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Apple iPad – Not that great

February 6, 2013

Sometime last year, following the death of my wife’s laptop (https://vteclimey.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/samsung-r700/) we purchased the then latest iPad hoping that for half the price of a high spec laptop it would provide most of the functions we were used to.

First look

Initial ownership of the iPad was rewarding. It is easy to handle and the touch screen is responsive and accurate. There are a whole host of apps available, mostly entertainment related. Sitting on sofa casually browsing the web or emailing friends while watching TV is panacea that marketing departments and iPad fans will no doubt like to promote, however that didn’t translate in reality.

Typing on the iPad is not a casual experience and if you want to avoid having your arm in an awkward position and a twisted back, you will need to sit properly. Reading The Times app or a news website is one thing, but composing emails and blog posts is not as easy or as comfortable as using a real computer.

Being Used

My daughter was very keen to play games on it and was initially absorbed in games on it, both apps and websites. The latter being where serious problems started. Many kid friendly websites utilise Adobe Flash and my daughter, having been used to them on the laptop naturally wanted to continue to enjoy them. Game apps also became very boring too. Handing the iPad as a movement controller was too awkward for her because she is young and the iPad soon gets heavy. Also touching the screen for game control requires having it on a surface and so the locations she can play on it are limited.

It wasn’t long before the iPad would never leave the kitchen and would be used mainly for email, reading The Times and updating Facebook. There would be occasional times where creating document content, such as presentations or displaying images. These would not be without their frustrations though as the iPad will not view remote content on a PC and nor can it view digital RAW photos from a dSLR. Transferring photos to the iPad for display required multiple steps and was therefore only done when there was no other option. Creating presentations on a touch screen device is possible but not intuitive and not easy, so tend to take three times longer than on a PC.

Simple tasks also became a frustration, like saving and opening PDF files for the purpose of using them as a script for a presenter. This was one area where it was hoped the iPad would excel over a PC and frankly the frustrations that would often result meant that printouts are far simpler and the iPad just isn’t worth the hassle.

Conclusion

Nice though the iPad is, it’s useful functions are limited and as a device to create and consume content it simply can’t match the flexibility and a real computer. As a casual browsing device for reading and playing it works, but not at a price that exceeds £400! It simply is not worth it at that price.

So, its gone on ebay this week and good riddance I say.

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3 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on 4everhacker.

  2. Thanks.

    I’ve been wondering about the tablet vs. laptop question. The tablet would be lighter when travelling. However, I’ve been touch typing for years, so I wondered whether I would find the tablet a bit awkward for at least some of what I do.

    Your review looks particularly at that question, the use of the computer for tasks such as editing blogs or email.

    • limey permalink

      Hi Neil,

      Re typing a lot of text. The most telling comments on that came from my wife after we reverted back to a real computer and keyboard. She said that she hadn’t realised how bad for her typing on the iPad had been until she sat properly with a proper keyboard.

      Prior to reverting back to a PC we did ponder an MS Surface tablet, the justification being that tablets are convenient and a windows based one would suit us better because of the compatibility issues with the iPad. However, when she tried a surface in a store with the cover keyboard, she found that really awkward and not a positive experience at all. Also the close proximity of cover keyboard and tablet screen makes it less comfortable than a laptop.

      So all in, I like the tablet idea, but it in no way replaces the needs of a PC with large screen and proper keyboard. A tablet is a separate gadget for occasional use and not a replacement computer. In which case, I may as well stick to my smart phone for those occasional uses and do away with the tablet idea altogether, especially at the prices the iPad and Surface are selling at.

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