iPad reviews – top 5

The first iPad reviews are in and they seem to suggest that the hype is true – the iPad really is very good.

iPad Reviews – What are the biggest Pluses?

There are some big pluses -

  1. Very fast thanks to the custom Apple processor. 
  2. The IPS LCD screen is stunning. 
  3. Great for consuming content.
  4. Great for technophobes.
  5. It will run nearly all of the 150,000 iPhone Apps.
  6. Apps built specifically for the iPad look really good. They are however priced higher than iPhone versions.
  7. Battery life is solid – an hour or two longer than the claimed 10 hours.
  8. Tight, thoughtful integration of the Mail, Photos, and iWork apps.
  9. 3D games look fantastic.

The consensus is that Apple delivers and the iPad lives up to its promise and is excellent.

iPad reviews – Any downsides?

The iPad Reviews point out some negatives too -

  1. Not suitable for creating content – spreadsheets, long writing, etc. don’t work. For content creation and writing longer posts and emails you would prefer a laptop (or you could get the iPad keyboard dock attachment).
  2. Techies might not like all the restrictions and the lack of options.
  3. It comes in between laptops and phones and its unknown whether it’ll succeed in creating a new category. 
  4. Lack of multi-tasking. 
  5. It does not support Flash.
  6. The memory isn’t expandable and the battery isn’t replaceable.
  7. There is no USB port.
  8. No Camera. 
  9. Only 1,000 or so iPad specific apps at launch. Plus they’re priced higher though the free market is going to take care of that.
  10. The optional accessories are border-line necessary – especially the keyboard dock.

It’s worth pointing out that the negatives might not apply to you if you don’t care much about things like multi-tasking and USB ports. It’s also interesting that a lot of the reviewers hint at it not being a techie device – not sure if I’d agree with that.

Top 5 iPad Reviews

iPad Review by Edward C. Baig at USA Today

Here are the key quotes from Ed Baig’s iPad Review -

The first iPad is a winner. It stacks up as a formidable electronic reader rival for Amazon’s Kindle.

Apple is likely to be the first (to crack the tablet market).

The device resembles an iPhone on growth hormones.

Apple has pretty much nailed it with this first iPad …

He’s very positive on the iPad though he does think that there are a few downsides such as lack of multi-tasking, lack of a USB port, no camera, and lack of support for Flash.

In terms of reading he feels -

  1. iPad wins in terms of sizzle, color screen, quick page turns, being backlit (for night reading), and being easier to navigate. He thinks newspapers and magazines are vastly superior on the iPad. 
  2. Kindle wins in some important areas as it has 450,000 books (iPad has just 60,000 for now), books cost more on iPad (will change with Agency Model arriving tomorrow), Kindle is much cheaper ($259), has better battery life, and is lighter.

He, like many other journalists, feels that ‘it remains to be seen’ whether eInk is better than LCD for reading.

Walt Mossberg’s iPad review

Walt Mossberg reviews the iPad and thinks that it has the potential to ‘change portable computing profoundly’ and also to ‘challenge the laptop’.

Here are some key quotes – 

 … it’s far more than just a big iPhone …

It’s qualitatively different, a whole new type of computer … you have to feel it, to use it, to fully understand it and decide if it is for you …

I was impressed with the iPad’s battery life, which I found to be even longer than Apple’s ten-hour claim …

Apple’s custom processor makes it wicked fast.

In terms of downsides he lists the lack of tabs in the browser (it actually allows up to 9 tabs), lack of GPS on the WiFi version, and the lack of wide-screen dimensions when watching videos.

Mr. Mossberg actually thinks the iPad is better than the Kindle for reading -

The iPad is much more than an e-book or digital periodical reader, though it does those tasks brilliantly, better in my view than the Amazon Kindle.

He adds more details -

 I consider the larger color screen superior to the Kindle’s, and encountered no eye strain.

But the iPad is much heavier than the Kindle and most people will need two hands to use it.

The iBooks app also lacks any way to enter notes, and Apple’s catalog at launch will only be about 60,000 books versus more than 400,000 for Kindle.

