Android Tablet Review
I’ve beenÂ jealousÂ of my girlfriends iPad every since she got it last Christmas. Â However, never green enough to buy one. Â I love my iPhone, the user experience is fantastic, but I worry that Apple isÂ cautiousÂ on the hardware. Â I think otherÂ manufacturersÂ out there are pushing the boundaries more than Apple Inc.
I love google. Â I use google apps (gmail, docs, reader, plus, maps, earth), I use google search, I use chrome browser, youtube, the list goes on for ever. Â Google own Android, so why wouldn’t I love that too?
I wanted a proper tablet, so seven and nine inches wasn’t going to be enough. I very quickly realised the market leaders were the Asus Transformer and the Samsung Galaxy 10.1. Â Both are practically identical underneath their sleek exteriors acording to TechRadar. Both dual core processors, both have a gig of RAM, both come in 16 or 32 gig models…
The major difference between this pair is their conectivity. Â The Asus has a microSD slot to expand your storage with ease, and a mini HDMI connector to expand the screen! Â Both not to be sniffed at, but the Asus is also a fair bit bigger, wider and heavier than its competitor. Â After looking around on ebay, I soon found I could get an expansion card for the Samsung that would solve the SD slot issue (and USB) for a couple of quid, and a HDMI one was only Â£15.
Both have keyboards available for purchase. Â The Asus’ keyboard holds a few more tricks than the Samsung. Â An SD card, a USB slot and crucially another battery. Â The thing is, I have a netbook, I want a tablet. Â So I’m not sure I really want a keyboard.
The thing that swung it for me (oddly) was looks. Â That bulkier size of the Asus, it’s gold bezel and weight just isn’t as pretty as the Samsung. Â After picking them both up at PCWorld, I was sold on the Samsung.
I managed to find a Samsung refurbed 32 gig model for a touch over Â£300 leaving me Â£100 left over from the normal retail price to buy a case, a USB / SD card connector, and possibly the HDMI one. Â Happy Days.
I’ve had the tablet about three weeks now, and it’s become a very important part of my digital life, but would I have been better off buying an iPad?
Yes Android crashes every now and then, but so does iOS. Â The difference is Android tells you it’s crashed, where are iOS just bombs out of the application. Â It all comes down to the apps in my opinion. Â Android has more varied apps, but not so many that are designed for Android 3, the tablet version. Â Many end up beingÂ stretchedÂ to fit the larger screen. Â Which works fine, but isn’t ideal.
I think Android allows for a geekier experience, which is perfect for me. Â Apple restrict their app store too much to protect their revenue streams in my opinion. Â Couldn’t come to a deal with Adobe over flash, or didn’t want you to play free flash games within a web browser? I know what I think.
So here’s a list of apps I now couldn’t live without…
- Dolphin Browser – Much better than the stock browser. It allows plugins (ReadItLater, LastPass etc)
- Google Docs
- Google Reader
- QuickOffice HD – Allows me to create and edit office documents locally, on dropbox, sugarsync and Google Docs!
- Friend Me – A more pleasurable Facebook experience.
- File Expert – Fantastic file manager which allows you to browse networks, cloud and local storage, as well as share your tablet data over a wireless network.
- 2X Client – Excellent remote desktop client.
- Wifi Analyzer – Perfect for checking wifi signal and interference.
- AndFTP – I can manage my ftp servers from my tablet.
One thing you may notice is the lack of a twitter app. Â I have been reallyÂ disappointedÂ by the twitter apps on Android. Â I’ve tried Plume, TweetDeck, twicca, tweetcaster, twitter, twidroyd, TwitterRide and Xeeku. Nothing ticks all my boxes. Â I absolutely love TweetbotÂ on my iPhone. Â It allows multiple account, but you can configure each account differently. Â It enables me to use my custom twitter image host, and my custom URL shortening service on the accounts I want to. Â It is perfect. Â Unfortunately, nothing comes close on Android as yet. Â It’s the one thing that might stop me jumping to Android when my mobile phone contract comes up for renewal in March at the moment.
After reading Rob Harrisons interesting iPad experiment. Â I do wonder if I can replicate the same on my Samsung. Â Can I get through a working week without touching a desktop or laptop? Â Next week would be interesting, I’m going to BETT on wednesday…Â Image fromÂ Mac MorrisonÂ and licenced under creative commons.