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I have had the Apple iPad Wi-Fi 16GB since it was released in the UK on May 29th 2010. I remember the date exactly because it was my birthday and it was bought for me as a birthday present. I wanted one because I had bought into all the hype....it was a gadget that I probably didn't "need", but one which I really really wanted! And yes, I am spoilt and so what I wanted.....I got!
What Is It?
In case you haven't been on the planet for the last year I'll just briefly describe what an iPad is. An IPad is basically a handheld mobile computer device which is really a cross between an iPhone 4 and an Apple Mac. It has a number of uses, which I endeavor to discuss in detail, but largely my rationale for buying the iPad was to have mobile internet access, to have access to apps, and also for its multi-media potential. Essentially it is a gadget - but it has the potential to be a very convenient and handy gadget!
The iPad was bought directly from the Apple Shop in Bristol and cost £489 at the time. Having looked on Amazon recently, despite the iPad2 now out, it still costs in the region of £460. I do think this is fairly expensive but it was a revolutionary device and I guess all of that technology costs!
Appearance and Dimensions
From the front, the iPad looks not dissimilar to an iPhone - but significantly larger. The front is essentially a very shiny and glossy high-resolution flat screen which can be viewed both in the portrait and landscape dimensions. The screen will automatically change orientation depending on which orientation you are holding the iPad in, but thankfully(!) you can stop it from flipping orientations by stitching on the "lock" button which is on the side of the screen. Around the screen there is a shiny black border what is about 2cm thick and at the bottom there is a flat "Home" button.
The back of the iPad is silver and has the traditional Apple icon in it's centre which lights up when the iPad is in use. On it's side there are a number of small switches and ports, the function of which I will discuss later. These switches / ports are very discrete and so they don't get in the way when I'm holding it.
The iPad is 24.1cm x 18.5cm x 0.9cm in size and weighs just 600g . Having used the tablet over the past year, I have discovered that it's size really is one of it's main bonuses as just slips into my bag and it really isn't a hassle to carry around (like a laptop can be at times). It's a nice size to hold, being a similar size (although heavier!) than holding a sheet of A4 paper.
The iPad looks very stylish and I think that this is one of the reasons that it has been so popular. It was indeed a big draw for me as I liked the idea of "posing" with my iPad and looking tech-savvy and modern. I don't know if I achieved that image, but I gave it my best shot!
The screen is 24.6cm diagonally from corner to corner and has a high resolution at 1024 x 768 pixel resolution at 132 ppi. The screen looks very shiny and glossy and this jumps out at me every time I look at it.The screen is LED backlit and the brightness of the LED display can be altered depending on your personal preference and the conditions in which you are using it. The
Pictures of Apple iPad Wi-Fi 16GB
Apple iPad Wi-Fi 16GB
details are sharp and the colours are rich and vibrant and far superior to anything I have ever seen on a laptop or any other tablet. I have used the iPad in a whole range of different lighting conditions and, as I said earlier, I am able to manually adjust the brightness of the LED backlighting. it also has a automatic function where the LED backlighting is supposed to adjust depending on the external lighting conditions - but unfortunately have to say that I have never particularly noticed that this feature kicks in appropriately and so I always end up doing it manually.
With adjustment, the screen is clearly visible in most lighting conditions. I actually think the screen looks best and most striking in low lighting conditions - and it's perfect when I want to use it in bed at night at my partner wants to sleep! Although the screen brightness can be adjusted manually, There is one lighting condition where the iPad is rendered practically useless and that is when it is in bright sunlight. Unfortunately, the glare off of the screen is so pronounced in sunlight that it is incredibly difficult to see anything on the screen at all - and it is one of the big negatives of this device.
The screen is multi touch-screen and I have found it to be very responsive as long as my hands are clean and dry. If my hands are slightly damp the the response is a little sluggish - but the answer to this is to use it with dry hands! Because I am deliberately putting my fingers all over it, I do find that my fingerprints are left on the screen (despite a fingerprint-resistant coating), but I use a damp duster to clean the screen every few days and it comes up good as new. When I first bought it, I used a screen protector, but this really does impair the touch-screen sensitivity and so I would seriously not recommend this.
All iPads have built in Wi-Fi which I have found to be incredibly reliable and fast. It is great at locating all of the available Wi-Fi networks and gives you the option of automatically connecting to that network. I would actually estimate that using the internet is actually quicker on my iPad compared to my laptop. Unfortunately, this version does not have 3G which, in hindsight, I wish I had opted for - but alas, hindsight is a wonderful thing!! The iPad uses Safari - which I was used to from using a Mac and which is my browser of choice.
It also have Bluetooth capability and so I'm able to sync my iPad with my computer and with my phone. I tend to do this every few days and I've never had a problem using it.
As the iPad looks so similar to an iPhone, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the iPad comes with an inbuilt phone. Unfortunately, it doesn't......but I really can't understand why it doesn't! I don't think it would have taken Apple much more to include a phone feature within the iPad what you could use on speakerphone.
The Mail app can be sync'd with the email address of your choice and then if you get any new emails then you will be notified on the screen. You can read, reply, arrange, store all of your emails - and it will sync this with your iPhone and Mac also.
There is a in-built touchscreen QWERTY keyboard which works really well - whether it's for writing emails or notes. There is an option of a plug-in keyboard, but I really haven't felt the need to purchase this.
