Is the Nexus 10 Good Enough to Replace an iPad 3?

Last update: February 26, 2013

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It’s been several months since my Nexus 10 arrived, so it’s time for an update on my attempt to replace an iPad 3 with it. Was the lack of good tablet apps as big of a problem as everyone said it would be? And what about the superior build-quality of the iPad? Was the Nexus 10 lacking in this area? Read on to learn the answer to these and many more questions.

My Top Gripes After a Month

Since most of my previous columns about the Nexus 10 have stressed its benefits, I’ll get right to my gripes about it. Here are the things that bothered me the most about the Nexus 10 after the first four weeks of use.

You can see an example of a good tablet interface on the left and a bad one on the right.

  1. Limited number of great tablet apps – The number one complaint from reviewers about the Nexus 10 is the lack of great tablet apps. Although it’s true there are more good tablet apps for the iPad, I was surprised this wasn’t more of a problem for me. Many of my favorite Android smartphone apps ran fine on the Nexus 10. In some cases I did need to replace apps, but I didn’t have much of a problem finding suitable replacements. There were two reasons why I needed to replace apps. The first was the fact that some apps have controls which are too small to accurately touch on the Nexus 10. A bigger problem for me was the fact that some of my favorite Android apps couldn’t be downloaded on the Nexus 10. Examples include Zite, USA Today and Flickr. I suspect this is because the companies are working on tablet-optimized apps and are not allowing downloads to tablets because they don’t want to get bad reviews. Now that there are finally a few good selling Android tablets, I suspect we’ll see app makers put more emphasis on creating good tablet apps. I’ve included a list of some Google-recommended tablet-optimized apps here in Tip #4. It’s worth pointing out that not all popular apps are available in tablet versions for the iPad either. For example, Instagram looks much better on the Nexus 10 than it does on the iPad. That’s because it only occupies a small portion of the iPad’s screen. Sure you can blow it up 2x but the text looks distorted and ugly.

    Update: After a month this is no longer a serious problem. Every day I find new tablet-optimized apps that look great on the Nexus 10. Just today a tablet-optimized version of Flipboard finally became available.

  2. Android 4.2’s calendar issue is well-documented

  3. Android 4.2 bugs – Although the stories about Android 4.2’s bugs have been overblown, there is no doubt that iOS 6.0.1 is a more stable, less buggy operating system. Most of the current Android 4.2 bugs are things you won’t experience unless you stream music over Bluetooth, use the lock-screen music widgets, or enable auto-brightness. There is also the well-documented issue which occurs when you try to add an event that occurs in the month of December in the People app. As far as the random crash issues go, I still experience a few a week, so Google does have some work to do in this area.
  4. UPDATE 11/27: Google pushed out an Android 4.2.1 update today which addressed the missing December issue.

    UPDATE 1/15: A Google employee confirms the next Android update will contain a fix for the Bluetooth issue.

  5. Issues rearranging apps and creating folders – Early versions of Android were far superior to iOS when it came to moving apps from screen to screen without rearranging other apps. I’m having problems with this on the Nexus 10 now. A more serious issue is the fact it’s sometimes hard to get an app to go into a folder you drag to. Sometimes the folder moves, other times it won’t work the first time, but if you keep trying you can always get it to go into the folder. This is strange and annoying.
  6. Sometimes magazines can be viewed and other times they cannot

  7. Disappearing magazines – One of my biggest Nexus 10 gripes so far is the problem I’m having not being able to view some of the free magazines that Google provided. I get a ‘Fetching latest…’ message when I try to open a magazine that never goes away. This occurs on magazines I’ve viewed without problems before. This may have to do with the fact I downloaded these to my tablet. The only way I’ve been able to fix this so far is to go to Settings/Apps and swipe to the left until I see the ‘All’ heading and then scroll down to Google Play Magazines and touch the ‘Clear data’ button and redownload the magazine again.
  8. Playback issues with ultra HD video on some apps – I’m having problems trying to watch ultra high-definition (2560*1440) movies using MX Player. The video appears to pause every few seconds now, when it used to work fine on the same software. The same video plays perfectly on the MoboPlayer app so this could be a software-only issue.
  9. Text editing problems in the browser – It’s much more difficult to edit text in a Nexus 10’s browser, than it is to do the same with an iPad 3. There are several reasons for this: The first is the fact it’s harder to insert the cursor precisely in browsers like Chrome. The second is the fact it’s harder to accurately cut and paste text on the Nexus 10 than the iPad. The third, is the fact the Nexus screen sometimes automatically zooms in or repositions itself when you touch the screen or hit the backspace key. It blows my mind that no one at Google has tried to use the Nexus 10 for this purpose because it’s so bad. Editing text in Firefox is even worse than in Chrome. I couldn’t get copy and paste to work reliably in Firefox at all. Two caveats: these are Android-related issues and not Nexus 10 flaws, and furthermore, HTML editing is something I do a lot, but not something a typical consumer does often.

    Update: I’ve figured out what is happening here. Google and browser software makers have implemented logic to try guess when you’re having a hard time touching a button or control. When they detect this, they zoom in around the area to make sure you touch the right thing. This is nice for typical users, but can cause problems when editing HTML. I must have adapted, because I’m now doing almost all of my HTML editing on the Nexus 10 instead of the iPad.

  10. Both the Nexus 10 and iPad 3 have similar back light bleed issues

  11. Screen-related issues – The screen on the Nexus 10 does not have blacks that are as dark as Samsung’s Super Amoled displays. There is also some light leakage in both of the bottom corners. This may only be visible when you are in a dark room and the screen is black, but I wanted to point it out. Some additional leakage is present on each side, but it’s less obvious. As you can see from the photo above, the iPad 3 has backlight leakage that is worse to the Nexus 10. Even with its backlight issues, the iPad 3 and 4 still have a few advantages over the Nexus 10’s display. They have higher contrast, more brightness and better overall color accuracy then the panel in the Nexus 10. That’s not saying the display on the Nexus 10 isn’t great. It will blow your mind when you play a game like “Asphalt 7” or watch an ultra HD movie on it. It’s also noticeably sharper when it viewing small fonts on websites.
  12. The camera on the Nexus 10 isn’t great

