Recently, a former classmate of mine, Dave B., stopped by my home for a conversation about some alumni projects we were exploring. As we chatted, Dave pulled out an iPad from his backpack and then our conversation switched from alumni projects to the amazing iPad.
After I finished “oooing and ahhhing” and stopped with all the drool, Dave let me take it for a quick test drive. Pretty cool stuff. The interface as expected was extremely easy to use and navigate, and everything looked great. Accessing the touch screen nearly-full size keyboard was easy too… but typing was a different story. This isn’t like a touch screen phone where you hunt and peck. You can actually type as if the keyboard was full-sized. However, it is more akin to a netbook in size. But, I had some problems. First, I am not comfortable on a touch screen. So I kept resting my fingers on the touchscreen, as if it were a regular keyboard, but that kept hitting the virtual keys. So I had to keep my hands pulled up intentionally, which was awkward and uncomfortable. I’m sure that would ease over time, though. My second issue was that accessing numbers, caps and symbols was non-standard. You basically have to hit a button to reveal those keys – essentially replacing your QWERTY letters with different combinations of numbers and symbols. This slowed me down quite a bit. Again, it’s just something you have to get used to.
Dave said he had his iPad on for nearly 10 hours without a recharge – mainly because it was set up to run in low-brightness (about 10%). Personally, that’s too dim for me, but it did mean he ran the iPad for the entire day on a single charge – not too shabby!
I didn’t have much time to play around with the Internet browser, but did look over his shoulder and it was pretty much what you would expect. He was able to connect to my (non-Apple) wireless network quickly and page load time was more than acceptable.
Overall, I was very impressed with the device, but found it a bit awkward to hold and difficult to type. Two things I’m sure would ease over time, should one of these fun little devices make it way on to my birthday wish list.