Style & Handling Summary for Apple iPad
As you would expect, the iPad is a sexy, desirable and sleek device – although it’s heavier than we thought it would be.
User Friendliness Summary for Apple iPad
The beauty of Apples i-devices lie in their simplicity – your Nan could pick it up and use it without instruction. IPhone and iPod users will feel right at home, while newbies will find it straightforward and intuitive.
Feature Set Summary for Apple iPad
There’s a lot missing from the iPad – a camera, a phone, USB ports, memory card reader... but the features it does have make the iPad a slick and useable tablet with great capabilities and the extra wow factor.
Performance Summary for Apple iPad
The super-quick processor makes the current lack of ability to multitask almost okay, and Wi-Fi and 3G are snappy even when you jailbreak the device.
Battery Power Summary for Apple iPad
Over ten hours of full-on use is impressive for a device with so much going on.>
Apple iPad Review Scoring Summary
|Style & Handling|
Pros For Apple iPad
Email and web were made for the iPad, games look great and play smoothly, the operating system is solid, speedy and oh-so-easy to use.
Cons for Apple iPad
Flash player for webpage videos, no camera or webcam, costs a small fortune.
Verdict for Apple iPad
It has its limitations but as long as you know this before you buy, the iPad is sexy, slick, fast and a real object of desire.
Full Review and Specification for the Apple iPad
Part of Apple’s success is its ability to make products that you just want to pick up and play with, even if you’re not sure why. The tactile devices and slick navigation just cry out for a go, and the iPad has that appeal in spades.
Like the iPhone, it’s an internet natural, but the iPad is so much more than just a brilliant web-browsing device with a big screen. For a start, it’s a great ebook reader, and the size of the screen lends itself perfectly to full-page viewing.
Touch-screen computing looks to be the next big thing, despite some critical voices suggesting that the move is unnecessary. Unnecessary or not, though, Apple is once again on top of the heap, with other manufacturers trying to keep up as new touch-screen tablets start to appear from all sides.
The intuitive handling we’ve come to expect after the iPhone is very much here, although the iPad does fall down a little on features, which will leave many users looking forward to the second generation to be released.
Style and handling on the Apple iPad
In case you’ve been hiding under a non-internet-enabled rock and haven’t caught a glimpse of the iPad yet, it resembles a massive iPhone screen with the metallic finish of the Macbook Pro. It’s slim but deceptively heavy, weighing in at 0.68kg – about the same as a large hardback book.
The screen is a giant 9.7 inches, with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels – the same as the screen on the smaller iPhone 4. Of course it has the multi-touch technology so beloved on the iPhone – at first it feels a little odd on this larger scale, but you soon get used to it, finding a comfortable way to use it (we propped it up on our knees, which did the trick nicely). There’s a good view from all angles thanks to the IPS (Internal Plane Switching) TFT screen, although it is prone to screen glare in direct light – you may want to invest in a screen-guard to overcome this problem.
The volume rocker is to the right of the screen; above that sits a screen rotation lock toggle – at last! In the top right-hand corners sits the power button and the home button is at the centre of the bottom of the screen.
In common with the iPhone there are no USB, memory card or video out slots, so no option to beef up your storage space. The iPad comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, and even with the 64GB model, seriously media-hungry users will want more space. You do get a 3.5mm audio jack, a microphone port and the charging port – the same as the iPhone’s – as well as built-in speakers. Other than that, it’s all clean lines and minimalist smoothness.
Internet and apps on the Apple iPad
Web browsing is what the iPad does best. Navigating the worldwide web without the standard mouse-and-keyboard set-up makes perfect sense and feels intuitive and natural. The size of the device makes the multi-touch action smooth and slick as you tap, swipe, pinch and scroll over the screen with your fingers. Zooming into text or images is fluid and smooth, and feels entirely right.
The beautifully responsive touch-screen is matched with the intuitive user interface we saw on the iPhone so navigation is effortless and instinctual. There are already iPad-specific apps available – and we expect to see a flood of them in the future – and you can upgrade iPhone apps too, although these do end up being slightly pixelated.
But there is a catch, and quite a major one too: the mobile version of Apple’s Safari browser doesn’t support Adobe Flash video content, as used by websites including BBC News and the Guardian for video clips. And you’re not safe with video streaming either: YouTube has released and official app and the BBC has launched an iPad-compatible iPlayer site, but whether or not others follow remains to be seen.
Email on the Apple iPad
Email works nicely, as expected, and Gmail is particularly noteworthy thanks to Google’s new tablet-specific interface. In appearance it resembles Microsoft Outlook, with two winows side by side. On the left is a list of all your email accounts – simply touch an account’s icon to reveal the inbox. The right-hand window displays your selected message. It works well and is very easy to use.