  13. Mediocre rear camera – Although the front camera on the Nexus 10 is only 2MB, it looks much better than the camera on the iPad 3. This is probably because the iPad 3 only has a 0.3 MP camera. The rear-facing camera on the Nexus 10 is not great, but neither is the one on the iPad 3.
  14. Plastic back cover – Although I love the lightness of the Nexus 10 and the way it feels when you hold it, occasionally when you hold its case a certain way, you’ll feel the back move a little. I mainly notice this is when I’m polishing the screen using my shirt. Is this a really big deal? Not for me, but it could have been avoided with a better design.
  15. Wi-Fi range issues – Google claims the Nexus 10 has MIMO Wi-Fi — but its antenna is less sensitive than the one in the iPad. You’ll see this on the Wi-Fi signal strength meter, and you’ll notice a difference in performance when you have a low signal. This isn’t a major problem, but it is a little annoying in light of Google’s bold claims in this area.
  16. Google Play screen update problems – This is a minor issue but I once experienced problems with the screen flashing when I was downloading updates in the Google Play store. This also appears to be an Android 4.2 issue and probably has nothing to do with the Nexus 10.
  17. Auto-brightness problems – Android 4.2 has an auto-brightness setting, but it doesn’t work well because it’s possible for your finger to occasionally block the light sensor when you hold the tablet in Portrait mode. To address this issue you can download Lux Auto Brightness. Lux adjusts the brightness of your display based on your environment. When you go into a dark room, Lux will automatically lower the brightness of your display after you unlock your screen. This approach seems to work better than the dynamic approach that Google uses by default.
  18. The Nexus 10 has the 8th best battery life of 474 Android devices

    The Nexus 10 is one of the more batter-friendly Android devices

  19. Slow charging – Slow charging with the stock charger is a problem, but this was only a issue for me on my first day of use. After that, I charged the tablet at night and did not have a problem getting through most days. When I use the Nexus 10 more than normal, I charge it for an hour around lunch and that gets me through the day. Although there has been a lot of talk about battery life on the Nexus 10, you can see from the chart above it is actually one the top battery-friendly Android devices.
  20. If you’re thinking some of these problems are pretty lame, you’re correct. It’s not easy to find too many things wrong with the Nexus 10’s hardware. Things like backlight leakage are also a problem on the iPad 3 and iPad 4. Most of the serious Nexus 10 issues are software-related, and should be fixed at some point.

Observations After 8 Weeks of Use

I order this product on day one and have spent as many hours with it as anyone outside of Google. After eight weeks I am now using my iPad 3 only a few minutes a week. Here is a summary of my observations after eight weeks:

  • The claims about Apple’s superior app ecosystem are overblown. I don’t miss any of the iPad apps I was running before. Not a single one. That doesn’t mean all of the Android apps are at parity, because they are not. But the differences are small enough now that they don’t bother me. Since the Nexus 10 launched the number of good tablet apps has increased dramatically.
  • My problems with the Nexus 10 crashing have sadly increased, but they are not a serious problem yet. Sometimes it will crash twice in a day and then go days without another crash. There is a lot of speculation over the cause of this. Some people think it’s caused by the Chrome browser. Others think the problem goes away when the GPS is disabled. I’ve noticed that many of my crashes occur when I’m using the Chrome browser and Wi-Fi signal strength is low or the tablet is downloading updates. I also suspect that moving wallpapers might be a contributing factor. This hasn’t become a major annoyance for me yet, because I’m confident Google will fix this soon.
  • Update: Since I installed Android 4.2.2, my crash problems seem to have gone away.

  • Most of the display gripes about the Nexus 10 are overblown. The back light bleed is not a problem for me, but I would like darker blacks. That is my number one screen gripe. Color accuracy on the Nexus 10 isn’t great, but that hasn’t been a problem for me. Nor have non-HD desktop icons. I do feel the lack of great HD wallpapers is a problem, but likely one that won’t last long. Screen brightness has also not been a problem for me. Although its not perfect, I love the display on the Nexus 10. To my eyes it’s much crisper than the iPad 3 and that’s what I care about the most.
  • The build quality of the Nexus 10 is fine. I’ll take the lightness over the iPad any day. My only gripe is the fact that the section on the back does not stay in as snugly as I would like.
  • One new problem I’m a little concerned about is the heat from the main chip. This was initially only a problem when gaming, but now I notice it when I’m scrolling on site like Facebook for long periods.
  • What About Build Quality?

    Along with lack of tablet apps, build quality is the most common gripe about the Nexus 10 from Apple fans who have never seen one. I’ll admit the Nexus 10 doesn’t look great in most review photos, but in person, it looks and feels very nice. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Here are a few excerpts about build quality from Nexus 10 reviews:

  • Gizmodo said: “It feels extremely solid and well-built. The back panel is a hard plastic that has been rubberized in a really interesting way. It’s very smooth, but very grippy at the same time.”
  • Ars Technica said: “I do find that I actually prefer the textured plastic back of the Nexus 10 to the aluminum back used by the iPads—the latter gets pretty cold to the touch in November in New Jersey, and the tablet is only too happy to transfer that coldness straight to your hands. The Nexus 10 is a bit more hospitable when pulling it out of a bag that’s been outside.”
  • CNET said: “It is the most comfortable 10-inch tablet to hold in your hand its light weight and smoothly rounded corners the tablet never digs into your palms when held with two hands. The back is a soft, grippy, almost rubbery plastic that not only feels great to hold, but doubles as protection for the tablet. The aforementioned rounded corners have that same rubbery plastic around them. The whole outer shell feels almost like an exoskeleton accessory, specifically designed to protect the delicate tablet organs.”
  • Ubergizmo said: “To put it simply, the design of the Google Nexus 10 is beautiful. The front of the tablet is made of a pristine black glass surface from edge to edge. I really like the soft touch treatment which gives a solid grip when holding the tablet. This is an issue that I have regularly with the iPad. Overall, I find the industrial design to be excellent and high-quality. Unless you are adamant to feel metal when you touch the tablet, I expect most people to be pleased with the quality of this device.”
  • The Guardian said: “The Nexus 10 is a sleek, smooth tablet that feels solid, and sits nicely in the hands with its rounded corners – more rounded than the iPad.”
  • Venture Beat said: “The tablet’s curved design makes it surprisingly comfortable to hold, and the soft back case material feels simply luxurious. The Nexus 10 is so well designed that you’ll be tempted to fondle it even when it’s turned off.”
  • Android Community said: “It’s extremely well made, very durable, feels great and is indeed a polished and beautiful product inside and out.”
  • Android Police said: “Amazing build quality. I tried really hard to find a flaw in the build of this tablet. But I couldn’t. It’s top-notch – everything is super-solid… The back is the real standout feature of the device’s physical design, as it’s coated in a very soft rubbery-plastic that feels almost like leather. It definitely adds a feeling of quality, and is absolutely fantastic in the hands. It’s not cold and slippery like aluminum, nor does it feel cheap and flimsy like typical plastic. It’s slightly grippy, which allows you to hold the unit with less “force,” leading to less wrist fatigue. It also makes it easier to hold the device in your hand palette-style without fear of dropping it.”
  • Tech Radar said: “The rear plastic chassis has a soft-touch feel, with the rubberized effect providing additional grip in the hand, and wrapping round to the front of the tablet for a smooth, seamless finish.”
  • And last, but not least, Wired said: “The back panel is a grippy plastic that makes the Nexus 10 much better than previous Samsung tablets and even the iPad for one-handed use.”
  • Why The Nexus 10 is My New ‘Go to’ Tablet

