The first affordable tablet computer worth buying!

April 11, 2010 By Chris A. Kantack (Huntsville, AL)

This review is from: Apple iPad MB292LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi) (Personal Computers)

The iPad is my first Apple purchase. Prior to the iPad, I didn't feel that Apple's products were worth the money. With the iPad however, not only did Apple make a great product, but they priced it quite competitively. I'll list below first what I love about the iPad, then where I feel the iPad falls a bit short.

Here's what I really like about the iPad:

1. Instant on capability to the Internet.
With the iPad you don't have to wait long for it to boot up. When the iPad is completely off, it takes
about 15 seconds to start the device. There is also a "standby off" which uses virtually no power and
allows "instant on" capability.

2. Superb web browsing experience.
The iPad comes with Safari, an excellent web browser. I'm especially impressed with the way I can zoom
in on a page at any size. (Text size is completely variably-sized, allowing you to fit web pages and text
perfectly with the screen.) Pages render very quickly (faster than on my many PCs) with no problems.
True, there is no support for Flash but I've found that to be a very minimal "hardship" as the iPad has
other free apps (like YouTube) that compensates for lack of Flash.

4. Bright, easily readable and navigable screen
Though not perfect: (I wish it were not glossy), the iPad screen is excellent. It's 9.7" size seems
just right and the multi-touch interface works flawlessly. The way I can intuitively scroll down on
a page makes web browsing and other document reading a real pleasure. Font support is not extensive but
what fonts are available render beautifully. The iPad can be read easily indoors or outdoors provided
you are not in direct sunlight.

5. Decent speaker sound and wonderful headphone sound.
The iPad can generate reasonably loud (if not high quality) sound from its built-in speakers. Of course
it sounds wonderfully if using headphones and/or you choose to feed its audio into a home stereo system.
In addition to the built-in iPod music player application, there are several "streaming radio" apps
available that allow you to use your iPad as an "internet radio".

6. Huge library of new and existing applications.
There are already thousands of applications written specifically for the iPad. The iPad also does a
decent job of playing 95% of existing iTouch/iPhone applications. With over 150,000 programs available,
there are applications already available for just about anything you can think of many of which are free.
My application list includes, streaming internet radio, video players, card games, and news/weather
sites. I've also downloaded the iBooks application which is an excellent book reading program. Many
free books are available as well as a good selection of current titles.

Another great built-in app is "Maps". "Maps" is incredible, not only in its ease-of-use but in its ability
to show your current location. True, the WiFi only iPad has no GPS but via WiFi signals the iPad can
often compute your approximate location.

7. Great battery life!
I get 10 hours+ per charge with my iPad. Far better than the max 3 hours I got from my Acer laptop (when
it was new). Even if you use it to play movies constantly or listen to non-stop internet radio, you'll
get around 10 hours or more use per battery charge.

There are some ways the iPad could have been made better. Here are the not-so-good aspects about the iPad:

1. Awkward to hold without a case.
When I bought my iPad, I also picked up Apple's $40 iPad case. Glad I did as, without the case,
the iPad is not very comfortable to hold and can easily slip out of one's hands. With the case, the
experience is entirely different. Apple's rubberized case makes the iPad comfortable and very easy
to hold onto. It also provides the iPad with excellent protection and allows you to prop up your iPad
when at a table. If you buy an iPad, buy it with a case that allows you to use the unit with having to
remove it from its case. The $40 Apple case seems pricey but I wouldn't take may iPad anywhere without

2. Not a stellar "WiFi performer".
I've had no difficulty using my iPad around the house or at work. But compared to my Acer laptop, the
iPad's overall WiFi performance is weaker than I'd like it to be. The number of hotspots it can detect
at any given location is only a small fraction of what my laptop can do. Also, occasionally I'll go to
a restaurant (say McDonald's) that has free WiFi and for some odd reason I cannot get my iPad to connect
even with a strong signal present. Overall though, I've found the iPad to have a very reliable (if not
sensitive) WiFI capability.

3. On-screen keyboard a bit disappointing.
Though I feel there is plenty of room for it, the on-screen keyboard does not have the number keys on the
same display as the alphabet. One has to constantly toggle back and forth between keyboards when entering
alphanumeric data. I hope Apple fixes this in a future software update.

4. Kind of a heavy unit.
1.5 pounds may not seem like much. But prolonged use of the iPad can cause one to have sore wrist/hands
just from holding the unit. Perhaps one day, with newer screen technology, Apple can move away from using
so much glass and lower the weight of this unit to under 1 pound.

5. Glossy screen has its drawbacks.
Under certain lighting conditions (outside in the shade or watching dark movie scenes indoors or out),
the reflections on the iPad's glossy screen do become a real annoyance. A matte like finish on the glass
(like on most high quality computer monitor screens) would have been a real plus.

Though I've only had my iPad for 8 days, I know that I'll be using it extensively for years to come. The iPad is
easily my favorite "electronic newspaper" and technical papers reading device. Internet radio is another big pastime of mine. Again the iPad will be a superb performer here. Though I haven't tried it yet, I believe the iPad will also function as a great "photo frame" when I'm not using it for anything else.

Of course the iPad is a great gaming machine as well. There are thousands of games to choose from in every
conceivable category.

That's the beauty of the iPad. It has so many possible uses. I've been waiting many years for an affordable tablet PC that could do what the iPad does. My wait is over.

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