We were a little disappointed by the iPad’s virtual keyboard considering how well the iPhone’s worked. Surprisingly, given the size of the screen, typing quickly in portrait mode proved complicated and difficult – we invented a whole new four-finger typing style to use it. Turn the phone to landscape mode, though, and it becomes a whole lot easier. The only punctuation marks on the default keyboard are full stop, comma, and question and exclamation marks. And if you want to type in numbers you have to enter a sub-menu, which slows things down – and a screen this size easily has the space for a number line.
eBooks on the Apple iPad
The iBooks Store has both free and paid-for books, categorised into fiction and literature, biographies and memoirs, religion and spirituality and so on. Select and install the title you want and it appears on a virtual wooden bookshelf in your library. Read a book in portrait mode and you get the full, enlarged page displayed on the screen; read it in landscape and to pages are shown side by side as if you were holding the book in your hand.
Either way, reading is a satisfying experience. Landscape reading makes the text larger and easier to read, but means twice as much page turning; we found that we preferred portrait mode. To turn the page, simply swipe the page to produce a page-turning visual effect.
The predicted seismic shift in the world of publishing that failed to happen with the Kindle may well be triggered by the iPad, if nothing else because of Apple’s huge popularity. Time will tell.
Photos on the Apple iPad
The Photos app on the iPad closely resembles iPhoto on OS X and works just as well. Navigating is just a matter of lightly swiping to where you want to be, and the well-implemented pinch-to-zoom function is as effective as ever.
But there’s no camera here, bizarrely, and that’s one of the biggest issues with the iPad. We’re sure Apple could have squeezed in a webcam; maybe it was trying to avoid hiking up the already high price, or perhaps it’s saving such goodies for future generations of the iPad. Whatever, it’s a glaring omission that does sully the device in our eyes.
Multitasking on the Apple iPad
We gave the iPad a thorough testing, and nearly every time it trumped its fellow Apple devices, including the iPhone 3GS and the iPod Touch 3G. The new Aplle A4 1Ghz CPU, custom designed for the iPad, is certainly fast. And while multitasking is still not a possibility – which has the potential of being a Very Bad Thing – iOS 4 will remedy that when it’s released on 24 June.
Even without this, everything works so quickly that even shutting down one program and reopening another feels like you’re just switching between them. Of course, it’s not the same, and iOS4 will be very welcome.
Your other option is the risky jailbreaking, or opening up iDevices to capabilities and apps that Apple doesn’t want you to have. We like: ProSwitcher, which enables fluid Palm Pre-style switching between programmes on the iPad and iPhone; Winterboard for themes; and MyWi, which allows you to create a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for your iPad. Of course, if you feel morally compromised by doing this then don’t, but why Apple won’t allow this sort of customisation is a mystery, and you’ll be amazed how much you can modify your device. It’s just a shame that it has to be illegal...
Apple estimates 10 hours’ of battery life from one charge, but we actually managed close to 11 – and that was with Wi-Fi constantly on, watching two feature-length films, web browsing, gaming and writing this review.
The verdict on the Apple iPad
It’s a bit of a paradox, the iPad. On the one hand, it’s neither a phone nor a camera; on the other, video and internet become massively enjoyable on that large screen.
It’s not a complete replacement for a notebook, but we reckon you can accomplish around 90% of your day-to-day tasks on the iPad – and it’s much more fun.But be aware that there’s no easy system for file or print management, limited hard drive space and no number line on the keyboard.
So it won’t replace your phone or your laptop, making it a luxury third device for a minimum of £500. It’s important you understand its limitations; once you do, you have a beautiful, desirable and competent device.
Apple iPad Specification
|Type of phone:N/A|
|Size:242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4 mm|
|Special Camera features:N/A|
|Music formats played:MP3, AAC, WAV|
|3.5mm jack port:Yes|
|Display description:LED with IPS technology|
|Announced date:January 2010|
|What's in the Box:iPad, USB cable, adapter, documentation|
|International launch date:May 2010|
|Battery life when playing multimedia:10 hours|
|FM Radio Description:none|
|Internal memory:16, 32 or 64GB|
|Memory Card Slot:N/A|
|Messaging:IM, N/A, Email|
|Internet Browser:HTML, Safari|
|E-mail client:Attachments, Push email, IMAP4, SMTP, POP3|
|Data speed:EDGE, GPRS, 3G, HSDPA|
|Display size:9.7 inches|
By Miles J Thomas on 14th June, 2010