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April 2, 2010

iPad reviews: great e-reader, but is it a game-changer?

ty burrell ipad reviews

Apple's iPad got a hilariously favorable review on this week's "Modern Family," as dad Phil (actor Ty Burrell at left) dreams about, obsesses over, and does everything short of sleeping with his birthday gift. With the iPad's release date scheduled Saturday, more analytical reviews are coming in, too. Most note that the tablet's shortcomings for business users may prevent it from replacing the laptop. You can read more iPad coverage, and here are some non-Phil review excerpts, with an emphasis on the e-reader function. (They neglect to mention a side-effect -- the increase of e-book prices.)

Walter Mossberg, Wall Street Journal -- The iPad is much more than an e-book or digital periodical reader, though it does those tasks brilliantly, better in my view than the Amazon Kindle. ... I consider the larger color screen superior to the Kindle’s, and encountered no eye strain. ... The iBooks app also lacks any way to enter notes, and Apple’s catalog at launch will only be about 60,000 books versus more than 400,000 for Kindle.

New York Times -- You can’t read well in direct sunlight. At 1.5 pounds, the iPad gets heavy in your hand after awhile (the Kindle is 10 ounces). And you can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine — not even a Mac or iPhone.

Washington Post -- I could easily scroll along the bottom of a book to jump to a specific page, with no notable delay when doing so. And I particularly liked how the iPad showed the page number, and out of how many, you were jumping ahead to; and, how it indicated the number of pages remaining in the chapter. ... The flicker for a quick page turn bugged me--nevertheless, it was better than suffering through the multiple flashes that one endures on most E-Ink readers as they try to redraw the page.

PC Mag -- Is the iPad cheap? No. Is it flawless? Not at all. Omissions including support for multitasking, a built-in camera for video chats, and Flash support in Safari leave room for improvement, but otherwise, the Apple iPad is a very convincing debut.

USA Today -- Apple is taking solid aim at the burgeoning electronic-reader market dominated by the Kindle. Judged solely from a sizzle standpoint: There's no contest. Titles on the iPad such as Winnie the Pooh (which comes preloaded on the iPad) boast colorful illustrations. The 6-inch Kindle screen is grayscale. ... But Amazon retains some bragging points for avid readers, starting with a cheaper $259 price that I suspect will need to drop a lot further. At 10 hours or so, the iPad battery life, while impressive, falls far short of the two weeks you might get off a Kindle charge.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 12:30 AM | | Comments (12)


I have no interest in owning an iPad, but I DO enjoy spoofing it. My latest is:
“Apple iPad Debutante Ball is April 3, Kindle Says BIG WHOOP”

After hating on the Kindle for months we get all this love for a device that basically chains you to it's ecosystem. Lovely. You know people can read their Kindle books on PC's, Macs, the Iphone, and soon Android devices.

Where's the free Hulu? Have you seen the prices for newspapers on it? You do know only like 1 out of 10 purchasers intends to use it as an ereader.

If it had Flash and a camera, I'd consider it, but right now I plan to buy a Dell Mini 5, on which I'll be able to read books, watch Hulu, have a video chat, take pictures, and make a call. Smaller than the Ipad, but that's ok., I'd only have to carry one device to do it all.

I haven't seen one in real life, but I think portability will be an issue with this. I can slip a Kindle or Sony e-reader in my purse, but not an iPad. Even so, my hubby's like the guy on "Modern Family" - I think he dreams about iPads.

Imagine what kind of innovative products will be produced by all the iphone developers who now have a big and better device to make programs and games for.

Also I think Its quite ironic, as it would be an awesome handheld device and literally think it is definitely a 'game changer' and a threat to nintendo.

I think the real 'game-changer' from that Modern LIfe episode was that birthday app! Just got it and it works really well on the iPhone! Birthday A La Carte:

See? At 1.5 lbs, The iPad will also develop your biceps.

I love Modern Family! And after all of the decent reviews, I think I might love the iPad

I'm tired of everyone hailing the "eReader" functions on the iPad.

The Kindle, Nook, and Sony eReader have grayscale becaus they use eInk, a type of screen that does not require a back-light, aka, DOES NOT hurt your eyes while reading so that you can read for hours. eInk also happens to look extremely similar to a real page.

The iPad, on the other hand, uses an LCD screen which does have a backlight (a very brighrt backlight) and does hurt and damage your eyes over time.

The whole point of an eReader is that it is easy on your eyes. The iPad is not. It literally defeats the point of being an eReader. I can read my nook for hours in low light conditions and never realize I'm reading an electronic device much less feel any eye fatigue. The same is not true of the iPad. It's simply irresponsible to advocate reading on the iPad which is harmful to a person's eyes.

I really wish the reviews out there (and Apple itself) would be honest and note this point instead of advocating that a device be used for something that it is not designed to do. Instead Apple is more concerned with marketing and profits than being honest about the realistic and safe functions of its device.

The predictions that Amazone and other eReader producers will have to lower their prices might have some truth to it, but it largely unrealistic. As people begin to realize the fact that reading a book on an iPad hurts, more and more will gravitate back to eReaders with eye-safe screens.

The iPad is not an eReader, nor should it ever be.

Were it not for having to use an external light source on the Kindle, Nook, etc and dealing with the screen glare caused by them, I would agree with you on eyestrain. As it is, these devices aren't saving your eyes at all.

Now, I will be interested to see how well the iPad reads in full sun, as this has always been a weak point for LCD readers.

I find the iPad a GREAT eReader personally. Here's my full take on it

hi, good stuff to share about ipad books download. :)

The fact is the ipad will never be a great e-reader but it can be used as one. I will always have a kindle to read books but when i am in a sitation where i forget my kindle - then my ipad does a great job of letting me access my books on amazon. The point with the ipad is that it does lots of things - but like any gadget that does everything it will always be beaten by a device that only does on job - kindle, nook, sony...etc

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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