of apps at my disposal), e-mail and iPod programmes are also on hand.

My wife also grew to like the iPad 2 (mainly for Facebooking) but when I could wrestle it from her grasp I would check up on the daily news, the football scores or my e-mails - its beauty being the convenience of use almost anywhere at any time.

While I wouldn’t swap out my laptop straight away, I think I’m part way to being converted to the Apple phenomenon.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Gateway's senior account manager David Marr uses a new Apple iPad 2 at the company's store on Queen Street (Photo by Glenn Tucker )

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Published November 02, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated November 02, 2011 at 10:04 am)

How the iPad2 overcame my concerns

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