Product Type: Apple Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology" (to quote the Apple website). It has "1024x768... more
iLove The iPad
Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi 16 GB
Member Name: xxBeccaxx
Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi 16 GB
Advantages: Lots of app's, long battery life, quick charging, simply to use and set up, variety of things to do.
Disadvantages: No flash player, no USB slot.
Ok before I get started on what will probably be a long review I want to mention first off that I am not a technical person so apart from how much memory it has I won't be giving the specifications or technical details, all those things can be found on the website which would be a copy and paste job which I don't want to do so this review will be almost an idiots guide.
Ok so when the iPad came out I wasn't running off to buy one, I wasn't really interested in it. I have my laptop and I've only been using the internet for around 5 years as we didn't have broadband at home until I was working and going to college and needed it for coursework. Alongside this I am not a technical person, once I'm used to things I like to keep it that way, I don't have tons of gadgets as really it just doesn't interest me. However after a friend had one and was raving about how good it was I looked into it and found that not only can these be used for adults but there are numerous advantages for children and having a 3 year old who I want to have knowledge in all sorts I decided it might be worth buying one. The iPad 3 had been released around 3 or 4 weeks however after comparing both the 2 and 3 I read that the only difference was the screen resolution really and being the penny pinching type I wasn't about to spend an extra £100 on something that my eye probably wouldn't see anyway so I decided to go for the second version. After hunting around for the best deal I came across Curry's who were selling the 16GB wi-fi version for just £300. I personally after seeing all the other offers out there thought this was a bargain. I reserved it online and picked it up in-store the next day and away I went.
*~* Packaging *~*
The device came securely packaged in a slimish Apple box that is simply white in colour with a picture of the iPad on the front. This box is then put inside a plain brown box which the checkout woman told me was to avoid people being aware what was in the box and being liable to be robbed which I thought was a good idea, although thinking about it they could have just not been bothered to remove the cardboard box and came up with that excuse to give people who knows. The Apple box is stylish yet simple, sleek and modern as you would imagine and isn't just regular cardboard so it does make you think you are getting value for money.
*~* Inside The Box *~*
Inside the box there is the iPad itself and contained underneath is the charger and the cable which acts as both the charging cable by plugging it into the plug as well as it connecting to a PC. I really like this as if you do go away overnight or whatever you only need the one cable rather than having multiple pieces of equipment to remember. There is no instruction booklet in paper form which makes sense as many people don't use it anyway.
*~* Setting Up *~*
I had assumed the iPad would be like mobiles in that you have to put them on to charge for a day but after switching on I found the battery was full and I could get to play straight away which was definitely a plus for me. To switch on you simply press the solitary button on the top right hand side. It is long enough and silver which stands out but not big and bulky that it affects your use. Once booted up I was taken through multiple screens setting up an itunes account and apple account that needed verifying through email and so I had to use the laptop to do these few bits. It does give you the option to sign in if you already possess these accounts as I had only had an iPhone 3 for a few months before I didn't have them so it did take around half an hour to get through all the screens to the actual iPad itself. Although thinking about it this isn't really any time at all and it was rather quick and seamless. I found it easily do-able and as I said I am not the most technical of people. The wi-fi set up was also very quick, the device simply loaded the in range networks for you to choose, you enter your password and you're off. To tell you are connected there is a small wi-fi symbol in the top left hand side of the screen, if it's not there then you have a problem.
*~* Off You Go *~*
Once set up there is a page which has pre-loaded applications on it such as messages, contacts, iTunes app store, settings and the like which I'll go into detail a bit later. These are the very basics and I find that I don't use many of them at all. Therefore to get started you need to visit the itunes store which over time you'll find you spend hours scrolling through looking for gems of apps that will make your life easier.
*~* Appearance *~*
I'm sure that everyone knows by now what the iPad looks like but for the purpose of this review I'll give my opinion. The first thing you notice is the size, I was surprised with how big it is. I would put the size on par with a netbook screen, perhaps a smidge larger and that surprised me as I didn't expect it to be quite so big. The lack of a thick, bulky frame also gives the true impression of it's size. It's also very thing and once again my mind wanders to how they managed to effectively get one of those huge chunky, old style PC's and scale it down so much to something so slim and yet have almost identical functionality. The other thing that strikes you is that there are no buttons on this except for the on/off power switch, the home screen button that is a grey square contained within an indented circle and the volume buttons on the top right hand side. Although I like this it does mean that the screen can become covered in fingerprints very quickly however at the same time it also means that the screen is not half taken up with buttons that you don't always use. Overall I am pretty impressed with the appearance it looks sleek and clean and very modern.
