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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

iPad Prelimanary Review (With Score, no less)

The iPad. Yes, it is a wondrous device that I do not use to its fullest capacity. In fact, I hardly even use 1% of what it can do, but at this juncture, I think that's okay, seeing as I've had it for less than a week. However, what I have seen appears below, and I give the machine a tentative score. Let's jump in.

The interface: As with most Apple products, the user interface is clear, crisp and easily manipulated. With the addition of the gyroscope the screen rotation is far smoother, faster and cleaner than it was in the older iPhones. What I wasn't expecting, and what I'm rather glad Apple put in, is a rotation lock to avoid unwanted movement if something needs doing without interruption. As for screen space, there is, of course, more than on the iPhones, accounting for screen size. However, Apple managed to capitalize on the new HD screens by maximizing resolution and icon size while minimizing space required for recognition and usage. Any applications that you buy are easily integrated into the screen space and the multiple screens allow for a number of apps on the iPad limited only by the hard disk space on the machine itself. Scrolling through them is easy and smooth, though the theoretically infinite number of apps makes for touch scrolling if you need to find something in a pinch. The search function certainly makes up for this, but because it is only accessible from the first page, things could still get rather time consuming.
I give the interface a 9.25.

App selection and store searching: This is still the biggest problem with the Apple smart devices, and the iPad in particular. With the App store and especially the iBookstore not allowing for continuous narrowing of selection, you're really stuck rifling through thousands of books/apps until you find what you want. Broad catagories cannot be focused and the only two ways to look through are on the featured pages, which limit the shown items, and the release date selection, which shows every single text in the catagory, do not allow for easy viewing. There are top picks and New York Times best selling, but those don't really help with only ten showing to begin with and ten more at each request for a bigger selection. Overall, the App selection and searching gets a 6.75.

Hardware: The real meat of the matter, the hardware and function of the touch screen are things I will touch on briefly here and expand upon in the full review. For now, I'll say this. The touch screen is very sensitive, almost overly so. It takes very little effort to change screens in iBooks and other reader apps, and switching between application pages takes no time at all. However, beware launching an app you don't want while scrolling, because the line between movement and selection is a fine one. The touch screen is also susceptible to smudges and requires constant cleaning. Dust collects and shows extremely well, leading to annoying distortions of light. The gyroscope too is almost too sensitive and turns with the slightest provocation. The lock certainly handles this, but isn't always a good option. Lastly, multitasking needs to be implemented, and soon. I want to listen to Pandora and read my books, not the few hundred songs (yes, I have that little) I've heard too many times to begin with. I'm putting this here because I have a feeling that this function is a hardware issue and can't be fixed simply with an over the internet update. I've been wrong before.
Overall, the hardware gets a 8.75.

The iPad, therefore, gets an 8.5 overall in its current state. That's really good, in my book. The original iPhone gets only a 7.75, maybe an 8 on a good day. When I have more reviews up, this will mean more, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

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