Howdy! So I bought a new iPad about a month ago when they first came out, and I figured it was time for me to review it. Better late than never, eh?

I decided to buy the 4G Verizon LTE 32GB one in Black. It was about $750 before taxes (and before I sold my old one on eBay, ha!).

I upgraded from the first generation iPad, which I bought about 2 years ago.

I had several reasons for wanting to upgrade and stick with the Apple product line instead of going with an awesome Android tablet.
We use an app with Hak5 called PrompterPro– it was $10 and enables us to use our iPad as a cheap teleprompter. We use an iPad prompter dock with our cameras then connect via bluetooth / wireless to a iPhone or iPod that the hosts’s use during the segments. It’s great for bullet points and breaking down really obscure concepts that we’ve researched previously.
I also wanted to be able to accept credit cards at conventions without the need to connect to wireless or AT&T (service on my phone) since those aren’t very secure! This was why I chose Verizon LTE. And of course, 32GB for sharing media with other guests at cons while I work at our Hak5 booth.

On to the pros and cons of the new iPad!

Pros:

It’s beautiful- not just the screen but the tablet itself. Seriously, even if you don’t want to buy an iPad EVER, just walk in an Apple store and pick one up. It’s a pretty piece of technology. The screen really is surprising. You can’t see pixels. It’s weird.

The LTE service is FAST. Like, crazy fast. I installed the Speedtest.net app for iPhone/iPad and these were my results, sitting next to my router in my computer room. The first image is Verizon, the second test is Comcast Wireless.

The new iPad is still lightweight, like my first one. I don’t feel an overall difference.
iOS is extremely responsive. I can type and multitask pretty quickly on it without much of any delay.
After you’ve gone through the easy setup, it works out of the box. Although, I suggest plugging it in to iTunes instead of wirelessly updating your sync with the iCloud because iCloud takes way too long.
LTE can be turned on or off at anytime by just going to the settings, with no contract. This is great, because I only intend to use it at conventions. I don’t want to pay $20-$30 USD every month for that extra service if I’m just going to be sitting at home on my PC!
The front camera takes great photos with good lighting. It’s nice having such a large screen to see your photography on, and having the photos actually appear the way they should.
Apparently I can take my AT&T iPhone SIM card and stick it in my Verizon iPad and it’ll work- I haven’t tried this, but I have unlimited data with AT&T so.. maybe!

Cons:

I didn’t set up LTE service for a few weeks after getting it, and the iPad pinged me saying “You haven’t set this up yet, would you like to?”. It only happened once, but I didn’t like feeling like they were trying to upsell me on cellular usage.
I’ve noticed the charge still lasts as long as my first generation iPad with normal usage (maybe an hour or two a day, sometimes more) but I have to charge it all night to get the full charge once it’s died.
It does get hot in one corner, but it’s not scary, just obvious. It’s like having a laptop on your lap.
The new iPad is expensive! Holy Batman, if you aren’t using this for work or you already have a laptop / ebook reader, why get one? Smartphones do everything this can, so it seems like a waste of money if just bought as a toy.
The back camera is terrible. It’s blurry and pixelated in any kind of lighting.
I had trouble with Facetime. I wasn’t receiving audio out of my iPad from my friend. A restore should fix this problem.
Reading ebooks on this gives me a headache. Black and white epaper Kindle’s are way better for reading for long periods of time.

So generally- the problems I have with it are things that I can live with, but they’re still problems non-the-less. I love the iPad, I don’t regret paying what I did for it (specially after I sold my first generation iPad), and I plan to get a lot of use out of this tablet for at least a few years. I’m normally not an early adopter but in this case it was a well needed upgrade.

Not to mention, since I bought it from the local Apple store, they’ve been incredibly friendly with ‘helping me get started’. I haven’t needed any help, but this is a great add-on service I wasn’t expecting that would make anyone’s day if they really needed some extra help.

Shannon Morse hosts Hak5 on Revision3 and she co-hosts the audio podcast Bite Club Show. You can find her guest hosting various other internet shows now and then. When not geeking out with work, Shannon enjoys video games, anime, manga, traveling, building computers, and spending time with family and friends. Find more info about Shannon here.

The New iPad – Shannon’s Review

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