iPad 2 3G review

The iPad 2 also comes as a more expensive 3G version, but is it worth the extra cash?

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ipad 2 3g

Once you've got your data connection sorted it's time to see what the 3G version of the iPad 2 is capable of.

Freed from the constraints of your home Wi-Fi network you're able to roam anywhere with your iPad, and unlike the iPhone 4 there are no antenna issues, so you can hold it however you like. It's not just a big iPhone though - there's no voice call component to the 3G data plan - it's strictly data only.

The most obvious use for the 3G connection is with the Maps app - you can use it to find your location wherever you are (handy if you're lost, since it uses the GPS link to pinpoint your exact location), or you can use it in the car as a crude navigation device to help you find your way on journeys, since it includes a directions function.

ipad 2 3g maps

When you're in the car you can see your location move as you drive along roads. Of course, we're not recommending that you use your iPad while you drive - that would be crazy - we're assuming your passenger is using it to help you navigate.

What 3G brings to the table

With a 3G iPad you can also do all the obvious things like get your email and browse the web when you're sitting on a bus, or in a café. 3G is a little bit slower than a standard Wi-Fi connection, but it's still perfectly possible to watch YouTube videos using it.

With a 3G connection you're free to sit in a cafe getting your latest news feeds, catching up with friends on Twitter or Facebook or watching the latest headlines via the Sky News app. It's also good for gaming - you can play turn-based games like office favourite Strategery with ease, since they don't require a particularly quick Internet connection.

It's not all plain sailing though. One disappointment is that the FaceTime app doesn't work over the 3G network, so you can't use your iPad 2 as a portable video phone, and while the Skype app does do video chat over 3G on an iPhone there's no iPad version.

ipad 2 3g facetime

Another 3G failure is the BBC iPlayer app, which also requires a Wi-Fi connection to function.

Then there's downloading apps. Anything over 20MB requires a Wi-Fi connection, which seems like an unnecessary restriction by Apple. The same applies to downloading podcasts and video podcasts, which can get frustrating.

There's also the issue of reception. 3G coverage in the UK can best be described as patchy. Quite often you'll find your signal will drop below a strength that can deliver 3G.

In these cases the iPad will switch to EDGE, if available, as a second best option (you can think of EDGE as being 2.5G) and then down to GPRS level, which is too slow for anything but basic email use. Different icons on the iPad's menu bar tell you what sort of connection you have.


Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity64 GB
Processor ManufacturerApple
Wireless LANYes
Maximum Battery Run Time10 Hour
Backlight TechnologyLED
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyUMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, EDGE
Product FamilyiPad 2
Cellular Network SupportedGSM
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformiOS
Operating SystemiOS 4
Brand NameApple
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeA5
Screen Size24.6 cm (9.7")
Screen Resolution1024 x 768
Weight (Approximate)612.3 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Cellular Generation3G
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution700 Kilopixel
Height241.3 mm
Width185.7 mm
Depth8.6 mm
Screen ModeXGA
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMC775LL/A
Product NameiPad 2 Tablet Computer
Product LineiPad 2
Aspect Ratio4:3
Manufacturer Part NumberMC775LL/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

There's more to it. And even less of it. Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core A5 chip. The same 10-hour battery life. All in a thinner, lighter design. Now iPad is even more amazing. And even less like anything else.