Reviewed by malikona (Currently owns)
I've had the iPad since it was released and have spent countless hours using it for everything from web browsing & e-mail to note taking with a capacitive stylus and making music. The greatest strengths of the iPad and iOS are the ecosystem and the physical products. Omitted from that list is the operating software, not because it is bad, but because it is no longer the competitive advantage it once was, at least to the semi-geek consumer. iOS is still simple, elegant, and buttery-smooth (traits which even Android 4.0 lacks - and yes, I own a Galaxy Nexus), but it does feel dated and restrictive compared to Android 4.0.
Both have their frustrations: bugs, glitches, & stutter on Android, cumbersome multitasking, weak notifications, and a simplistic interface on iOS. On a device like the iPad, I would prefer the first set of shortcomings to the second, if given the option. That said, the variety of extremely high-quality apps available for the iPad combined with the rock-solid stability and reliability of the OS and the device itself more than make up for the limitations of iOS on this form factor - for now. My experience with the Nexus tells me that if an iPad-type device ran an ICS-like OS, I would use it more like a real computer (which is to say I'd jump back-and-forth spastically between apps), and less like a single-purpose device, which is how I mostly use the iPad.
In a way, though, that quality of iOS - that it really compels you to just focus on one app at a time - makes it better for certain applications (and for ADD people like me). As a device for displaying photo or video content, or for viewing PDFs or digital books and websites, this iOS and this form factor are pitch perfect. Say you need to have a document open for reference while you're writing an article; you tap the Goodreader icon and set the iPad on your desk (and work until the battery dies 10 hours later). It just has laser-like precision and performance at any given task at any given time. As a device for day-to-day computing though (which is what it's billed as), sort of absently browsing the web, checking e-mail, tweeting, listening to music, playing games, etc. - like you use your laptop - I find it to be sort of frustrating to use. App-switching, while functional, is basically a convoluted 'previous app' button. The endless grid of icons and mire of generic 'folders' encourages you to forget about apps for months at a time, and it's almost always faster just to search for them by name. The notification system is just as easily forgotten, and when you do think to swipe down from the top of the screen it seems unnatural and intrusive.
Out of words - summary: Awesome, if you know how to make the most of it.
- Design 10
- Display 8
- Speakers 8
- Performance 10
- Software 8
- Battery life 10
- Ecosystem 10