Recently, I got my hands on a 32 GB Wi-Fi Variant of the second generation Apple iPad (aka iPad 2). The WiFi +3G version was out of stock in Singapore, the place from where my device was bought.

The iPad2 is actually thinner than the original iPad and well, it sure is good looking. What has changed from the original iPad? Well, the processor and memory has improved (dual core processing and better graphics). The bigger and more visible changes are the form factor (thinner by 33%), the addition of two cameras (one above the screen and one behind) and the addition of Apple’s FaceTime Software.

Unfortunately, the retina screen from the iPhone 4 hasn’t been included and you get the old iPad screen which in itself isn’t all that bad.

The rear camera records in 720p HD but is a 0.7 megapixel camera (boo!) and the front one is a VGA resolution camera. Both can record video (4:3 Aspect Ratio and not 16:9) and click photos. There has been absolutely no change in the Media Player on the iPad it’s exactly the same as the previous one; the only addition in the software front is Face Time.

FaceTime is a video calling software application developed by Apple for iPhone 4 , iPod Touch 4th Generation and the iPad2 besides Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.6.6 and higher. It’s basically Apple’s implementation of video chatting, you will need an Apple ID and two devices which have Face Time on it, and this runs only while you use WiFi and doesn’t work on 3G networks (though there are hacks for the iPhone 4 which enables 3G network use for the same)

The other default apps are Game Center, Notes,YouTube, Maps, Photos,Videos, Photo Booth (lets you take manipulated images of yourself) , Mail and Safari.

Video quality is pretty good and the sound is mono, though using speakers make it a great media device, check out for more info on the bundled apps.

Now the apps on iStore are expensive. However, if you really want to go that extra mile, some of these apps are worth it. This device makes sense in an office environment especially with iWorks Office Suite (yup the guys at Apple ported it from the iMacs and MacBooks for use on the iPad).

I downloaded Pages (equivalent to Microsoft Word) and Keynote (equivalent to Microsoft PowerPoint). I must say that the guys at Microsoft should learn from these guys. The interface of the applications have is very easy to use and you end up being satisfied with your work at least initially.  I also downloaded iBooks, a must-have for all book lovers and reading a book on the iPad is fun.

There are loads of application on the iStore, I didn’t have the money to try all of them; but I really wanted to try out GarageBand for the iPad.

It is more of a fancy device and isn’t exactly an all-rounder (without the apps). It has the looks, it has the Apple badge, it has a lot of specific products built for it that will improve its functionality, yet it’s a device I wouldn’t use. Having used Android alternatives to the older iPad, I still prefer them. You have access to free apps whereas on iStore anything with partial utility has to be paid for.

However, if you love Apple and are willing to spend at least 30 grand in INR (the cost of the 16GB WiFi Variant) for a device that becomes one hell of a device if you jail-break it or spend a fortune on buying apps, then buy it. Yes it’s available in India, but ask a cousin to get it – it’s cheaper elsewhere.

And if you want to wait , do wait for Android 3.0 Honeycomb Tablets like the Motorola Xoom.

Pros: Looks, entertainment, flaunt value, Facetime

Cons: Paid apps and no bundled office suite.