As an E-Reader
One of the main reasons that I wanted this was to be able to use it as an E-Reader. I travel a lot and I liked the idea of being able to download books onto the iPad so that when I travel I could take this instead of loads of paperbacks. However, having used it as an E-Reader for about three months, I have to say that I was actually really disappointed with using it for this purpose. I have since bought a Kindle and this device is far superior for e-reading.
iBooks is the online bookstore which is especially designed for Apple users. It can be downloaded for free as an App onto the iPad and it looks very organised and aesthetically pleasing. Books could be downloaded directly onto the iPad via the Wi-Fi function and this is done quickly and efficiently. However, the selection of books is no where near as comprehensive as Amazon and so there were a lot of titles that I searched for that weren't available. In addition to this, the books are a lot more expensive compared to that on Amazon for the Kindle. Having said all of that, because of the e-reader software that the iPad uses, it is possible to use third party e-book apps.
Reading books on the iPad is okay - but I do find the screen brightness can get uncomfortable after a while and as the Kindle is much kinder on my eyes, I can read on it for longer. In addition to this, as I like reading mostly when I travel, it is a big inconvenience that the screen glare is so marked in bright sunlight.
The one area where I would say this was really good as a e-reader is for kids because the pictures are bright and colourful. In addition, this is really great if you want to read e-newspapers or e-magazines, again because the ability to have the images in the periodicals that are so clear is a bonus.
Overall, if you are planning on reading novels, I would suggest using a purpose built e-reader instead of a iPad.
Apple Apps are, in my opinion, second to none - and the massive store of very reasonably priced apps are available to me when using my iPad. There is an App icon on the screen that you literally have to touch to be taken to all of the apps that Apple has to offer.
Initially, when the iPad first came out, I found that there weren't that many apps that were specially designed for the iPad as most of them were for the iPhone. You could download the iPhone apps onto the iPad, but the image size would be that of the iPhone screen - and if you x2 it then the resolution is awful. However, over the past six months or so, there has been an explosion of apps that are made for the iPad. My personal favourites are Scrabble, Netflix, Tweetdeck and Labyrinth Lite (which is highly addictive). There is a lot of rubbish in the App store - but there are some gems also.
Some Apps were already set up on the iPad when I got it - including Photos, Google Maps, Notes, You Tube, Calender, and YouTube.
Using For Media
The iPad has a great resolution and is HD-ready and so and images are very clear and sharp - and I have to say that it really has been a pleasure to watch films on it via Netflix, iTunes or YouTube. I particularly like the option of being able to watch movies when travelling and have watched many a good movie on a plane or on a train. I do take it with me whenever I'm going somewhere with my kids because its very easy to hand it over to them and it keeps them occupied for hours sometimes.
However, having said that, I don't think this device is perfect for movie watching. The actual screen size in which the movie is shown can actually be quite small as it usually doesn't take up the whole iPad screen. Like in the days before widescreen TV's when you were watching a widescreen film, there is a black bar across the bottom and top of the screen - diminishing the overall screen size considerably.
In addition to this, unfortunately there is not a DVD slot and so all films must be downloaded / streamed from the internet.
As with other Apple products, you can use iTunes to download music - and again, this is done quickly and efficiently.
The sound quality on the iPad is okay, but it's not fantastic. It's fine if you're in a quiet room and you just want to watch a film or chill out and listen to some music, but the sound really isn't loud enough to cope with louder environments. If you want to listen to some pumping music - or want to watch something and chat with friends at the same time - then you really do need a secondary speaker device (which I don't have a present). You can plug in headphones to the in-built headphone jack.
I am a photographer and I typically use an Epson p-7000 to store my photos when I am mobile. I was hoping that I would be able to use the iPad for photo storage and basic editing when I was travelling, but, although convenient, I would say that this has not been without its problems.
Firstly, in order to upload photos to the iPad, you have to buy a Photo Connection Kit - which now costs around £15 (although was more when I bought it). Because there is no USB port on the iPad you cannot connect your camera directly to the iPad without the Photo Connection Kit - which I think it pretty poor on Apple's part. As long as the iPad doesn't have a USB port, I do think that the Photo Connection Kit should come as standard. Having said that, once you have the connection port, it is easy and quick to import the photos.
The photos are stored in iPhoto in which you are able to arrange the photos and stack them according to how I would like them to be stored. The editing features on iPhoto are relatively basic and I tend not to use these editing functions as I have Photoshop on my Mac. Therefore, I use to mainly store photos before I can transfer to my Mac at a later date.
On a positive note, viewing photos on the iPad is fantastic because the colours, contrast and definition are just spot on. I have taken photos professionally in the past and I would love to have had this device then to show the photos to clients.
When fully charged, the battery life on an iPad which is in constant use is about ten hours - which is pretty impressive. Over the past year, I haven't found that the battery life has diminished at all, unlike on my Mac! To fully charge it from flat it takes about 2 hours, and if it's in stand-by mode, the iPad will stay charged for about six weeks. The battery life is actually very impressive and is certainly an improvement on the battery in my iPhone and Mac.
The iPad has fantastic portability as it is so compact and light and has Wi-Fi inbuilt in it. It has 16 GB of memory, which is perfectly adequate for a portable device used to view / store photos and videos and to make notes. It is a really great device in order to stay connected via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - but I would like 3G as well.
Ultimately, this is a useful and fun gadget that I could live without - but I don't really want to!