Switching back to my iPad


About 8 months ago, on a whim I bought a Nexus 7. Really to be used for testing websites I work on for how they look on that size screen, a few months ago I decided to give Android a fair shake. Caveat: I have been an Apple person since 2002 or so, and have been with iOS since the original iPhone, so I am clearly a biased opinion.

The fair shake involved me using the Nexus 7 for all my media consumption, and tablet like duties (email, magazine reading, newspaper apps, etc). I did not “root” my device, or install a modified ROM. It is plain Android (jelly bean 4.2 right now I think). I have only used the Android play store, and I have never sideloaded apps (unlike most of my Android phanatique friends, who load tons of pirate apps).

I have documented some of the annoyances in the past, but I will summarize:

  • The auto intensity adjustment is flakey. I read in bed, and the intensity switches levels a couple times a minute. I have never seen that with my iPad.
  • The interface is at times unresponsive. Mostly noticeable during games (for example Astra Solitaire is painful to play, because the UI at times take 2 or 3 stabs with your finger to get it to respond. But I experience this with many applications. From reading the forums, this is not an uncommon Android experience.
  • Gmail application. When I got this, it was great, very well mimicking the web browser version. But they have Google+’d it, and it sucks. I have gone back to using the “other” mail application.
  • Chrome is missing one killer feature. Safari on the ipad (and on my mac as well), has a “reader” mode. It strips all the miscellaneous cruft, and displays the main content in a larger, easy to read font. Yes, Chrome lets you double tap to size it to the window, but that often is still text that is too small to comfortably read.
  • The facebook application for android blows donkeys. It is just horrible. The iOS app used to suck, but about 4 months ago, a major rewrite made it killer and easy to use. Android still suffers here.
  • The Google Play music app is painful to use. Really hard to create/modify playlists on the device.
  • The accuracy of where it reads taps is odd. This is hard to explain, but for example, if you are looking at the device tilted back, and you pull up the email account selector on the gmail app, in the iOS world, it would know that you are looking at the screen tilted, and assume that you will tap a little low. Android misses this, and you select the one below your intent.
  • Battery life is atrocious. I don;t play much music, or video, but have to charge it every day to day and a half for 2 – 3 hours of reading, light browsing. My iPad (granted a much larger device), I get easily 3 – 5 days of that same amount of usage. And it is 2,5 years old, so the battery isn’t fresh. I suspect this is somewhat caused by a lot of background processes that are constantly active. Unlike my iOS devices, it does update programs and the system silently and in real time. So I often have updates in the notification area. IOS prompts me to upgrade apps, so I tend to do it all at once.

I have heard people on the interwebz saying that the Nexus 7 is the best tablet out there, period. I suspect that they have never spent time with an iPad. It is just enough more polished, and less intrusive to knock the Nexus 7 off the pedestal that some place it. I haven’t toyed with one of the updated Nexus 7’s, perhaps they fix these gripes, but I suspect it is more tied to the Android OS, than the hardware, so I would be skeptical.

So, I am back on the iPad, and I will keep dabbling with the Nexus 7, but it isn’t going to displace iOS for me. (as I said, I was biased)

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  • Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. The Nexus 7 isn’t a very good device. There are far better Android tablets out there — a different device would solve most of your problems listed.

    As for the Facebook App, it blows no matter how you use it (iOS or Android). I always use the browser version on my mobile devices.

    The Google Play app is difficult. That is why there are so many other “approved” music players in the Play Store that you can install (rooting not required).

    Your complaints aren’t so much about the Android OS, but rather about the hardware you chose to purchase and the applications you chose to use. I’ll bet your experience would have been totally different if you’d have picked a better hardware platform (Samsung — afterall, even Apple says that device is like their iPad, only better) and found the right apps in the Play Store to get done what you’d like, how you’d like.


    • Probably true, but if the grandfather of the environment (Google) launches a device that is sub par, then you have to wonder.

      No doubt that I could have chosen better applications. But I did pick the highest rated solitaire application, and it is weak. One would think that if you chose the best rated, or most liked, it SHOULD be a solid choice. One thing I hate is the prevalence of nagware. Applications that are free, but then constantly try to get you to buy less nagging. IOS has some of this, but it seems to be fewer (the worst case of this I experienced was the Words with Friends app. )

      One app that kicks ass it Aldiko reader. It is awesome, and very very solid. I would love to have that on my iPad.

      Actually, the iOS facebook app is pretty decent.

      As I said, I started an iOS fan, and really entered this with an open mind. I didn’t expect to be swayed away, but I thought it would fare better in my day to day use.

By geoffand


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