Apple iPad Review
This review has been updated on April 9.

In this review we are testing the Wi-Fi-only version of the Apple iPad. There will also be a Wi-Fi+3G version, which supports HSDPA 7.2Mbps at 850/1900/2100 MHz. It will be AT&T compatible and the carrier will offer pre-paid data plans for it. Note that the iPad cannot be used for phone calls.

Introduction and Design:

Let us start by saying this: Apple has not created anything new with the iPad, just like they didn’t create anything new with the iPod or iPhone.  If you look at it, Apple rarely creates something new, they simply take an old idea, let it establish a niche in the marketplace and then completely rethink it.  Take the iPod, arguably the product that brought them where they are today.  Digital music players had been around for years before Cupertino got around to releasing the iconic white rectangle, but the iPod was different.  It had a positively massive 5GB of storage and the interface was so simple to use on the monochrome LCD.

Fast forward to the iPad and we see an even more drastic gap between product introduction and Appleification.  Microsoft (of all companies) showed the first tablet computers back in 2000 (check out the press release, it’s a fun read 10 years later.)  The tablet is described as “a long-cherished goal for technology visionaries and computer designers,” but as we know even though the tablet produces lots of ohhs and ahhs and gadget envy, it has failed to gain any real traction in the marketplace.  So why now and what makes Apple think they can do it any differently?  The iPad has the power of the App Store behind it but is still missing some of the basic components of computing such as multitasking (sound familiar?)  So where exactly does the not-quite-a-computer iPad fit into your gadget lineup, and more importantly is it worth it?

UPDATE: Since Apple announced that the iPad will get multitasking and the other new features of iPhone OS 4 this fall, we take some of our criticisms we had towards it back. Read here for the full details about iPhone OS 4.

Like Apple so often does, let’s start with design.  The iPad should look extremely familiar since- in effect- it is a giant iPhone/iPod Touch.  The display has blown up to  9.7” but a single home button remains on the front bezel, and along the sides you’ll find the volume control, switch (now to lock rotation,) a power button, 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker and of course Apple’s proprietary charging and data connector.  What it does not have is a built-in expansion port, so you’re stuck with a myriad of accessories or the memory you buy it with.

It weighs in at just 1.5lbs (1.6 when it becomes 3G equipped) but feels much heavier.  Almost to a T everyone who picked up our iPad remarked on the weight before anything else.  It’s nearly a pound lighter than any netbook on the market, but doesn’t feel substantially lighter than our HP Mini 10.  Like the original iPhone the back is wrapped in brushed aluminum, and of course the screen is glass.  It’s not that the iPad is heavy, it’s just that it’s heavier then you’d expect from such a thin device.  When we reviewed the iPhone we appreciated its extra weight because it gave the device a high-end feeling.  The iPad construction is without a doubt top notch, but we would prefer it to shed some significant weight.

Then there’s the problem of feel.  The second question out of most people’s mouths was “does it come with a case?”  The curved back, brushed aluminum finish and glass front all make for a slippery device, and while we’ve had no problems the iPad does feel like it could slip out of your hands at any moment.  The cold aluminum is very impersonal as well.  To wander down the psychological pathway for a minute here the iPad is a very sterile and uninviting device.  It’s cold and hard to the touch and evokes almost no emotion when handled.  The design language is so familiar at this point that there is no wow factor like the first time you used an iPhone or held an aluminum body MacBook Pro.



1. nak1017

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

And it's still not a phone... or even really in the same class as a phone...

2. jhoots

Posts: 74; Member since: Jan 13, 2010

they arent trying to market it as a phone.. i think this device is pointless. it aims to take marketshare from netbooks and mini labtops but how can it without flash and no multitasking capabilities?? id much rather spend my money on a tablet PC labtop.. all the trendsters will buy it but its a waste! like they pointed out in the article it doesnt do anything new. it is a super sized ipod touch thats it!! try jogging with this strapped to you trendsters.. haha it probably would be good for college students that want to download book and text on it for school but for the price and lack of function id just go with a laptop.i hope that it does one thing though.. and that is get people interested in simple and easy apps for regular netbooks and laptops. to help make the PC more personal and less complex for the simple (non-geek) everyday user. imagine, if you start telling the average consumer they can now do apps on their computer (i know laptops already do better than this) they be more interested and and excited. you can kind of trick them into buying things like this just because the vast popularity of "apps"

13. nak1017

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

It's on "Phonearena", not "Netbook-ish device arena". I expect to atleast be able to make a phone call without 3rd party VOIP software.

3. ilia1986 unregistered

"Things like playing 3D games, seamlessly surfing the web, enjoying YouTube and other video, emailing, reading e-books and even basic document editing. Yes, you can already do most of that with certain smartphones, but not in that smooth, easy and intuitive way the iPad allows you to" Explain please. How is the iPad any different in that aspect from the iPhone? Of course it has a larger screen, but considering that the 3.5" screen of the iPhone looks way better than a lot of smartphones out there - I really fail to see a significant advantage here.

4. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

i thought about replacing my computer with the ipad, but it doesnt come with a disc drive so theres no point in buying it. apple has become boring and all 3 products are literally the same. you can download the line2 app so u can make phone calls with the ipad and with the $30 AT&T data plan, u have a big azz iphone without a contract. apple needs to stop making generic devices and get creative like HTC and even blackberry

6. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010


7. AaronWasHere

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 10, 2010

+2 lol

22. david_the_gom

Posts: 114; Member since: Dec 20, 2008

+3 wow~

5. electro.livin

Posts: 17; Member since: Feb 15, 2010

i would be a bit worried about using this say on a train or bus cause it's probably going to get nicked (unless you use it as a weapon)

8. cellgeek82

Posts: 518; Member since: Dec 20, 2009

So lets see, an iPhone (or iPod Touch) for a couple hundred dollars that fits in my pocket, looks stylish, has enough bells and whistles, makes phone calls (iPhone). And of course the iPhone has the wireless network advantage. Or get a $500 device that doesn't fit in anything less than a dufflebag, doesn't do much more than an iPhone/iPod, can't make phone calls, probably expensive as hell to insure (if available) in case of theft or damage...I don't get it! WHY? Do people actually spend money on crap like this? I'm not saying it's not functional, but it's useless. Why get a giant iPod? Have fun traveling with this. I'm an Android user but would definatly consider the iPhone over an iPad any day. iPad = iDon't Android/iPhone = Does!

12. nak1017

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

Agreed, this thing is a pseudo bastard child of an ipod touch and a netbook and doesn't replicate the features and conveniences which made each respective product standout. I hope Apple gets their nose blooded a little on this venture so they have to go back to the drawing board and try to innovate a little bit more...

16. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

He called it a bastard child ROFLMFAO!! Classic! +1

9. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

once again PHONEarena.. THIS IS NOT A PHONE

10. Rico Dinero

Posts: 21; Member since: Oct 28, 2009

its another way Apple can put their hands in your pockets. And not even in the good way. For 500.00, I better get a reacharound instead of getting F&$%ed

11. Dddroid

Posts: 9; Member since: Dec 30, 2009

LOL no hd playback... fail

14. fsjon

Posts: 120; Member since: Sep 03, 2009

Once Chrome OS is finally out the door, imagine that on a slate/tablet design! And by then, the table design will be matured and know what design elements work best. I can see it now where I can replace my computer with a chrome OS tablet!!

15. fongy

Posts: 41; Member since: Feb 09, 2010

I think that this is a very good review.... My main problem is the score - with all those negatives (a lot more than positives, and fundamental negatives at that) and considering niche appeal and considering alternatives... 8/10? Really? Tops 7/10, realistically 6/10... I bet CNET will do exactly the same, all major reviewers appear to shy away from giving apple products anything less than 8/10 despite better competition... Bizarre... but predictable...

17. vzwtech86

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 31, 2009

I don't understand why everyone is hating on the iPad...I have one and I think that it's great. People need to give it a chance. The apps on it are so much better than on the iPhone and gaming blows the psp and the ds out of the water IMO. Not only that but the games are still cheaper than the psp and the ds by 15 to 20 bucks, sometimes even more. The only gripe I have is that the iPhone apps scaled up kinda look like garbage so it kinda forces you to rebuy the HD resolution versions which kinda sucks but is still cheaper than buying ds and psp games. And I personally don't like flash in the first place html5 just seems better to me. Call me a fanboy if you want but I use a nexus one for my cell phone and I like android as well. Once you actually own one it's really another story. And the battery life is just phenomenal. I can seriously watch 7 or 8 movies back to back and still be at around 30 percent battery. Btw I typed this all on my iPad. I rarely use my MacBook or nexus one for browsing anymore either. Anyways, everyone needs to give it a chance.

