The iPad evolved: Four killer features | Nanotech – The Circuits Blog – CNET News

At first a bit of a utilitarian mystery, the iPad has evolved, for me, into a practical device.

A previous post notwithstanding, the iPad has finally become, practically speaking, what it is: a tweener device, but one staking out distinct territory between a smartphone and a laptop.

3G and weight: these, I have come to realize, are two of its best killer features. Thanks to 3G and its gossamery 1.5-pound portability, I can whip it out anywhere and work, navigate with the GPS, or just relax. And I am doing this with increasing regularity sans laptop.

Always on, always connected: The fact that it’s always on, always connected–like a smartphone–makes it the device of choice to grab when moving from room to room inside the house: for watching movies, reading, shopping online, or using it as a phone via Skype. (And another reason why it’s great on the road, too.)

Battery life: Typically, the iPad lasts on one charge for more than one day, often two days (sometimes three) with regular use. That is amazing. My MacBook Air lasts little more than an afternoon. That alone makes the iPad more practical than a laptop, at times, when I’m on the road.

All of the above also poses an interesting philosophical question about the merits of traditional laptops versus tablets/slates. But I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

Brooke Crothers has been an editor at large at CNET News, an analyst at IDC Japan, and an editor at The Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly, among other endeavors, including co-manager of an after-school math-and-reading center. He writes for the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET. Disclosure.

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