STACK Approved: Apple iPad 2

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Apple recently released the iPad 2, successor to its tremendously popular iPad tablet computer, featuring an all-new design and an increase in speed that further enhances the portable computing experience. Below is STACK's take on Apple's latest creation.

The first thing you notice when holding the iPad 2 is how thin it is. In fact, it's 33 percent thinner than the original iPad and even slightly thinner than the iPhone 4. Although the original iPad is not bulky by any means, the iPad 2 makes it feel thick and cumbersome.

The flat back rests evenly on a table, making it convenient for typing on a hard surface. Overall, the iPad 2 actually feels like a smaller device and, with its rounded edges, is more comfortable to hold.

Although the form factor has changed and it now more closely resembles the iPod Touch [its smaller cousin], the iPad 2 retains the same glass and aluminum features. However, it offers a new option of a black or white face, as well as standard Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+ 3G models.

The new killer feature is speed. The iPad 2 contains a dual core processor generating nine times the graphics performance of the original, yet it still maintains 10 hours of battery life.

iPad 2 also includes rear- and front-facing cameras for 720p video and FaceTime video chat with the iPhone 4, Mac computers and other iPad 2's. Unfortunately, these cameras take moderate to poor pictures and are only truly useful for video.

Apple developed new iPad2 apps to take advantage of its newfound speed and power, including iMovie and Garageband. iMovie is particularly impressive on the iPad 2. You can easily edit video, and it's more intuitive to manipulate footage with your hands than by clicking and dragging on a computer. iMovie is especially advantageous for athletes looking to edit high-quality highlight videos and show them during visits with college coaches.

Despite its camera weaknesses, the iPad 2 is an impressive update to Apple's lineup, and it's already become an overnight success.

The iPad 2 is available starting at $499 for Wi-Fi and $629 for Wi-Fi + 3G [available from Verizon and AT&T].



Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock