Apple IPad 16GB Review

Posted: Apr 6 2010, 12:00am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 10 2010, 9:31am CDT


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The iPad I am reviewing today has 16GB of storage, WiFi, a 1GHz Apple A4 CPU, a 9.7-inch LED backlit screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768 and a 25wH battery that is rechargeable. The device also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a mic, and the 3G models have a micro-SIM card slot. The device measures 9.56" x 7.47" x 0.5" and weighs 1.5 pounds for the WiFi model.

In Use
The iPhone and the iPad are very similar in style and design. In fact, my 5-year-old daughter though it was a "giant iPhone" and insists on calling it that. The device has a big glossy screen that is coated in a fingerprint resistant coating that doesn’t work period. It only takes seconds of use before the iPad is covered with fingerprints.

Like the iPhone, the iPad has an accelerometer for controlling games and changing the orientation of the screen as well as an ambient light sensor for adjusting the screen brightness. Setting the iPad up requires you to extract it from its box and connect it to iTunes. I encountered an error the first time I tried to sync the iPad, but restarting iTunes and reconnecting the iPad fixed the issue.

Once the device was setup on iTunes and registered, I synced the iPad to get my apps from the iPhone onto the iPad. It’s cool that all the iPhone apps will work on the iPad. However, all of the apps that I use on my iPhone are not optimized for the larger iPad screen.

In default mode, iPad apps are rendered in their normal size as you would see them on the iPhone, which is no fun considering they are about 1/3 the size of the iPad screen. However, clicking the 2X button in the corner of your iPad simply blows the apps up and really degrades the graphics. You will want to get iPad specific "HD" versions of most of your apps to really enjoy the new screen size.

When I went to grab some apps made specifically for the iPad, I was not happy to see that most of the games are much more expensive than the iPhone games. I hardly see how developing for the iPad costs more than developing for the iPhone. In fact, developers have been advised to not use hard figures for screen size, but percentages. Presumably, that means one app will work on both devices and give you good graphics full screen on the iPad at no more cost.

I downloaded iBooks and grabbed up some eBooks to check out as well. The iPad works well as an eBook reader. The fonts aren’t as sharp as some of the e-ink displays I have used in the past, but the iPad makes a great eBook reader. I suspect we will see the Kindle and other eReaders fade significantly in popularity or get price cuts quickly.

Setting up the WiFi network for the iPad was just like setting it up for the iPhone. You only need to activate WiFi, tell the iPad to search for networks, and then enter your network password if you use one. The network will be set up automatically. The entire process takes only a few minutes. I did notice several times that my WiFi connection would drop and have to repeatedly reconnect while using the iPad. Strangely, the iPhone sitting beside me never lost WiFi at the same time. It appears that there is some issue with the WiFi on the iPad. Thankfully, the connection doesn’t drop that often.

The bright screen on the iPad is great for watching streaming movies form Netflix or YouTube. The colors are great and contrast is very good. The best thing about the screen on the iPad is that it has enough resolution that you won’t have to scroll on 99% of the websites you visit and the fonts are perfectly readable. This makes surfing the net on the iPad a breeze.

I adore the onscreen keyboard of the iPad. It has big keys when in landscape mode that are well spaced and I can type as fast on it as I can with my regular desktop keyboard. The only thing that slows me down is that the auto correction feature tends to change any technical terms that I type. The more I use the iPad, the more I don’t think I will need the fancy keyboard dock I ordered. The on-screen keyboard is fantastic.

I also found that the accelerometer on the iPad is much more sensitive and quicker than my iPhone. My iPhone routinely drives me crazy by not switching the orientation of the screen when I move the device. I often end up having to type text messages in portrait rather than landscape mode on the iPhone simply because the screen will not rotate. The iPad on the other hand changes orientations quickly and accurately.

The iPad also has a fantastic battery. I often lament that when I use my iPhone for playing games or surfing the net, the battery can be nearly dead in only an hour of use. The iPad ran all day with various people using it for games, web surfing, and at the end of the day, it still had more than half its battery life.