After all his love for the iPad he ends on a strange note (especially given that he started by saying the iPad would challenge the primacy of the laptop) -

Only time will tell if it’s a real challenger to the laptop and netbook.

David Pogue reviews the iPad

David Pogue provides 2 iPad reviews – one for techies and one for non-techies. Not a bad idea and one worth stealing when reviewing eReaders – one for people who read a lot and one for people who read once in a while.

David Pogue’s iPad review for techies is rather critical and ends on a harsh note -

The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money — with a full keyboard, DVD drive, U.S.B. jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works.

Besides: If you’ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, who’s going to carry around a third machine?

The techie review is also pretty harsh on the iBooks app (to the point of being unfair) -

The selection is puny (60,000 titles for now). You can’t read well in direct sunlight.

At 1.5 pounds, the iPad gets heavy in your hand after a while (the Kindle is 10 ounces).

And you can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine — not even a Mac or iPhone.

His review for non-techies seemed much more balanced. The iPad benefits he talks up include -

  1. The big difference the larger screen makes.
  2. All the nice touches in the iBooks app like animated page turns, dictionary definitions, and brightness controls.
  3. The fact that you don’t need a contract with the 3G model.
  4. The promise of Killer Apps and how good the Scrabble App and the Marvel Comic Book app are.
  5. The fact that all iPhone Apps (nearly all) work on the iPad.
  6. It’s fast and light and the multi-touch is very responsive.

He paints a picture of the iPad as being great for technophobes -

Some have suggested that it might make a good goof-proof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they’re absolutely right.

… (the iPad when compared with laptops) it’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it (content) — books, music, video, photos, Web, e-mail and so on.

David Pogue definitely has the right idea – the 2 reviews model works perfectly because the iPad is a very different device depending on what your perspective is (techie or technophobe).

iPad Review from Andy Ihnatko

Andy Ihnatko reviews the iPad and starts off by saying that the iPad really does justify the level of excitement.

It’s a computer that many people have been wanting for years:

a slim, ten-hour computer that can hold every document, book, movie, CD, email, picture, or other scrap of data they’re ever likely to want to have at hand;

with a huge library of apps that will ultimately allow it to fulfill nearly any function;

That is actually a really good summary of what the iPad is – it’s a super-simple computer for people who don’t get computers.

There are also a rich selection of good quotes -

 When Apple looks at a fingertip, they see a warm, living thing that can feel. They don’t see a poor substitute for a mouse.

 It’s not a replacement for my notebook, mind you. It feels more as if the iPad is filling a gap that’s existed for quite some time.

Mr. Ihnatko goes as far as to say that the iPad confirms his decision to choose staying in tech over becoming a movie reporter. I guess he’s definitely going to buy an iPad.

PC Mag’s iPad Review

Tim Gideon writes perhaps the best and most comprehensive iPad review. It is however a tech focused review so skip it if you’re not tech savvy – the above 4 reviews are probably enough.

He has a lot of good things to say -

Content from the iTunes Store looks predictably awesome on the iPad’s big, bright display.

The Photos app is brilliantly organized.

He does mention the lack of HD support, the necessity of having a case or a dock so you can prop up the iPad, lack of headphones, and also touches on the usual suspects – lack of camera, multi-tasking, and Flash.

The section on iBooks is particularly interesting -

Kindle: I like you, but I am nervous about your future.

The iBooks pluses and minuses Mr. Gideon lists are -

  1. iPad is much flashier, you can bookmark individual words, search is excellent, and there’s a brightness setting/indicator. 
  2. Like every other journalist he’s not sure how the iPad will do for long periods of reading. Why not just compare the iPad and the Kindle by reading a couple of books on each? 

It’s amazing that when contrasting Kindle and iPad hardly any reviewer covers obvious things like reading in sunlight, making notes, reading at night, ebook range, and ebook prices. Everyone is obsessed with the iPad being flashy and page turns being animated.

Mr. Gideon does end with this ringing endorsement -

I’m curious to see who actually buys the iPad, apart from Apple enthusiasts.

But I can tell you that when my laptop eventually dies, I’ll be getting one.

Closing Thought – 5 out of 5 is pretty darn good

All 5 iPad Reviews are very positive. The overwhelming sentiment seems to be -

iPad lives up to the hype. Try it out and see if it’s right for you.

