iPad 2

It’s easy to say, “Oh, I don’t *need* a tablet.” Or “It’s really a luxury item.” Those things are true but that doesn’t stop one from salivating over something shiny like the iPad. The price point made it unpractical, so I dismissed it from my mind even though I still read reviews and such in passing. One day, I told myself, one day I’d have one in my hand and have my way with it.

Can you tell I like my tech toys?

The day came and our household now has the iPad 2. Black, 16 GB, Verizon version. We probably won’t use the 3G very often but it’s nice to know it’s there if we need it.

First impressions…

So pretty. So light. So responsive. Turn it on and handle your business. No waiting to log in. It’s like your phone– it’s just on when you hit that power button. Or when you draw back the smart cover.

I’m a bit prone to dropping things though I haven’t dropped my current phone (the Epic 4G) nor my e-reader. So I try to handle the iPad with careful hands. I probably don’t need to be so delicate with it but since we’re sharing the device, I don’t want to be the one blamed for any mishaps. LOL!

Off the top

Wi-Fi – We have slight issues with Apple products connecting to our wi-fi. Oh, the Apple products seem to connect just fine but another device will suddenly lose its connection. It’s already happened once but since then it seems that all is fine. For now. Otherwise, the iPad 2 connects quite easily to the wi-fi.

Browsing on the Internet – The iPad 2 goes to all the places I frequent with much ease. Everything looks as it should. I suppose I haven’t gone to many Flash-heavy sites because I haven’t noticed the lack of Flash. I think some of the sites read the device browser as mobile and use the mobile versions of the site.

Cameras – First off, the cameras suck. Second off, who’s really going to use the rear facing camera to take pictures? It’s awkward and the results are less than stellar. Still, I suppose when you’re video-chatting, you can switch views to give the person on the other end a look at your surroundings. Oh, and programs like Instagram give the photos a bit more flare. The front facing camera fares no better but does a decent job for video-chatting purposes.

Video-chatting – Woohoo, I can FaceTime now! Wait, I only know one person who has an iPhone 4. Bummer. Oh, but wait! Fring works on the iPad 2? Why yes it does! Video-chatting with something other than FaceTime is possible. Nice.

Apps – Well, we all know that the Apple has an extensive store of apps. The two aforementioned apps (Instagram and Fring) are actually optimized for the iPhone but work just fine on the iPad 2. You can find so much in the app store. Just looking at all of it *almost* makes me think I’d like to have an iPhone again. Almost. But that’s another story.

Media – I haven’t gotten a chance to download my movies but from what I’ve seen (trailers and such), stuff looks great on the iPad 2. The speakers are decent. I haven’t tried it with my headphones yet.

Games – I’ve downloaded the HD version of Angry Birds Rio. It’s freakin’ pretty! I’m not a big gamer at all so I can’t really say how the iPad 2 works for the gamer types. I just know that playing Angry Birds Rio is awesome.

Keyboard – Although it’s strange to type on the iPad 2, it’s not difficult. The keyboard is easy, responsive, and accurate. I don’t think I’d want to write a novel on it but it’s acceptable for writing short LJ entries as well as status updates on Twitter or Facebook.

Smart Cover – The Smart Cover is rather genius. It’s too bad it’s a separate accessory. The Smart Cover turns on the iPad when pulled off and it folds over nicely. You can also fold it to make the iPad stand, which could come in handy on a table.
iPad 2
iPad 2
iPad 2

Apps I like

Flipboard – I read a lot of tech blogs and such and Robert Scoble swore by Flipboard. Of course, since I didn’t have an iPad at the time, I just dismissed his assessment. Why read and learn about something I wouldn’t get to use? But of course, now that I have an iPad, I had to try out Flipboard. It’s spectacular! It’s like an RSS reader but your stuff is presented magazine style. You can have a feed for anything– tech blogs, news sites, personal blogs, Flickr, Facebook, etc. It really is fantastic and fantastic for the iPad.

Angry Birds Rio HD – Yes, I like Angry Birds. And the Rio version has added some new things. Plus it’s just so pretty on the iPad 2.

Instagram – This app is optimized for the iPhone but works fine on the iPad 2. Of course, as mentioned above, the cameras suck on the iPad. Instagram takes the suckiness and makes it rather artsy with all the different filters. As long as you have a good internet connection, photos post quickly. I dearly wish that this app was on Android as well as I would love to use it with my Epic 4G.

IMDB – I don’t there’s a day that goes by that I don’t visit the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Do you ever think, “Oh, I’ve seen that person somewhere?” while watching a show or a movie? Well, open up the IMDB and find out if that familiar face has appeared on something else you’ve seen. Watch trailers, look up information, and check out photos of your favorite movies, shows, and actors. Tis fantastic!

Fring – This IM app does so much but what I really like about it is that you can video chat to anyone else who has Fring and a front facing camera on their phone. It would be even cooler if you could video chat with someone to their computer but so far I can’t find anything that does that. Since I haven’t tried to FaceTime with anyone, Fring is a great alternative.

iPad 2
MLB.com At Bat 2011 – As a baseball fan, I could not pass up this app. It would be totally cool if we actually had a subscription to mlb.tv so that we can get the tv broadcasts of the off-market games. April is free at the moment for the tv showings and I think I’ll be sad when we can’t look in on any game. Otherwise, it’s a great app and a must-have for baseball fans.

To summarize

I am most definitely enjoying the iPad. It’s a little weird to “share” a device again but it seems to be working out fine so far. It definitely elicits a bit of iPhone longing but knowing that there’s really no way we’re going back to AT&T or Verizon puts that longing in perspective. Now, if the iPhone ever makes its way to Sprint, I might have something serious to consider.

I do like being part of the Apple scene again. The iPad 2 is easy to use, beautiful, and functional. If you’re in the market for a tablet, this one will not disappoint. 🙂 Even though I’m an Android phone user, I still appreciate the simplicity of Apple products. They just work the way they should.