ZAGGMate – iPad into netbook

I got an iPad (version 1) not too long after they’d been released in the UK: close enough after the release date that the Apple store on Regent St was still sold out, but long enough that I felt legitimately grieved that one wasn’t now available.

I’ve never been a fan of Apple but the iPad immediately became an irreplaceable part of my life. My husband and I play a lot of board games and the iPad is a great alternative to carrying round boxes of little pieces, which can get lost – it even sets up the board for you!

I also got a Kindle app, which means that I instantly have a whole library available to me. Packing for beach holidays has got a whole lot easier.

Despite the iPad’s immediate overtaking of my netbook in my personal affections, it still can’t do everything. I had three main complaints:- Firstly some PC functions that we would consider quite basic such as being able to manipulate any files sent through be email, to save, edit etc, secondly PC remote desktop and thirdly typing. It’s slow, inaccurate and picky about which words you’re allowed to use.

I’ve heard that there are some apps available that can deal with the first of these two issues (I will investigate) but I have found the most fantastic solution for the third. I have purchased myself (from the US, sadly, with attendant long shipping times and customs shenanigans) a ZAGGMate iPad cover and keyboard. Having had to wait so long for it to arrive I was feeling slightly fractious when it did and almost threw it away when it didn’t have the correct cable to connect to my iPad v1. Of course, as I found out when I calmed down and read the instructions, it connects via Bluetooth.

As a case for the iPad, it’s made of matching brushed aluminium and fits snugly – no complaints, but where it really helps is as a keyboard – now I can send emails or write articles without it being a chore (I’m using it now).

Adding a case does of course make the iPad heavier, although it’s still not quite as heavy as my netbook and there are extra useful features too, such as the ability to stand the iPad in portrait mode for typing documents.

With the new tablets flooding the market, we’re going to see more and more innovations of this kind but as ever, Apple seems to be there first.

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Gadget of the Week: Samsung Galaxy Tab

Using the latest Android operating system 2.2, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is packed full of great entertainment and communication features and is probably the closest rival to the iPad.

With its 7” touch screen powered by a 1.0 GHz processor this sexy looking tablet is small enough to fit in your hand yet big enough not to compromise on functionality. It offers voice and video calling as well as a Reader Hub full of the latest news, magazines and ebooks and web browsing with Flash.

The device’s front facing camera allows for video chat with friends and business partners around the world and the rear-facing 3 megapixel camera with flash captures still images and video that that can be edited, uploaded and shared directly from the Tab.

Samsung Movies allows you to access old and new movies alike and with its large battery it provides more than 7 hours of viewing time. Google Maps Navigation is available on the Tab for free and it also has a variety games and a handy integrated phonebook that combines all your social network contacts.

With 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth® 3.0, the Samsung Galaxy Tab takes mobile communication to a whole new level. Could this be a real rival to the iPad?

 Price to be confirmed.

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Three top tablets that *aren’t* Apple

RIM Blackpad

Due to be available as of November, this 7″ high end tablet is designed more as en enterprise tool so predominantly aimed at business users. It will include a new graphical menu system, secure email and of course wi-fi. We love Blackberry so will be interesting to see how it compares to the iPad…

HP Slate


Due to arrive early 2011, this will be a Windows 7 computer that has great touch screen capability and fast web browsing. Keep a look out for the so-called PalmPad, HP’s rumoured webOS tablet, which is said to be landing later this year, complete with stylus.

Samsung Galaxy Tab


This arrives in September and is a 7″ tablet  with a good quality OLED display, powered by a 1.2GHz processor. It is probably the closest rival to the iPad and runs Android 2.2. It also has wi-fi and 3G.

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