Sunday, May 9, 2010

Luke's iPad Review Plus Some Tips

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Well I've had my iPad for about a month and my predictions regarding what it was and how I'd use it were pretty accurate: as far as media consumption goes, the iPad is a ridiculously capable and beautiful toy. I say toy because I tend to use it for fun. If anyone out there is using it efficiently for work or non-fun things, more power to them.
iPad stand horizontal
Some of the notable pros
  • Being able to switch orientations at any time (especially when just browsing apps) is a feature that I now find myself longing for on the iPhone. Some sites have griped about how the vertical orientation has 4 apps per row while the horizontal has 5 apps per row which apparently completely befuddles people as to how/where to find their apps. Uh, here's a tip: if it's not on the row you're looking at, it's either one row up or one row down.
  • Orientation lock is also fantastic and something else that is hopefully coming soon to the iPhone.
  • The battery life is incredible. 10 hours of heavy usage is legit. I have push notifications turned on for just about everything, use the iPad as my primary iPod during work and still only have to charge once every 2 days usually.
  • The native apps are great - Mail, Contacts, YouTube and Calendar is probably my favorite. Since it has "List" view with the big screen, it might actually be the best iCal app that Apple has put out. List view on the iPhone is nice, but small. List view on iCal on the Mac doesn't exist.
Some of the notable cons
  • I haven't really figured out the keyboard yet. I took to the iPhone keyboard like a duck to water. The two-thumb "just type and trust that the iPhone will figure it out" technique works great for me. The two thumb technique isn't really an option on the iPad since the screen is so big. Trying to do a full qwerty set up with both hands ... I haven't found the groove.
  • You really do need something to set this thing on. Holding it with one hand while using it with the other for an extended period of time just isn't comfortable. I guess all this means is that this thing isn't quite yet the Star Trek communicator.
  • I haven't acclimated to the $10+ price point on certain apps yet. I guess the semi-standard $1 price tag on iPhone apps has me pulling a Scrooge here, but so far I haven't bought an app that cost more than $5.
In Summary
It's a gorgeous toy. As far as consuming email, websites, social media, video, audio, it's as good as it gets.
Content creation is not as outstanding, but obviously still doable. The keyboard is quite usable and a bluetooth connected keyboard clears up that issue. Still a laptop or desktop has it beat when it comes to composing big documents, spreadsheets, etc.
I didn't get the 3G because my primary usage will be at work, home, airports ... all of which have wifi these days. Plus the 3G is $30/month. And my iPhone already has 3G so i'll use my iPhone when I really need data and I'm not near a wireless.
In short, this is one of the best unnecessary toys I've ever purchased. When it comes to sitting on the couch and goofing around on the web, the iPad is the best "laptop" ever.
Notable Apps
iPad home screen 1
This is my home page.
  • Native apps of Calendar, Contacts, Photos, Maps, Videos, YouTube and the iTunes/App Stores are fantastic. The origami slide show is exceptionally pretty and fun to use. You can see it in the first couple seconds of this video.
  • Evernote is on all my devices - all my Macs, PCs and my iPhone (both work and home). I use it for taking notes, keeping extra copies of receipts and keeping To Do lists.
  • I use YouTube on the iPad more than I use it on my computer. The layout and flow is fantastic.
  • Yahoo Entertainment is now my go-to TV guide.
  • Netflix and ABC are great for watching stuff when you're on WiFi.
  • USA Today, Instapaper Pro (one of the afore-mentioned $5 apps I bought), NewsRack (another $5 gone) and Stumble Upon make for great reading material. Instapaper Pro allows me to save articles to read later when I'm not connected to WiFi. NewsRack is the best RSS reader I've found so far.
  • Twitterific is the free Twitter client I'm using until Tweetie comes out with something for the iPad.
  • And then my home screen games: Words HD, We Rule, Godfinger. All fun online games that you can check in on for 5 minutes or 60 minutes at a time.
  • My username is johnsonl33 pretty much across with board if you want to play Words with me or be my friend on We Rule or Godfinger.
  • One thing I'll see is that I think the iPod app actually has a ton of room for improvement (pending a future blog post or a call from Steve Jobs).
iPad home screen 2
And onto my 2nd page.
  • More fun reading apps: SkyGrid, Zinio Magazine Reader, New York Times Editors' Choice.
  • NBA Courtside is a great companion while watching NBA playoff games.
  • The Marvel app is so well done that I read my first comic in 15 years recently and plan to read more.
  • Plenty of reading options - iBooks and Kindle are pretty much the same - no crazy stand outs that I can see that one has over the other. Stanza is the carry over from the iPhone that has all the books I've downloaded from drinkmalk.com. I need to take the time to switch them over to iBooks for an iPad-optimized reading experience.
  • GoodReader is a great tool that allows for storing, organizing and viewing of files you receive via the web - PDFs, images, etc.
  • Some carry overs from the iPhone: WootWatch, Zenbe Lists for GTD, Bookworm, Streak For The Cash, ESPN Scorecenter, Remote and Drop7. All these apps proved good enough that I still use them even though they're not iPad optimized.
  • Again I can't say enough about Drop7 - possibly the best iPhone/iPad game I've come across yet.
  • And then we have some iPad optimized games: Pinball HD, SpaceStation, Sudoku and Implode! All pretty and very fun - Pinball being the real winner of the bunch. What a gorgeous and well executed game. I can understand why it's been in the App Store top 5 since its release.
Tips and Accessories
  • Accessories - As you can see in my pics at the top of the post, I picked up this little gem for my iPad stand - the Fellowes Study Stand. I actually picked up 2 since they're only $5 each - one for my desk, oen for the coffee table. No need for a $30 iPad dock. Just grab one of these. And they fold up so you can take one with you.
  • And I also found this little guy collecting dust in my company's supply closet - a slightly nicer option for a couple extra bucks. You can find them at Office Depot.
  • For travel, I had to bite the bullet and pick up a case. I got this one. It comes a portable/foldable stand that works great on trays on planes. Worth the $40 (I guess).
  • I use my static free cloth that came with my iMac to wipe down the screen every now and then. The screen does a good job of "shining through" the finger prints, but it's still nice to have something to wipe it down every so often.
In the words of Ferris Bueller, "if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

1 comment:

Gib said...

hmmm, what was I thinking when I turned down this BDay present?