iPad review, part I: the design, music, movies and games
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

iPad review, part I: the design, music, movies and games


My iPad -- the US$699, 64GB Wi-Fi-only version -- is a great Mac companion, as I mentioned yesterday. It's already replaced my iPod touch and may replace my laptop (though the jury's still out on that). I've been using it heavily since it arrived Saturday, and, so far, I'm more impressed than I thought I'd be, though there's room for improvement.

Well, probably not in the design of the iPad itself. As you'd expect, it's another exquisite piece of work from Apple. The 9.7-inch screen with its 1024 x 768 pixel resolution is gorgeous. As is the minimalist design.

Jobs & Company can't quite eliminate buttons, though I think they'd love to. On the iPad, there's a home button on the screen, a sleep/power button and volume adjuster at the top right, and a switch that locks the iPad into either horizontal or portrait view. Built-in speakers are on the bottom of the iPad and provide more oomph than you'd think, though they'll not replace dedicated speakers or a good pair of headphones by any stretch of the imagination.

The battery is, of course, built-in. Apple claims it offers 10 hours of life on a single charge. I found that to be conservative even when playing games, watching videos or surfing the web. My iPad ran about 11 hours on a charge.

As many folks have pointed out, the iPad resembles an iPod touch on steroids, but it's much more. At 1.5 pounds, it's lighter and thinner than any netbook I've seen, which makes it a wonderful travel companion (whether that travel is a road trip or venturing from room to room in your house). However, you should note that the screen is incredibly glossy, almost mirror-like in the sunlight. Also, it shows EVERY fingerprint -- and remember this is a multi-touch device. So if you have a fingerprint phobia, be prepared to: a) go crazy, b) do a lot of screen cleaning, or c) get a screen protector.

Setting up an iPad is a no-brainer; you don't need the rudimentary instructions that come with the device. Plug it into a Mac or PC running iTunes. Once it's detected, a registration function kicks in and sets it up. Then you can sync various media (music, movies, contacts, calendars). Any apps you've downloaded onto your computer -- including ones you've bought for an iPhone or iPod touch -- transfer over automatically, unless you specify otherwise. I'd recommend manual syncing if you have lots of albums, video files and digital movies, like I do. Personally, I prefer to carry all my music with me on the iPad; however, I only sync up whatever homemade videos and/or movies that I think I'll watch soon. I do this to save space.

If you have LOTS of media, the syncing process can take a while via the USB connector. So don't plan to sync your iPod and Mac in a couple of minutes the first time you do sync 'em. Subsequent syncs are much faster.

In this, the first part of my four-part review, I'll look at the iPad as a music, video device and gaming device. If you love the iPod touch for playing your tunes, you'll love the iPad. It's pretty much the same.

If you have an online connection, you can buy music and buy or rent movies wirelessly. You can browse your music by new releases, top ten lists, genres, albums, artists and more. And the CoverFlow view looks gorgeous on the iPad's big screen.

There is one thing I found confusing about the way the iPad handles music. After I first synced it with my Mac, I pressed the iTunes icon to access my music. Wrong. That carries you to the iTunes Store. To play music, you press the iPod icon. Yes, your iPad has an iPod icon on it.

When you connect the iPad to your Mac or PC, the music, movies, TV shows, and videos from iTunes on your computer can sync to your iPad -- and the media on your iPad can sync to iTunes on your computer. I think movies deserve a big screen whenever, and there are some compromises in movie viewing on the iPad.

The Apple device's 1024 x 768 pixel screen is in a 4:3 ratio, while the latest TVs boast a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. Playing a 16 x 9 movie on the iPad (as I did with "Up" and "The Taking of Pelham 123") puts black bars at the top and bottom of your screen. And, of course, with 1024 x 768 pixels you're not going to get 1080i Hi-Def.

That's one of the compromises Apple had to make in order to make the iPad the multi-purpose device it is. That said, the movies I watched on the device looked better, even with letter-boxing, than I'd expected.

But if the iPad is a good-but-not-great movie viewer, it is a great gaming system. I ordered Super Monkeyball and Real Racing HD for my device. Graphics-intensive games such as the latter look vibrant on the screen and play fluidly.

Most older iPhone/iPod touch games work pretty well on the iPad. You can play 'em at their intended size (a smaller screen surrounded by a black background) or double their size. The doubled pixel games looked, as you might guess, pixelated, so I'd recommend keeping 'em at the smaller size -- though the small screen and bigger body of the iPad make a somewhat awkward pair. But there are dozens of games built or updated daily for the iPad. Look for games with an HD or XL designation in the Apple App Store.

Some have complained that the iPad is hard to use for games because it's too heavy at 1.5 pounds. Neither my son nor I found this to be a problem. But perhaps we're just exceptionally buff!

Tomorrow: Safari, Mail, Calendar and Contacts on the iPad

 
AAPL
$124.43
Apple Inc.
-1.94
GOOG
$548.00
Google Inc.
-4.03
MSFT
$40.66
Microsoft Corporation
-0.31
MacNews Search:
Community Search:
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

2K Announces WWE 2K, Mobile's First...
It seems like this month has been pretty big for wrestling. First Wrestlemania, then 2K has announces that they're releasing  WWE 2K for iOS. It's a simulation-based WWE game where you'll get to play with several WWE superstars such as John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Sting, Triple H, and the Undertaker. There will be three different match types and a ton... | Read more »
How the Apple Watch Could Change the Fac...
The Apple Watch is still a ways out, but my previous musings on the wearable’s various features got me thinking: what might it be like a year after launch? Two years? Five years? What if it becomes a symbiotic part of the iOS framework to the point that it practically comes packaged with the iPhone? | Read more »
Pie In The Sky: A Pizza Odyssey (Games)
Pie In The Sky: A Pizza Odyssey 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A game about delivering pizza. In space. | Read more »
Chosen Gives Hopeful Singers, Songwriter...
If YouTube videos and reality TV shows like The Voice have taught us one thing, it’s that there are a lot of people out there who are anxious to show the world their talents. And if they’ve taught us a second thing, it’s that there’s an almost equally sizable group of people who are anxious to judge those hopefuls. What’s interesting about Chosen... | Read more »
Android's Popular OfficeSuite Now A...
Once only available for Android devices, OfficeSuite has finally landed on the app store. The Mobile Systems app lets you view, edit, create, and share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents as well as convert them to/from PDFs. It's touted as being like having a desktop on your phone. OfficeSuite supports Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and... | Read more »
Warhammer: Arcane Magic is Coming Soon,...
Turbo Tape Games has announced that they're joining forces with Games Workshop to bring the turn-based strategy board game, Warhammer: Arcane Magic, to life on the iOS. | Read more »
Fast & Furious: Legacy's Creati...
| Read more »
N-Fusion and 505's Ember is Totally...
| Read more »
These are All the Apple Watch Apps and G...
The Apple Watch is less than a month from hitting store shelves, and once you get your hands on it you're probably going to want some apps and games to install. Fear not! We've compiled a list of all the Apple Watch apps and games we've been able to find so far. Games Rules! By TheCodingMonkeys App Store Description: RULES! is a cute puzzle game... | Read more »
Appy to Have Known You - Lee Hamlet Look...
Being at 148Apps these past 2 years has been an awesome experience that has taught me a great deal, and working with such a great team has been a privilege. Thank you to Rob Rich, and to both Rob LeFebvre and Jeff Scott before him, for helping me to grow as a writer and for giving me the opportunity to write about what I love: playing innovative... | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.