The Good In an act of aggressive tech convergence, Apple has consolidated your Netbook, e-reader, gaming device, photo frame, and iPod into an elegant, affordable supergadget. Features such as Bluetooth, 802.11n Wi-Fi, movie rentals, 10 hours of battery life, optional 3G wireless, and the most-celebrated App Store on the planet have us pretty worked up.
The Bad The iPad's large size is as much a hindrance as it is an advantage. As a jack-of-all-trades and a master of few, the iPad can't entirely mimic many of the specialized products it seeks to replace. The iPad's lack of front or rear cameras, Flash support, and integrated HD video output already have us pining for next year's model.
The Bottom Line The Apple iPad is the first affordable tablet computer worth owning, but it won't (yet) replace your laptop.
Editors' note (November 23, 2010): The following review has been updated to reflect new features added with Apple's iOS 4.2, and includes battery test results from CNET Labs.
Of course, we come to you with a standard list of complaints. The absence of an integrated video camera puts the kibosh on any hope of using the iPad for video chats, and without Flash video support, many Web pages look like Swiss cheese. But the biggest problem with the device is coming up with bullet-proof reasons to buy one.
Because the iPad is an entirely new class of device, you'll probably need to lie to yourself a little to justify the purchase. But at this point, any CNET readers worth their salt have mastered the art of making excuses to buy new gadgets.