Wednesday, May 16, 2012

We love:

We've had our iPad for about a month. I think that's long enough to be able to give a fair assessment of it. So, since we've had a few people asking about how we're liking it, here it is:

For the most part, we love it. We're not Apple fans. Everything we own does not have that damn piece of fruit all over it. Actually, we try to steer clear of most of it. It's a fine line between being appreciative of good technology and being perceived as an Apple hugging hipster. And lord knows that's the last thing we want. So I got rid of my iPhone. And I'm so glad I did. I really hated it (see more on that here). We have an old iPod that we use for running. But we don't own any other Apple products. Since I travel a lot, I was in search of something that was compact and discreet but large enough for me to actually see what I was doing while away from home. I hated checking email and using the internet on my phone and won't lug our laptop around because it has a 17" screen, weighs about 20 pounds, takes forever to boot up, and gets overheated easily. Enter the iPad. For me, it's the perfect combination of elements from an iPhone and a laptop. I really enjoy using it. And since we keep ours in a dodocase (see here), it's almost undetectable as a piece of technology.

Originally, I was interested in the Kindle Fire because I could see the benefits of having an e-reader (for trips mostly) that also let you use the internet. But I finally decided on the iPad because it can do all of the things that the Kindle Fire can do plus about a million other things.

Here's what we love most about it:

  • it's small so it's easy to carry it around, but not so small that it's difficult to see things on the screen
  • it's so much faster than the iPhone so streaming videos and movies is easier (which we do a lot of)
  • playing games with two people is so much easier than it has ever been, even on a PC
  • the front camera lets us video chat from anywhere with ease
  • the screen resolution really is fantastic
  • the battery life is pretty long, letting us surf to our hearts' content
Here's what we don't like:
  • it's an Apple product. We're still struggling with this one
  • apps run in the background and unless you remember to close them, they run the battery down
  • it doesn't have a word processor (and the one in the app store is expensive)
  • sometimes the touch keyboard messes up (this can be fixed by purchasing the keyboard accessory)
  • we had some problems with it randomly unlocking itself, staying connected to our wi-fi connection (this may be a problem with our router), and then just shutting itself off altogether. We took it into the Apple store to have diagnostics run, and since it was still under warranty, they just gave us a new one 
Here's a list of apps that we are currently using (all are free -- we refuse to pay for an app):
  • The Weather Channel -- to check the weather report every morning
  • Dropbox -- the coolest thing ever. Check it out now.
  • Kindle -- great for reading e-books
  • Lose It! -- to help keep me on track
  • Skype -- helps me keep in touch with friends and family
  • Netflix -- stream movies and shows instantly
  • Epicurious -- perfect for cooking and recipes
  • IMDB -- answers those questions we always have when watching TV or movies
  • Map Draw -- to plan running routes and calculate distance
  • Pandora -- listen to streaming music
  • AP Mobile -- Associated Press, for news
  • Games: right now we're loving Solitaire, Angry Birds, and anything by Big Fish
  • YouTube -- of course. Andrew might die without YouTube
  • Speed Test -- lets you test the speed of your internet connection

I'm glad we have it. It makes searching for information easier, it's more convenient, and keeps us entertained. We've got a couple trips coming up and I'm sure it will come in very handy. It already has. But I don't think we would have gotten one if we loved our iPhones or had a laptop that was easily portable. I don't think I could have justified it. 

So if you don't have a smartphone (or hate yours like we did), are unhappy with your laptop, or are just looking for an alternative portable device, I would recommend looking into the iPad. It may just be your perfect fit. 

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