iPad Review: First Three days with the iPad

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The biggest criticism, and the one most often heard, even from laypeople is that it's not much more than an over grown iPod touch, an iPhone without the phone. This is true and contrary to being its weakness, it's a strength.

I love my iPhone. I was one of the dolts who stood in line to buy the first gen when it came out, I knew it would be a wondrous thing. The iPhone failed for me as a media machine, because its screen was just too small. Anything beyond a YouTube clip was too long for watching on an iPhone. It obviously wasn't a word processor. I've owned a laptop, and really did not want to go back to lugging one around again. I did want something in-between a smartphone and a laptop.

True confession: I did wait in line for the iPad, but it was a near thing. I pre-ordered, but did not pre-purchase and debated up until the last minute. Waking up earlier than normal I walked the dog and thought, what the hell.

I stood in line. But I did not countdown to opening time. I did not cheer, or give high fives or fist bumps. We have some pride.

In line, in the store I snagged the iPad case. Fifteen minutes after the opening, I was out of the Apple Store and on the way home. I'd started out five-hundredth in line. Give it to the Apple folks, they knew what to do after all those iPhone events.

Out of the box, it feels good. It has weight, but it is not heavy. I want to feel something in my hands, and not worry that I might break it.

The case is a necessity, as the pad does not lay flat. It will alternately let you use the iPad as a video screen or as writing instrument. The sole down side is the opening on the non-fold side of the case, for the volume control and hold button. It is a little too small to allow easy access to the hold button.

The hold button, lets you freeze the screen position. Otherwise it moves from portrait to landscape, as you turn the iPad. You can turn the iPad 360 degrees, and the screen moves with you. It is always right side up.

Some symbols are missing from the keyboard, the degree symbol, for instance.

Typing on it, so far is not the oft-mentioned chore. I've had no issues, but will report more on that as the week goes on. My personal preference is for the landscape orientation and the larger keyboard it provides. Apple should make the toolbar in Pages accessible in landscape as well as portrait mode. It would be easy enough to tap the top of the screen for it.

While syncing the pad, I saw that it was not charging, apparently a common occurrence when attached to a hub. The iPad requires more juice that will be delivered through the hub. Plugged directly into my Mac mini, it charges with no problem. According to Apple, charging through a hub can be done with turning the iPad off. I just use the wall plug, it's easier and quicker.

The dock has four Apps attached but more can be added, up to six, the process is the same as with the iPhone.

The iPad is a fingerprint magnet, be prepared to clean it a lot. But really, as with the iPhone, it cleans very easy.

With regular use, my out of the box battery charge lasted from 11 am Saturday morning to almost midnight Sunday, including a shut down of six hours, while I was at work.

iPhone Apps will work on the iPad, they can even be 'enlarged' via a ‘x2’ button in the lower right corner of the screen, but you won't want to use them. I removed most of mine as the enlarged Apps are pixelated, whereas the iPad specific Apps look amazing.

The new iBooks App is especially nice, as is the Kindle for iPad. Fair play to them. Books look great on the iPad and is a definite selling point for parents. A friend of mine is going to get an iPad for his kids after seeing how the iBooks app performs. He says it will be great for their summer traveling.

The Big Bad: WiFi is all but nerfed. Apple needs to fix it stat! I've had trouble connecting to WiFi spots. The iPad would not connect to an AT&T hotspot, when the iPhone would. The same spot! Me standing in the same space! It was very frustrating, and I was near to resolving to return it, and wait for the 3G version. I'm holding out hope that they can resolve this issue quickly; that it's the software and settings (fix posted here).

My druthers would be that AT&T allows tethering, let's you use your iPhone as a hotspot. We'll see how this shakes out, it's definitely a problem.

Next: Close up with the Apps, e-books and Twitter clients.

Also, check out iPad review round-up from other reviewers.

iPad Review Series:

Review: First Three days with the iPad

Review: First Three days with the iPad

review: the Apple iPhone 4.0 announcement and WiFi

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