12 Month Old iPad 2 Running Rather Slowly?

I own an iPad 2, and I have done so for about 12 months now. Now, when I bought it, it was running iOS 4.3, I believe, and it worked like a dream. Everything was smooth, apps ran perfectly - everything was great. However, when I upgraded to iOS 5, I noticed a substantial decrease in speed. I thought it might get quicker with iOS 5.1 - no such luck. I thought maybe it would get quicker with iOS 5.1.1 - again, no such luck. Is there any reason as to why this is? It seems like it is just me though, as I always hear people (such as tech reviewers) saying their iPad 2s still run fine, and they also have 32GB iPads. But mine... mine just seems slow, for basic things.
Safari can be really slow sometimes. Even closing a tab can take up to 5 seconds, same with tapping in the search or URL bars. And that's always how it's been. I've tried taking off loads of videos/apps - no such luck. The four/five finger gestures can also be unresponsive - I'll pinch to go to the home screen, and quite often it'll lag (probably about twice a day on average). Sometimes, when you have done this, all the icons on the home screen will have disappeared, and you'll just get the app names - they come back after a second, but it is weird. Sometimes I have even seen the bar at the top disappear, which is rather weird. Same with the multitasking gestures. Occasionally these gestures won't even work, after two or three times of trying, or the animation won't happen - this just happened as I tried pinching out of Game Center. Tapping into/out of a folder - even that lags! You'll see the folder stop halfway through opening, then fully open. You tap out of the folder, and sometimes it'll do similar to tapping into a folder. In fact, I just tested it then, and it stuttered slightly as it closed the folder. It's really irritating, and I don't understand why it does it. Sliding between home screens! Lags. Even tapping on an app causes it to lag. You'll tap on an app, and see its darkened, tapped version for a few seconds, and then it'll open - this isn't supposed to happen! This is the sort of quality I expect from Android, not "the world's most advanced mobile OS"!
The Music app. Don't get me started. It's terrible! Scrolling is a pain. Trying to listen to a song is a pain. Viewing the album art is a pain. It's just not what I expect. And iTunes Match has messed up my Library. Before Match and iTunes in the Cloud, I could see all the album artwork, and my library looked great. Now, I see a few albums with artwork, and others with horrible stave artwork. This even happens for music on my iPad sometimes, which is extremely annoying. The stores are also rather laggy - iTunes, Apps and iBooks - but I can almost let them off, as they are having to go over the internet. But tapping in the search bar can take quite a while to load, which is frustrating.
Right, well I'm sure you get the picture by now. I just wanted to show you how widespread these errors are, and I'm wondering what solutions/options there are available to me as to how they can be fixed. I'll eliminate two for you now:
- Getting a new iPad - can't afford it as I'm saving up for a Mac
- Going to a Genius Bar - possible, but I live 50 miles away from the three closest Apple Stores to me, and I don't really want to spend the whole day sat at a 'bar' trying to solve my iPad's issues.
I could try resetting my iPad, I suppose, but I have done this before, and it hasn't really helped - it's just be an inconvenience. So what would you recommend? I don't want to be forced to move to a Microsoft Surface or anything like that just yet, as I still like my iPad - it's just that it's always been a little weary and sluggish on iOS 5. I hope you can help, I apologise for the length of this topic, and I look forward to hearing your answers/suggestions.

The symptom you describe is what happens when you plug an iPad into a PC/Mac USB port.  It's not enough wattage to charge the iPad.  When the screen shuts off it can then trickle charge the iPad albeit very slowly.  I concur with "imanog", sounds like you have the wrong charger.
Make sure the charger says 10W USB Power Adapter printed in small light grey print on the edge of the charger. Try borrowing some elses iPad charger and cable.  Check the cable for any visible damage.  Try a different AC outlet or power strip.  Take flashlight and inspect the dock connector.  If there is a piece of lint in there, that could be interferring in the dock cable from making a good connection.  Take an old dry toothbrush and gently clean any debris from the dock connector port on the iPad, this is more an issue with iPhones because people stuff them in their pockets and pick up lint in the dock port.
If all else fails, call Apple or schedule a Genius bar visit to have it checked out.  It is possible that the power circuit inside the iPad cannot properly detect the power adaptor.  There is some smarts involved where the iPad will sense the type of power it's connected to. It should be under warranty from any defects. 

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