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iPad 2 worth the upgrade?

iPad 2 worth the upgrade?

The iPad was no doubt, the hottest new gadget of 2010. Thousands of Apple consumers who opened up their brand new iPad on Christmas morning were unimpressed to see that Apple has already released the iPad 2. If you’ve barely pulled the shrink wrap off your original iPad, is the upgrade to the iPad 2 worth it? We’ll take a look at the pros and cons.

Here’s a rundown of the new features:

Dual Video (and still photo) Cameras
Everyone who owns or has seen the iPhone 4 knows exactly how the iPad 2’s dual cameras work. There’s a front-facing camera and a backwards-facing camera that allow you to take pictures of other people or of yourself without having to rotate the device. Thanks to these handy-dandy cameras, you can also run FaceTime and connect with other iPad 2 users for a cozy video chat. If you’re a heavy-duty FaceTime user, this is probably a welcome upgrade. After all, when it comes to screens, bigger is usually better. If you’re not a FaceTime user, you may be left feeling a little “meh,” especially since the camera picture quality isn’t anywhere close to what you get from even the most inexpensive digital point and shoot camera.

Faster Processor
The iPad 2 has—oh yes—a dual processor, which means it’s capable of running more graphics-intensive and more complex apps at higher speeds. If you’re a hard-core gamer, you might really appreciate the upgrade. Meanwhile, very few people have complained that the original iPad is slow. Once apps start expanding and begin outgrowing the original iPad, speed might be more of a gripe. But by then, Apple will probably be on to the iPad 3 or 4 anyway.

HDMI Video Output
If you’ve ever been lounging around watching video on your iPad and wished you could hook it up to your big screen, the iPad2 is for you. Its new HDMI video output will let you do just that. Now you can use your iPad to stream Netflix or other movies right to your television. Granted, if you already have a Wii or an internet-enabled television, this won’t seem like that much of a benefit. But if you don’t, you’ve now got the hook-up.

A Lighter and Thinner Design
The iPad 2 is a few millimeters thinner than the original model and is also a whopping 15% lighter. In other words, the old iPad weighed 1.5 pounds while the new one weighs only 1.2. If that leaves you underwhelmed, you’re not alone. Yes, it’s cool that the new model is thinner and lighter while still managing to pack in more features than the original. However, the savings of a few millimeters and a third of a pound is not enough to make an upgrade mandatory. It’s just not that much of a difference.

So what’s not to like?

Still won’t Play Flash Video
iPad lovers everywhere seem to agree that the machine’s one serious drawback is its lack of support for Flash video. With more people spending more time on Facebook than Google these days, it’s no wonder people are irritated. If you’re browsing Facebook on your iPad and want to play a video one of your friends shared. . . you can’t. Too bad. The same thing goes for Twitter. The even worse news is that thanks to a feud between Apple and Adobe, support for Flash is unlikely to be available anytime soon. Meanwhile, competing companies are gearing up to release Android-powered tablets, and you can bet those machines will be Flash-enabled. So if this is an important feature for you, you might want to consider ditching the iPad for something else when it’s time to upgrade.

The iPad is Still Relatively Expensive
iPad detractors are also not fans of the tablet’s price. The entry level iPad2 goes for $500, and better models go up from there. Critics say that much more powerful laptops are available for less than $500 and are a more practical choice. Sure, the iPad 2 is much cooler looking and has a sleek touch screen, but as an actual computing tool, it comes up short. Industry experts are expecting competing tablets to debut at a more affordable price point.

What do you think? Is it worth it to upgrade to the iPad 2?