Gadget Spot: iPad

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

One fact is indisputable: Apple knows how to make gadgets. And while Apple's gadgets may not be perfect from day one, they typically radiate the innovation and sex appeal their competitors do not.

And so it is with the iPad ($500-$829 - more memory and 3G connectivity raise the price).

Apple has the best tablet device available. It's not perfect. It won't multitask, it can't play Flash video and it lacks a camera. It won't replace your laptop. But it's still a must-have gadget.

Here's why you'll fall in love with this computer/media player: its screen, its apps and - can you believe it? - its non-replaceable battery.

THE SCREEN: The 9.7-inch multitouch display dominates the iPad. It's not true high-def (the resolution is 1024-by-768 pixels), but it's gorgeous.

It has precision not seen in any other touchscreens, as well as a wide viewing angle for sharing photos and videos.

Depending on the app you're using, your fingers can turn pages, double-click to enlarge, pinch to condense, flick, slide, scroll, select, tilt, poke and probably initiate hundreds of other actions.

All that touching makes for fingerprints galore, but a wipe of your sleeve over its oleophobic coating whisks them away.

No touchscreen gadget on the market has a better display than the iPad. None.

THE APPS: With 150,000 iPhone apps and hundreds made specially for the iPad, this gadget does most everything you want.

A dozen on-board apps include basically the same ones that come with your iPhone/iPod Touch, but the iPad's larger screen makes the apps more versatile and handier.

Some early stars in the made-for-iPad app galaxy:

iBooks (free), which turns the iPad into a remarkable e-Reader

Pages ($10), Apple's word-processing program. I used it to write this review, using Apple's $69 iPad Keyboard Dock accessory.

Truphone for iPad (free), a VoIP app that lets you make Wi-Fi phone calls

At Bat 2010 for iPad ($15) - the most amazing sports app yet invented. It lets you watch an entire game!

Alice for the iPad ($9), a eye-popping offering of "Alice In Wonderland" that brings the story to life

ABC Player (free), the first network TV app that streams full episodes of shows

THE BATTERY: The battery can't be replaced, just as with the iPhone and iPod. However, independent tests show a single charge can last 10 to 11 hours. No complaints. Just "wow."

Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail