Saturday, March 17, 2012

The New iPad (3rd Gen): First Impressions

I received a white 16GB 3rd Generation iPad (WIFI) on Friday and thought I would post my first impressions here. First a little insight, this is my first tablet, but I have been an iOS (iPhone) user for several years now. These impressions are as much about the iPad as a concept, rather than just of the new model on it's own.

1) Apps, are much nicer to use on the iPad than the iPhone 4. This is primarily a result of the larger screen, which provides more usable space. The iPad is faster than the iPhone 4 (I don't have the 4s) that I use, but not by a huge margin. What really makes the new iPad a pleasure to use is the 1GB of RAM on board, which leads to fewer webpage refreshes after switching tabs. Apps like Mail, Twitter, Safari, Notes, iBooks and just about any others that are optimized for the new iPad are more responsive. 

2) Browsing the web on the iPad is very much like using an Apple desktop, with the wireless "Magic" trackpad, or a notebook. In other words, the experience is pleasant to say the least. Being able to visit full sites, rather than mobile versions, is a real plus for using the iPad vs an iPhone or iPod Touch when browsing on the couch.  The WIFI connection solid, and displays strong signal strength in areas where the iPhone 4 has reduced performance.

3) The new high resolution screen is crisp, with vivid colours, and is simply a joy to look at. I watched a TV show on Netflix, along with some clips on youtube last night and the video quality was very good considering that it was only 1080p or 720p video. In some ways it is nicer than watching videos on my 27" iMacs screen (hard to believe, but true). 
Photos look excellent on the screen, and that was one of the main reasons why I held out for the new iPad over the iPad 2. Apps not designed for the new screen look okay, as long as you keep them at iPhone size. Once you upscale they look pixely, but most aren't too bad , unless you hold the screen really close to your face.

4) On screen typing is not the most pleasant experience, the screen is too wide. It might just be something I have to get used to, but I'm looking forward to using the Siri dictation feature more in the future. So far my tests with Siri dictation have gone well, although it does make some mistakes. Not bad considering that I haven't used it very much. Keep in mind that this comment is based on use when holding the iPad, rather than use with a smart cover, case or stand to hold it.

5) The weight of the iPad is of some concern, it starts to feel a little heavy after a while. Holding it started cause arm fatigue after extended use. I don't think this will be a major issue, but right now it would be my only beef I have with the iPad.