    You might be wondering why I still favor the Nexus 10, even though I admit the iPad still has some important advantages. Here’s why:

    1. The Nexus 10 absolutely kills the iPad 3 and 4 when it comes to features.
    2. The Nexus 10 is a much better value than the iPad 4. Its hardware beats the iPad 4 in almost every area and costs $100 less.
    3. Apple prevents older hardware from running some features

    4. I want access to all of the newest technologies. The Nexus 10 has features like NFC and multi-user support, which iPad users could be waiting years to get. Not only is Apple behind, they have a history of preventing their users from accessing their new features. Even though the iPad 2 is capable of running Siri and Panorama, Apple forces iPad 2 owners to buy newer hardware in order to run those features. That just isn’t right.
    5. Speed is important to me and the Nexus 10 is faster than the iPad 3. After using my Nexus almost 100% of the time for several months the iPad is noticeably slower on things like scrolling Facebook in the browser.
    6. Lastly, I want the same experience on my phone and tablet. Now that I’ve switched from iPhone to an Android smartphones, it only makes sense that I use an Android tablet.

    Could I replace my iPad 3 with the Nexus 10?

    My transition from an iPad 3 to a Nexus 10 wasn’t as easy as my transition from an iPhone to a Nexus phone. My first few days with the Nexus 10 were not great. I was getting it set up properly and finding good tablet-optimized apps. Most of my issues with the Nexus 10 were software-related, and not directly related to the Nexus 10 hardware. The Nexus 10 is not a perfect product, but it’s good enough that I’ve put my iPad 3 on the shelf and only use it for occasional HTML editing now. The surprising thing is I actually prefer using the Nexus 10 now over the iPad 3. The main reason for this is the fact the Nexus 10 is noticeably lighter than the iPad and feels much better in my hand. Its corners are nicely rounded and don’t dig into my palm the way the iPad 3 does. This is a big deal when you hold your tablet for long periods with one hand like I do. Another reason I prefer the Nexus over the iPad is the display. The crispness of text on the Nexus 10’s display is second to none.

    The bottom line is the Nexus 10 is a great tablet, which holds its own against the best tablets. This says a lot, because the iPad 4 running iOS 6 is a very good product. But for me, the Nexus 10 is even better.

    Final update 2/26: My crash problems seem to have been fixed by Android 4.2.2. I no longer use my iPad for a single thing. It sits on my floor lonely and unused, so I’ve decided to give it to my Dad on Fathers Day. In the past few months there have been a large number of good Android tablet apps which have been released. It’s now at the point where I can’t think of a single iPad app that I still miss — except maybe Zite which runs on my GS3.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    It’s true the iPad has more tablet-optimized apps, but some popular apps still appear like this.

    Here is how Instagram looks on the Nexus 10. Which would you rather use?

    30+ Reasons You Should Buy a Nexus 10 Tablet

    Last update: March 4, 2013

    This article has over 40,000 views! Thanks for reading it.
    It only took two days for every single model of the Nexus 10 to sell out worldwide. The 32GB model sold out just two hours after sales began.


    The last two articles I wrote about tablets were my most popular ever, so I’ve decided to write another one about the new iPad 4 and its top competitor. Since some people complained my last article was unfair because I compared the iPad mini to several different tablets, this time I’ll compare the iPad 4 to a single tablet.

    Don’t get me wrong, the iPad 4 certainly has some great qualities, but it’s no longer leading the way. Its Retina-display was the gold-standard for resolution, but those days are over. There’s a new tablet king and it’s called the Nexus 10. Here are over thirty good reasons why you’d be crazy to buy an iPad 4 over a Nexus 10.

    1. It costs less and gives you more – A 16GB Nexus 10 costs $100 less than a 16GB iPad 4. That 20% less, for a product with much better specs as you’ll see below.

    2. It has a better, higher-resolution display – Apple’s Retina displays used to be second to none, but those days are over. The Nexus 10 has a higher-resolution display than the iPad 4. It’s the world’s first tablet with a WQXGA 2560×1600-pixel display. But that’s not all, the Nexus 10 beats the iPad 4 in two other important areas as well: number of pixels and pixels-per-inch.

      The Nexus 10 has almost a million more pixels than the iPad 4’s Retina display (4,096,000 vs. 3,145,728)

      The Nexus 10 has more pixels-per-inch than the iPad 4 (300ppi vs. 264ppi). That may not sound like a lot, but you can see the difference on very small text. Like the iPad 4, text on the Nexus 10 looks very sharp.

      The Nexus 10 has a processor with a faster clock speed than the iPad 4

    3. It has a faster next-generation processor – The Nexus 10 has a processor clock speed that is over 30% faster than the iPad 4 (1.7GHz vs. 1.3GHz). The Nexus 10 is the first tablet with an ARM Cortex-A15 processor that beats the iPad 4 badly on benchmarks like Geekbench (2480 vs. 1768). This processor is 40% faster than previous generation ARM chips. The A15 is expected to be used in the iPad 5, which won’t be released until mid-2013.
    4. It’s considerably lighter than the iPad 4 – The Nexus 10 is noticeably lighter than the iPad 4 (603g vs. 652g). This is a big deal when you use your tablet for hours at a time. I used to be able to hold the original iPad in the air with my left hand, but my new iPad with its leather case is so heavy that I have to put my elbow on the table or bed.

      The Nexus 10 is noticeably thinner than the iPad 4

    5. It’s thinner than the iPad 4 – The Nexus 10 is thinner than the iPad 4 (8.9mm vs. 9.4mm). This is surprising, because thinness is one area Apple normally dominates in. The Nexus 10 also does not have sharp corners which dig into your palm when you hold it with one hand.

    6. It has twice the memory and twice the storage as the iPad 4 – The Nexus 10 has 2GB of RAM, while he iPad 4 has only 1GB of RAM. More memory allows you to run more apps at once without slowing down. A $499 Nexus 10 also has twice as much internal storage than an iPad 4 (32GB vs. 16GB). This is important because it’s not hard to fill up a 16GB iPad when you have a large media collection or lots of apps.

