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Apple iPad review

Jason Snell | April 5, 2010
It was hyped and ripped before it even had a name, and after it was announced, it was both praised and panned.

Geeky chip talk aside, the iPad flies. It was fast at almost everything I threw at it. The only times I found myself waiting were either for content to download over the network or for one of the iWork apps to convert a file into its native file format. Games played smoothly, with gorgeous graphics. There's no lag when panning and zooming around large images. Any touch-based device stands or falls based on how quickly and smoothly the content on the screen can react to the movement of fingers on that screen. The iPad passes that test masterfully.

As a bare measure of speed, I ran the SunSpider JavaScript performance test from within the iPad's Safari browser. The iPad passed the tests in 10.4 seconds. Last September I ran that same test on every iPhone OS model ever released, and the fastest device of the lot (the iPhone 3GS) ran the test in 15.5 seconds. (In contrast, the original iPhone took 36 seconds to run that test.) So the iPad has taken the crown as the fastest iPhone OS device on the planet.

Apple hasn't released details of the battery that's powering the iPad, but whatever combination of battery and power efficiency is lurking behind that aluminum back, it's impressive. Apple boasts a 10-hour battery life for the iPad, and most reports from reviewers who have spent a week or more with the device suggest that the real-world life of that battery is even longer. My two days with the iPad bear out those reports. If you charge the iPad overnight, you can pretty much use it the whole day.

We'll have more extensive speed and battery testing in the next few days at Macworld.com, but the short version is this: it's fast and the battery lasts.

Typing on the iPad

The iPad's software keyboard is more typeable than I would have ever thought possible. This is not to say that it's a suitable equivalent for a hardware keyboard--it's not, and Apple has as much as admitted it by offering a Keyboard Dock as an optional accessory. But with some focus and a little practice, I was able to type with both hands at a decent enough pace. The keyboard in landscape mode isn't quite the size of a real keyboard, but it's close, and once you've got both hands on the keyboard you can really start picking up speed.

The software keyboard makes good use of the shift keys, giving you quick access to two extra punctuation symbols. Unfortunately, there isn't enough room to include the apostrophe or quotation mark on the first level of the keyboard, and those symbols and the numbers were the speed bumps in my otherwise passable typing sessions. I don't think I would ever choose to compose a long e-mail or write a lengthy document using the software keyboard, but it proved good enough for small bouts of typing.

 

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