Helping Apple further dominate a controlling stake of the tablet market, the continued availability of the iPad 2 at a reduced price will see the Cupertino-based company compete with the lower priced mid-level tablet scene, as well as continuing to lead from the front with the new iPad.

Limited to the 16GB storage capacity options, the cut priced, software-improved tablet could well step slightly on the toes of its follow-on, with those impatient to get their mitts around an Apple-branded tablet opting to splash out for the aging iPad 2 as opposed to waiting until they have enough cash saved up to plump for the latest iteration model that, like the iPad 2, will no doubt likely be replaced come March 2013.

We liked

Still the slimmest (well almost, apart from the Toshiba AT200), sexiest, most desirable tablet on the market, the iPad 2 is a well-balanced combination of sleek, inspiring design and a high-end collection of premium specs that are tied together through an unrivalled user interface and ease of use that ensures the product is open up to tablet novices and gadget aficionados alike.

Fast and responsive to use, the update to iOS 5.1 has brought a new lease of life to the second-generation Apple tablet with users away from the overhauled display facing a difficult task in distinguishing the genre defining iPad 2 from its newer, fancier, more advanced sibling.

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We disliked

While consumer demand and requirement has seen inbuilt cameras on tablets become a slightly overzealous necessity, those found attached to the iPad 2 do little to inspire the doubters who say tablet cameras are an over-the-top and little used addition to an oversized device that due in large to its none pocketable size make it an unlikely and unusable choice for an on-the-move camera.

Although still highly impressive, when compared with its new iPad replacement, the iPad 2's display is more than a little disappointing with less sharp and detailed images leaving the device as arguably sloppy seconds to the best quality tablet and portable screen on the market.

16GB might be seen as too little storage for a tablet that lacks any possibility of expansion too - although it's obvious Apple is encouraging buyers to upgrade to a new iPad 3 if they want more space.

And while it's not in the smaller category, the price is still wildly high compared to the £199 / $249 for the Google Nexus 7 - has a new bar been set for tablet prices?

Verdict

Far from the awkward middle child in a family of popular kids, the iPad 2 is Apple's most successful tablet to date with its continued availability at a reduced price providing an easy and hugely promising entry into the tablet market for a wide range of potential users.

While the tech industry as a whole has always fallen under the purchasing motto of 'always buy the best device that you can afford in order to future proof as best as possible and counteract the rapidly product cycles', for those looking to enter the tablet market and save a little bit of cash while doing so, the iPad 2 is now by far the easiest choice to make.