      You can share media by simply touching two NFC-enabled Android devices together

    7. It has touch-to-share capabilities – Android tablets like the Nexus 10 can share media by simply touching another device with NFC support. This allows you to share photos, videos, contacts, Web pages — as well as information between apps. You can see Android Beam in action here.
    8. It has faster Wi-Fi than the iPad 4 – The Nexus 10 has dual-band Wi-Fi and MIMO support. Amazon claims that MIMO results in better range and 40% faster Wi-Fi data speeds. Google says accelerated page loading and MIMO gives you web browsing speeds up to 4x faster than normal WiFi. Of course these are theoretical gains, we’ll have to see what the real-world numbers are.
    9. It has a brighter display with wider viewing angles – The Nexus 10 has a Super PLS display, which has several advantages over IPS displays like the one Apple uses. Super PLS displays have wider viewing angles, and are supposed to be 10 percent brighter.
    10. Size matters when it comes to speakers. The Nexus 10 has two front-facing speakers

    11. It includes front-facing stereo speakers – The Nexus 10 has two large speakers on the left and right sides of its screen. These speakers shoot forward so the sound doesn’t get muffled by your hands (like it does on the iPad whose speaker faces down). The Nexus’ dual speakers also sound better than Apple’s single mono speaker. I was hoping the potential space savings that resulted from the switch to a Lightning connector the iPad 4 would allow Apple to add bigger, better-sounding speakers, but that did not happen.
    12. You can see the Nexus 10 is fast. I’ll replace this once I find a comparison to iPad 4

    13. It has an extremely fast GPU – Engadget says the Nexus 10 has the “most detailed and smoothest graphics we’ve seen.” Early benchmarks are mixed. Some favor the Nexus 10, while others favor the iPad 4.
    14. It’s much easier to repair – According to iFixit, the iPad 4 is much more difficult to repair than all other tablets. iFixit gives the iPad 4 a repairability score of 2 out of 10, which is horrible. The battery is glued to the rear case which is unfortunate because it makes it very difficult to replace. iFixit goes on to say, “Just like in the iPad 2 & 3, the front panel is glued to the rest of the device, greatly increasing the chances of cracking the glass when trying to remove it. Gobs of adhesive hold everything in place, including the battery. The LCD has foam sticky tape adhering it to the front panel, increasing chances of it being shattered during disassembly.” I’m still waiting for a repairability score on the Nexus 10 from iFixit, but another source rates it “extremely repairable.”
    15. The Nexus 10 comes with 5 books, 3 magazines, 10 songs, an HD movie and a TV show

    16. The Nexus 10 comes with lots of free content – Content varies by region. U.S. users get the following three free magazines: Conde Nast Traveler, Entrepreneur and House Beautiful. There are also five great books you are provided with including: “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Like music? The Nexus also comes with ten songs from The Rolling Stones, Cat Power, M. Ward, The Lumineers, Bob Mould, Eskmo and more. And last, but not least, the Nexus 10 also comes with an HD copy of the full-length movie “Ice Age” and the BBC TV show “Planet Earth.”
    17. It has multi-user support – The iPad 4 is a single-user device tied to a single iTunes account. The Nexus 10 is the first tablet to allow multiple users to log-in. Each user has their own home screen, background, apps and widgets. Things like game-progress and high-scores remain separate. This feature will be very important for families.
    18. It has GPS support – The Wi-Fi only model of iPad 4 does not have a built-in GPS. That means you can’t use it to check-in or load maps of your area like you can using the Nexus 10.
    19. You can use Google Wallet anywhere you see these images

    20. It includes digital wallet support – The Nexus 10 has Google Wallet preinstalled. It allows you to purchase things without a walled in places like Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, Einstein Bros Bagels, Home Depot, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Peet’s Coffee, Pinkberry, Rite Aid, Sports Authority, Whole Foods and many more places. In fact, there are over 300,00 PayPass-enabled cash registers today. You can learn more about NFC here. The iPad 4 has something called Passbook, but it only works at Starbucks (and the Apple Store).
    21. It plays Flash videos – Flash may be a dying format, but there are still millions of Flash videos around, and the iPad 4 can’t play any of them. The Nexus 10 can play all Flash videos as long as you side-load Flash by following these easy instructions and use a browser like Firefox which supports Flash.
    22. Android beats iOS 6 in many areas – This will surprise some, but Android 4.2 has many advantages over iOS 6. You can read about those advantages here.
    23. File transfers are much easier – It’s a major hassle to get anything (but photos) on or off of an iPad 4. Android devices don’t need iTunes or iCloud to copy media. Just connect a USB cable and your device will appear on your desktop like a hard disk. You can then drag and drop any file (or folder) onto it.
    24. The Nexus 10 has several different keyboard layouts like this one with number keys

    25. It has a better on-screen keyboard – The Nexus 10 has a much better on-screen keyboard than the iPad 4. In addition to all of the standard Apple keyboard features like a spell checker, auto-capitalization and auto-correction, the Nexus 10 also has the ability to add words to a personal dictionary, show correction suggestions, perform gesture typing (where you swipe from key to key), Provide next-word suggestions and the ability to change your keyboard to one that is more PC-like and includes all numbers and extra keys.
    26. You can easily load custom ROMs – Nexus devices do not come with locked or encrypted bootloaders. That means you are free to install customs ROMs and fully tailor your device however you wish.
    27. It has a better rear-facing camera – According to reviews, photos taken with the Nexus 10’s rear camera have better color accuracy, definition and less noise than the iPad 4′s camera. The iPad 4’s iSight camera lacks Panorama, Photo Sphere and other camera features present in Android tablets.
    28. It has a better front-facing camera for video calls – Apple upgraded the front-facing camera on the iPad from 0.3MP to 1.2MP, but it still doesn’t match the 1.9MP front-facing camera found on the Nexus 10. The iPad 4’s front camera records noisy 720p videos at a only 24fps in low light.
    29. Nexus 10 Flash

    30. It has an LED flash – Every camera needs a flash in order to take good photos in low light conditions. The Nexus 10 has one. The iPad 4 does not.
    31. It has a standard micro-USB jack – The Nexus 10 has a standard micro-USB jack, so you can easily connect your tablet to a keyboard or charger without purchasing an expensive cable. The iPad 4 has a new proprietary Lightning connector that is not backwardly compatible. This was done so Apple can sell you overpriced cables that cost $20 to $50. If you want an extra charging cable for an iPad 4, it will cost $19 and is hard to find. You can buy an Android power cord almost anywhere for as little as $2.
    32. HDMI connector