*~* iTunes Store *~*
This is the platform for finding whatever you might need from PDF readers to banking apps to games. It has anything and almost everything you can imagine from free to pennies to a lot of money. There are various websites out there that can give you daily updates advising of apps that have previously cost money that are free for a limited time and they can be really useful allowing you to try out the product if you're not sure about paying for it. There is also the option to buy gift cards from various stores both on the high street an online that gives you credit to buy apps, it's easy to apply these to your account by simply entering the gift code and instantly crediting allowing you to buy whatever you might like. There is also the option to search if you know exactly what you're looking for. Everything is split into categories so it is easy to go straight to a certain place if you need something specific or of course you can just generally browse seeing whatever takes your fancy. If you spot an app that has the potential to be installed in the iPad you can go into it and gain further information on what it is, what it can do, there are often screenshots giving you an idea of the graphics as well as linked apps that may take your fancy. If you do decide to go ahead and install whether paid or free you simply press the install app button at the top left hand side and enter your password on the pop up, click enter and it'll take you to the screen with a waiting bar filling up to show you how long is left till you can enter and have a look. I find that the apps install really quickly, I have never had one that takes at the most more than a minute to be ready to use which is handy. I think the store is well set out and is well organised to let you see and choose what you need and when. Overall I really like it.
*~* Applications *~*
The applications are placed as small squares on the main screens, if a page is filled up when you install a new one it simply goes onto a new page. Currently I have the search screen which is standard, the screen with pre-installed apps and 3 further pages of various tools although 2 of those are apps for my son. I tend to have a clear out so the memory is never full but even pages and pages as well as multiple books I have yet to fill it more than 8GB. The main apps I use are:
FACEBOOK: This app is similar to the android app in that you pull the screen down and release to refresh. By pulling the screen to the right you are presented with the list of groups, news feed, messages etc etc. The top of the screen has the blue strip with your notifications and messages and it has so far worked really well. I have no problems or gripes with it.
KINDLE: This is my favourite app right now. This is basically the kindle reader on the iPad allowing you to purchase books directly from Amazon and read them on the iPad. This works really well, you can read the books full screen or you can also use a stand (more details later) and have it free standing allowing you to read it on the side. The only problem I have with this is once you get too many books (I currently have around 100) Amazon has a problem sending them over however i don't really think I need 100 books at a time but however. Again there are websites allowing you to view the books Amazon have listed free for a period of time. The app also has the ability for you to read downloaded books by hooking the iPad up to the pc and dragging the mobi files to the kindle app. Overall this is a really good app although outside it is difficult to see the screen as it is not anti-glare so your kindle if you have one won't be redundant!
SAFARI: Safari is the internet app however if you don't like it you can access other browsers. I only use this one and I find it works really well, accesses websites quickly and runs like regular internet. You have the option to save bookmarks which I find handy. The only problem I have with it is that the internet page is in small print and so you need to enlarge the page which means you are constantly moving the screen to accommodate your reading area, it's not a huge problem but a gripe really. The only other gripe I have with this is that websites generally automatically go into mobile mode when this can cope with the regular web page. It's easy enough to find the switch on the website but still it would be nice if there was an option to automatically go to desktop mode.
GOOGLE+: The G+ app is actually the iPhone app which is tiny in the centre of the screen, you can press the button that says 'x2' and make it bigger but I would have thought there would be a specific app for iPad as most do. I did hear yesterday there is a new app for it but I have yet to check it out so we'll see if that's any better.
DIAMONDDASH: This is a game that requires you to eliminate collections of gems of 3 or more, it's fast paced and has tournaments to play with friends. It's a game to pass the time and can be really addictive.
EMAIL: The email app is situated at the bottom as one of the pre-installed app's that is next to the internet. I can't remember setting this up but it must have been relatively simple if I managed to do it. This very easily notifies me when I have a new email and I can view, delete, move or reply very easily. I think it's a really good app that is smooth and works really well.
CAMERA: The camera I have to say I don't use, I have a mobile and a digital camera with much higher resolution and the times that I did use this I found the resolution to be really bad and not taking effective pictures. I do like that there is a camera at both the front and the back, the front one being able to be used for Facetime with contacts but I have never used this so I couldn't comment on it. It's said to be 5MP but I can't say that I think it is, the pictures are terrible but it's a nice addition I suppose.