It creates a new niche – between phones and laptops – and fills it beautifully.

It’s more for non-techies and it’s great for them.

It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how the iPad sells. Look for more on the iPad and on Kindle vs iPad once I get an iPad myself.

9 Responses

  1. […] Kindle Review – Kindle 3 Review, iPad Review (iPad reviews – top 5) […]

  2. I found the early review of the iPad by The Washington Post gave a very thoughtful and insightful impression of the device, far more objective than the five reviews that you have chosen to reference in your post.

    • thanks for mentioning that – I haven’t run across the Washington Post article. Mossberg and Pogue get all the press and links. Will check out the WPost article.

  3. […] Posted on April 1, 2010 by switch11 There are lots of Kindle vs iPad comparisons in the first set of iPad reviews – Unfortunately, their Kindle, iPad comparisons are half-baked. None of the reviewers read a […]

  4. I stopped by my local Apple store, and walked right in and up to an iPad. The story was busy, but there were still one or two units free to play with.

    I found the iPad odd to hold. It is not a half-inch thick slab like I expected. The back is thinner near the edges and thicker in the center. I couldn’t find an obvious way to grip the thing with one hand. A friend pointed out that over time, the correct grip will be learned. I agree – but I am still not sure that one-handed reading with a 24 ounce funny-shaped object while casually walking around the house and lying down on a couch or in a chair or in bed or sitting in the bathroom will ever really be effortless.

    For casual, short reading of purchased books, there is no question in my mind that the iPad iBooks application beats Kindle hands down (assuming the same inventory of available books which I think will likely happen over time). On the other hand, for longer reading of purchased books, for serious study, for comprehension, for user-supplied documents, and a variety of other cases, the Kindle or Kindle DX will probably beat out iBooks. The DX also does PDFs.

    This is iBooks first release. The software might be extended to catch up to Kindle over time. Then the difference would be the hardware and technology. The Kindle battery probably lasts 20 times what the iPad battery does. The Kindle e-Ink will not cause eyestrain like the iPad will for some. The Kindle is easier to carry and is much more comfortable to handle and read and is far more cuddly than the iPad. The Kindle is a dedicated reader, which will be a plus to many serious readers. The iPad has a LOT of wow factor, a color screen, and a touch screen, and a ton of Apple world-class engineering poured into it – and the difference is significant. The iPad is also a multi-purpose device, which is both a blessing and a curse. The iPad is a lot more expensive, and use of the iPad is liable to have a number of hidden costs around both accessories and book-reading that the iPad user will pay for time and time again, but likely never be able to add up (or control). This leaves a hodge-podge of personal preference and usage issues that don’t make a book-reading decision easy. But if you also want the additional uses of the iPad, only the iPad will ever win there. So do both if you can afford it. Or choose the one that best meets your personal requirements and budget.

    Over time, iBooks may add a bunch of features, or maybe someone will release an industrial strength ebook reader for iPad. But right now Kindle has features on the device itself (and NOT on the Kindle application for PC or iPhone or iPad or Mac) that make the Kindle superior if you use them. There are a bunch of these; I use underlining a lot, and I write notes several times per hour of reading, and I use user-supplied documents and public domain books a lot on my Kindle. And my Kindle DX handles a lot of my PDFs very well. I could not find even a hint of this type of capability using iBooks.

    iBooks has a great page turning speed, and makes the Kindle page turning seem like the stone age.

    Turning pages in iBooks is so simple – all you do is tap the left or right edge of the screen, or you can slide left or right. The Kindle has a dedicated button to turn pages. Kindle is fully functional; iBooks is cool. Both devices allow you to buffer multiple page turns, but the dramatic speed advantage on the iPad actually makes the feature useful.

    In the bottom header of iBooks, there is a statement of how many pages are left in the chapter. For me, this is an extremely desirable benefit over the Kindle which has no reasonable way to estimate how many more pages or how much more reading you have left to do before you put your book down at the end of the chapter.

    iBooks gives you a slider in the bottom header which makes it fast and easy to get to any chapter or page. Kindle doesn’t have any reasonable way to do this – and a great book reader clearly needs to do this.

