I am writing this about 2 weeks before the official iPad launch in Australia, but having used mine for almost a month. I didn’t want to rush in to a review as I wanted to be sure that I was back into my normal pattern of usage before I jumped to any conclusion.
The first thing to mention is that I am writing this on the ipad in the Wordpess app.
This seems to be working pretty well. I have is set up in landscape mode and I’m typing at a reasonable speed. Not quite as fast as a normal keyboard, but certainly fast enough to get by on.
This is typical Apple. The construction is solid and seem very robust. There’s similar controls to the iPhone and iPod Touch, but there is a small microphone port by the headphone Jack, and a switch to lock the orientation (very handy).
This has been mentioned in other reviews but it is worth repeating, the speaker looks similar to the iPhone, but it produces considerably better sound in terms of volume and base. So much so that my initial thoughts of having to get a speaker system for the car, I don’t think is worth it now. I’m also using it for night time audio books for my son, where previously I would have plugged in my iPhone to some speakers.
I should also mention the screen. As I got this before the official release, there are currently no screen protectors available in Australia. I bought a silicon protector sleeve for the outside on eBay having heard that this scatches easily, but the screen I nervously left. What I have found is that it seems to be extremely robust and scratch resistant, despite some heavy use when typing and playing fruit ninja.
Lastly I should give the battery life an honorable mention. This is as long as is claimed, usually longer. It’s pretty amazing to watch a film, then see you still have 90% battery life left.
If your used to the iPhone or iPod Touch, this won’t take much getting used to. In most ways it’s extremely similar. I have found a few gotchas though where I look for things where they would be on the iPhone and they aren’t there. These include:
- Controls at the top of the screen rather than the bottom. This often means you have to take your hand off where you are holding it in order to activate the control you want. Somehow I would have preferred that the controls are placed within easier reach of my hands normal resting place.
- The keyboard. I’m constantly typing double full stop (period). Somehow I am used to the double space bar, but when I see the full stop I double tap that instead. I’m also never sure whether things are going to be capitalized or not, so continuously am hitting shift then realizing I should have as I’ve removed capitalization rather then added it.
- Browsing – Dont get me wrong here, the browsing experience is probably better than ANY device I’ve every used, but I find the tab menu thingy to be a little annoying and hard to follow. Why there isn’t just tabs at the top like a standard browser, I don’t know. It would really make a lot of sense particularly in portrait mode.
I am finding it hard to adapt to little issues too as when you go back to the iPhone you get into the text entry and menu habits again.
Highlights of the software really include browsing, which is just awesome, and this is a great device for reading those PDF books or documents you just never seem to get round to (I’d get the goodreader app for this as it really makes it a lot easier).
There are a few must have apps I think for the iPad. These are:
- Goodreader – a PDF reader that allows you to upload files from your computer, download files from the web, and provides a great reading experience. I buy a lot of PDF books and this finally gives me the experience I’m after to read them.
- Kindle – iBooks isn’t out yet, but the kindle app is great and has a load of books available even on the Australian store! I have to say that I think the kindle reading experience is better here purely for the size of the device. Also if your eyes are at all dodgy there’s a trade off for the extra contrast, and that seems to be. That fonts can’t be quite as big.
- VNC Viewer – I haven’t exactly used this one a lot, but it’s a great way to get a full Mac or Windows experience on your iPad. It’s also away to get flash on hour iPad if you really need it!
- WordPress – if you blog this is a really usable and portable way to write your posts and approve comments.
- Twitter client – I haven’t found a decent one yet. Twitteriffic I found to be very buggy on the iPad so much so that I have set up hootsuite in safari to handle my Twitter posts.
- Harbour master HD – This is a great, and free game. You guide the ships into ports and back out again. Sounds simple but it’s great fun and addictive.
- Lets Golf HD – If you like Lets Golf, you’ll love this. The larger screen really adds to this game and it’s worth the upgrade even if you already have the iPhone version.
- Fruit Ninja – I’m not sure if it’s worth buying the iPad version of this, the iPhone version is cheaper and seems fine. Again though it’s a game that really gains from the larger screen.
Using my iPad
So where am I using the iPad? This is the device that’s just left about for instant Internet access. I used to use my iPhone, but have found myself searching round for the ipad to get the extra screen size.
I’m also taking the iPad to business meetings. It really is a big advantage to be able to type notes in the notes app. Not only can you type reasonably quickly, but you can still see your client at the same time. They seem to respond much better when you do this as you’re not putting a barrier of a laptop screen up in front of them.
Games and video really shine too on the iPad. Games are just so much more enjoyable and immersive on the bigger screen and videos as great. I can’t think anyone would buy an in car entertainment system if they take a look at an iPad.
Lastly my ipad gets used for reading a lot. Reference books are great, but so are novels. I’m reading my son, kids books at night too, as it let’s me put the light down to try to get him off to sleep.
If your thinking of buying an iPad, these are great devices. You will use it more than you think and in ways that you can’t imagine. I have the 64GB wifi version which has stupid amounts of storage (I current have 30 films on it), probably you can get away with less. I would get the 3G if you can too. Much to my surprise, plans from Telstra and others are quite reasonable and flexible, and I do miss the access when I’m out and about.
My advice on the model would probably be a 32GB with 3G.
If you have an ipad and want to add anything, or want to ask any questions, please feel free to add comments.