iPad review Pt.2: On the road
After yesterday’s rant, I’m going to move on to a more positive aspect of the iPad: it is a great tool for traveling! My iPad does not have 3G or GPS. In spite of that I am really enjoying it as an on-the-road device.
I brought a lot fewer pieces of paper with me than normal on this trip. Instead, I saved documents like flight schedules, hotel reservations, and such to PDF on the iPad using GoodReader. Mundane but very convenient.
The onscreen keyboard is user-friendly and the auto-correct function simplifies typing. Working at the keyboard in a seat on a smallish regional jet is not simple, but with the iPad it’s easier than being cramped in with a laptop. I just bought Documents to Go from Dataviz, which lets me create and edit Word and Excel files (the Premium version includes PowerPoint, but I’m not impressed with that piece). I also have Apple’s “Pages” app, but the Dataviz product has twice the functionality for the same price.
The iPad keeps a charge for a long time, and that is a huge plus when traveling. Don’t do what I did and forget the little charger block. It’s not the same as an iPhone charger – the iPad requires higher amperage. With the regular charger a full charge takes four hours or so. You might be able charge the device through your laptop – if you’re willing to wait a couple of days …
As with other iPhone OS devices, it’s easy to rearrange the way apps appear on a page. I shuffled the ones I thought I would use most on the trip onto the opening screen.
I’m glad I had to wait a while before taking the iPad on a trip. I didn’t have any gawkers drooling over the device in the airport. Now that iPhone 4 has been announced this device is inching toward the status of yesterday’s news.
I like the idea of being able to watch movies on a long flight. I have the smallest memory configuration, though, and I didn’t bring any with me. Netflix doesn’t yet have an option to download a movie rental, and streaming doesn’t work well on an airplane. The iTunes Store rents movie downloads for $0.99 to $3.99.
The iBook reader was great on the plane. I was reading Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, and it felt very natural. Setting the iPad in its case on the seat tray was actually more comfortable than holding it in my hands. It was a little less comfortable for my neck to be looking down, rather than holding the iPad upright and looking at it in front of me. I do wish the reader had a notes feature, where you could jot down ideas or reactions while reading a book. You can highlight very nicely in multiple colors, though. The Kindle app lets you take notes. At this point in time there seem to be a lot more books for Kindle than iPad, but that is likely to change quickly.