Monday, June 14, 2010

Not another iPad review -- Part 1

Here it is, boys and girls: Third World Nerd takes on the iPad in a full review. It's not your usual iPad review though. By now, you've all seen the iPad, so I won't get into what it does or what it looks like. I'll jump straight into the good stuff: how does it fare with the things you want to do?


I'll come clean with you. The real reason I bought an iPad is to read comics. I happen to have a large amount of comics in digital format, and I was never satisfied with the experience of reading on my laptop. But on the iPad? It's freaking brilliant.

The size of comics is a little shrunken, but mostly it won't matter, unless your eyesight is horrible, and even then, you can always zoom in on the page. On the plus side, the shrunken size allows you to view the whole layout as it was meant to be viewed. Double page spreads can be viewed in horizontal orientation.

If you've got money to burn, the Marvel Comics app is a wonderful little program that lets you purchase and read comics all in one place. It will soon drive you to bankruptcy if you're a Marvel fan. For cbr, cbz files, Comic Zeal is the app that I turn to. It's worth every penny.


The Wired app opening screen. Purty.


The iPad has been hailed as the savior of the publishing world, and mostly I agree. Reading magazines on the iPad is a richer experience than reading print magazines -- when it's done correctly.


 You can jump around Wired through this nav

The Wired iPad app is the poster child for how magazines can work on the iPad. I was amazed with the quality of Wired, its interactivity, its ease of use, and its sheer coolness factor. When the magazine to iPad switch is done poorly, such as with the GQ iPad app, the experience is massively disappointing.


In Wired, some pics are interactive, like this Iron Man graphic which you can view in 360 degrees

I used to come from the magazine industry, and to me, these apps are clearly a sign that publishers need to get their act together and release well thought out products for tablet devices. Consider this: Wired magazine will cost you around P900 if you get it from magazine stands; you can now get a more interesting, interactive version with all the content intact for $4.99 (around P235). Consider this as well: P235 is within the price range of the more expensive magazines being sold locally.


All four of my iBooks, and two of them are Winnie the Pooh


Books is a whole different ballgame from magazines.

My book-reading app of choice is Amazon Kindle. Unlike iBooks right now, Amazon is open for international purchases, meaning they don't care where you're from; they'll sell you a book even if you're from the boondocks.


I own one book on Kindle so far, but I actually bought it, unlike my iBooks

Not so with Apple. iBooks has recently been opened up to the world, but currently contains only free books from Project Gutenberg. Give them time, and they'll sort out licensing and rights issues for the rest of the world. I wouldn't hold my breath though. After all, the iTunes store isn't available in the Philippines.

The real battle when it comes to book-reading is against ebook readers like Amazon's Kindle device, or Sony's ebook reader. How does the iPad stack up? Pretty well, I have to say. The screen is lovely and you can turn down the brightness to lessen the strain on your eyes. That said, there will be some strain on your eyes if you read for a prolonged period of time.


iBooks will read any book in ePub format, like this Pinoy gem I found online

Short bursts of reading, including magazine browsing, works great on the iPad. But if I wanted to spend an evening curled up with a book, I have to say I'd stick with my Sony ebook reader.

The color screen gives the iPad a leg up on the competition for picture books like Alice in Wonderland and coffee table books like Phaidon. These two books, sold as standalone apps, are both pricey but completely amazing.

Coming up soon: Surfing, Games, and Work on the iPad


verabear said...

I am waiting for my iPad to get here from SG so I'm reading up now. Love the review, that's not another iPad review :)

The Third World Nerd said...

yehey! the site's also got app reviews every now and then (but not now, I'm trying to save, hehe)