iPad 2 – Initial Impressions from Rebelpapa


So how does it feel?

The iPad 2 “feels” like a much smaller tablet. It’s lighter and thinner. The thing that surprised me the most about the iPad 2 was the weight. It’s much more comfortable to hold. If you lay it on a table it doesn’t wobble like the original iPad.

How fast is it?

Just swiping screens around you won’t notice much of a speed bump. No big deal.

I decided to give Artrage a try. I did a memory wipe restart on both iPads so they started with a clean slate.

I sat with both iPads on my lap and launched Artrage in unison. Artrage started some seconds faster on the iPad 2. I should have timed it, but it was more than noticeable.

On new canvases, I selected the largest watercolor brush with the wet on wet setting. I applied a large red triangle with a fast stroke on both iPads. The iPad 2 finished the three triangle sides before the original iPad finished the first side. The iPad 2 is quite a bit faster, but not fast enough to remove the lag of the watercolor brush. I changed colors (blue) and brushed again making sure to do some round circles to mix the colors. The original iPad had barely started the stroke by the time the iPad 2 finished. Not impressive, but almost.

Next, I opened up the Artree app. The purpose of this app is to auto generate trees. I never thought anything about the speed or growth of the tree. The original iPad seemed fine, growing the tree in a relaxing way. Artree on the iPad 2 grew much much faster, it was a little shocking.

Last, I tested the Brushes app. On new canvases, I just made some fast strokes. Brushes is already really fast and neither iPad lagged. Not a very good test.

I exited the painting to the gallery and highlighted a painting I did a few weeks ago. The painting has a good number of strokes. I timed the playback on the original iPad. The movie of the painting played back in 3 minutes, 4 seconds. That same painting on iPad 2? 2 minutes and 2 seconds. Damn fast in comparison.

Those were just a few quick tests.

Should you upgrade?

It depends on a couple of things. If you feel like the apps you use are slow, then you could certainly benefit with an upgrade. For instance, I love Artrage, but some of the tools are really slow. For me that was a deal breaker. Artrage on the iPad 2, while not lag free, seems much more up to the challenge. But it’s not as good as my iMac.

If you think that painting on the iPad has been revolutionary and you are happy with how it’s going, I wouldn’t recommend the upgrade. If you have the spare cash, I think it’s worth the upgrade. I obviously made it myself and doubt I will regret it. I’m painting more than I ever did before and now it will be faster.

The iPad 2 is a step in the evolution of the tablet genre, but it’s not in my opinion a new product.





14 Responses to “iPad 2 – Initial Impressions from Rebelpapa”

  • Benjamin Rabe Says:

    Great first review, thanks! Since the iPad is on 512 mb ram now, we should possibly see updates of the apps reflecting that soon; meaning either more layers or more resolution respectively. also the new graphic processor looks powerful once taken advantage on.

  • Mike Podolak Says:

    Should us 1st gen’rs be concerned about our apps running more slow once the new updates come out (that will most likely intend to leverage the performance upgrades)?

    I dont want to NOT upgrade my apps, but I’m real concerned about developers immediately forcing us into obsolescence.

  • KevinBee Says:

    I do not think any updates will cause any concern for the original iPad on http://daringfireball.net/2011/03/the_ipad_2 they ran some tests and the quote from the the developer is:

    “The results show that the iPad 2 is easily about twice as powerful as the original and that this speed gain is a freebie — you don’t need to change your code structure in order to see significant gains.” so working backwards..

    I am hoping that as Benjamin said, more layers, resolution output, maybe some cleaner math to render actions on iPad2 but not handicap the original. Sorta of like when iPhone/3G was upgraded, some apps showed extra features on 3GS while the app stayed relatively the same on the original addressing bugs and crashes.

  • Rebelpapa Says:

    I agree with what KevinBee said. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

  • patricio Says:

    thanks for your first impressions, it really helps : will try to buy the first ipad2 in france ;-)))

  • Susan Murtaugh Says:

    Thank you Thank you, nicely done. I am happy mine is in the way and I appreciate the Artrage test, as I was concerned.

  • Rebelpapa Says:

    Yes, I’ve got some video that should get posted tomorrow. It shows first hand the apps I mention in the initial impression.

    I’ve had a couple of days with the iPad now and it feels like “more of the same”. It’s the iPad experience we know and love except a bit faster.

  • Matthew Watkins Says:

    UPADTE Here is the link to Rebelpapa’s video benchmark


  • Valerie Beeby Says:

    Very revealing. It was a great help actually to see the speed difference in your video. Thanks so much. We don’t get the iPad2 here in the UK until Friday (March 25th) but I think I’ll get it.

  • Christopher Menice (rebelpapa) Says:

    Hi Valerie,

    I’m glad the video was helpful. It sure is revealing. The real takeaway for me with iPad 2, is that things “seem” just like before because the OS hasn’t really changed. But when you have the iPad 2 and go back to the iPad, you realize how much faster it is.

  • Hervé Says:

    Hi Christopher,

    Thank you for your video, it was really well done and useful.
    I got an iPad 2, and sure it’s faster, but I have a lag with the wet blender only which is very annoying. It seems that the pressure really has a deal with it.
    It’s faster on the iPad 1 !!!
    Have you got the same problem?
    Thanks by advance for your answer

  • Rebelpapa Says:

    hi Herve,

    Artrage is a beast and lags terribly. It’s not as bad on the iPad 2, but yes the lag is still there. Best of luck and enjoy your iPad 2!

  • Hervé Says:

    Many thanks for the answer.

  • Juan Padan Says:

    art rage is a very good app for testing hardware, mostly for the processor and the video card.
    the fact that ipad2 is thinner dosen’t mean that it’s weaker because it will be more compact if it falls flat on the ground.

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