20. jellyelly

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 14, 2009

You are what they call a SUCKAAAA lol........Apple got you for your MONEYYYYYY lol just like they got my brother you guys are both idiots lol........i dont have a i pad and i never need to. Sure I will agree over all its cool because iphones and itouches are cool as well and the ipad is just that, just waaaay bigger and 7 to 8 movies please, my brother got the ipad and he loves it as much as you do but even he said 7 to 8 movies back to back is pure B.S. and what are you talking html5 is better html5 isnt completely developed. Still in 2010 your tablet, cpu, netbook, smartphone would be a lot cooler with flash player. Ipad over all is cool but nothing new and there are certainly better things out there. Too much money, very limited hardware and software(meaning no room for expansion) and i typed this on my HP laptop by the way and i bet i did it a lot faster then you did. = }

23. sgg61991 unregistered

HP FTW! Anyways, I completely agree with you. Plus, there's no multitasking (as of yet). I had multitasking on my HP PocketPC that came out in like 2005 (it still works btw). For all of the hubbub Apple gets, it's a pretty big oversight for them not to include it. Especially if it's supposed to compete with netbooks.

24. nmajors

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 18, 2010

HP rocks. Game, set, match Apple. Honestly if you can survive on device that only runs one app at a time then you might as well go check into the elderly center because there's no way you're living in the real world with its technological demands. Also written on an HP.

30. WKlingbeil

Posts: 215; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

Not to mention, how can you even compare gaming on the iPad to a PSP or DS? I mean, good luck fitting an iPad in your pocket, because that's what DSes and PSPs were created for. They weren't created for college kids to carry around in purses, they were created for handheld gaming and mobility. Apple is waaayyyyyy too arrogant because they've even made those comparisons of the iPhone to a DS or PSP, which is ridiculous. The iPhone has nothing on a PSP for gaming, bottomline, even though at least it meets the pocket-sized gaming criteria. I won't get into the rest of it because I've never used the iPad, but I do have eyes and can plainly see that an iPad is in a completely different market segment than a PSP or DS.

18. CRICKETownz

Posts: 980; Member since: Oct 24, 2009 actually seems like they are bashing their once precious Apple product maker...interesting

19. mr. anderson

Posts: 92; Member since: Apr 16, 2009

their last iphone review wasnt all that great either, and despite the score the review was only so-so on the 3g. methinks phonearena arent the apple fanboys theyre made out to be

21. jellyelly

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 14, 2009

html5 isnt completely even finished*

25. adash13x

Posts: 20; Member since: Apr 08, 2010

NOT a phone!! WTF?!!! get this crap outta here!

26. ZeroC00L

Posts: 11; Member since: Apr 22, 2010

I made the move into Steve Job's pocket 3 years ago, and NEVER looked back!!! As an iPhone, Macbook Pro, iTouch user, I was excited to see the iPad make its way into the scene. Everyone has opinions, and obviously Apple has created an incredibly successful business model from hype (such as how the "Bar Floor iPhone 4" issue reaching headlines nationwide!!) I think with time, just as with all Apple products, the iPad will truly demonstrate its capabilities. I can already see the holiday season bringing about new colors and features, with OS updates coming soon as well. Personally, I would buy an iPad decades before I'd buy a lame Netbook!! I work for a prominent Mobile Phone company, and the issues with Windows Based Netbooks are endless. Of course nothing is perfect!! Just my opinion, but if and when the iPad supports Adobe programs, such as CS4 (or soon to be released CS5!) with Illustrator and Photoshop, MY life will never be the same!! I would love to edit and create on a screen with my fingers as opposed to using a mouse or a pen tablet tool. THAT is when the iPad will truly show its value and potential!! Its good to read everyone's thoughts tho... Very valid points!!

27. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

You must be the one trolling around giving everyone -1 for negative crApple comments...Good luck waiting for more Adobe products. FAIL

31. ILOVEIPHONE25 unregistered

i don't like your attitude.

28. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

I would rather have my HP latop or tablet - I can do a whole lot more than on the closed OS of APPLE......
  • Display 9.7" 1024 x 768 pixels
  • Processor Apple A4, Single core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 64GB

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