Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Things I wish I had known when buying an iPad...

A few months back, I decided that I needed an iPad. I didn't have a legitimate need other than it looked like a lot of fun. I am thoughtful when spending money (even on expensive toys), so I spent a lot of time researching before I bought it. Last week, I finally made the plunge.This is a list of information that I wish that I knew and understood about the iPad before buying it.

Size Matters

I had a difficult time trying to decide which storage size I needed/wanted. To be fair, I always agonize over storage when buying an electronic device, but while I didn’t want to spend a fortune, I also didn’t want to be a few months down the road and really regret my purchase.

When I bought my first iPod touch, I got a 16 GB, which ran out of space very quickly. I spent way too much time shuffling around albums to fit everything that I wanted and always ended up feeling like something was missing. It was annoying and limited what I was able to download. So when I upgraded, I made sure that I bought the biggest one available. Now, I am extremely happy with it.

Mostly, I made my decision for the iPad based on this experience and went with the 64GB model. People tried to talk to me about iCloud and not needing all of the space, but I just don't feel like I'm there yet. It was a splurge, but I saved some money by also choosing the Wifi model because I generally always have WiFi access.

After one week, I’m using about 11.5 GBs. That’s 400 songs (just the essentials, I have about 6,000 on my iPod), 5 videos (2 movies and 3 tv shows), 1300 photos, and 72 applications. I could probably have installed less, but I like choices. Plus, it’s nice to know that I have lots of room to grow.

Everyone Needs Protection (Aka Covers or Cases)

You could definitely use an iPad without a cover, but it doesn’t seem sensible to me. I plan to carry mine around with me a lot.I’ve heard far too many nightmare stories of cracked screens to take a chance. There seems to be a million options in a variety of price ranges, so I’ll just give you a run down of what I chose:

Apple Smart Cover ($40)

Pros: This cover is nice because it protects the screen, acts as a stand, and will automatically wake your iPad when opened. In addition, there are magnets built in to the device and cover that allows the cover to go on perfectly every time.

Cons: My biggest complaint is that the cover doesn't protect the back of the device, which makes it difficult to carry it around without scratching it. Also, the cover seems to clean the screen when it is closed, but it leaves behind some strange smudges on the screen where the indentations sit. I shopped around a lot, but the color selections were limited (and grotesquely ugly), so I ended up with a baby blue color that is not my favorite in the world. I would have preferred black or purple, but that’s just the Robert-Smith-lover in me talking. The problem is that at $40 it’s not that cheap to switch it out.

GreatShield Smart Cover ($12 - Black, issues reported with other color) 

Pros: So far, I really love this cover because it barely adds any weight, yet it seems to add a good amount of protection to the back. I feel pretty secure carrying it in my purse now. Also, this cover was designed to be used with the Smart Cover, so it fits perfectly. At $12, it was a good deal.

Cons: If you want everyone to see your Apple logo, it covers it up.

A Little More Power

At the Apple store, I specifically asked if my iPhone/iPod chargers would work with the iPad and was told yes. That answer is only sort of true. When plugged into the wall, you need to use the iPad charger because it requires a different voltage than an iPhone. When you hook the iPad up to your computer to sync with the USB cord, charging is dependent on the available voltage from your USB port. It was something that I would have expected (and appreciated) being explained to me up front. Depending on your usage, you may want to budget for an extra iPad charger ($20 -$30 at Apple Store). I was told that both the iPhone and iPod would charge on the iPad charger, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Apps - The Fun Stuff

I was aware that some of my iPhone/iPod apps would not work on the iPad, but I assumed that most would. Even more annoying was that A LOT of the apps that I had already purchased had to be repurchased in an HD version and were about five times more expensive. Granted $.99 is cheap and five dollars still isn't too bad, but it definitely can eat away quickly at a budget.

Just to clarify a bit, the iPhone/iPod apps can be loaded on you iPad, but they load in the size of the iPhone screen. It's usable, but it feels like a rip off with all of the beautiful screen wasted. You can increase the size, but it looks pretty awful (screen captures below). Even more annoying is that sometimes the Genius results on iPad will suggest an App, and then after downloading, you’ll realize it was really meant for the iPhone. So, my advice is to be more careful than me when making your purchases.

Did I make a good choice?

One hundred times over, yes. While it was annoying that I hadn't even thought to budget for some of these things, I am still extremely happy with my purchase. Each day, I find myself liking it more than I figured that I would. I really had no specific need for it, but I’ve been having fun drawing, recording music, and finding interesting ways to browse content on the internet.


Lois Waite said...

Awesome advice! So you use both covers at the same time?

awdylanis said...

Yep, they work together. That way both the front and back are protected and I can throw it in my purse without fear. Have fun with the new iPad!