Apple iPad review: First look

Is the Apple iPad really any good or just a lot of hot air? We review it to find out.

Apple iPad

Multimedia is tricky territory for the iPad. There will be tons of video content available to iPad users through iTunes and also through third parties. Video is amazing on the high resolution iPad display and the built-in speaker isn't terrible, but, in reality, who wants to watch TV or films on a tablet?

Sitting and holding the device in your lap while watching video is undesirable at best. Using a stand to prop the iPad up makes things a bit more tolerable, but it's still less than optimal. We can imagine being content watching a film on an iPad during a long flight or train ride, but in most other situations it borders on being ridiculous. A laptop, or of course a TV, provides a much more comfortable viewing experience - even if the video quality can't match the iPad.

In terms of sitting in a park on a nice sunny day and catching up on that episode of Eastenders you missed, don't even think about it. As we have mentioned above, video in the sun is an absolute disaster on the iPad.

Where music is concerned, the iPad is just as awkward. There is no situation we can think of that would make using an iPad to listen to music more enjoyable than using a stereo system, mobile phone or a portable media player. The tweaked iPod interface on the iPad is great, the revised iTunes UI is beautiful and the audio quality through the headphone jack matches that of the iPhone and iPod touch - but it's still just silly.

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The only reason to listen to music on the iPad is if you're already using it to do something else. For example, if you're on a bus browsing the web (once the 3G version is released) or in a park reading a book (under the shade of a tree, so you don't strain your eyes), listening to music in the background is fine. Why not? You'll be able to leave your MP3 player at home and extend the battery life of your phone.

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