iPad Hands-On

February 16, 2011

Although I had a positive feeling about Apple's latest gadget, the iPad, I was impressed again when I got my hands on it for the first time last week.

All I could hear in my head was Apple CEO Steve Job's words, “Revolutionary, magical, amazing, wonderful.” Just to make things clear, I am not a Mac fanatic or a 'fanboy' as they call them on the Internet.

But since Apple has entered the mobile industry, I am totally impressed with how they have changed it, starting with mobile phones to resurrecting the tablet PC, which was dying a slow death.

The first thing you notice when unpacking the iPad box, apart from the perfect and high quality manufactured device, is the materials the iPad is made of and the packaging itself.

The technology itself is unbeatable for the next six months at least. And, of course, don't forget the big Apple logo on the back.

The size is completely convenient when holding it, either with one hand or both, and it is smaller than I had thought. Comparing it to the newspaper will make things a little obvious though.

The weight is not a problem at all, it's comfortable as well. I wonder how Apple has managed to put all these components, including the battery, in such a slim device.

I was not sure if I would notice anything different in the software, as it is the same iPhone OS with some modifications, but I was blown away after just a minute of using it.

It is fast, really fast. I had read about this, but refused to believe it, as the iPhone 3GS was fast enough, but Apple has once again satisfied everybody with its latest creation.

The first thing I wanted to do is try most of my previously downloaded iPhone applications on the iPad, just to check how it looks on a bigger screen. Despite the loss of image quality when zooming into the apps, it was still fine.

I felt like I got value added to my previous purchases. I even started downloading the new iPhone games just to test it, but that was not for long. I couldn't resist trying the specifically made apps for the iPad, starting from Apple's official office production suite (keynote, numbers, pages).

I came to know that the iPad has a bright future, and you can actually do some work on it. Being mostly dependent on cloud computing, I was depressed when I found out that a couple of online services such as Google Docs are not supported well.

I know it's just a matter of time before it is fully supported by Google or a third-party developer, but I really wanted to write this week's columns on using it. Which brings us to the fact that the iPad is great for reading books.

There is a good collection on Apple's new iBooks store, and you can read your previously owned books from Amazon Kindle using their official app.

However, you will find it really difficult, not for causing eye stress or battery drain, but because of the inner argument to stay in the reading world versus the entertainment world.

From all the games available, video podcasts, videos and movies, it is really difficult to resist pressing the home button to shift to the other world. I partially agreed with those who said the iPad was just a bigger iPod Touch, but after trying it out for a week, I would say that it's a completely different experience.

The two devices have the same OS, but the bigger, brighter iPad screen made the difference. It's a magical gate to multimedia and the online world. Connectivity might be a problem if you have the Wi-Fi version, but you can load (or overload, in my case) your iPad with digital content from iTunes, mostly for free.

The iPad battery promised a ten-hour running time without a recharge, and it lived up to its promise as I used it for ten hours for tasks like gaming, browsing, reading and watching videos.

There is a lot to cover, but overall, the iPad is really a new kind of device, and it will do well. I can already see it being used by thousands of people around the world.

And for you, it depends, if you do a lot of reading and browsing on various media, then this device is a must-have.