I love technology…my house is filled with gadgets, though I admit that I am usually a little behind the times when it comes to the latest tech gear. I was slow to get my first iPod, but fell in love with it quickly and continued adding to my iPod collection.
Because I have been low on funds for fun things like iPod touches and iPhones and iPads, I have typically resorted to buying an older model from someone on eBay once the price came down to something I could afford.
The iPad, however, never came down to a price that I could justify (and, honestly, I always viewed iPads as really big iTouches, and wasn’t completely sold on them).
My first tablet….
On Black Friday, I was at the mall with my friend Safire and my oldest daughter, standing in a rather long line, when I noticed some Android tablets inside a Best Buy Mobile store. I left Safire and KitKat in line while I went over to take a peek, and ended up being so impressed with the 7 inch Acer Iconia A100 Android tablet (and it’s Black Friday sale price under $200) that I walked out of the store with it, declaring it my Christmas present to myself (from Mom and Dad’s Christmas check, of course).
Because I wanted to make sure I would love it enough to keep it, I started using it right away, not waiting for Christmas morning to open it up.
I fell in love with it. What a glorious device! I could carry it in my purse everywhere I went, I could finally enjoy Kindle ebooks (holding it comfortably in one hand), and I found it so much easier to check and answer emails away from my computer versus my iPhone.
I was on the Acer tablet all winter break, completely thrilled with my purchase.
And then, as fate would have it, I received and email after the holiday announcing that I had won an iPad 2 from a local contest with Invisalign Teen. I was torn – which would I like better? Was it worth it to keep both, or should I just sell my iPad since I already knew I loved my Android tablet?
Shortly after the New Year, my iPad came. As much as I didn’t want to love it, since I was so smitten by my Android, I couldn’t help falling in love. And I fell hard.
iPad versus Android tablet
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the things I have loved about both devices, and why the iPad quickly overshadowed the smaller Android tablet.
Size…7 inch versus 10 inch screen:
I thought that the 7 inch screen on the Android was totally sufficient, and I actually thought I’d prefer the smaller size for portability. While I do enjoy the 7 inch screen for reading ebooks and email, it is much more difficult to actually type on it. While I was in Florida, I tried composing blog posts on the Android (with a bluetooth keyboard that I bought on Amazon). The keyboard worked perfectly, but the screen was simply too small for blog writing, and the WordPress app was much too wonky for me to use. I ended up borrowing my husband’s laptop for writing.
I considered the 10 inch screen on the iPad to be too big to be portable, but it has accompanied me in my purse on every errand I’ve run since I got it. The on-screen keyboard is extremely easy to type on (so pleasant, in fact, that I have composed several blog posts on the iPad while sitting in the car or on my couch). And, in case you’re curious, the WordPress app works flawlessly on the iPad.
The on-screen keypad:
I didn’t consider the Android’s keypad a negative until I used the iPad’s keypad. The iPad really is smooth and easy to type on. I’ve had lag issues with the Android’s keypad.
Availability of apps:
I continue to be impressed with the Android market. I thought that the apps would be lacking (itunes just seems to have it all…) but I was pleased to find nearly everything I could need from the Android market. The only things I missed on my Android tablet were Instagram and Pinterest apps.
However, I found an Android app called Camera Zoom FX (not free, but I got it on sale for $1.49…I can’t complain about that) that I adore. It has a ton of filters and frames that I’ve really enjoyed using. And I can access Pinterest through Safari on the Android. It’s just not as “pretty” as the app.
On my iPad, since I’ve been an iPhone and iTouch user for a while, I was already familiar with the apps that I enjoyed using, BUT I was shocked at how much better everything functioned on the newest, updated device. Did I mention that I was using an iPhone 3G and an iTouch from two generations ago?
This is one category where the Android wins hands-down. My small Acer tablet has a 5MP back camera with flash (oh, that flash is SO handy!) and a 2MP front camera. I have taken some really good pictures with it!
Naively, I figured that the iPad would also have a nice camera, and was only sad to see that it didn’t have a flash. I was surprised when the pictures I took on it looked really grainy, but figured that it was the larger screen. NO. The iPad camera simply stinks. I’ve read that the camera is around .6MP. Not 6…. Point six, as in barely over a half of a megapixel. Basically, the camera is worthless for still shots. While I realize that an iPad is not made to be a camera, it is pretty disappointing that Apple couldn’t put something a little more impressive in such an advanced device.
One of the selling points of Android tablets is that you can easily add storage space with a micro SD card. Though my tablet has 8GB of on-device memory, I expanded that by 4GB with a memory card that I already had on hand. The iPad is not expandable, but they do tend to start out with more space to begin with (I have the 16GB + 3G model).
As a reading device:
My Android tablet is the same size as the new Kindle Fire, and it really is convenient for reading ebooks with one hand, in the dark, in my bed no less…). I thought that the iPad would be too big to hold as a book, but when held horizontally, I’ve actually really enjoyed reading on it. Because I see two “pages” at a time, it feels like I’m reading a book. Both devices works well with the Kindle app, but the Android allows me to shop for books and buy them right from the app, unlike the iPad.
I could go on and on comparing points about iPad and the Acer tablet, but it comes down to this: I like the iPad better. It’s easier for me to use, it runs more smoothly, and it crashes less often. As much as I loved the Acer, the iPad wins. I am choosing my iPad over my Android every time (a fact that I am almost sad about….I really did want to continue loving my Android).
However, if you were to ask me if I’d recommend getting an Android tablet (a 7 inch like mine or a larger one (the 10.1 inch Iconia A500) that’s closer to the size of the iPad) I would not hesitate for a second to say yes. I would buy it again, especially for the price, if given the chance. If price were not an issue, though, I would recommend the iPad over a similarly sized Android tablet.
Do you have any questions about specific comparisons not mentioned in this post? I would be happy to answer questions!
Please note: This is not a paid or solicited review but it does include Amazon affiliate links to show products that I talked about within the review. I just wanted to share my experiences with both devices because I was curious about a side-by-side comparison before I had either of the tablets. Hopefully this can help one of you make the decision about which tablet is right for you!
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