There are many many many more app's but those are the ones I use very regularly otherwise I would be here all day.
*~* Connecting To PC *~*
When you connect the lead to the PC it doesn't charge while in there, I think this is a silly feature and I would much prefer it if whilst connected it could charge at the same time but for some reason this is not the case. You need to download iTunes which is the platform to store music, back up your app's, restore or update the iPad or add files, movies and music. I have added PDF files into a cloud reader, it is exceptionally simple by just dragging and dropping. Restoring, updating, syncing and backing-up is done by the press of a button, nothing manual or hard required here! I don't hook it up all that often as I don't use it for movies or the like but when I do it is incredibly simple to use and is very quick and easy I find.
*~* Charging *~*
To charge the iPad you have to place the 2 separate pieces of the charger together which is exceptionally simple. This is a USB plug so if you have more than one USB charging device then you can use this, I switch between my mobile and the iPad plugging in whichever cable I need. It is extremely easy and I wonder why they never done this way back. I like that if you are going away you only need to take the one charger rather than a bunch of them so it's really beneficial I think. I found that the iPad didn't take too long to go from almost nothing to full charged, perhaps a couple of hours. Once charged I found the battery life to be excellent, my son plays a lot of games on this and in the evenings I generally read for a few hours and I find that there is still normally 20-30% remaining which is really good. There are times when I haven't used it for a couple of days although I have left it switched on and it's went down around 5% at the most so the battery life is exceptional. I have watched BBC iPlayer a couple of times for an hour long programme and haven't found it to drain the battery ridiculously quickly so if you were watching movies I assume the battery would hold up pretty well.
*~* Settings *~*
The settings are something I really like, not only can you customise the home screen with apps and pictures but you can also adjust the brightness which I done as I found it was a little too bright when reading, by changing it slightly I found that my battery life got even better than it had been and I'd urge anyone to do it, it doesn't dramatically change what you're looking at but it does make a difference in terms of how often you have to plug it in which is really useful. From here there is also an option to have a password to open the screen which is good if you were to take it out and about with you, I don't have one on mine just the general slide lock screen that you get on the iPhone as I never have it out of the house. There are all sorts of bits and pieces in here that you can play about with and change to make the iPad completely unique to you which I really like about it.
*~* Accessories *~*
I would highly recommend getting a case to keep the iPad in as well as screen protectors. You can get both from many outlets I personally got mine from Amazon, the case was £5 and has the ability to turn into a stand which is perfect for when I am reading and having it flat doesn't do much for me and the screen protectors keep the screen clean and scratch free. I find that it's very easy to clean the protectors to remove any fingerprints which can happen extremely quickly by having a touch screen. There are of course more expensive cases but I didn't need them, if you were going out and about it may not be too useful but for my needs the cheaper case done the job perfectly.
*~* Gripes *~*
I don't really have many problems with the iPad as a device, the one thing that is annoying and I would really like if it was corrected is that there is no flash player, I do surveys and many times I have to do them on the PC as flash player is not supported. I have heard a few people saying that they have a problem with only using iTunes however I personally think they have everything you could want so there is no need for anything else but if you are looking to use other platforms you would be disappointed. i think I would be happy if there was a USB port, it would make life a little easier and with the amount of data travelling I do think there should be a port to accommodate this but others may disagree. Overall though the iPad2 is pretty near perfect for what it can do.
*~* My Opinion *~*
I never thought that I needed the iPad but now I have one I really enjoy using it, of course there are still a lot of things I do on the laptop as it's just more easier, my coursework can be done on the iPad but I tend to just read the PDF files of the textbook rather than lump it with me when I am out. I have a library of 100 books that I would never fit in my poky little house which is good. I can socialise, shop online, browse the internet, play games, write essay's, email, pay bills and all sorts not only that but there are multiple games for my son, majority of them free, of course not all of them are educational and majority are for fun but he can easily play the iPad and use it just as well as I can. My most favourite thing about the iPad is that it really is like a mini computer, I never once thought that I would have one neither that I would even use it but when I look at it I use the iPad almost every day and if my son could get away with it he'd be on it 24/7. I'd urge anyone who is thinking about it to go out and get one. Your life could be made so much easier with this device!
Summary: An addition that could be used in any home.
|Ease of use:|
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