Our more computer-savvy cousins over at Consumer Reports are out with their first look at Apple’s iPad 2, and tester Dean Gallea has pronounced it a “very good choice” if you’re looking for a tablet computer.
Consumer Reports liked that the new model is thinner and lighter than the original version, but still comes in at the same price ($499 and up). CR’s engineers also checked to make sure that peripherals designed for the original iPad worked with the new model and tested the new iPad’s FaceTime videoconferencing feature.
When Dean and I made a video call from one iPad 2 to another, each of us was presented with a display dominated by the face of the other person, with a small inset showing each of us our own face. It looked quite a bit like a Skype video call. You can also direct the iPad 2 to use its rear camera as a webcam, instead of the front one, in which case the other party sees whatever is behind your iPad 2….
The video image of Dean was good though a little blocky, showing a bit of the digital noise you sometimes see on YouTube. Digital noise became more pronounced, and there was some blurriness while the webcam or subject was moving.
Consumer Reports compared the iPad 2 to some of its chief competitors, including Motorola’s Xoom, which has a better camera, but is “pricier than a comparably configured iPad 2, and it’s thicker and heavier as well.”
Ultra-cheap tablets, according to CR, “compromise in certain significant ways. You get what you pay for.”
First Look: Apple iPad 2 (video) [Consumer Reports]