Oh snap, an iPad review. Shocker.

Yeah, I’m one of those guys… I had an iPad delivered to my door on day one. In my defense though, it was free, and it was for software development. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

After a little over a week with the iPad, here are my thoughts on it.

[ The Good ]
Nice and solid construction. Heavier than expected, but still light enough to comfortably hold with one hand.

Great battery life. Easily getting 10-11hrs on average, and that’s with a lot of NetFlix streaming. Though if you crank the brightness to max you will sacrifice an hour or two of battery life.

Fantastic screen quality. Native apps look amazing on this screen, websites look better, movies look crisper. And with the added screen real estate (not to mention added processing power) app developers really have an opportunity to bridge the gap between mobile and desktop applications.

Speaking of native apps, Mail is finally useful and once 4.0 hits this fall it’ll be even more so. Calendar is a major upgrade, and in my opinion outshines its desktop counterpart iCal.

NetFlix streaming is awesome. The navigation could use some improving, but the video playback is solid. Even playback over 3G was tolerable (using my iPhone as a 3G hotspot, I did not get early access to a 3G iPad). Now all we need is for NetFlix to expand their instant streaming selection.

[ The Bad ]
Up-scaled iPhone apps. They just don’t cut it, some apps are usable, but most look darn right ugly. Not to mention that an apps control interface might work on the iPhone, but doesn’t fair so well up-scaled to the iPad. Then there’s the higher price point for iPad specific apps, which is a little annoying considering you just spent a minimum of $499 on the hardware.

Remember that fantastic looking screen? Yeah… That’s only if you’re in doors. Sunlight is the death of this screen, fingerprints suddenly obscure ever inch of the screen, the glare is almost enough to blind you. Even using it in the car is risky, you constantly need to reposition the iPad to compensate for glare.

Application availability. Yes, compared to other contenders, the iPad launched with a handsome 1,500 apps, but most developers didn’t have early access to an iPad for actual testing so some of the software was a little rough around the edges. Over the next few months this should be easily remedied.

Did I mention app pricing? I have no real problem paying $15 for a quality app, but it would be nice if that at least included cross compatibility for both the iPhone and iPad. And this kind of pricing might be a deterrent to casual gamers.

Wasted space on the lock screen. Seriously Apple, why can’t we rock some widgets on the lock screen at least? I was hoping to see this resolved with iPhone OS 4.0, but sadly no.

[ The “Say-what?” ]
People always find something to complain about, and it may or may not be relevant.

No Flash. Who cares?! I don’t love Flash, I don’t hate it. But truth be told, in a mobile device I don’t miss it. Now if hell did freeze over and Apple allowed Adobe to bring Flash to the iPhone/iPad I wouldn’t mind, but I can easily live without it.

No camera. Again, not really an issue. Unless you really want to rock the Chatroulette scene with your iPad. Besides, we all know Apple will include a camera in the second gen iPad.

No multitasking. I do see this as a significant shortcoming. But come this fall it will be taken care of with the iPhone OS 4.0 release.

[ The Bottom Line ]

Good first generation product. But it’s not for everyone. For myself personally, I’m actually able to use the iPad for work. But the average user will likely find it more useful for casual gaming and web browsing (nothing wrong with that).

I think for the iPad to gain more traction it needs to be priced a bit lower, that being said, I was very surprised that it was launched at $499, for an Apple product that really is a competitive price. And if you have $500 to burn, it could be well worth it.

At this point, developers are the ones who will really make this platform work. So holding out for a 2nd gen iPad is a pretty solid idea since it will give developers more time to get comfortable with the platform and release more awesome/useful software.

Published by

Aaron Nelsen

is the webmaster and senior technology editor. He's a career geek, coffee enthusiast, Apple fanboy, and accomplished barista pimp.

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