Friday, February 4, 2011

Life with an iPad

It's big and heavy. It has a great screen that has been magnetized to attract fingerprints and smears. It's great for gaming and streaming movies/tv over the home network or watching Netflix. It's only so-so for reading ebooks even though the screen is great - it's just too heavy to hold for too long and despite the capacitive screen it often misses taps for page turns. Overall, it's 9/10 for videos, 5/10 for music (the built-in speaker is mono and not impressive) so I use my Nano instead, 8/10 for books but I have to use the stand that's built into my case.

Accessories I've bought include the great Scosche leather case with built-in stand and a mirror-finish screen protector. The case is 10/10 and I couldn't be happier with it. The mirror was a mistake as it makes it very hard to see the screen as it becomes so reflective. When the screen is off it's ideal for looking at yourself but in my case that is not a plus. When it's on fingerprints show up even more and it's hard to do anything with the iPad. I took it off the first day. I also picked up a spare charger since it needs more amps than the standard iPod charger delivers.

It only plays two video codecs and even they are pick so the settings must be perfect. But if you stream over wifi with the Air Video app that doesn't matter as it transcodes on the fly and you can stream nearly any format without a hiccup. This is a great app! It will be great for trips but I still use my Sony 600 to read books most of the time. The iPad is great for reading comics but I'm not a huge comic fan other than Pearls Before Swine and Calvin. XComics works fine for this. It's a tie between the Kindle app, Stanza or iBooks for reading books but iBooks is shiny and nice. It's easy to add any book with all three apps. The main drawback to iBooks is it's limited choices of fonts, sizes, colors and backgrounds. Kindle and Stanza are better but as Stanza has been bought out by Amazon it doesn't get bug fixes now and it's starting to show.

Kathy got my old MID (the Witstech A81) for trips but she hasn't used it yet. I did get Android 2.1 to work on it but couldn't find many apps that didn't require hardware buttons so it's gone back to Wince 6.0. My sister got the Archos 605 and she thinks it's the most amazing thing which was true when I originally got it but it's a bit too heavy, thick and limited today. Good for surfing or watching video, not much good for anything else. My only old unused gadgets now are my Tapwave Zodiacs and my GP2X game handheld and a few MP3 players that are really old.