    33. It has a dedicated HDMI port – The Nexus 10 has a built-in HDMI port which ensures it can output video to all HDMI-equipped TVs, projectors and monitors. That’s not always the case when MHL over USB is used for video output. Another benefit is that any mini-HDMI cable will work and a special adapter cable is not needed.
    34. Its AV adapter supports 1080p – Although it’s hard to believe, Apple’s Digital AV adapter (which connects to the HDMI jack on your TV) doesn’t support 1080p today. It’s capable of supporting 1080p, but Apple has chosen to hold back 1080p support for now.
    35. It has a Gorilla Glass 2 screen – I know Apple uses Gorilla Glass 2 on the iPhone 5, but as far as I can tell they do not use it on the iPad 4. If they are using it, they are keeping it a secret — which doesn’t make sense because it’s a benefit.
    36. The Nexus 10 has a slightly larger display than the iPad 4

    37. It has a larger display – The Nexus 10 has a 10.055” Super PLS display, while the iPad 4 has a 9.7” IPS display.
    38. It has a 16:10 screen – Tablets are great for watching movies, but all movies are formatted to fit on a 16:9 display. Because the iPad 4 has a 4:3 aspect ratio, all 16:9 movies need to be letter-boxed so they fit on the screen. This makes movies appear smaller. The Nexus is much closer to 16:9 than the iPad 4.
    39. It has dual NFC sensors – The Nexus 10 is the only mobile device with dual NFC sensors: one in the front, and one in the back. These have been added so you don’t have to turn the tablet around to beam things.
    40. Android 4.2 allows you to access settings from the Notification Bar

    41. It gives you quick access to settings from the notification bar – On the Nexus 10, settings can be quickly by accessed by pulling down on the top right portion of the screen. On the iPad 4, all app settings are grouped together in a Settings app making them harder to access.
    42. It has haptic feedback – Like most Android devices, the Nexus 10 supports haptic feedback. This gives you a little vibration when you type, long press, or touch the navigation buttons. This makes it clear your touch was acknowledged, so you don’t have to tap twice. Haptic feedback makes games much more enjoyable because of the tactile feedback.
    43. It has a built-in barometer – The Nexus 10 has a built-in barometer, which improves GPS accuracy. I didn’t believe this would make a difference until I compared the GPS in a Galaxy Nexus (which also has a barometer) to the GPS in an iPad and Galaxy S III which do not.
    44. Micro-USB jack

    45. Works with a USB mouse – One advantage of having a micro-USB jack is that it makes it easy to plug-in peripherals like a USB mouse. Even if you could figure a way to attach a USB cable to the iPad 4, it still will not work, because iOS 6 doesn’t support mice. You can also attach USB keyboards or memory sticks to the Nexus 10 after purchasing an adapter for a few dollars.
    46. It has multicolor LED alert – The Nexus 10 has a small LED indicator at the bottom of the screen (when held in landscape mode,) which alerts you to new messages or other system events. As with other Android devices, you can customize exactly how this LED works by installing a third-party LED control app like Light Flow. The iPad 4 does not support any type of LED alerts.
    47. The preinstalled Android Gallery App has more powerful photo editing than you’ll find on any free iPad app

    48. It’s stock photo viewer has more advanced photo editing – There are some good photo editing apps available for the iPad, but the best are not free. The stock Android Gallery app has much more advanced photo editing than you’ll find in than Apple’s Photos app.
    49. It has dedicated back button – All Android devices include a dedicated back button. In addition, most apps have a menu button proves fast access to settings and other app-related commands like Share. The back button makes it easy to go back to where you were before. This is one of the features I miss the most when I jump between Android and iOS.
    50. Why You’ll Still Buy an iPad 4

      If you’re an Apple fan, you don’t comparison shop, you don’t care that Apple products cost more and do less. You’ll find a way to convince yourself that all of the above reasons somehow don’t apply to you, and you’ll buy an iPad 4 anyway. And in six months, when Apple comes out with an iPad 5, which is twice as fast and has a better Retina display, you’ll buy that one too – and thank Apple. This may sound harsh, but it applies to millions of people. So go ahead and buy one — you know you want it.

      The Tide is Turning

      Apple has dominated tablet sales since the original iPad launched back in 2010. But those days are coming to an end. For the first time, Apple is losing tablet market share. According to Strategy Analytics, shipments of Android tablets surged to new highs in the third quarter of 2012, accounting for 41% of all tablets shipped. In the same period, shipments of Apple’s iPads shrank to only 57% of the market. IDC paints an even gloomier picture for Apple and says they now have only 50% of the tablet market. That may sound like a lot, but it wasn’t long ago that Apple had 90% of the tablet market. Apple’s drop in market share started before the Nexus 10 and Kindle Fire HD tablets were available, and will likely accelerate now. Apple’s still an important player in the tablet space, but they need to lower their prices significantly or improve their products to justify their price premium. Apple image has taken a big hit as well. As TechCrunch said, “the fourth-generation iPad doesn’t seem to be nearly as big as the leap from the first to second generation, or from the second to third generation.” Sure, most Americans will continue to buy Apple exclusively no matter what, but it’s a big world, and buyers from other countries are much more discriminating and price-sensitive.

      Update 1 – The Nexus 10 went on sale on 11/13 and the 32GB model sold out within two hours in the U.S. The 16GB Nexus 10 sold out in the U.S. in the first two days. However, since then, additional supply has become available, and the 16GB model is now available for purchase again (11/18)

      Update 2 – My Nexus 10 arrived on 11/16 and I’ve posted my first impressions here. You can find a list of 21 tips and tricks for the Nexus 10 here.

      – Rick

      For the Apple Fanboys

      1. This is an opinion piece – I think the title makes that very clear. Don’t read this if you can’t handle an opposing view point.

      2. This article is focused on the Nexus’ advantages – I’m aware there are good reasons to buy Apple products. Since every other reviewer focuses on those, I saw value in showing another point of view.

      3. I don’t just pick on Apple – I write highly-opinionated articles about other companies as well. Here are examples where I single out Samsung, AT&T, United, Google and Rhapsody.

      4. I don’t hate all Apple products – I think most of the new products Apple announced are good or great — just not the new iPad 4 or iPad mini. I own two iPhones, an iPad, an iPad 3 and an Apple TV. I buy Apple products when I believe they outperform other products and are not outlandishly priced.

      5. I want this to be factually correct – Believe it or not, I really do try to keep my articles factually accurate. If think one of these points is incorrect, let me know and I will edit or delete it, but you’re not going to change my beliefs, just like I’m not going to changes yours, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      What About Build Quality?

