devices reviews

This is part two of three of my “second” impression of the iPad. Read the first of my series – my review of the device.

I couldn’t justify the 3G version for normal use, so I opted for Wi-Fi only (I did spring for 32GB). At home and at my online marketing agency Wi-Fi access is great. Since that’s where I spend most of my time with the iPad, my experience before the trip had been excellent.

Lesson Learned – Network Connections are Important

Once you hit the road, you realize the iPad experience hinges on access to the Internet. No ‘net and many things won’t work, or aren’t nearly as useful. Some apps work OK w/o Wi-Fi (like feed readers) but they need to be synced or updated when you are back in range – sometimes a major hassle.

At the Airport

I was lucky – everywhere I stopped, I had free WiFi. The connections were consistently fast and reliable. I was able to check my email, browse the internet, and review all my news sources (check out my third installment on Friday). I didn’t mind waiting for my connections at all.

On the plane

I split my time between reading on the Kindle; checking out some PDFs on iBook (I used DropBox to load to them to the iPad). I downloaded movies using iTunes, they were great to watch, but I had trouble with one of the rentals starting up again after I had paused it. Apple was quick with a refund, but still a bummer.

At the hotel

At the hotel it was a different story. The network was free, but password protected and managed by room number. My iPad and laptop couldn’t be on WiFi at the same time. Moving around the hotel worked OK, but when the signal was weak or network overloaded – the login wouldn’t work or would drop out – very frustrating. The iPad isn’t optimized to deal with a shaky network and frequent manual reacquisition of signal and logins can drive you to distraction. It traveled with me to the hotel beach – some apps were hard to read in the bright sun, but if I could keep the signal, the iPad worked great.

Out of the country

My trip was outside the US. Certain apps and sites don’t like that. I had trouble with loading a new book directly from the iPad Kindle application. I had to go back to my laptop, log in to, and purchase via the web, and have it delivered to my iPad.  It pays to plan ahead and check what works before you leave.

What do you think?

Have you traveled with your iPad? What did you think?

Don’t forget to stop back on Friday and read about my favorite apps.

Full Disclosure: Expect some links in this post to go to one or more affiliate programs and know that I get paid a nominal fee for referring you to those resources if you make a purchase.

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What, no First Impression?

A few days after my iPad arrived, I started a blog post on my first impressions – but I was like a kid with a new bike – it was all shiny perfect – hard to find fault with anything. Any review would have been glowing, and ultimately useless. So I opted for a few quick Facebook updates on my new possession.

The iPad Takes a Vacation

Last week I took a much needed vacation, and though I declared that I was also taking a digital vacation, I couldn’t leave my shiny new “toy” home. So the iPad came along for the ride. It was good decision – I had a chance to spend some quality time with it and experience what it was like to use the iPad for different applications in different locations.

It’s not Heavy, it’s my iPad

My initial, out of the box impression was that the device was heavier than I expected. With additional use I grew more accustomed to its heft, but it’s not a featherweight. Some people may not like to use it unsupported. When reading items I found myself resting it on my lap, chest or seat-back tray.

I use the Acase Leather Flip Book for work and it worked just as well to protect the iPad on vacation. It also gave me a firm surface to grip and comfortable way to carry it around.

Charging and Battery Life

Charging the device was a little tricky. Since I was traveling, I decided not to carry the charging brick that comes in the box – too heavy for my liking. I opted for the Griffin PowerBlock Dual Universal Charger, since my Droid Incredible also charges via USB. The iPad seems to be somewhat sensitive to voltage (phone was not).  I had to plug the iPad in alone for charging to begin, then I could plug in the phone and charge them together. Weird, but workable.

Battery life is great – as long as you don’t turn it up to maximum brightness. I turned it up at the beach, and then forgot to turn it back down when I came inside. Battery drained at about 2X the normal rate.

A screen protector is a must, especially when taking it to the beach – sand and fingerprints weren’t a problem. I did have to wipe the screen off regularly (SPF 50 leaves a fingerprint trail). Having the case really helped keep it clean and protected.

There’s more

Check back on Wednesday to learn how the iPad worked in various locations and on different networks. Stop by on Friday to see what apps I came to use and love (and some not so much).

What do you think?

If you have an iPad, what do you think now the “newness” has worn off?

Full Disclosure: Expect some links in this post to go to one or more affiliate programs and know that I get paid a nominal fee for referring you to those resources if you make a purchase.

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