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Review : Apple iPad 64GB 3G

The iPad, while a new and shiny isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Tablets have been out for years, and obviously so has the iPhone with its multi-touch display. The real need of the iPad isn’t very apparent, however, after spending a good few solid days with it, the iPad certainly does have its faults, but it is starting to become clear why Apple released this.

Without a doubt the iPad is bloody fantastic in terms of design. It features a solid aluminum back and a great LED backlit multi-touch display - which if I must say, truly does bring your media to life. Viewing angles are impressive thanks to IPS technology, so you will be able to view the screen from practically any angle. However one main gripe about this is how prone the screen is to fingerprints and smudges. But for a touch screen device, we had it coming.

For those saying that it is just a big iPod touch I have to agree with you. However the screen size is what sets these two devices miles apart. Like the iPhone, it is limited to its screen size, meaning the interface is limited. This 9.7 inch display has given us a more intuitive user interface, multiple active areas. In simple terms, using it’s much simpler.

Through using a larger display, the iPad is more capable at entering large amounts of text. This is helped by the larger on screen keyboards (portrait and landscape). As expected, typing is a breeze once you get used to typing without any tactile feedback. It’s only taken a few hours for me to feel comfortable to type without looking at the keyboard. So in the long run, typing up e-mails and browsing the web gives a real computer-based experience.

The thought of storing thousands of books on your iPad is a great idea, as well as being able to download a whole book in a matter of seconds and with all the cool gestures (although a gimmick) the end experience is pleasurable. Nevertheless, if you are really keen about reading electronic books I wouldn’t recommend using the iPad for extended periods of time - I experienced eyestrain after a few hours. Even though text size and screen brightness is adjustable, it just not as good as using an e-Ink display or a real book for that matter.

The most talked about issue about the iPad is the lack of flash support. Although in my experience I have only experience minor setbacks, individual experiences will obviously vary depending on your browsing needs. On the other hand, I did realize that many websites that originally used flash have converted a lot of their content to html 5 that allows for in web page video viewing, such as YouTube and Vimeo. As Apple says “ its like holding the web in your hands”, I concur. The viewing experience I got from using the iPad is superb. Even in terms of interacting with the web, scrolling, zooming a reading happens in an instant.

Its quite staggering to believe that when using the iPad pretty heavily, playing music, downloading apps, video and push enabled, I actually got just over what Apple claims.

I got under 11 hours out of it before it completely ran out of juice. Now you can truly get a full days work out of it. Now I must admit I wasn’t playing video on it the whole time and I was playing music through the headphones. Nonetheless 10+ hours of battery is still very admirable.

The iPad’s inability to run multiple applications at the same time is a real let down. Considering that this will primarily be used for multiple reasons. Lets put this into perspective; you’re not going to be able to listen to Spotify while chatting to your friends. Exiting and loading the application again is going to become very cumbersome. Apple will be addressing this issue with its latest firmware coming out late this summer. We are not aware of how many applications can run at the same time, or if there would be any typical apple limitations.

Traditionally Apple has left out the most basic features like a built in camera, which seems like a necessity if you’re trying to blur the line between Smartphone’s and laptops. Just like previous releases of the iPhone, this is down to driving sales for a later released iPad. When you sum everything up the biggest drawback of the iPad is its price. The 16GB Wifi model coming at you for a staggering £429, and the scale tops off at £699 for the 64GB with 3G. Let alone the running costs and purchasing the apps. This sure is quite an investment.

The iPad has been a revolution whether you like it or not. Can it be used as a personal computer? I’m pretty sure it can for some light users. The iPad is gracious, powerful and I doubt you have come across anything like this before. Now you can see that this has some flaws, but just imagine that this would be like in a couple of years. You can browse (and buy) the whole set of Apple iPad devices here (opens in new tab).