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Which brings up the first serious drawback.

The articles will load up quickly only if you have a good Internet connection.

That leaves you at the mercy of a notoriously spotty AT&T cell phone network. Or, if you don’t have the more expensive iPad model with 3G cellular service, you’ll have to rely on whatever Wi-Fi connection is available.

Forget about using it on the subway.

Of course, you could say the same thing about Twitter or Facebook on the iPad. But the need for a solid connection puts Flipboard at a disadvantage compared with some of the slick magazine apps from the pros at Conde Nast or Time Inc. If you’re willing to pay for the latest iPad edition of Glamour or Time magazine, the whole thing will load at once, and you can read articles anytime, even off the grid.

There’s a free service called Instapaper that lets you click on any article in Flipboard and save it for later, but you still have to go through and click on each story you want to save. Couldn’t all this be circumvented by simply grabbing and storing all of the articles at once?

Even if you do have a good connection, the wireless issue can be especially frustrating when it comes to video. The clips embedded throughout Flipboard could be one of its most appealing features. But I never mustered the patience to load a single one.

There are also some basic drawbacks to the way that Flipboard’s software puts articles together.

Your friends and other contacts may serve as the editors who choose the stories, but the application serves as the layout editor. And it’s not always a smart one.

Faces can get cut off in photos as they appear on Flipboard. Headlines are sometimes inexplicable, including this one the other day from NPR’s Twitter feed: “Congo Odyssey, Day Two: Underwhelming Stanley falls ‘More.”

There’s also some needless repetition. I follow a lot of media types on Twitter for my job and could not stop hearing that Fareed Zakaria was ditching Newsweek for Time magazine.

And if the idea is to organize all this material into some kind of a whole, the random status updates from Facebook or Twitter contacts that Flipboard squeezes in alongside the articles can make for some jarring transitions. Remember, we follow people on Twitter for many different reasons. Some personal, some professional.

Last week, for instance, a Twitter contact directed me to a touching remembrance of the recently deceased New York University historian Tony Judt.

Next to it was Hugh Hefner, whom I follow because I cover Playboy Enterprises Inc. (I swear!): “Crystal bought her own iPad today. Now we can Twitter the night away together in bed.”

Um, ew?

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