Apple’s iPad is undoubtedly a revolutionary device. Nothing comparable has come before it, yet we anticipate — as with the iPhone and iPod — it will be an industry benchmark. How could it be a game-changer? The first round of reviews are in on the much-anticipated iPad, which will hit stores April 7. While the battery life exceeds expectations and the excellent visual display could make it the next cutting-edge gaming device, reviewers criticize the iPads e-reader functionality and lack of Flash (sorry Hulu, CBS and ABC).

Let’s see what the reviewers had to say:

Who Would Want It? — The iPad is less for people who need complex spreadsheet and document editing capabilities, and more for cloud-computing and entertainment. It’s great for web surfing, social-networking, emailing and multimedia such as photos, videos, music and books. [Reuters]

Pros

Extended Battery Life — Typically slammed for its infamously short battery life, Apple has turned over a new leaf with the iPad. A WSJ reviewer was impressed with the over-delivery on the expected 10 hour battery life. In fact, some reports peg the battery life at nearly 12 hours.  [WSJ]

Excellent Easy-of-Use — In true Apple fashion, the iPad is fast, light and responsive. The multi-touch screen is easy to navigate with unprecedented speed and precision. Indeed, “it really does qualify as a new category of gadget.” [NYT]

Great Gaming Device — If the iPhone proved to be a good alternative to traditional hand-held gaming devices, the iPad “gives portable game machines from Nintendo and Sony a run for their money.” The colors pop, the multi-touch features enhance interactivity and the large screen size makes game-play stunning. [USA Today]

Fantastic Visual Display — Because of the larger display, pretty much all of the native applications we’re used to viewing on the iPhone look and function better on the iPad. “What I’ve seen so far of video playback of content purchased on iTunes appeared stunning on the iPad.” [Washington Post]

Cons

Unimpressive E-Reader Functions — Although the page-turning animations are fun, book selections are whimpy (only 60,000 titles), the device is heavy compared to other e-readers, text is unintelligible in direct sunlight and you can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on other devices (not even a Mac or iPhone). Maybe Amazon does have a leg up — at least in the e-reader market. [NY Times]

No Flash — Apple’s beef with “buggy” and “unreliable” Adobe Flash might come to a tipping point with the iPad. Readers cannot access their favorite sites with Flash-enabled players. Sorry Hulu, ABC, CBS, Facebook and Nickelodeon fans. While some sites, such as CNN are optimizing their video libraries for Apple standards, thousands of websites are just white squares. [NY Times]