Wednesday, February 2, 2011

iPad Review

I got my iPad for Christmas this year. I've tried to be patient with this blog posting, because I didn't want to post a review before I had enough time to truly experience the whole iPad phenomena. After over a month of use, I finally feel ready to post my review.

I got lucky, and found my iPad on kijiji for $650. It is the 32 gig, wifi and 3G version. This sells for about $880 (after tax) at most stores, so it was a hell of a deal.

Many people I've talked to about iPads voice the concern "it's so much money for something I'm afraid just wouldn't use much."
No problems on that front for me. You pretty much have to pry thing out of my hands just to get a peak at it. The list of things I find to do with it just seems to grow day by day. As a matter of fact, I'm writing this blog posting on my iPad right now.

So, rather than dwell on the obvious stuff that people (including myself) do with an iPad everyday, like surfing the net, checking email etc, I thought I'd talk about the other things I do, and the fun apps I've found.


Games

There are many hundreds of games for the iPad, ranging in price from free, to $9.99. Two free games I play on a daily basis are Trade Nations and Syndicate HD. Both are very "facebookish" type games, where you manage time and resources to gain levels. I consider these basic time wasters, because they give me something to do when I only have a few minutes to pop on and off.





As a fan of the MMORPG Eve Online, I tried a free version of a space game called Galaxy On Fire 2. I enjoyed it so much, I forked over the $10 for the full version. Similar to Eve Online, you fly ships around, doing quests and mining for minerals to sell. The graphics are incredible, the ship controls very well, and the main story line is great. Well worth the money I spent.





There are tones of kids games, plenty of which are free, that my 6 year old son has no problem managing. He even has his own page that is just for the games that I've installed for him. The touch interface seems to be a more natural way to him to interact with it, and he seems to enjoy playing on it as much as I do. I'll do a separate blog posting with a list of our favorite kids game at a later date. For now I'll just say that the list of kids games is very large, and will provide many, many hours of fun and learning for him as we continue to explore the app catalogue.

Video

Just like the iPhone and iPod, the iPad will play mp4 videos natively. Anything else will need to be converted. Unless, that is, you use an app! The one that I have been using is called Air Video.





Not only will it let you stream your video over wifi or the Internet from your computer at home, saving you valuable storage space, it will convert on the fly, your videos to your iPad. It's been able to play anything I've thrown at it so far. If you'd rather save the video for offline viewing later, you can have Air Video simply convert and save your video directly to your iPad for viewing at your leisure. The free version has full functionality, but limits you to only seeing 4 files in the side window at a time. I spent the $3 to get the full version, allowing me to see the full folder all at once. Money very well spent, in my opinion.

To finish this posting off before it gets too long and windy, I'll just add a couple of quick general points about my experiences so far.

Battery life seems very good. I have no problem making through an entire day on a charge, even with fairly heavy usage. I've even gone a few days on a single charge, with just moderate use. In sleep mode, the iPad seems to draw next to nothing, and wakes instantly on a button press.

The onscreen keyboard is great to type on, and the autocorrect works very well.

The app catalogue is very extensive, offering plenty of free apps, and plenty more at two dollars or less. I've barely scratched the surface, and browsing through the apps has become one of my favorite pastimes.

Overall, I have come to truly love my iPad, bringing it with me pretty much everywhere I go. I continue to find new, fun uses for it almost every day, and would recommend one to pretty much anyone with the desire to have a fun, adaptable piece of tech ware to carry on the go.

Stay tuned to my blog, there will be plenty more postings on uses, apps, performance and more to come!

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