tablets

Apple iPad Review

Apple created the market and dominates it with its mature first tablet.

February 26, 2011
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Video Controls

When playing back videos through the iPod App, a handful of controls are available. These are normally hidden, but a tap of the screen brings up a semi-transparent window that has fast forward, pause and rewind controls. Below these is a slider that can be used control the volume level. At the top of the screen is the Done button (which takes you back to the media management screen) and a slider that allows you to scrub to a particular part of the video. This shows the time remaining in the video at the right side, and also quickly skips to the requested point in the video, making it easy to visually search for a particular point by scrubbing through until you see it appear.

Video Controls Image
The video controls only appear on the iPad when the screen is touched

Video Management

Videos are managed in the same way as audio files, with the iPad offering a number of ways to sort and sequence video files. In the list of media on the device, navigating around your media library is done by using touch controls to drag the menu up or down. The faster you flick the dragging gesture, the faster the menu will scroll. This allows for very quick menu navigation in relatively short menus. For really long menus, use the alphabet scroller on the right side of the screen. Using this you can jump to a specific letter. With just these two tools, browsing is quick and easy.

The iPad will let you sort your videos by playlist, artist, album, compilation, song, genre, or composer. iTunes classifies video files into three groups: mo. This is a good list of sort criteria, offering a good deal of granularity. We would've liked to see a few more options, however, such as the ability to sort by rating, or the date a song was added to the device. You can search for particular song names, artist or album titles.

Playlist creation is handled much the same way as on every Apple device, which means it's absurdly easy. Once you have created a playlist, you can select the files to play from the full list, or search for particular songs, artists, albums, genres or composers.

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Video Formats

The iPad supports only a limited number of video formats by default: the iPod application can play back files in MPEG-4 and QuickTime formats, as well as the DRM-protected video files from the iTunes movie and TV store. It cannot read other video formats, such as Flash or Windows Media, and the iTunes PC or Mac software used to manage video cannot convert them. Fortunately, there are plenty of applications available to convert videos into a readable format (such as Appleā€™s own $30 QuickTime Pro software or the free software Handbrake)

Internet Video

The iPad offers support for watching streaming videos in two ways: through the Safari browser (which supports QuickTime streaming video) or through the YouTube client, which only supports the Google YouTube streaming video service. Flash video and other formats are not directly supported, but the iPad has become so popular that many streaming video services are now offering iPad-friendly versions of their sites, or are offering Apps that provide direct access to their streaming video content (such as the Hulu Plus App, which provides access to recent TV shows and movies for $7.99 a month).

Internet Video Image
The Hulu Plys iPad app allows access to popular shows for a monthly fee

This approach means that most of the commercial video hosting services are supported, but that content on individual pages may not be. So, it is easy to browse TV shows through Hulu or Youtube clips, but you may not be able to access streaming video content from blogs or other sites that directly host their own content or use other less-popular services.

Video Battery Life

We found that the iPad had excellent battery life when playing back our test video file, managing to keep running for 6 hours and 42 minutes hours. This is a little shorter than the Samsung Tab, which managed 7 hours and 51 minutes, but the iPad does have a significantly larger screen that needs more power to light.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Screen
  4. Battery & Controls
  5. eReader
  6. Music & Audio
  7. Movies & Video
  8. Email & Web Browsing
  9. Internet Apps
  10. Amazon Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi Comparison
  11. Barnes & Noble Nook Color Comparison
  12. Sony Reader Daily Edition Comparison
  13. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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