Music and Words

April 6, 2010

iPad Review

Filed under: Words — melomania @ 10:35 pm
Tags: ,

I’ve had my iPad since about 11:00 Saturday morning, which makes approximately 84 hours that I’ve owned this device. Not too long after I brought the thing home and started playing with it, I made a decision.

I love it.

Allow me to clarify. It’s not perfect, and it doesn’t fully replace my laptop. (It’s not designed to anyway.) But I love it.

I feel like it’s a great size. I know a lot of people complain that it’s not widescreen because it makes movies look funny, but I don’t spend enough time watching movies to care. Besides, we had a 4:3 TV for a really long time (like, we bought our first HDTV at Thanksgiving) so I’m pretty used to seeing the little black bars across the top and bottom of the screen. Doesn’t bother me at all.

The iPad itself is easy to carry around, but big enough that I can easily view websites without the constant scrolling that my iPhone demanded. Obviously I can’t put it in a pocket and it won’t even fit in my purse, but remember I was a student until just under a year ago. I’m used to carrying books around just by holding them in my arms. After I graduated, I sometimes felt weird NOT carrying anything other than a purse, keys, and a cell phone. I’m thinking I’ll buy a bigger bag to use as a combo purse/iPad carrier in a while, but it doesn’t bother me enough to run out and do it now. And like I said, websites look great.

After the iPad was announced, much of the internet erupted. “But it’s basically just a big iPod Touch!” they said. Yes. Yes it is. And in some cases, that word “big” can make a lot of difference. Watching movies, reading ebooks, viewing non-iPhone-optimized websites – all of these things are possible on the iPhone, but just a little bit frustrating. All the scrolling, page-turning, and holding-the-thing-six-inches-from-your-face-so-you-can-see-the-skeleton-on-Bones just gets old after a while. The bigger screen eliminates a lot of that frustration. For example, I used the Netflix app a couple days ago to stream Monsters, Inc. on the iPad, and really enjoyed the viewing experience.

The screen is very shiny, which means that all fingerprints are very visible when the screen is off, especially those from where I almost dropped it on the floor and caught it just in time. (Ninja skills, that’s me.) I’ll probably tend to be rather obsessive about cleaning the screen often, but hey, it’s mine. And if I want to obsess about something, that’s my problem.

The screen resolution is great. Everything just looks so sharp. To be perfectly honest, the whole device is just pretty. It’s beautiful. Never thought you’d hear me say that about a gadget, huh. The hardware looks sleek and attractive, the display is crystal-clear, and I’m still occasionally amazed at how well it responds to a touch.

The iPad is fast. I mean, really fast. Everything loads quickly, even webpages, which are dependent on our (rather slow, considering it’s supposed to be “high-speed”) internet connection. Everything happens faster than on my iPhone, and much faster than on my laptop. Apps load faster and even the screen rotation is faster when I flip the iPad around. I continue to marvel: it’s just so fast.

And speaking of screen rotations, the screen-lock switch was a great idea. I was reading an ebook the other night and wanted to lay on my side. So I flipped the switch, rolled over, and turned the iPad 90 degrees clockwise. And then I continued to read. I know the iPhone is supposed to have a way that you can lock the screen rotation in certain apps, but I could never get it to work, so I spent a lot of time trying to keep the screen from flipping around on me while I was reading. (I also spent a lot of time turning pages because the iPhone screen is so small it only fits about 15 or 20 lines on a page. Which brings me back to my point about the iPad screen size – the bigger screen has its advantages.)

The on-screen keyboard is a little cumbersome, but that is because I’m a touch-typist, and you can’t feel a software keyboard. I can certainly work with it but I’ve found that for anything longer than a few sentences, I need something that I can feel. I bought an Apple bluetooth keyboard (that I’m using right now to type this on the iPad), and I really like it. The iPad/keyboard setup works well for me.