    I love that iBooks can flip to the start of the next chapter or the previous chapter simply by swiping the screen right or left with two fingers. Kindle can’t touch it.

    Both devices have searches that work, but iBooks beats out Kindle in both speed and usability in searching.

    Both devices have dictionary lookup for any word on the screen. iBooks wins in both speed and usability, but I don’t know which dictionary has better content yet.

    iBooks has five fonts to choose from; Kindle doesn’t allow the user to change fonts. iBooks let you select 10 font sizes on the fly. Kindle has less, but it still covers the range pretty well. Kindle gets to your preferred font size more predictably.

    By using the iPad’s accessibility (ADA for handicapped people) feature, you can certainly have it read a page of the book, with a better voice an pronunciation than Kindle’s similar feature. The iPad and iBooks turning audio on and off far more clumsy than Kindle does. And there does not appear to be any way for iBooks to keep on reading page after page after page like you can do on Kindle.

    iBooks has either the author or the chapter name in the top header – I can’t remember which. I do remember that I was wowed by that availability. I want the chapter name in the header (unless there are no names, then I want the number). Kindle doesn’t do this.

    The iBooks screen is much more cluttered and distracting than the Kindle. First of all, the iPad generates light and there is color and distracting lit lines around the edges of the pages. But there is also more iPad headers than Kindle and more iBooks headers and options visible than with the Kindle. Do you really want to signal strength and the time of day beaming out at you top left and top center? Clearly the Kindle is better at letting you read your book from cover to cover with far fewer distractions – you can get lost in your book far easier with Kindle. And email and great internet access is a strong selling point for the iPad, but it can easily distract someone who wants or needs to read, but is easily tempted by other activities.

    Almost nobody is going to have eyestrain issues with Kindle, due to the nature of e-ink’s reflective technology compared to iPad’s light generation. iPad technology is better technology than many other screen approaches, but some significant set of people reading are likely to be affected by eyestrain on the iPad either now or over time. Kindle is a winner here, but pays the price by in page turning time and requiring a separate light for reading in the dark in bed or on a plane. If you are going to log a lot of hours of reading, you have to weigh that the Kindle will be much safer on your eyes both now and long-term; how bad and how much damage the iPad might do to you is pretty unpredictable today.

    Apple doesn’t seem to have worked thru the issues of parental control on the iPad at all. Do you really want to put full-color internet pornography at the fingertips of your 12 year old? Even the Kindle has risks here, but with many kids, I would hand a Kindle to them. I certainly would not hand most kids full internet access with no discernable way to either monitor or control their web access in any way. And do you really want unmanageable screen time with your kids? And would you guess that your kids would spend more time playing great games? or reading great books when all the choices are left up to them 24/7. iPad loses big time here.

    If you can spend $500-$1000+ for a great multi-function device with an attractive book-reader for casual and short reading, get an iPad. If your kids are going to be regular readers, or if you are a heavy-duty reader, or want any of the unique to Kindle features, I can make a bunch of pretty good arguments for choosing Kindle. And I hope Amazon can respond to some of Apple wow factor in their next iteration of Kindle’s software and hardware.

  5. Things I will always chafe under with the iPad (even though they are likely NOT deal-breakers for me):

    -iTunes blocking me from managing my audio, video, and book libraries by adding or deleting files at will

    -The lack of Flash support

    -The lack of multi-tasking

    -The lack of native 16:9 resolution

    -The “limited” 10 hour battery life for simple book reading – I am often in transit for 24-28 hours

    -A 24 ounce iPad compared to a 10 ounce Kindle

    -The difficulty of one-handed reading, particularly for long reading sessions

    -DRM on video and most books

    -The lack of a slide-out or fold down tactile 88%-100% standard “touch typing” keyboard

    -The ever changing layout of soft keyboards throughout the iPad applications

    -The lack of numerals and standard symbols without shifting on the standard soft keyboards (especially where real estate isn’t an issue)

    -No “touch typing” ability or mentality

    -No “simple, easy” way to get a document printed from off my iPad – I need multiple times each day

    -There isn’t any easy way to carry it around with me all day, or put it in my pocket

    -Lack of decent annotation and note-taking within iBooks, tied to a particular book

    -Needs integrated ways to read user-supplied ePub, PDF, DOC, and HTML in iBooks (or similar quality app), with full dictionary, annotation and note-taking

    -The lack of a page number to share with a friend or classroom or when writing a paper. Kindle has a dorky page number, but it works. Apple has a great page number, but it doesn’t. iBooks has five fonts and ten font sizes. The resultant 50 combinations means that a given piece of text could be on 50 different page numbers depending on your personalized settings, so you can’t point anyone definitively to the page you are reading from. The closest you can get to is a chapter.

