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iPad 2 review roundup

The iPad 2 reviews are in. And guess what? The critics are besotted.

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The price: "Apple is at the top of its game these days – and at the top of the industry," points out David Pogue of The New York Times. "The rap, of course, is that you often pay extra for Apple elegance. But the shocker here, though, is that the iPad 2 actually costs less than its comparably equipped Android rivals, like the Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. That twist must have something to do with Apple’s huge buying clout — when you order five million of some component at a time, you can usually persuade the vendor to cut you a deal. But that price detail may turn a lot of heads."

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The (two) cameras: "The iPad 2 does have some drawbacks. Its cameras take mediocre still photos and Apple won’t even reveal their megapixel ratings," writes Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. "The company says they were designed for video, not still photography. They did capture decent video in my tests, including high-definition video from the rear camera and video good enough from the front camera for satisfying video calling. But, for a company known for quality, which bundles a new still-photo app with the device, the cameras are disappointing."

The software: "The new processor and the new iOS combined to improve Web surfing, as I could load up pages noticeably faster over my home Wi-Fi network," writes Rachel Metz of the AP. "As expected, videos loaded quickly and generally streamed flawlessly. The new software allows you to share music and videos from your iTunes library on multiple Apple devices on the same Wi-Fi network. And it now lets you set the iPad's mute switch to function as a screen lock, which makes it even easier to prevent my Netflix movie from rotating mid-scene just because I've shifted my butt on the couch."

The final word: "Everyone now seems to agree this is a new product category, and most of Apple’s rivals — from computer makers to phone makers — want in on it," acknowledges Daring Fireball's John Gruber. "The iPad 2 is a solid second-generation iteration. Easier and more comfortable to hold, noticeably faster, equippable with foldable covers that are both literally and figuratively magnetic. Like last year’s iPhone 4, it seems like technology from the near future."

RELATED: 10 most intriguing tablets of 2011

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