      Since most comments about this article mention the so-called “crappy build quality of all Android tablets” I thought I would address this issue. When I first wrote this article, I mentioned the build-quality of the Nexus 10 was good, but not great, but after reading close to twenty reviews I removed that comment. Read on to see why:

      1. Gizmodo said: It feels extremely solid and well-built. The back panel is a hard plastic that has been rubberized in a really interesting way. It’s very smooth, but very grippy at the same time.
      2. Ars Technica said: “I do find that I actually prefer the textured plastic back of the Nexus 10 to the aluminum back used by the iPads—the latter gets pretty cold to the touch in November in New Jersey, and the tablet is only too happy to transfer that coldness straight to your hands. The Nexus 10 is a bit more hospitable when pulling it out of a bag that’s been outside.”
      3. CNET said; “It is the most comfortable 10-inch tablet to hold in your hand its light weight and smoothly rounded corners the tablet never digs into your palms when held with two hands. The back is a soft, grippy, almost rubbery plastic that not only feels great to hold, but doubles as protection for the tablet. The aforementioned rounded corners have that same rubbery plastic around them. The whole outer shell feels almost like an exoskeleton accessory, specifically designed to protect the delicate tablet organs.”
      4. Ubergizmo said: “To put it simply, the design of the Google Nexus 10 is beautiful. The front of the tablet is made of a pristine black glass surface from edge to edge. I really like the soft touch treatment which gives a solid grip when holding the tablet. This is an issue that I have regularly with the iPad. Overall, I find the industrial design to be excellent and high-quality. Unless you are adamant to feel metal when you touch the tablet, I expect most people to be pleased with the quality of this device.”
      5. The Guardian said: “The Nexus 10 is a sleek, smooth tablet that feels solid, and sits nicely in the hands with its rounded corners – more rounded than the iPad.”
      6. Venture Beat said: “The tablet’s curved design makes it surprisingly comfortable to hold, and the soft back case material feels simply luxurious. The Nexus 10 is so well designed that you’ll be tempted to fondle it even when it’s turned off.”
      7. Android Community said: “It’s extremely well made, very durable, feels great and is indeed a polished and beautiful product inside and out.”
      8. Android Police said: “Amazing build quality. I tried really hard to find a flaw in the build of this tablet. But I couldn’t. It’s top-notch – everything is super-solid… The back is the real standout feature of the device’s physical design, as it’s coated in a very soft rubbery-plastic that feels almost like leather. It definitely adds a feeling of quality, and is absolutely fantastic in the hands. It’s not cold and slippery like aluminum, nor does it feel cheap and flimsy like typical plastic. It’s slightly grippy, which allows you to hold the unit with less “force,” leading to less wrist fatigue. It also makes it easier to hold the device in your hand palette-style without fear of dropping it.”
      9. Tech Radar said: “The rear plastic chassis has a soft-touch feel, with the rubberised effect providing additional grip in the hand, and wrapping round to the front of the tablet for a smooth, seamless finish.”
      10. Wired said: “The back panel is a grippy plastic that makes the Nexus 10 much better than previous Samsung tablets and even the iPad for one-handed use.”

      These are just a few of the positive comments about the Nexus 10’s build quality. There are many more online. I’m not saying the build quality of the Nexus is better than the iPad 4. I’m just saying most reviewers like it.

      Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.


      Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    Who Makes the Best 10” Tablet on Earth?

    Last update: February 3, 2013

    This article has had over 16,000 views. Thanks for reading it.

    Tablet Shopping Guide – No Opinions, Just the Facts

    There have been lots of new tablets released since my last article, so I’ve decided to do an update. I started by evaluating all of the popular tablets, and then narrowed the list down to only eight finalists. Although there are some truly amazing 7” to 8.9” tablets out there, this article is only evaluating tablets that are 9.7” and larger. You can learn more about the new iPad mini and other smaller tablets here.

    This time I’m trying a new approach. Instead of giving my opinion, I’m going to provide the facts, and let you decide for yourself. If you think I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments section. This is a “living” article that will be updated as I come across new information. Make sure to check back to see what has changed.

    Apple just recently released the iPad 4 with a Lightning connector


    Let’s start with the king of the tablets: The iPad. Apple has sold more tablets than any other manufacturer – by a long shoot. Just last week, Apple refreshed the “new iPad” by adding a Lightning connector, bumping up the speed on the processor and upgraded the front-facing camera. Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of the newest iPad:

    Apple iPad 4

    Strengths

  • Very good build-quality – All metal and glass construction
  • Fast performance – Beats the Nexus 10 on most benchmarks
  • Twice as fast as the iPad 3 in some benchmarks
  • More tablet-optimized apps than any other platform (275,000)
  • Very powerful battery (11,560 mAh) – Up to 10 hours battery life
  • Gets iOS updates on the first day they are available
  • Retina display (2nd highest resolution here 2048×1536)
  • One of the brightest displays
  • Boots in only 16 seconds
  • Excellent color accuracy
  • iOS apps are less likely to contain malware than Android apps
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Optional 3G/4G support
  • Great selection of third-party accessories
  • 12W AC adapter for slightly faster charging
  • Lightning connector is reversible so it can’t be inserted wrong
  • Has AirPlay support for wireless media beaming
  • Touchscreen can register 11 points at a time
  • Powerful headphone amp
  • 1080p video with digital image-stabilization
  • Very good HTML5 performance
  • Best for portrait use
  • Smart cover automatically powers on the tablet when opened
  • Physical home button
  • Weaknesses

  • Heavier than all of the other tablets here except one (652g)
  • Thicker than all of the other tablets here except one (9.4mm)
  • Identical to the iPad 3 in most ways except processor, front cam and connector (case, display, etc.)
  • No memory expansion slot
  • Wi-Fi-only model doesn’t have an internal GPS
  • Use a proprietary connector so you can’t connect USB or HDMI cables directly
  • Lightning connector has no backward compatibility, so older accessories won’t work unless you buy an adapter
  • Much more difficult to repair than other tablets. Gets 2 out of 10 rating, which is horrible
  • Retina display has a big impact on battery life. One reviewer reports only 5.5 hrs video playback at full brightness
  • Gets badly beaten by the Nexus 10 on benchmarks like Geekbench (2480 vs. 1768)
  • Loads web pages slower than an iPad mini
  • 3G/4G support costs $130 more (plus data charges and other monthly fees)
  • Single mono speaker (no front-facing stereo speakers)
  • Has half the memory of other tablets (1GB vs. 2GB)
  • Some visible light leakage the LCD display
  • No quad-core CPU like other tablets have
  • Doesn’t have NFC support
  • Gets very warm on the left-hand side after you’ve been using it for a while
  • Very reflective display
  • The iSight camera is only 5MP. Other tablets have 8MP and 13MP cameras
  • The iPad 4’s iSight camera lacks panorama, Photo Sphere and camera features found in other Android tablets
  • No infrared transmitter
  • Parental controls only work with iOS and even then have serious limitations
  • No camera flash – Low light photos are very noisy
  • The front camera records noisy 720p videos at a only 24fps in low light
  • No mouse support
  • Only has a 1.2MP front camera
  • Screen has a 4:3 aspect ratio, so 16:9 movies cannot be displayed full screen a must be letter-boxed
  • Has a 4-core GPU while other tablets have 8 or 12-cores
  • Worse battery life than all previous iPads
  • Screen is smaller than other tablets
  • No back button or menu button
  • Acer makes several affordable 10.1″ quad-core tablets


