I develop enterprise document and content management solutions. It’s a very Windows dominated industry and creates a paradox in my life. I am a Windows programmer by day and a self-professed Apple fan boy. The only Windows device I use is a Dell Latitude, which serves as my primary development machine. This is the only Windows device allowed in my house. My wife uses a MacBook Air, we have a general purpose Mac Mini, and my kids run off of various iDevices. In addition to my Latitude, I generally carry a MacBook Air (on which I am authoring this blog) and a 3rd generation iPad with me at all times.
I recently decided I needed something a bit smaller than an iPad for general use. Something pocket-able that was easier to keep with me on the go. Of course I have my iPhone 5, but I wanted something in between. Given my predisposition for all things “i”, the iPad Mini was an obvious choice. So I picked up a Mini last week and was off to the races.
Sadly, the Mini is not pocket-able. I knew this before I bought it, but I was not convinced I needed something that small. After a few days of use, I had no real complaints. The screen is fine, although certainly not Retina caliber. Everything else about the Mini is pretty flawless, but I kept coming back to its size and the fact that I could not put it in my back pocket. So now what? I certainly will be interested to see what the evolution of the Mini brings, but I seriously doubt its form factor will change enough for it to matter. I had done some due diligence on various 7 inch Android tablets, and figured for $250, I could give the Nexus 7 a try.
The first draft of this blog was written with the assumption I would return the iPad and hold out for a slimmer trimmer version, relying on the Nexus 7 to fill the void in the mean time. Believe it or not, I had some nice things to say after the initial device setup. However, after a full week of use, it evolved into the 4 reasons why Android will never beat iPad, and will never ever have a place in my bag.
4 reasons why Android will never beat iPad
- Chrome on Android is garbage. Pages don’t render correctly, or at all. It hangs with relative frequency, and believe it or not, the added real estate on the Mini really does make a difference in page display. It’s choppy at best, and it’s uncomfortable for someone used to the smoothness of mobile Safari. This actually shocks me, as Chrome is my go to browser on both PC and Mac.
- Android is not fluid at all, at least not on the quad-core Nexus 7. Orientation shifts have pauses and delays, and the overall experience is one that echoes the sentiments of every Android user I have ever met. “Android is great, it just doesn’t run well on my device”. It needs regular reboots to stay running at an acceptable level, and even then there are times where it hangs for long periods.
- OS and App settings are cumbersome. It’s hard to find what you're looking for, and it’s not always clear where to look. I am sure this is in part due to the perceived open-ness of the architecture, but the other part is sloppy design. Flame me all you want – it’s poorly designed.
- Build quality cannot even be compared. You might say it’s unfair to compare a $350 device to a $250 device, but too bad. No one can argue that these products are even in the same galaxy with regard to their fit and finish. If $100 makes that big of a difference, I will spend the $100.
So while my initial feedback was quite positive, after getting some daily use, there is no way the Nexus could replace and iOS device for me. I appreciate Android as a platform, but it’s far too choppy and disjointed for it to hold a candle to any iPad.