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iPad reviews: great e-reader, but is it a game-changer?

iPad reviews: great e-reader, but is it a game-changer?

Apple's iPad got a hilariously favorable review on this week's "Modern Family," as dad Phil (actor Ty Burrell at left) dreams about, obsesses over, and does everything short of sleeping with his birthday gift. With the iPad's release date scheduled Saturday, more analytical reviews are coming in, too. Most note that the tablet's shortcomings for business users may prevent it from replacing the laptop. You can read more iPad coverage, and here are some non-Phil review excerpts, with an emphasis on the e-reader function. (They neglect to mention a side-effect -- the increase of e-book prices.)

Walter Mossberg, Wall Street Journal -- The iPad is much more than an e-book or digital periodical reader, though it does those tasks brilliantly, better in my view than the Amazon Kindle. ... I consider the larger color screen superior to the Kindle's, and encountered no eye strain. ... The iBooks app also lacks any way to enter notes, and Apple's catalog at launch will only be about 60,000 books versus more than 400,000 for Kindle.

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New York Times -- You can't read well in direct sunlight. At 1.5 pounds, the iPad gets heavy in your hand after awhile (the Kindle is 10 ounces). And you can't read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine — not even a Mac or iPhone.

Washington Post -- I could easily scroll along the bottom of a book to jump to a specific page, with no notable delay when doing so. And I particularly liked how the iPad showed the page number, and out of how many, you were jumping ahead to; and, how it indicated the number of pages remaining in the chapter. ... The flicker for a quick page turn bugged me--nevertheless, it was better than suffering through the multiple flashes that one endures on most E-Ink readers as they try to redraw the page.

PC Mag -- Is the iPad cheap? No. Is it flawless? Not at all. Omissions including support for multitasking, a built-in camera for video chats, and Flash support in Safari leave room for improvement, but otherwise, the Apple iPad is a very convincing debut.

USA Today -- Apple is taking solid aim at the burgeoning electronic-reader market dominated by the Kindle. Judged solely from a sizzle standpoint: There's no contest. Titles on the iPad such as Winnie the Pooh (which comes preloaded on the iPad) boast colorful illustrations. The 6-inch Kindle screen is grayscale. ... But Amazon retains some bragging points for avid readers, starting with a cheaper $259 price that I suspect will need to drop a lot further. At 10 hours or so, the iPad battery life, while impressive, falls far short of the two weeks you might get off a Kindle charge.

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