TouchPad First Thoughts
Well I've now had my TouchPad for a few days and I must say I'm really enjoying it. If I'm honest out of the box (running webOS 3.0.0) it was a bit clunky, often stuttering as I panned around the system and the email app was incredibly slow to open so I can certainly see why the original reviews were pretty harsh - especially considering it cost as much as the iPad 2 when it first released.
A quick system update brought the OS up to version 3.0.2 which made a world of difference. I know others have already said this but it should have been delayed by a few weeks so they (HP) could have shipped it with this version installed as it truly does transform the TouchPad, and the reviewers would have had far fewer issues with it. As well as the update I've installed preware on it which opens the device up to a world of patches, kernels and applications that aren't available through the App Catalog. With a new kernel running at 1.5GHz and some patches to reduce the system logging the TouchPad now simply flies along!
I ended up going with the US App Catalog as the New Zealand one lacks many apps. This is annoying as I'd much rather use my NZ credit card to purchase apps rather than having to jump through hoops to get a US credit card (get a mate in the States to get you a Simon Malls Gift Card - works just like a Visa) but it's not just missing apps - even some of the apps that are there don't work unless you set the catalog to the US (things like the Amazon Kindle app are installed by default on the home screen but when opening I get a "not available in your region" error. Set the catalog to the US one and suddenly it works perfectly, which is ridiculous - I can buy kindle books from Amazon just fine with my NZ card so why restrict the app???)
I've been pleasantly surprised by the battery life I'm getting out of it - I thought it might not last very long going by my experience with my Pre+ (and my original Pre before it) which needs putting on the charger every evening as it generally doesn't even last 24 hours. The TouchPad on the other hand still has around 50% battery remaining after a full (24hr) day of use (and believe me, seeing as I've just bought it I'm using it a lot!) and I can happily take it with me without having to worry about bringing the (admittedly very compact) wall charger with me.
Some other quick notes: Skype works very well on it (although when Skyping a friend on an iPad 2 she complained that my video looked a bit grainy), the web browsing experience is excellent (I was worried that sites with Flash might bog it down but that hasn't been the case at all), HP have replaced Google Maps with Bing Maps which are particularly bad in New Zealand, typing on the virtual keyboard is actually quite do-able (I've bought a bluetooth keyboard for it too but haven't had reason to use it), the size is good but it is heavy, the official HP protective case is actually really good, the audio sound and volume is really good (relatively - it is still just a tablet after all) and I really miss my gestures.
All in all I don't think it's worth iPad money, but for the price I paid I'm *really* pleased I got it :-)