Crib Sheet: First iPad Reviews

The embargo on iPad reviews lifted at 9 p.m. Wednesday, and several major (and a couple of minor) publications released their reviews. Some are informative, some are navel-gazing, but many make points we might not have considered.



Major publications like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Chicago Sun-Times all got Apple iPad review units–but so did odder pubs like and PCMag. I read through them all so you don’t have to–and here’s what I learned that I didn’t know before.

  • The screen is a fingerprint magnet. (The New York Times)
  • The virtual keyboard is “a horrible experience” when in portrait mode; in landscape, it’s “just barely usable” (The New York Times), though some find it “acceptable.” (PCMag)
  • The larger screen does drastically change the way you operate. “Maps become real maps” (The New York Times), you often get two panels to work with (Wall Street Journal),
  • Apps designed for the iPhone do, in fact, look blurry, with text often hard to read. (All reviews)
  • Early killer app: The Elements, an electronic book in which every single item is interactive. “This is the version you check out from the Hogwarts library. Everything
    in it is alive in some way.” (Boing Boing)
  • Battery life is amazing, better than even Apple rated it–many reviewers eked out 12 hours.
  • Weight might be a problem when considering long-term reading: At 1.5 pounds, its far heavier than, for example, the 10-ounce Kindle. (All reviews)
  • The bookstore is woefully understocked at the moment, with only 60,000 books (compared to over 450,000 in the Kindle store). (USA Today)
  • The iPad doesn’t include Apple’s signature white earbuds nor a screen cleaner–just the iPad, one-page manual, USB cord, and USB-to-AC adapter. (PCMag)
  • The $40 iPad case from Apple might be essential; it holds the screen at a more usable angle for typing as well as viewing. (PCMag)
  • If you’re a Gmail user, simply visiting Gmail in the browser might be a better idea than using the Mail app–you get access to more features, including Gchat. (PCMag)
  • Like the iPhone, the iPad’s screen is in between fullscreen and widescreen–so any video you watch is going to have black bars around it. (All reviews)

And the takeaway, from each review:

The New York Times: “And the techies are right about another thing: The iPad is not a laptop.
It’s not nearly as good for creating stuff. On the other hand, it’s
infinitely more convenient for consuming it — books, music, video,
photos, Web, e-mail and so on. For most people, manipulating these
digital materials directly by touching them is a completely new
experience — and a deeply satisfying one.”


Wall Street Journal: “If people see the iPad mainly as an extra device to carry around, it
will likely have limited appeal. If, however, they see it as a way to
replace heavier, bulkier computers much of the time—for Web surfing,
email, social-networking, video- and photo-viewing, gaming, music and
even some light content creation–it could be a game changer the way
Apple’s iPhone has been.”

USA Today: “Apple has pretty much nailed it with this first iPad, though there’s
certainly room for improvement. Nearly three years after making a splash
with the iPhone, Apple has delivered another impressive product that
largely lives up to the hype.”

Boing Boing: “Maybe the most exciting thing about iPad is the apps that aren’t here
yet. […] I like it a lot. But it’s the things I never knew it made possible —
to be revealed or not in the coming months — that will determine whether
I love it.”


PCMag: “There may be things it doesn’t
do, but what it does do, it does remarkably well. Aside from the
aforementioned limitations, there isn’t a lot else to gripe about. And
to my great surprise, you can actually get real work done with the iPad.”

Read more iPad


About the author

Dan Nosowitz is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Popular Science, The Awl, Gizmodo, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and currently lives in Brooklyn, because he has a beard and glasses and that's the law