Update: My time with a Nexus-7 Android tablet


A while back, I had a quick review of my first impressions of Android (recap: I had bought a Nexus 7 primarily to test a website I maintain for that form factor). Being a long fan of Apple and iOS, I was cautious in my review.

At the end of that review, I committed to putting my iPad down, and living with the Nexus-7 day to day to give it a fair shake.  Here are some interim observations:

  • The display is nice. Sharp, clear, and plenty bright.
  • The auto brightness based on ambient light is a bit glitchy. I tend to do a half hour or so of reading every night in bed before I sleep, and the brightness bounces up and down enough to make me crazy.
  • The Android Facebook application is crap. Crashes a lot, and clumsy navigation. It is a lot like the iOS app was 6 months ago, but FB got their shit together and made it reasonable. Seems that hasn’t happened on the Android version.
  • The system crashes fairly regularly. I haven’t counted how many times, but enough to be bothersome (no, these are restarts to upgrade the firmware).
  • Video playback via the Play store, and my Flixter account is quite good. As long as I have a good WiFi signal, and enough bandwidth, it is a great streaming platform.
  • The built in Play application for the Google Music is weird. It just seems un-intuitive to navigate and create playlists. To be fair, I am usually happy with the iOS version of iTunes, so it is probably not the device/sw, but me and my expectations.
  • Some applications are very susceptible to crashing. FML is one.
  • I really like the Play Magazine app. I read Foreign Affairs with it, and I enjoy it. However, the Economist app is not compatible with the Nexus 7 (not a Google problem). Dafuq is up with that?

I am reasonably satisfied with the Nexus 7, but I am not a gamer, and I am not a hacker. I am just using it in the manner which Google made it. (ok, Asus, but Google was responsible for the design and software). Since it was a lot less expensive than the iPad, it is a good value.

But I still like iOS devices better. Probably not going to switch to Android across the board.

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  • Just picked up a galaxy note 8 to learn the system. Unfortunately, many of the gestures and practices that have become second nature in IOS don’t work in Jellybean. From a beginers standpoint, IOS is crealy superior. The higher cost of the IPad was offset by the time I wasted trying to figure things out. Hardware-wise, the Galaxy/android tablets and the MS Surface Pro that I use for dictating reports offer more bang for the buck, especially in speed, connectivity and expandability. Once the “Voice Dream Reader” app is available in Android, the scales will tip away from IOS as its presence has tipped the Assistive Tech scales to IOS away from the full Windows & OS X computers. I estimate that this year we’ve reduced the cost to the state VR system by about $2k per student by going with an IPad and AT apps compared to the previously standard laptop loaded with Dragon, Kurzweil
    3000/Wynn & Printer & Pearl scanner. Moving to an Android device will save only a couple hundred.

    • Interesting take. I don’t know much about AT, but it sounds fascinating, and like the new generation of technology is a huge enabler.

      One thing to point out, at times, the Android (stock Jelly Bean) on this Nexus 7 just becomes non responsive to user gestures. Only a second or two, but it is enough to annoy someone who is used to iOS being instantly responsive to your input.

      That, and there is nothing as smooth (that I have found) as Solitarie City on iOS. I used it back when it was a Palm app, and greatly enjoy it on iOS. I am sure there are better solitaire games on Android, but the top rated ones suck big tool.

      I know that seems petty, but it is something that matters. Not sure if the iOS7 transition is going to mess things up though.

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