Returning My iPad 3G - It's Not Worth the Money

I'm returning my iPad 3G, because there's not enough value for the investment, especially for techno-geeks like me that already have a lot of electronic toys.

Because I already have an iPhone, a Netbook, a Kindle and an aircard, most of the functionality of the iPad is redundant in my world, and $829 is a lot to pay for eye candy... no matter how spectacular.

THE E-READER:  The e-Reader seems to be the most reviewed / evaluated feature of the iPad.  Combined with the free iBooks application - iPad's version of the Kindle (purchase and download books) - the e-Reading feature is impressive.  But the iPad is heavy and the the screen continually shifts from portrait to landscape to match one's body position. This is problematic when reading in bed.  Also, the e-Reader landscape view is a two page view rather than one large page, and the heaviness of the iPad (for one who is used to the Kindle) makes it cumbersome and tiring to keep propped up. The iPad weighs as much as a hard cover book and is about as heavy as my Acer Netbook.  For e-Reading, the kindle is not as bright and isn't in color, but it's lighter and more maneuverable.

Email, iTunes, Videos, and APPs:  I have all these functions on my iPhone or Netbook.  In fact, things that aren't ideal for viewing on the iPhone's small screen - books, newspapers, magazines, TV shows, movies - , work great on my Netbook. And my Netbook has more versatility with its traditional keyboard and its ability to play FLASH videos (apple products have banned FLASH). 

Compatible with PC - you pay for additional compatibility:  Some of the apps that mirror Microsoft Office, such as PAGES, Numbers, and Keynote, are nice to use, but I paid the $9.99 for the PAGES app, and found the finished product is not editable on my PC.  My Netbook totally integrates with the PC.  For any kind of text editing, I'd have to order the separate keyboard dock - $69.  I can't type documents or presentations on the iPad touch keyboard.

Do I still need the iPhone?   The iPad can't replace the iPhone because of the crucial need for a hand-sized phone and camera. There is a camera attachment, but let's face it, you can't pop the iPad and it's camera attachment into your pocket for a camera that is always "at the ready."

Watching TV shows, Movies and Videos on the iPad:  I hate watching movies and TV shows on the iPad because I don't have a stand and holding the iPad while you watch is a pain - same reasons as holding the e-Reader; heaviness and shifting screen from portrait to landscape.  Also the volume is not as loud as on the Netbook so headphones are a necessity.

3G Capability - Constant Internet Access:  The iPad 3G allows the same internet connectivity as a cellphone. So where you have phone connectivity, you can connect to the Internet with the iPad.  This, of course costs about $30 per month, but there is no contract necessary.  I have an aircard for my Netbook that does the same thing.  It's $60 per month, but the Netbook is more functional than the iPad, and it's lighter weight and more compact.

UNPARALLELED ADVANTAGES OF THE IPAD;  The ability to view photos at high resolution, large (8X10) format is phenomenal.  My pictures never looked so good and are very easy to share.  The GPS feature shows maps much clearer with more visible space. Some of the apps (mostly reading apps) offer greater variety of printed free material - magazines, ezines, blogs. The touch screen is so quick and easy to use and is progressive looking.

For me ... are these visual benefits alone worth an $829 investment? Plus the keyboard dock ($69), a protective case ($20-$40) and monthly charge for 3G capability?

I'm thinking NO.

I purchased the iPad in Dover (DE has no sales tax) and saved on paying the 6% Maryland sales tax of $49.  But Best Buy told me that I had only 14 days to return it, and there is a 15% re-stocking fee ($124).  Seems a shame that it costs so much just to try it out.  In a way, I hate to take it back, but I can't reconcile an $829 investment with a need to invest another $100 on the keyboard and case and possibly $30 per month for the 3G connectivity, when my $295 Acer Netbook and iPhone and aircard provide the same benefits without the impressive visuals and better photo viewer. 

If I'm missing some great benefit, would somebody please share?

NOTE:  Thanks to those that pointed out that there is a little button on the side that locks the screen in place.  That problem solved.  I still consider most of the benefits redundant... thus not worth the $829 price.


  1. Anonymous9:55 PM

    You can lock the screen orientation using the button on the right.

  2. Anonymous10:32 PM

    Are you serious? You can lock the screen in place, you mentioned that TWICE... so what do you have against Apple, because you obviously are in no way qualified to provide any sort of technical review.

  3. Yes, I was going to comment on the screen orention too (that can drive a person to kill a MAC even!) But in any event Mindie, I think with all the other tools you have you are so right about the actual "need" for the iPad. I also know that once you have the Kindle you are hooked! My sister says something like... "you're gonna have to pry it outa my cold dead hands!!!!" That is a heck of a lot of money if you already have your notebook and iPhone and Kindle. I am going to try and wait until the second coming... um er, that is the 2nd version. Sorry it didn't work out... hate losing $$$$ to any company these days!

  4. Hey there Anonymous II... Just found the button to lock the screen. Nice. Still doesn't convince me the price is worth the redundancy.

    I've nothing against Apple. I love my iPhone and my iPod. I just don't think the iPad is worth the price... and this is a personal blog - my blog - my opinion. So whatever your standards are for reviewing, they don't much matter here.

    I'm just a customer. Thanks for reading the post and thanks for commenting.

