Walt Mossberg

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IPad 2 for Techies and Virtual Keyboards


In your iPad 2 review, you recommended it over all other tablets for “average, nontechie users.” Does this mean you don’t recommend it for techie users?


No, not at all. I merely phrased it that way because mainstream, average, nontechie users are my target audience, and I don’t review products through the eyes of techies, enthusiasts, hobbyists, or corporate IT departments. I never have. I have used similar phrasing in other columns over the years. I’m sure many people who consider themselves techies would find the iPad 2 to be the best tablet as well.


I intend to buy an iPad 2, but I also have an iPhone 4, which can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Will this hot-spot feature work with an iPad 2? Does it mean I don’t need to get the model with the cellular network feature?


Yes. I tested this scenario with a Verizon version of the iPhone 4 that had the hot-spot feature set up, and the iPad recognized it as a Wi-Fi network. And this method isn’t limited to Apple phones. I also tested the iPad 2 successfully with the hot-spot feature of an Android phone.


I’m thinking about replacing my old laptop with an iPad 2 but am somewhat reluctant considering that tablets do not have physical keyboards. How do you think the lack of a physical keyboard affects the use of a tablet vs. a new laptop?


My own experience, with both iPads and other tablets that use virtual keyboards, is that they are just fine for things like email or short documents, once you get used to typing on glass.

However, if you never get the hang of that, the iPad works with wireless Bluetooth keyboards, and some iPad cases come with built-in physical keyboards. You would have to be the judge of whether this is a better solution for you than a small, light laptop like a MacBook Air, or a Toshiba Portege R700 series.

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