TECH 5 for April 15, 2014 I-Pad vs. Android Tablet

ben-harrison-213x300Good afternoon and welcome to another Tech 5 program and a five minute trip into the amazing world of technology. This is Ben Harrison.

Yesterday we talked about decision making involved in buying an Apple computer or a PC. It really boils down to the use you plan to make of your computer; the amount of money you have to spend on your computer purchase (Apple is more expensive) and your personal design preference: the really cool look of Apple products or the so-so look of a wide range of PCs available on the market. Apple has worked very hard to create a fun and hip image for its line of Mac computers, while portraying PCs as dull and nerdy. However the PC will meet the needs of most people.

Today I’d like to share my thoughts on I-pads and Android Tablets. Mobile computing has hit the consumer marketplace with incredible success. At first, there was only the iPad. Then came the more expensive Android tablets with questionable quality. Eventually, the prices for Android tablets dropped while quality improved. Now, Android makes up the majority of tablet shipments in the market.
Most of what shoppers care about is found in the Apple iPads, Google’s Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablets, the new Samsung Galaxy series and. the Windows tablet.

All are impressive in some ways. From a size perspective, there are basically two tablet categories: 7- to 8-inches, and 9- to 10-inches. While these might sound similar in size, screens are measured diagonally; a 7-inch tablet can be half the size of a 10-inch tablet. So think of the two categories as small and large.
Your choice between small and large depends mostly on what you’re going to do with it and where: Are you reading books, watching TV and checking email? Or are you editing photos, recording music and working on spreadsheets? Will you be lying in bed, holding the tablet aloft in one hand? Or will it be propped up in front of you in conference rooms and airplane seats?
I prefer the smaller size, but that’s because I still also carry a laptop everywhere.
What is the best choice for reading and passive entertainment? I recommend the smaller tablets; for multitasking and doing real work, the larger ones
The worst choice? Any tablet that is sized wrong for your needs

Brightness and outdoor visibility
Tablets are hard to read outdoors, especially when the sun is shining. Although some manufacturers are developing bright and innovative screens. Unfortunately the iPads are poor in the sun.
Battery life
For now, iPads have the best battery life: of over 10 hours. The Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Nokia Lumina will run for upwards of 9 hours and the smaller Android tablets, about 8 hours.
Even the best tablet cameras are just OK, but they’re getting better, and can deliver medium- to low-light indoor shots suitable for most uses.
Best picture takers? The iPads, Galaxy Note 10.1, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch
Worst picture taker: Nokia Lumina 2520 and the Nexus 7; The 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX has no back-facing camera, so it is only good for a “selfie”.

Availability of content
Content for Android is now excellent. For video, you can find Netflix and Hulu, plus a growing lineup of pay TV or ad-supported services.
The iPad nevertheless is best, because it support everything I mentioned plus Apple’s iTunes video catalog. No other tablet gives you all that leeway.

The same is true for other content types: You’ll find reader apps and music apps of all kinds now on Android tablets.

Child’s play
If you have kids and let them use tablets, do you want the best and freshest kids apps? Do you want a tailored, controlled experience for them?
Apple still gets the best kids’ apps first and it does let you control children’s access. If you go into Settings, you can hit restrictions, pick a PIN, and then block all kinds of content and activities. You can also shut down advertising, social media and other services that you may find inappropriate for young ones.

Regardless of which tablet you choose, you’ll invariably have the option to add 4G cellular data capability for a premium cost which I find that to be excessive: Wi-Fi-only tablets are fine, and I can deal with the rare occasions where I don’t have Wi-Fi access. There are now plenty of ways to download video and other content for trips, and many phones can become Wi-Fi hotspots in a pinch.

Price may be the most important factor of the tablet buying decision. The newest iPads cost a lot. If price is important, you could do far worse than to buy the Nexus 7 or the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX. the last-generation iPad Mini, especially if you plan to do a lot of reading.

Decision making in the purchase of an Ipad or tablet is yours and should start with spending time researching the market, the price you can afford and the use you will be making of the computer.