The press embargoes have lifted and the first reviews of the Apple iPad are up. Walt Mossberg usually doesn’t write very critical reviews, but this time he seems to have hit all of the right points in his Wall Street Journal / AllThingsD review:

My verdict is that, while it has compromises and drawbacks, the iPad can indeed replace a laptop for most data communication, content consumption and even limited content creation, a lot of the time. But it all depends on how you use your computer.

If you’re mainly a Web surfer, note-taker, social-networker and emailer, and a consumer of photos, videos, books, periodicals and music—this could be for you. If you need to create or edit giant spreadsheets or long documents, or you have elaborate systems for organizing email, or need to perform video chats, the iPad isn’t going to cut it as your go-to device.

As for myself, I’m holding out for now. Not only am I totally inconsistent in judging first-gen Apple devices – I said that the first iPhone wasn’t for me before buying and loving it – but it’s hard justifying another device when I already switch between a smartphone, netbook and MacBook Pro.