By Terry Gardner, Special to Tribune Newspapers
10:30 PM EDT, April 16, 2013
Name: Apple iPad with Retina display and Wi-Fi
What it is: Apple's signature tablet with the lightning connector, Bluetooth 4.0 and the ahh-inspiring Retina display with 3.1 million pixels that make images seem lifelike and text look crisp. Its A6X chip is twice as fast as previous-generation chips and offers twice the graphics performance without shortening the battery life. More than 300,000 apps have been uniquely designed for the iPad, and countless iPhone apps also soar on the device. The Wi-Fi onboard is as much as twice as fast as the Wi-Fi on any previous-generation iPad. The iSight camera includes autofocus and face detection, and it has a five-element lens and can shoot 5 MP photos and 1080p HD video. The FaceTime HD Camera can shoot 1.2 MP photos and 720p HD video. The built-in rechargeable lithium battery provides as much as 10 hours of power for web surfing, video watching, etc.
The good: As a solo traveler, I finally have a travel companion who doesn't snore, lets me choose the movies and the music, and doesn't need recharging as often as my iPhone. The Retina display is so brilliant that I prefer my iPad to my older iMac for watching movies. I am so spoiled by the touch screen that I sometimes forget and touch the screen of my iMac to jump to the next email — and I realize, my iMac is no iPad. The iPad's large, brilliant screen often helps me compose a better shot for a still or a video. I paid extra for 64 GB of storage, so my iPad weighs more than 1.44 pounds, but I haven't run out of space for apps or movies yet.
The bad: I wish there was either a SIM card slot or a USB port to easily upload photos. On most trips, I still have to pack a laptop to act as a conduit for images because my camera doesn't have built-in Wi-Fi.
Cost: Starts at $499 (16 GB + Wi-Fi) or $629 (16 GB + Wi-Fi and cellular)
Available from: apple.com, bestbuy.com, walmart.com and macmall.com.
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