Apple iPad 2 vs BlackBerry PlayBook

Vs Tony Crammond 13:08, 3 Mar 2011

We test the mettle of Apple's newly announced iPad 2, putting it head-to-head with RIM's hotly anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook, but which will emerge victorious?

The recent announcement of Apple's iPad 2 has set more than a few tongues wagging, and it's safe to say that the few thousand people who crammed in to the auditorium to see a pleasingly healthy looking iJobs unveil the device were pretty impressed with what they saw.

But after a good night's sleep we've decided to test the new device's mettle, to see if it really is the explosion of innovation that people thought it would be, or more of a damp squib.

To accomplish our aim we're pitting the iPad 2 against an impressive piece of hardware, RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, a device which won more than a few plaudits of its own when it was announced back in September. But that's enough talk, let's see how these two tablets measure up!

Apple decided not to rock the boat with iPad 2 and opted to stick with the tried and tested 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS TFT which, let's be fair, has been doing a pretty good job for the last 11 months.

Naturally we were expecting some Retina Display goodness on this new model but we can't argue against the qualities of the display, it offers good viewing angles thanks to the IPS technology and comes with a scratch/fingerprint resistant coating, as well as being oleophobic!

The BlackBerry, while not disappointing, is a little run of the mill. It's 7-inch TFT display is certainly pleasing to use and is plenty responsive but it does lack that cutting edge feel.

Winner - iPad 2

There isn't much to separate these two devices when it comes to drive-train, they both come in 16, 32, 64GB flavours and offer impressive dual-core 1GHz chips which, in the iPad 2's case will reportedly drive graphical performance to nine times that of its predecessor, as well as the expected two-fold improvement in overall performance.

Similarly the PlayBook offers pretty brisk performance and its own Open-GL enabled GPU will no doubt give users an immersive gaming experience. Memory-wise it's tough to compare the two devices when Apple, in its infinite wisdom, has opted to keep details of installed memory secret.

RIM provides a more open book though, and we know that its device boasts 1GB RAM, which makes the device chip along at a decent pace. While we fully expect Apple to have boosted the iPad 2's RAM from the 256MB of its predecessor we can never be 100 per cent sure, so on that criteria alone the PlayBook takes this round.

Winner - PlayBook

It comes as no surprise that Apple chose to include dual cameras in the iPad 2, with a rear-facing 0.7-megapixel (yes, you read that right) and a front-facing VGA effort included to allow users to make use of its fantastic FaceTime software and capture stills and movies (up to 720P).

The PlayBook's offering is altogether more 'now', with 5-megapixel rear-facing and 3-megapixel front-facing cameras included, as well as the added bonus of 1080p video capture so, when it comes to optics, we'd recommend RIM's PlayBook over Apple's gloriously pretty iPad 2.

Winner - PlayBook


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