Apple iPad review watching videos

Almost perfect device for watching purchased videos marred by lack of stand

Improvised iPad Stand – Jonas Brothers SOS

The Apple iPad is not much fun browsing for videos, which is a pastime for many people. iPad fails to deliver great video experience The iPad is much better at watching videos purchased from the Apple iTunes Store.

The screen size is perfect for personal watching and the screen resolution more than adequate. The iPhone / iPod Touch screen is too small. This one is just right, although fingerprints need to be cleaned often.

Needs a stand

What isn’t perfect is holding the iPad in your hands for any length of time. The thing needs a stand to keep it upright not laying flat on a desk or table.

The picture on the left is my ISP Improvised iPad Stand – propped between the computer monitor and keyboard. Future Shop thought stands would be a good idea but didn’t stock them. Seven DIY iPad Stands for Six Bucks or Less has some good suggestions Steve Jobs should have thought of before he shipped the iPad.

Apple has a docking station that holds it vertically but that makes the video vertical too.

Tonight I took my iPad to Churchill’s while I has supper. Mike had one and we compared notes. He got the Apple iPad case which makes a perfect easel or stand. It’s a must have accessory.

There was excitement over the iPad. People were discussing if the were going to get one. Back at Future Shop later, they didn’t have the Apple iPad case and they didn’t have any 3G models which people wanted. The iPad has buzz.

Browsing video

It’s fun just to check out the latest videos on YouTube. I like to check out new and obscure music videos almost daily. I’ll still be doing that from my laptop or desktop computer. As reported in iPad fails to deliver great video experience, watching YouTube videos over the 3G connection is pathetic.

It reminded me of the early days of YouTube when any video was interesting to watch. We’re past that now.

Videos have to be sharp and the sound has to be punchy to hold people. The only way to get that is with purchased videos or converting your own. What is lost there is the spontaneity of finding that “a ha” video.

Moving iPod Touch video

I already had some videos on my iPad Touch and iPhone. The iTunes software didn’t want me to share them on the iPad. I’ll have to get on the phone with Apple support to get my music library transferred from the iPad Touch to my new computer/iPad combination.

This is the control freak thing about Apple that drives me nuts. I should be able to port my music easily but they want to make it hard to do.

Bob Dylan’s Things Have Changed, When the Deal Goes Down and Must be Santa transferred. Daniel Lanois, White Stripes and Paul McCartney are stuck on the iPod Touch.

Finally watching iPad video

I plunked down $80 and loaded up on jazz, folk, and rock videos to play with my iPad.

None of them sounded like anything but tinny music until I plugged in Sennheiser HD580 headphones. On headphones most of the music was very good. The iPad had enough current to drive the Sennheiser’s but I ran the battery down 50% in about an hour. I wouldn’t bother watching videos or listening to music without headphones, which makes this a personal device. Not sure how well that will work when someone special is around.

Norah Jones, Come Away With Me – the picture is much better, more saturation and detail than 480p on YouTube. You can feel the heat in the desert, the perspiration on her skin. The sound is nicely balanced stereo with good bass and definition. She’s one sexy gal. Don’t Ask Why has a sepia tone and the sound is very good. There is enough definition to hear her piano cut through the mix.

Blondie Heart of Glass seems to be a partial remix with beats. Compared to the YouTube version, you can tell the bass has been cut for the iPad. It’s good but doesn’t grab you in the solar plexus. Too bad.

Bruce Springsteen Dancing in the Dark is great, sharp picture and punchy infectious sound. The mix seems a little brittle, like the mic over the snare is punched up. Again the bass is slightly less than it is in the original mix. Man, was Springsteen young back then. We knew that All-American girl was a model but it was fun to believe they were connecting.

Muddy Waters Got My Mojo Working is a live performance by the master blues man. The sound level kept pumping when the band got raucous. Great song – great performance. Mannish Boy (Live) is awesome. The guy can make the hair stand up on the back on the neck despite his age.

Paul Simon Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes with Ladysmith Black Mambazo from the 1987 Zimbabwe concert is a classic. The percussion, horns and bass and vocals give the iPad a run for its money. The sound is very good. The picture is fuzzy like they didn’t go back to the master. I have this song on Laserdisc and it’s sharp not fuzzy.

Jonas Brothers S.O.S. is a fun pop tune that had me wishing for a auxiliary sound system to plug into the iPad. This modern mix is high energy with lots of compression and detail. Someone is going to invent a docking station for the iPad like the Bose Soundock

One of the surprises on the otherwise weak selection of material on the iTune Store was some 50’s / 60’s jazz. Miles Davis So What and New Blues, Dave Brubeck Take Five, Wes Montgomery Four on Six, Charles Mingus Parkermania and So Long Eric, and John Coltrane’s Naima – awesome pieces I didn’t have in video. They have about 150 titles. Here sound quality and just seeing the jazz greats in action is the deal. The videos appear to be TV performances. I’ll have to go back and collect more.

This is one area where Apple does not deliver. These are historic performances by jazz giants. We get no performance or liner notes. When was the performance? who is playing etc? Nothing. For the premium price Apple charges they could put a little effort. On historic musical performances, they should be providing more.

So is the iPad a keeper for watching videos. I guess so but it’s not revolutionary. It’s just a larger iPod Touch. And it has buzz.

Bugs

When playing videos, the iPad stops at the end of each one. It will not shuffle videos. In iPod mode, shuffle plays the video as a song with a thumbnail. Dumb.

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3 Comments

  1. I used air vcomment_IDeo app to transfer vcomment_IDeos to iPad. At first they worked great. Now they don’t connect to air vcomment_IDeo. I suspect my service provcomment_IDers. The vcomment_IDeos would stream. Quality was great. Sigh.

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