    Acer has three different 10.1” quad-core powered Android tablets with very similar specs: The Acer Iconia Tab A700 (which came out back in June) and the newer A700-10s32u and A700-10k32u tablets. The A700-10k32u tablets seems like a good value at only $399.99

    Acer Iconia A Series

    Strengths

  • Full HD 1920×1200 display (224 ppi)
  • Quad-core processor
  • A good value – starting at $399 with 32GB
  • Good build-quality
  • 32GB storage (twice other tablets)
  • Includes a GPS
  • Stereo speakers
  • Has a microSD slot for memory expansion
  • Runs Android 4.1
  • HDMI connector for TV-out
  • Weaknesses

  • 1GB of memory (Some others have 2GB)
  • Camera lacks an LED flash
  • No 3G/4G cellular option
  • Acer doesn’t specify a resolution for the front cam (normally that means it’s 0.3MP)
  • No NFC support
  • No 5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi support
  • Not as thin or light as some other tablets
  • No internal microphone
  • The ASUS PadFone 2 and dock are extremely innovative

    The ASUS PadFone2 is one of the most innovative mobile devices available today. Its Android-powered smartphone has amazing specs and a 13MP camera. The phones slides into a dock to become a tablet.

    Asus PadFone 2 with Dock

    Strengths

  • Fast quad-core processor (1.5GHz)
  • Detachable phone works on its own, or docks in tablet
  • 13-megapixel Sony BSI sensor plus f/2.4 five-element optics
  • Almost zero shutter lag, can also shoot up to 100 continuous shots at 6 fps
  • 1080p at up to 30 fps
  • 720p at up to 60 fps
  • Twice as much memory as most other tablets (2GB)
  • 3G/4G support
  • NFC support
  • 9.5 hour battery life
  • Capable of beaming to media AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Phone and dock weight less than the iPad 3 or iPad 4 (649g)
  • 50GB of free ASUS web storage
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weaknesses

  • No Android 4.1 support yet
  • No MicroSD slot
  • Not the highest resolution display (1280×800)
  • Single mono speaker
  • No physical home button
  • No infrared transmitter
  • No U.S. carriers are offering this phone yet
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • The Asus Transformer has one of the best keyboard docks available

    The original ASUS Transformer Prime was the world’s first quad-core tablet. This Android-powered tablet been upgraded to a 1920p HD display and has an excellent optional keyboard dock. Some reviewers believe this is the best tablet available today.

    Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700

    Strengths

  • Fastest quad-core processor available today (1.6GHz)
  • Thinner than any of the other tablets here (8.5mm)
  • Twice the storage of most other tablets for $499 (32GB vs. 16GB)
  • True 1920p HD display (224ppi)
  • Fast graphics (12-core GPU)
  • Beats the Nexus 10 on most benchmarks
  • Android 4.1.1 update available (ships with 4.0.4)
  • Excellent keyboard dock with full-sized USB connector which offers 13-14 hours of battery life
  • 8MP camera with f2.2 aperture
  • Can operate as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Very good build-quality
  • Full size SD card slot
  • Light skin that doesn’t get in the way as much as TouchWiz
  • Bright display
  • Better black levels than the iPad 4 or Nexus 10
  • Higher contrast ratio than the iPad 4 or Nexus 10
  • Capable of beaming to media AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • LED flash for camera
  • You can connect a standard mouse or external HD drive directly to the keyboard
  • microHDMI connector
  • Two microphones for stereo sound recording
  • Good selection of pre-loaded apps
  • 1080p video capture
  • Gorilla glass 2 screen
  • Nexus devices do not come with locked or encrypted bootloaders. That means you are free to install customs ROMs and tailor your device however you like
  • Has an ASUS customized settings app
  • When docked, the battery life on the Transformer Prime is second to none

    Weaknesses

  • Price starts at $599 but includes 32GB
  • Half the memory of other tablets (1GB vs. 2GB)
  • Images taken with camera are not the best
  • No NFC support
  • Slower Wi-Fi download speeds than the Nexus 10 and some other tablets
  • Not great low-light performance on camera
  • Single rear-facing speaker
  • Keyboard dock is $150 when purchased separately, but includes powerful battery
  • No dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • No optional 3G/4G support
  • Other tablets have better I/O performance
  • No infrared transmitter
  • No physical home button
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • Barnes’s and Noble’s Nook HD+ is the first 9.0″ tablet

    Barnes’s and Noble’s Nook HD+ is the the world’s first 9.0″ tablet. It’s very light and costs less than any other tablet here (pricing starts at $269). This is a pure e-reader without extras like cameras, GPS and cellular capabilities.

    Barnes and Noble’s Nook HD+

    Strengths

  • The most affordable tablet here ($269 and up)
  • High-resolution HD display (1920×1280)
  • The lightest tablet here (only 515g)
  • Includes stereo speakers
  • High pixel densitiy screen (256ppi)
  • Expandable memory via Micro SD slot
  • Parental controls for a kid-safe experience
  • HDMI out via cable
  • A micro USB port rather than a proprietary connector
  • Weaknesses

  • Not yet shipping (pre-order available 11/8)
  • The thickest tablet here (11.4mm)
  • No front or rear cameras
  • Least powerful battery here (4000 mAh)
  • No 3G/4G data option
  • No NFC support
  • No Dual-band 5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • No GPS support
  • Lacks an ambient light sensor for automatic screen brightness adjustment
  • The Fujitsu Stylistic M532 is a durable business-ready tablet

    The Fujitsu Stylistic M532 is a business-ready Android tablet. It has a fast quad-core processor and is thin, light and durable.

