Is the New iPad 2 Worth the Cost?

March 2, 2011

A reader wonders whether it's worth the price to shell out for the new iPad 2. Whether or not it makes sense to buy the iPad 2 -– or one of its hot new competitors -- depends on your own personal preference and how you intend to use the device.

Q: Is the new Apple iPad 2 worth the cost?

A: Whether or not it makes sense to buy the iPad 2 —- or one of its hot new competitors -- depends on your own personal preference and how you intend to use the device.

The number of clinicians adopting the iPad for use in medical settings is growing rapidly, as the number of point-of-care apps explodes, according to a survey of nearly 950 members of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and Columbia, Md.-based mobile-device management company BoxTone Inc.

If you plan on carrying around the tablet with you for use in your practice, the iPad 2 is thinner and lighter than the original iPad, though other tablets — such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook and the Dell Streak -- are smaller and more lightweight.

It’s also difficult to tell whether the iPad 2 is more costly than competing models that have yet to be released. Most -range from $499 (the cost of the low-end version of the iPad 2) to $900, according to SmartMoney.com. On top of that, many require a two-year data contract with a wireless carrier for an additional $20 to $80 per month. (If you’re looking for a bargain, and not picky about having a device with cutting edge bells and whistles, original iPads are selling for $349, or even less if you buy a refurbished model (the price will likely drop even further in the coming months as tech lovers trade in their iPads for the next generation).

The iPad 2 comes with a dual-core microprocessor, which means it runs faster and enhances your ability to multitask. The new generation iPad also has two video cameras — adding one to the front for webcasting and video chat. But a number of its competitors have these features as well. (Find a great breakdown of new tablets here.)

Bottom line, if you’re an Apple aficionado, or the type of person who absolutely has to have the hottest new tech device, you can’t go wrong sticking with the latest and greatest from the current category killer. But if you’re unsure which tablet is right for you, or whether you actually need to buy one at all -- in many cases, a basic laptop is less expensive far more versatile -- wait until the models hit the shelves and spend some time at your nearest electronics retailer to evaluate them for yourself before you buy.

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