I’m not going to discuss any specific apps right now, because I’m planning to do a future post with a more in-depth look at some of my favorites. However, I will mention that a lot of the iPad-specific apps have been very well done. They look great and function exactly as expected.

I will point out that because the operating system is the same as the iPhone, there was really no learning curve for me to use the iPad. I pulled it out of the box, plugged it in to my laptop to activate and sync with iTunes, and used it. Obviously if you’ve never used an iPhone or iPod Touch before you’ll have to get used to it, but even that’s not hard. Here, I’ll help: start touching things and see what they do. If you want to get out of something, click the button with the little square on it at the bottom (or side, or top, depending) to get back to the home screen. Congrats, you now know how to work an iPod Touch, an iPhone, or an iPad!

Pretty straightforward. Of course, there are a lot of things that you get used to and tricks that you pick up along the way, but I’ve learned all of them by trial and error. I’ve never read a book on how to operate any of these devices, or watched a tutorial. I start pressing buttons and see what they do. Besides, I’m the kind of person who will remember it better if I tried it myself anyway.

Please note: I am not saying this is the perfect device, the most amazing thing you will ever encounter, and you absolutely must go out and buy one right now, or I will beat you up. I’m simply trying to say that I feel this was a good decision FOR ME, and explaining some of the things I particularly like about the iPad. Remember: if you don’t like the iPad, or Apple, or closed systems, then DON’T BUY ONE. No one is forcing you to. It’s my blog, and I’m giving you my opinion, not some crazy ultimatum.

Trust me, I’m a lot meaner when I’m giving ultimatums.



  1. In my brief experience with the keyboard, I found that it worked well for me, even though I am a fast touch typist. That’s probably because I didn’t treat it as a real keyboard because it’s not in the keyboard layout that I use anyway, so I did hunt and peck. I can hunt and peck pretty fast on a Qwerty keyboard, because I have to do it a lot being a Dvorak nut and everything. I think it’s actually a good thing that it can’t be set to Dvorak, although if it could I’d probably give it a try.

    Comment by fitzage — April 7, 2010 @ 8:05 am

  2. Did I mention I’m jealous? So am I to assume you got the WiFi only version and not the 3G enabled one? What lead to that decision?

    Comment by Derek Ryder — April 8, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    • Well, I thought about it, and decided I spend most of my time at home (where we have wifi), at work (where I should be working instead of playing with toys, but my boss installed a wireless network last night), and at friends’ houses (most of whom have wireless networks as well). Based on that, I don’t think I have a pressing need for 3G on this particular device. If I want to go out somewhere and use it, I can probably find a place that offers wifi. I have a registered Starbucks card so I can use theirs, and lots of other places have free wifi. If I have something I absolutely need to look up on the go, then I have an iPhone for that. (Although I do have to admit it’s a little disorienting to switch back to the small screen after getting used to this one.)

      I’m hoping once the novelty of the new device wears off I’ll get used to the lack of 3G and just live without it. But if not, I’ve got a couple people at work who might be willing to buy it from me so I can get the 3G when it comes out. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Comment by Stephanie Bowyer — April 8, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  3. I needed 3G since I usually have a chauffeur. Gives me something to do in the car. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by fitzage — April 8, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

  4. I thought about that. But 3G gives you the ability to use it in a vehicle (with or without chauffer…) and to take it to places like Hawaii easier. You ‘Merhucans also have pretty wide 3G coverage (unlike those of us in backwaters like Canuhduh). However, I have no idea what 3G data plans cost. I’m assuming that you would need a separate one for your iPhone and for your iPad — would be outstanding if you could share it…

    Comment by Derek Ryder — April 9, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

    • Actually AT&T isn’t doing a contract for iPad 3G service, just month-to-month. And it’s reasonable-limited data for $15 and unlimited for $30.

      Comment by Stephanie Bowyer — April 10, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

  5. By the way, see this link for iPad entertainment.

    Comment by Derek Ryder — April 19, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

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