To get her first tablet, Bibi Nurshuhada Ramli goes to the Apple store in New York. Is the iPad worth flying halfway around the world for?
Review: The New iPad
When news about Apple´s latest iPad broke out, I just knew that I had to have one. I know there are other tablet brands in the market but the iPad is in a class of its own. So there I was, queuing up at The Apple Store in Fifth Avenue, Manhattan last month, just to get my hands on one of Steve Jobs´ legacies. Never mind that I ended up paying more. To wait for it to become available in Malaysia was a wee bit too long for me. The underground store was divided into several sections according to the devices offered – Macbook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, accessories, and so on. There was a special counter for the new iPad and iPhone 4S. The staff pointed me in the right direction and I was glad to see that the long line was moving fast. I made my payment to the weary-looking cashier, who brandished a portable credit card machine that looked uncannily like an iPhone. I was then whisked away to the heart of the store where tables had been set up for customers who wanted some guidance on their new devices. The employee assigned to me, Hajar, greeted me with a bright smile. “OK, I´m just going to open the plastic seal. Then I´ll let you do all the touching,” she said, referring to my new iPad. True to her words, she even let me open the box, take the iPad out, and tap in my details to register my device. Upon opening the white box, the iPad stared at me, shining so brightly. The first thing I did was to check the screen for clarity. Just like in the reviews, it was HD-worthy and I was blown away at first glance. I added HD videos that I had downloaded from YouTube into the iPad and was totally mesmerised by the crisp, razor-sharp and lifelike visuals. The 5-megapixel camera is excellent, especially the HD videos that it can record. Sadly, the same can´t be said of the VGA-quality FaceTime camera. What I love most about Apple products is its user-friendly interface. Everything is arranged in an orderly manner, without clutter. I was so enamoured that I kept tapping at everything in sight. Today, I call my iPad the “iTap”, which is pretty self-explanatory. I´d like to make a confession. The main reason I bought the iPad was for games. I was already hooked on some that I played on my iPhone and now, playing them on a bigger screen was even better. I like anything from Big Fish Games, particular the mystery-solving adventure games. The provider is known for its usage of high quality visuals, which is perfect for my iPad. Despite the fact that technology is forever growing, nothing is perfect and the new iPad is no exception. Like any other customer, I had complaints too. The iPad takes too long to charge! And it doesn´t charge when I connect it to my computer via USB. My iPod does. I usually use it as long as possible and charge it when I go to sleep. It will be fully juiced up when I wake up. My cousin once showed me a way to save the battery power – by turning off apps that I´d opened earlier but was not using as they were actually continuing to run in the background. Based on the reviews that I had read when the iPad was launched in the US, I had a clear idea of what to expect. Since I bought one with only Wi-Fi, the last thing I wanted was a Wi-Fi issue. Imagine my panic when I could not connect to the Wi-Fi at my dad´s house. I did everything possible: Restarting the device, restoring it back to its factory setting… I even considered banging it on the table! Apparently this is a known issue in the US and those who encountered the problem could just return it to any Apple Store to get a new replacement on the spot. I am prepared to live with the problem until the new iPad is finally available here. Actually, the Wi-Fi is fine when I am in the office. Perhaps the problem is my dad´s Wi-Fi connection. The iPad is an eye-opening experience for me and I enjoy every part of it. “iTap” is now my best companion, when I feel lonely and after a long day at work. I can be happy just watching videos, and yes, playing games over and over again. And its bigger screen is more appealing than that of the Samsung Galaxy Tabs as it gives users more satisfaction and enjoyment.
Physical design: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5