  5. Anonymous11:27 PM

    As much as I would love to have one, the iPad isn't quite right for me either... at least not right now. I would use it as an e-reader, for movies, email and photos, but I can do those things on my other gadgets.

    You're right about addressing the "unseen" expenses, the price of apps, 3G coverage and accessories.

    Still, I wish I had a money tree and could buy an iPad (maybe they need an app that grows cash ;)

    An FYI - in Pages you can export documents to Word, PDF, RFT & PlainText.

  6. Mindie, I think you represent the average media-savvy consumer here (the tech geeks have been cranking out their cookie-cutter reviews for weeks now)... and discovering all the features is part of Apple products like the iPad & iPhone experience.

    As much as I would love one, the cost is too much for me right now as well. Since it's not going to replace one of my other gadgets/expenses, I can't justify it... especially since one of the great features of the iPad are the apps. Those can also make a dent in the wallet.

    Although I know I shouldn't get an iPad, I can't deny that still want one. Thank goodness I have a wee bit of self-control.

    Note: In Pages you can export documents to Word, PDF, Plain Text and RTF.

  7. Hey Corey.
    Thanks for the comments. And I'm with you. I still feel the pull. There's no doubt this is one exciting product - visually. But I lacked even the "wee bit" of self control.

    Also, I know you can export in Pages. I actually did that, but I was unable to edit the docs once I was in WORD. Perhaps I'm not tech savvy enough or could have read more. But the flexibility in between platforms (I have a PC) wasn't there.

    I so appreciate your input. I guess I'm hoping some of these comments will unearth benefits I haven't seen yet.

  8. Have to admit I haven't even been tempted by the iPad. Your comments just supported my general feelings. I'm really not one in need of all the bells and whistles. Thanks for your honesty and detailed breakdown.

  9. Great post, Mindie. I was considering an iPad when they next bring one out with more features but one of my major concerns was something you brought up: it's unwieldy to hold and watch something on. It seems uncomfortable to me. I am going to buy the new Canadian KOBO e-reader which is only $149!! Getting very good reviews. One question: is there any reason to get rid of my PC and use a Netbook? My PC is heavy and hot and I need a new one.

    I love your reply to anonymous about what gives you the right to review etc!! Very good.

  10. Anonymous7:58 PM

    I bought one on launch day and I'm still trying to justify my purchase. Apple overhyped and under delivered. I mean there's just not that much it can do that anything else most people probably already own can't. It's heavy and difficult to hold and type at the same time. It's a very awkward device.

  11. Anonymous9:06 AM

    I tried an ipad this week and I am taking it back. I find it is just too restrictive with no card slot and I too have a Kindle. The ipad is NOT an ereader as far as I am concerned.
    It's hard to hold for any length of time.
    Typing on it is awkward with it laying down.
    The Apps only work in ipad format. So, with an iphone and a Kindle and a net book this just makes no sense for the money. It is beautiful...but fills no niche for me. I won't be trading any of my other devices for ipad.
    Wish I had known that before I was drawn in by the beauty of it.

  12. Great review, Mindie. My hubby has an iPad, a retirement gift from the other engineering geeks at work. They all love theirs, but they also all own fifteen sets of golf clubs! I had an Acer Netbook and was totally frustrated by it. It crashed and required a $20 CD and an external hard drive to bring back to life, plus I lost what had been posted since the last backup. So, I gave up on that one. Not worth the additional investment to get it going again. Instead I bought a MacBook Pro, which has worked fine, a bit heavy to lug around, but it does everything. I was the last in the family to migrate over to Apple, and now I'm a convert. I love watching TV shows on the MacBook and reading with the Kindle for Mac. I also read a lot on my Kindle for iPhone, which goes everywhere with me. So, no, this family member won't be buying an iPad either. ~~Lelanda

  13. Anonymous10:21 AM

    I totally agree that the IPad is lovely but unnecessary. But my question for all is this: are any of these machines useful if you travel constantly internationally? Both the IPad and the Netbook cost hundreds of dollars A DAY if you're roaming even in Europe. I don't go far off the beaten track, just western Europe, and yet the charges are astronomical.

  14. both the iPad and the Netbook have built in Wifi access and can access free wifi in cafe's, bookstores, etc. Does western Europe has such places? We have many in the states. if you take your netbook or ipad in these places you can access the internet for free.

  15. Anonymous1:37 PM

    Hmm.. Just fell for the iPad's field of gravity.. :( I know this device is heavy.. Over-rated.. You know, once even I thought I am gonna be part of this 'post-pc era' I am gonna buy this heavy chunk of slate..

    What to say more.. I just cannot justify the price.. Am returning it.. May be if they release iPad mini which would be easier to hold and type, lighter, longer lasting like the current generation devices.. I would buy I guess..

    1. When I wrote this post over a year ago, I had purchased the first version of the iPad which was twice as heavy and technologically clunky as the current iPad. Once the iPad 2 came out for less money and it was more streamlined in shape, I bought one .... YES, I bought one.

      Have to admit that I love it. I didn't know how versatile this slim iPad could be.

      I love the e-reader, the NOTE taker and its ability to sync with my MAC. I can take it into a business visit, show a powerpoint, take notes, access a website.

      So maybe you want to hang with it just a little longer. Just my 2 cents.


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