Ever since the launched of the new Apple Ipad 2 in the United States, many people are looking forward to buying the new toy from Apple. Not everyone is keen in getting the new Ipad 2 as it will be more expensive than the original Ipad when it is being launched on 25 March 2011. In doing so, I've managed to secure an Apple Ipad myself for a test drive.
The unit which I'm using at the moment is the 16GB version with wi-fi and 3G. Here is a short review of the original Ipad:
The Ipad is fully featured with a 9.7" capacitive screen which supports 16M colours. I do find the screen to be perfectly legible under direct sunlight. I've also tried out the 3G service from 3UK. I have to say that there are times where it showed full bar 3G on the Ipad but I could not surf the internet at all. I have come to a conclusion that it is all due to the problem with 3UK and nothing to do with the 3G hardware on the Ipad. The reason given is I've inserted the same micro SIM into an Iphone and I could not surf the internet even though it was showing a full bar 3G. I then made a quick call to 3UK regarding the matter. The service office at 3UK did not acknowledge anything wrong with their network but instead sighting the problem on the Ipad.
*sigh* ( How can you improve the quality of 3UK's customer service? They are going from bad to worst.)
Apart from that, the bluetooth works fine and the A-GPS worked all right. So far there is no problem with the hardware. I'm quite impressed with the smoothness of the screen and the thickness of the Ipad itself although you can counteract me by saying that it is even lighter on the Ipad 2. I do understand that but with the Ipad, it is making itself known. It has some weight on it and you do feel that its existence. Perhaps Apple could make the next generation of Ipad even lighter, say around 500g, perhaps?
If you were to compare the Apple Ipad with the Smasung Galaxy Tab, you will feel that the Ipad is a little bit short of functionality. There's no way in which you can make and receive a call using your Ipad and you could also not take any pictures with your Ipad as it does not have any cameras at all. This is rather different with the Ipad 2 as you have two cameras, one is 0.7MP at the back which is capable of 720p video recording and a 0.3MP at the front for video calling.
With the in-build battery, it is rated at 24.8Wh and it gave me 11 hours on one single charge for the last few days. Impressive?
The iOS 4.2.1 on the Ipad is running smoothly. I have yet to encounter any problems with it at the moment. I have compared the Ipad to the Samsung Galaxy Tablet and found out that the Galaxy Tablet is easier to transport due to its size and weight but the screen is not as big as the Ipad, hence the screen is not as comfortable to read as the Ipad. I do feel that a 10" screen is just perfect.
Besides that, the Andriod 2.2 on the Galaxy Tab is superb but it is destined to be upgraded to 2.3 or even 3.0. With the upcoming Galaxy Tab 10.1, it will surely be a good competitor to the Ipad 2. As for the original Ipad, the iOS has been upgraded to 4.3. I hope that with the launch of the Iphone 5 in the summer, the iOS will be upgraded to 5.0! Let's hope that Apple will also support the Ipad with its iOS 5.0. Otherwise, I will be most happy to stick with the iOS 4.2.1!
The Apple Ipad is nice to use for surfing the internet without one needing to switch on their netbook to do so. It does not have any cameras and it does not support voice calling or even sending text or receiving text messages. It does not allow you to upgrade the storage space by adding an external memory card as it uses flash memory on the Ipad. It is also slightly heavy at 730g ( with wi-fi + 3G). Even with the new Ipad 2, I would still consider it as heavy. I will be waiting for a few years down the line waiting in anticipation for a lighter tablet from Apple (~500g, perhaps?).
It is also easy to use as it uses the same platform as the Iphone and it is very user friendly. It is very useful for me in my line of work. Previously I was tempted to try out a Samsung Galaxy Tab but found out that the screen is a little bit too small. It is a pity that the Motorola Xoom has yet to launch. I am sure that with dual core cpu and GPU on the Xoom, it will provide sufficient competition to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1 and also the Ipad 2 which runs on dual core CPU too.
As far as I'm concern, I am happy with the Apple Ipad. Thinking of it, I have to set out the highest admiration for Steve Jobs and his team. It's very useful for anyone including business people on the road as the battery on the Ipad could last me for 11 hours, one hour more than the claim by Apple. I think it could last 11 hours because the battery is still new and I was only using it for word processing and slight usage to surf on the internet.