    -Apple’s$99/yr charge for an @me.com address to get good push-email (ignoring Gmail, which I have a privacy problem with)

    -Lack of front and back-facing camera for video and stills (and yes, I know it is a terrible form factor for picture taking)

    -Apple’s “our way or the highway” attitude will always miff me

    -My wife really wants a dedicated “Back” button. I think it would be good too.

    -When you come back to an application left in the middle of something, there isn’t a standard way to get back to the beginning of the application if you don’t want to resume where you left off.

    Please note that many of my miffs are about Apple attitude towards me that they could easily fix if they wanted to – which is probably why it miffs me so badly! – and why I take it so personally! It makes me feel like Apple is just spitting in my face.

    What other company acts this way? Amazon sure doesn’t!

  6. Things I will always chafe under with the iPad (even though NONE OF THESE are likely deal-breakers):

    -iTunes blocking me from managing my audio, video, and book libraries by adding or deleting files at will

    -The lack of Flash support

    -The lack of multi-tasking

    -The lack of native 16:9 resolution

    -The “limited” 10 hour battery life for simple book reading – I am often in transit for 24-28 hours, and I don’t want to charge yet another device every night or every other night. And I certainly don’t want to run out of juice while I am reading (or worse – when I am writing).

    -A 24 ounce iPad compared to a 10 ounce Kindle

    -The difficulty of one-handed reading, particularly for long reading sessions

    -DRM on video and most books

    -The lack of a slide-out or fold down tactile 88%-100% standard “touch typing” keyboard

    -The ever changing layout of soft keyboards throughout the iPad applications

    -The lack of numerals and standard symbols without shifting on the standard soft keyboards (especially where real estate isn’t an issue)

    -No “touch typing” ability or mentality

    -No “simple, easy” way to get a document printed from off my iPad – I need multiple times each day

    -There isn’t any easy way to carry it around with me all day, or put it in my pocket.

    -A definitive way to keep the iPad from being slid around and casually dropped. Adding a little few grips on the back and maybe even a ring hole on the corner(s) might go a long way. The “condom” I put over my Kindle completely cures this problem for my Kindle DX, as the back is then anti-slide, and easily lets me grip it securely between two fingers almost anywhere.

    -Lack of decent annotation and note-taking within iBooks, tied to a particular book

    -Needs integrated ways to read user-supplied ePub, PDF, DOC, and HTML in iBooks (or similar quality app), with full dictionary, annotation and note-taking

    -The lack of a page number to share with a friend or classroom or when writing a paper. Kindle has a dorky page number, but it works. Apple has a great page number, but it doesn’t. iBooks has five fonts and ten font sizes. The resultant 50 combinations means that a given piece of text could be on 50 different page numbers depending on your personalized settings, so you can’t point anyone definitively to the page you are reading from. The closest you can get to is a chapter.

    -Apple’s $99/yr charge for an @me.com address to get good push-email (ignoring Gmail, which I have a privacy problem with)

    -Lack of front and back-facing camera for video and stills (and yes, I know it is a terrible form factor for picture taking)

    -Apple’s “our way or the highway” attitude will always miff me

    -My wife really wants a dedicated “Back” button. I think it would be good too.

    -When you come back to an application left in the middle of something, there isn’t a standard way to get back to the beginning of the application if you don’t want to resume where you left off.

    Please note that many of my miffs are about Apple attitude towards me that they could easily fix if they wanted to – which is probably why it miffs me so badly! – and why I take it so personally! It makes me feel like Apple is repeatedly and always spitting in my face.

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