Apple iPad Gets Reviewers Thumbs Up

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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The Apple iPad has received mostly positive reviews, but users have been warned that the device may not suitable for everyone

The Apple iPad has been reviewed by The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and while both agreed it was a great device, they warned it is not suitable for everyone.

Laptop Replacement

So is the Apple iPad going to replace your laptop? Well it depends on who you are and how you use your laptop – that’s the nutshell verdict from The New York Times’ David Pogue and the Wall Street Journal’s Walter S. Mossberg, whose separate reviews of the iPad went live 31 March.

“I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly and challenge the primacy of the laptop,” Mossberg wrote.

“But first,” he continued, “it will have to prove that it really can replace the laptop or netbook for enough common tasks, enough of the time, to make it a viable alternative.”

Pogue, usually the less persnickety of the two, offered compliments where they were due but was far from as effusive as the clearly more smitten Mossberg. Pogue, hearing vastly different early sentiments coming in from two camps – techies and regular consumers – split his review, addressing each group separately.

Still, to neither group was he as upbeat or positive as he’s been in reviews of the Palm Pre, say, or the Motorola Droid.

The Nitty Gritty

The iPad’s screen is big and glossy but “every fingerprint is grossly apparent,” Pogue wrote. There’s an ebook reader, but the book selection is “puny,” you can’t read the screen well in direct sunlight, the 1.5-pound iPad quickly becomes a whole lot heavier than the 10-ounce Kindle, and the iPad is not going to save the newspaper or book industries. “And,” Pogue added, “you can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine – not even a Mac or iPhone.”

Mossberg, however, found the half-inch-thick iPad a refreshing change from carrying around a laptop; found – as Pogue did – the iPad’s battery to outlast Apple’s promise by more than an hour; and, as an e-reader, thought the iPad is “better in my view than the Amazon Kindle.”

However, Mossberg, too, agreed that the iPad is notably heavier than the Kindle and requires two hands for reading.

Where Mossberg found typing on the on-screen keyboard, in a horizontal position, to be “more comfortable and accurate to use than the cramped keyboards and touchpad’s on many netbooks,” and thought the iPad case, sold separately for $39 (£26), to “bend to set up a nice angle for typing,” Pogue found it “just barely usable.”

When used vertically, the iPad’s on-screen keyboard offered, Pogue wrote, a “horrible experience.”