Apple iPad 2 vs LG Optimus Pad

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Last week’s iPad 2 carnival may have drawn to a close but the buzz surrounding the device is getting stronger by the day, as retailers announce their deals, and tests and reviews begin to circulate the media.

Our pre-occupation of late though, is the comparison of hardware included in the most recent devices and how their respective spec-sheets stack up against one another, not just on paper but in real world scenarios too.

This time around Apple’s latest hot property, the iPad 2, is up against LG’s Optimus Pad, an Android Honeycomb powered tablet that looks more than able to wrest some of Apple’s hard earned tablet market share away when it goes on general sale in the first quarter of the year. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

Operating System
Apple’s iPad 2 comes with the latest version of iOS, version 4.3, which includes a raft of improvements and new features, such as the extension of AirPlay privileges to third-party developers, personal hotspot functionality and new and improved soft keyboard support, but at its core the OS is still very much the same, user-friendly piece of software that it has always been.

Conversely the LG Optimus Pad’s Android 3.0 OS has undergone an overhaul to make it 100 per cent tablet-friendly, including its new ‘holographic’ looking UI and persistent system bar, which will keep you up-to-date with the latest notifications.

While both platforms have their merits, we’re more excited about what Google is trying to achieve with Honeycomb and the open ethos of the OS leaves a lot more room for modification and growth.

Winner – LG Optimus Pad

Connectivity
The Optimus Pad comes with plenty of connectivity options, including a micro USB port, HDMI-out, SD card slot, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b,g,n & DLNA and HSDPA and HSUPA, so you’ll have no problem connecting to the outside world or getting content onto your tablet and off again.

Apple’s take on the subject of connectivity is a little more closed affair, as the iPad 2 features only Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b,g,n, mirrored HDMI-out and HSDPA and HSUPA, so you’ll be fine connecting to the web or streaming your media to your big-screen display, but you’ll have to rely solely on iTunes to get third-party content onto your device in the first place.

Winner – LG Optimus Pad

 

Display
Apple’s iPad 2 features the same stunning 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS display as the original iPad, and is a joy to use. It comes with support for multi-touch gestures (which have been expanded in version 4.3 of iOS) and is scratch and fingerprint resistant, and also features an oleophobic coating to prevent the oil in your skin from messing up your screen!

The Optimus Pad features a similarly well-appointed display, which measure 8.9-inches but boasts one impressive feature that the iPad 2 does not: 3D support! While the addition of 3D is a nice novelty it isn’t a massive draw for us (with its current level of support) but it’s a nice, future proof feature to have.

Winner – Draw

Optics
Apple’s new device comes with 0.7-megapixel primary and VGA video-call cameras, making it a vast improvement on the original iPad but not in the same league as the Optimus Pad, which comes packing dual 5-megapixel cameras capable of stereoscopic image capture, LED flash, autofocus and 1080P video capture, compared to the iPad 2’s 720P. The Optimus Pad can, however, also capture 3D video at 720P and also features a separate front-facing camera for all of your video conferencing needs.

Winner – LG Optimus Pad

Internals
There is no doubt that the iPad 2 is a far superior piece of hardware to the original iPad. Apple has included a dual-core A5 chip, clocked at 1GHz, which offers double the performance of the original device and, if marketing blurb can be believed, up to nine times the graphics capability.

Like its predecessor the device comes in 16,32 and 64GB flavours. There’s no word yet on installed memory.

LG’s Optimus Pad runs on nVidia’s prestigious Tegra 2 chipset, which boasts lightening fast graphical performance and a dual-core 1GHz CPU. Like the iPad 2, it comes in 16, 32 and 64GB sizes and also boasts 1GB of installed RAM.

Apple’s updated hardware will inevitably run exceedingly well, as the boffins at Apple know how to get the best out of their hardware but, on paper and in terms of raw power, the Optimus Pad is the bigger hitter of the two.

Winner – LG Optimus Pad

So it’s another loss for the beautiful iPad 2! Naturally these comparisons are something of a black and white affair but what they have made abundantly clear is that, in hardware terms, the iPad 2 isn’t anywhere near the top-tier of the market.

As we’ve previously touched upon, the huge App Store and lovingly crafted UI make up for these drawbacks to a degree, but we can’t help but feel that the iPad 2 has missed the boat.

LG’s Optimus Pad, on the other hand, is very much aboard, with hardware that rivals that of any competitor and the addition of 3D support and Android 3.0 only serve to make the package more attractive.

You should certainly add the Optimus Pad to your shortlist if you’re looking to buy a tablet in 2011

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