Long Term iPad Review

Well, it’s been getting on for a year since I’ve had my iPad, so, was it a flash in the pan that kept me amused last Christmas or has it become an essential part of my life? And, has the recent release of iOS5 made any difference?

Intimate and Sociable

My iPad

My iPad

Well, the first question is easy to answer. We all still love the iPad and use it without fail every day. It is just the perfect device for sitting on the sofa and keeping up to date with our online digital lives. Checking emails, browsing the web, social networking, it just can’t be beaten for these activities. Yes, we have a laptop but the iPad is quicker, easier and less intrusive. There’s nothing worse than all of us sitting in the living room hiding behind the large, anti-social screens of laptops whilst they sit on your legs burning them as many laptops do. The iPad is much more intimate and doesn’t get in the way or come between people. You can easily sit on the sofa with it’s cool exterior resting on your lap whilst still having a conversation with the people around you.

That is it’s main use for us. It lives in the lounge and we use it to get online whilst watching TV or just lounging around.

Digital Lives

The Social iPad

The Social iPad

Our lives are becoming increasingly digital. As a website designer I have plenty of websites to check on each day, RSS feeds to read in order to keep up to date and of course we increasingly communicate with people via email and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. The iPad is perfect for all these activities and that is what we use it for mainly.


We aren’t big gamers, but since getting the iPad we have used it quite a bit for playing games on. There are loads of casual games -puzzles, physics games and such like that we have and all three of us play on them. Morgan obviously likes them but Anna and I sometimes waste a bit of time and chill out by playing them too. Cut the Rope, Cover Orange and Savings Seeds were favourites, Angry Birds is obviously on there as are plenty of other games, and even a few such as We Rule that we dip into from time to time.


We use it to watch videos, especially YouTube clips, but also our own home videos. We’ve used it for looking at photos and showing photos to others and I use it most days for reading books and magazines. The BBC iPlayer works well on it too so we can use it as a TV catch up device.We use it for choosing LoveFilm titles to rent and looking up all sorts of information too.


The iPad can be a great reference tool too. with the web at your fingertips (literally) you can look up whatever takes your fancy, but I also have a number of reference apps on it as well. Guides to garden birds, moths, mushroom and such like. Star charts, weather apps and maps all work really well on the ipad.

GPS and Navigation

Although we went for the 3G version specifically to get the GPS functionality of the first generation iPad, we haven’t used that as much as we thought we might. This is mainly because we don’t really take it out of the house much. If we’re going away or visiting friends or family then we’ll take it with us, but we don’t really use the GPS. We’ll use our TomTom in the car and don’t really wander around with the iPad under our arm. Similarly we rarely use the 3G capabilities either as it is usually connected via Wi-Fi at home.

In fact, our mobile connectivity experience with the iPad hasn’t been that great. When we are out and about it is VERY rare that there is actually any 3G connectivity. We may if we are lucky be able to get a standard and painfully slow (unusable) GPRS connection, but quite often there is no connection at all. Obviously this is due in the main part to where we live and where we go, but it is the main reason why I’ve not bothered to get a smartphone (iPhone). I don’t really see the point when I wouldn’t really be able to use the Internet connection most of the time… Probably a good thing as that has saved me a lot of money!

Overall, the iPad really is a lovely little device. it works well and does what it is designed to do perfectly. There’s no end to what you can use it for thanks to the huge selection of apps available through the app store. We use it much more than we thought we would and if anything its use increases all the time.

Although there has been an iPad 2 released and I only have the 1st iPad I don’t really hanker after an update. I use my 1st generation iPad every day and it does everything I want from it…. Maybe the iPad 3 will get me lusting after it though!

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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