In many ways, the iPad 2’s new features are alarmingly obvious. You can take a photo to show off the camera, chuck it on some scales to demonstrate its reduced heft, and prove its razor-thin form factor by using it to slice some Parmesan.
But as for the increased power - that monstrous dual-core A5 chip and endless 512MB of memory stored safely under the hood - showing it off to an unconverted Apple acolyte isn’t so easy. Sure, you could bore them with charts and stodgy speed tests, but it’s not very exciting.
That is, until you boot up Infinity Blade or Back to the Future, games with significantly higher resolution textures and zippy, smooth framerates that make your vanilla iPad feel like a stuffy and slow breeze-block.
Load up any of the ten games on this list and you’ll immediately feel justified for dropping another £400 on a new slab of plastic.
Dead Space - EA
EA’s science fiction spookfest looked impressive enough on the original iPad. Those creepy corridors and flickering lights set the stage for a horror game drenched in a super eery atmosphere.
And being a game with full-on control, instead of an on-rails rollercoaster, it’s perhaps the closest you can get to a console game in your lap.
It looks even better on iPad 2, after EA spruced up the game’s juicy visuals for the faster graphics capabilities of the tablet successor. Everything will look sharper, smoother, and more detailed, and the slick survival-horror game should run smoother than ever.
Real Racing 2 HD - Firemint
Firemint, the Aussie developer behind Flight Control and Real Racing, had an inkling that Apple would boost the iPad's spec on its first birthday. So it carefully coded the long-awaited tablet edition of sim-racer Real Racing 2 with the extra graphics boost in mind.
It certainly shows. This updated driving game is a sight to behold with stunning reflections, high-resolution textures, and bold shadows.
It’s no surprise, really. This thoroughly impressive game - which boasts an endless garage of licensed motors and an exhaustive Career mode - was the best-looking racer on iPhone 4.
Infinity Blade - Epic Games
Infinity Blade is a jaw-droppingly gorgeous game and an excellent sword-slashing RPG to boot. But it's also a tech demo for Unreal Engine 3 which Epic hopes will sell developers on the idea of licensing the game's capable engine. It's certainly worked: even Gameloft's signed on for four UE3 games.
To prove that the engine neatly scales up to the demanding chips and gizmos of the iPad 2, Chair's updated the fantasy Punch-Out!! experience to make use of the extra juice afforded by Apple's new tablet.
Everything looks sharper and more defined, with high resolution textures that look leaps and bounds better than the murky blurs seen on iPad 1. Just to show off, why not shell out for the HDMI adapter and blow the game up on your 42-inch plasma. It still looks marvellous.
Asphalt 6: Adrenaline - Gameloft
Like Real Racing 2, this zippy driving title got a hefty visual bump to take advantage of the iPad 2's technical bells and whistles. The arcade-racer now has the muscle to pull off real-time reflections, motion blur, gorgeous lighting, a better draw distance, and defined shadows.
While it's little use to the person in the driving seat - this super fast racer is more about tearing, rather than touring, the streets of L.A., Tokyo and the Bahamas - Asphalt 6 will look a lot prettier to any backseat players.
It's also smoother, which is handy when a hive of tuned sports cars comes roaring past your wing mirror, or you're duking it out with five pals online.
Back to the Future Ep 1 - Telltale Games
Telltale's arsenal of witty point-and-clickers would be a perfect fit for the iPad, if they weren't constantly dogged by technical bugs and performance issues. Sam & Max was almost enough to swear off Telltale apps for life, after it spluttered and glitched its way from crash to crash.
More recent Telltale adventures are much more reliable, but they still stutter and crawl on occasion.
Not so on the iPad 2: the jerky, low framerate intro of Back to the Future - a shot by shot remake of the first movie's iconic scene - runs like buttered ice. It's turns a stuttering mess into a seriously slick intro. That’s a performance boost that keeps up for the whole show.
Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 - Traveller's Tales
Lego Harry Potter was no slouch on the original iPad, with the blocky Harry bouncing around Hogwarts at a much quicker pace than you'd expect from someone with plastic bricks for feet. But it still stuttered and spluttered more than its console counterparts, especially if your tablet was busy with multitasking.
With the iPad 2, that's a problem of the past. With DOUBLE the cores of planet Earth and memory galore, this plastic Potter-fest runs at blisteringly fast speeds. It's also great on the HDMI-out, so kids can follow the wizarding action on your telly.
Monkey Island Tales 1 - Telltale Games
Like Back to the Future, Telltale's Monkey Island reboot had one big problem on iPad: performance. The game's a hoot with smart puzzles, exciting new locations, and some seriously funny quips that lets it fit snugly in series canon. But it sure ran like a dog at times.
Well fret no more. With its bumper specs and additional tweaks, the game runs smooth and slick on the iPad 2. In fact, it makes your old iPad run like a dairy farmer. (How appropriate, you run like a cow).
It's not all about chips and cores and RAMs and doodads and buffers and process stacks and overflows and gizmos. All that nerdy stuff is great, but the iPad has more tricks than an A5 chip and some extra RAM up its sleeve.
The lighter form factor just makes holding the thing a more pleasant experience. The original iPad feels like a fat brick in comparison, and for someone with the upper body strength of a gnat, taking corners in Need for Speed was like an intensive exercise session. Now you can tilt and turn and bank your device with ease. Technology, eh? It's amazing.
Rage HD - id
Not only does John Carmack's willy-waving RAGE-engine tech demo get a welcome speed boost from the iPad's improved spec, but it's also more responsive.
That's thanks to the gyroscope chip hidden under the hood. Like the iPhone 4, the new iPad packs a position-sensing gyro that's more reliable and accurate than the original iPad's stodgy accelerometer.
With this added accuracy you'll be exploding the heads of mutated people with ease.
Jenga - Natural Motion Games
Much like Rage, exciting block-stacking / block-removing sim Jenga makes use of the device's internal gyroscope. An accelerometer is basically a tiny tilt switch that knows what orientation your pad is in, relative to the ground.
A gyroscope, on the other hand, harnesses the power of the cosmos to determine the position of your iPad, relative to the universe. And that’s no joke.
This seriously specific positioning tech is incredibly important for calculating the axis of the Earth, perfoming deep sea mining, navigating submarines, blasting military cruise missiles into enemy mugs, and stacking blocks in a video game that’s based on 54 cuboids of wood.