Apple iPad 3G 32GB Version 1 Review
Launched in the UK in May 2010, the iPad version 1 began a revolution in portable computing bringing tablet devices into the main stream.
The iPad is built for portability, just 9.5 inches by 7.5 inches, it is smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, and at 0.5 inches in depth it is a very thin device. Weighing 680g it is about 1/2 to 2/3 the weight of a typical netbook, making it light and easy to carry around. Apple have obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the design and ergonomics of the iPad. The black rim at first seems like a hideous waste of valuable screen space, however upon further inspection, it works perfectly well as an area to rest the sides of your hands without having them interfere with the actual touch screen itself. The buttons on the iPad are understated and easy to use, with the screen lock switch a very welcome addition - something that was missing on earlier versions of the iPhone until a software update to IOS 4 allowed a software equivalent.
Running Apple's A4 processor, most tasks are not a problem on the iPad. Simple web browsing is a dream using the in-built web browser Safari, with smooth scrolling and speedy zooming.
The iPads are available in three different storage sizes, namely 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. With a battery life of between 10-11 hours between charges, the iPad is certainly a very impressive device. The touchscreen runs at a resolution of 1024x768 and the colours and contrast levels are superb.
Sadly Flash is not enabled on the iPad however. This is one major flaw, which one would hope Adobe and Apple would be able to solve, but obviously not. Currently any websites that use Flash will only partially load up when viewing on an iPad.
The iPad can also be considered to be quite a locked down device. You cannot easily use it to store individual files, nor can you use it as an external hard drive for example.
Typing on the iPad is fine and ideal for writing short emails. For extended use however, typing with the iPad can be considered frustrating and plugging in an external keyboard becomes more and more appealing.
WiFi or WiFi + 3G
In an ideal world, going for the 3G version seems like the sensible choice. However, if the iPad is not likely to see the light of day and remain in the confines of the home, the WiFi only version is more appropriate. Purchasing a 3G iPad will typically add an extra £50-£100 to the cost, not to mention the need to buy a 3G sim card. Currently, one of the cheapest ways to get online using 3G would be to buy a pay-as-you-go sim card - assuming the iPad is bought out right and not part of a contract. If buying a pay-as-you-go sim card, a good price to look for would be about £8 per month for 1GB of data allowance. Doing a search online will bring up all the best offers currently available.
iPad 2 Vs iPad 1
In Q1 2011, the iPad version 2 was released boasting a number of improved specifications including a faster A5 chip, a thinner design and front and rear facing cameras. As a result, the iPad version 1 has dropped in price by about £100. Whether it is worth paying the extra price for the latest iPad is debatable and will be a personal choice. For simple web surfing, the faster chip is largely redundant and any difference is the use of Safari will be hard to detect.
The iPad is a superb device leading the field in the tablet market. All other manufacturers are playing catchup and haven't yet really produced a device to rival the iPad. Not complex enough to be considered a laptop replacement, its strength lies in the myriad of applications available for it through the App store and its superb design and ease of use.
- Great design
- Easy to use
- Superb battery life
- A wealth of applications available to download
- Not Flash enabled
- Can't easily save individual files