Tag Archives: review

Updated iPad Initial Thoughts

A great Red Cross comms training in Tampa (and subsequent recovery) kept me from writing this sooner.

When I reviewed the iPad shortly after it first came out, I was pretty downbeat.

In an incremental move at a March 2 presser, Apple has updated the iPad, making it thinner, offering it in white, and adding two cameras and the dual core processors. The cameras have me sold – but from the reading I’ve been doing, this upgrade seems akin to the iPhone upgrade from 3G to 3Gs. The screen didn’t see any real improvement, leading me to believe the true iPad next-gen will have a high-end screen a la iPhone 4.

Another problem remains, if the iPad is to be for consuming, surely one could put an SD slot in it, or at least a way to USB/connect to other third-party devices without needing their proprietary dongles.

From a value perspective, the camera was my main gripe, so knowing this iPad will be faster, I could definitely see myself buying the base wi-fi model (or 32 gig) once the next generation is announced.

It’s not earth moving advances, but certainly enough to keep me on the fence about the Kindle, and the various Android tablets (which can’t meet or exceed Apple’s economies of scale).

Hurry up and wait…in the meantime, I think the HTC Thunderbolt is calling my name as an update to my HTC Droid Incredible.

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First Drive – BMW 335d

This morning, I took up an offer at BMW of Arlington (soon to be BMW of Alexandria) to test drive a 2011 BMW 335d.

The model we took out was a black four-door saloon, with the sports and cold weather packages. Shod in pretty nice 18’s with low profile run-flat PZeros (I think).

For about $52k, this isn’t a cheap motor, especially considering this wasn’t even optioned out to the limit, but it is a nice ride.

After pressing the start/stop button and starting it up without a wait for glowplugs, I half expected a pretty loud noise until it warmed up. It was quiet, just about as quiet as my funfer is in the morning. That was impressive.

Venturing onto the roads, we took it on the secondary roads before having a pretty good run on I395 and I495. I let the car shift itself until we hit the on-ramp for the highway (only autos are available – for shame BMW-USA), then put it into sport-shift mode. The car has paddles on the steering wheel, and given the sport-size wheel, everything was in reach and really comfortable. I kept catching myself going for the clutch and gear stick, but that was inevitable.

Putting your foot down, even in the sixth at moderate speed, the torque is quite impressive, almost pulling like a 540i. Considering this is a normal automatic gearbox, not an SMG or DCT, the shifts are remarkably responsive. You quickly forget you are driving an oil burner, and it corners  well (some Dinan parts would spice it up) – that’s more a testament to the large shoes as opposed to the (blech) run-flats I suppose. Turning the nanny switch off, I imagine this is a car that could spend a lot of time going sideways on a track day.

I found the visibility not as good as the 5 series – but that’s inevitable given the car’s smaller size.  A diesel coupe would be a definite win too. It seems that they really restrict the range of diesel (and small in general) models for the US market. Hopefully this tide is shifting as people want small, fun, economical cars.

Bottom line, if this car had a more appealing interior (this one had saddle brown leather and wood trim), this is one I could definietly see myself in. There are tons of incentives too, so this could be a pretty reasonable car to purchase in late-December if one is so-inclined to take advantage of the tax perks.

Still, I say that now, but I cannot wait for the new 1 Series M Coupe to come out, hopefully in Q1 2011.  That will be a car for a test-drive and euro-delivery.