    Fujitsu Stylistic M532

    Strengths

  • Fast quad-core processor
  • The 2nd thinnest tablet tablet here (8.6mm)
  • Above-average durability
  • Designed for Business – Includes Absolute Computrace security
  • Has 32GB storage
  • Highest megapixel front camera available today in a tablet (2MP)
  • Has stereo speakers
  • 8MP rear camera
  • Has 2.4GHz/5.0GHz dual-band Wi-Fi
  • micro USB port
  • GPS support
  • Stock Android – No bloatware
  • microSD card slot
  • Weaknesses

  • Display is good, but it’s 1280×800. The best tablets are 1920×1080 or higher
  • Only 149 pixels per inch on display (the best have 200-300ppi)
  • Inaccurate touch screen
  • No 3G/4G cellular data option
  • Expensive $549
  • 30-pin proprietary connector
  • Runs Android 4.0.3
  • Only 1GB RAM (some others have 2GB)
  • No NFC support
  • No HDMI port (docking cradle ($69 direct) which allows HDMI out and USB inputs)
  • 5 hour battery life – Lowest power battery here (3170 mAh)
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • The Huawei MediaPad 10 is a 10 inch Android tablet with a quad-core CPU

    The Huawei MediaPad 10 is a 10 inch Android tablet with a quad-core CPU and optional LTE support. Currently it’s only available in Europe.

    Huawei MediaPad 10

    Strengths

  • Quad-core CPU
  • 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display
  • Optional LTE support
  • Very thin (8.8mm)
  • Attractive design
  • 2GB memory
  • Good benchmark scores
  • Relatively light (580g)
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dolby 5.1 audio support
  • Strong audio output
  • microSD slot
  • Powerful amp for speakers
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • Gorilla Glass screen
  • HDMI connector for TV-out
  • 1080p video
  • Weaknesses

  • Pricing starts at 424 euros ($540 for 8GB Wi-Fi only)
  • Currently not available in the U.S.
  • Not great battery life (7+ hours)
  • Lacks microSD slot for storage expansion
  • Proprietary USB connector (no standard microUSB)
  • Heavy OS skin
  • No app drawer
  • No NFC support
  • Occasional delay when switching between open apps or launching apps
  • Sharp edges
  • Some issues with cameras
  • Rear-facing speakers
  • Highly-reflective screen
  • The Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 has a built-in FM radio

    The IdeaTab S2110 is a 10/1″ Android-powered tablet from Lenovo with 3G connectivity and a built-in FM radio.

    Lenovo IdeaTab S2110

    Strengths

  • Very nice keyboard dock
  • Only tablet with a built-in FM radio
  • A good value. Pricing starts at $429
  • Bright display with 178° wide viewing angle
  • Very thin (8.69mm)
  • Fast dual-core processor (1.5GHz)
  • Dual speakers and SRS TruMedia audio enhancement
  • Optional 3G connectivity
  • 10 hours battery life
  • Optional dock increases battery life to 16+ hours
  • Sturdy construction
  • Capable of beaming to media AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Micro-HDMI output
  • A micro USB port rather than a proprietary connector
  • 5.0MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 1080p video recording
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weaknesses

  • Lacks microSD slot for storage expansion
  • No optional 4G cellular
  • No NFC support
  • GPS is only available on 3G-enabled model
  • No 5GHz dual-band Wi-fi support
  • Matte finish attracts fingerprints
  • No infrared transmitter
  • No physical home button
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • The Microsoft Surface RT is the only tablet which runs Office today

    The Microsoft Surface RT is the most affordable Windows 8 tablet available today ($499). It runs Microsoft’s new Windows 8 Operating system and comes preloaded with a full-version of Microsoft Office.

    Microsoft Surface RT

    Strengths

  • Preloaded with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013
  • Most affordable Windows 8 tablet ($499)
  • Best laptop replacement
  • Quad-core processor (1.3GHz)
  • Twice as much memory as iPad 4 and most other tablets (2GB)
  • Twice the storage as most other tablets (32GB vs. 16GB)
  • Split-screen multi-tasking feature
  • Multi-user support
  • Full-sized USB jack (instead of a proprietary connector)
  • More than twice as good as the iPad 3 in a JavaScript benchmark
  • Large screen 10.6”
  • Dual speakers
  • microSD memory slot
  • Has a sturdy built-in stand
  • 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Better keyboard support than some other tablets
  • The membrane keyboard doubles as a cover
  • Good HTML5 performance
  • 16:9 screen
  • microHDMI jack
  • Gets OS updates on the first day they are available
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weaknesses

  • Limited number of great third-party Windows 8 apps
  • Preloaded OS and apps consume 12 GB of space
  • Heaviest tablet here (676g)
  • Windows 8 requires some learning curve
  • Some reviewers say battery life is only 7-8 hours
  • No GPS support
  • Can’t run legacy Windows apps
  • Slower web page loading than other tablets
  • Outlook is not included with Office, so you have to use Mail and Calendar to sync up with Exchange
  • No NFC support
  • Only 1MP front and rear cameras with no auto-focus
  • No Dropbox (or other third-party Cloud-based storage apps) are available today
  • No optional 3G/4G support
  • Screen resolution is good, but not great (1,366×768)
  • Lower pixel density than other tablets here (148ppi)
  • Touchscreen can only register five points at a time
  • Magnetic cord is sometimes hard to attach
  • No camera flash
  • No infrared transmitter
  • Only 720p video support
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • Looking for a good collection of Microsoft Surface RT hardware reviews?.

    The Nexus 10 tablet is the first 10″ tablet which runs Android 4.2

    The Google Nexus 10 is an Android tablet which has a Samsung Exynos 5250 processor clocked at 1.7 GHz. It’s a dual-core Cortex-A15 chip that performs well in benchmark tests. Central to the speed of the Exynos 5 Dual is the ARM Mali-T604 graphics processor, which more than doubles the 3D performance of the already fast Samsung Galaxy S III’s chip. But the biggest standout in the Nexus 10 is its beautiful 2560×1600-pixel display.

    Nexus 10

    Strengths

  • World’s first tablet with a WQXGA 2560×1600-pixel display
  • Starts at only $399
  • First tablet with an Exynos 5 ARM Cortex-A15 processor that beats the Tegra 3 in benchmarks.
  • First and only tablet which runs Android 4.2. Will be the first to get Android 4.3
  • First tablet with multi-user support which allows you to set up a guest profile so someone can check their email but can’t update your Facebook status. Also allows different family members to have there own spaces and apps.
  • World’s highest resolution tablet display (300ppi) – Over 4 million pixels. Games like “Nova” look much sharper on the Nexus 10 than on the iPad 4
  • Pure Android OS (no skinning or bloatware)
  • Fastest processor speed available in a tablet today (1.7GHz). The Verge says: “apps launch a lot faster and multitasking is an absolute breeze — even with 20 apps open, nothing seemed to slow down.”
  • Fast quad-core Mali-T604 graphics processor – Engadget says it has the “smoothest graphics we’ve seen.”
  • Twice as much memory as most other tablets (2GB)
  • Comes with 5 books, 3 magazines, 10 songs, an HD movie and a TV show
  • Beats the iPad 4 on benchmarks like Geekbench (2480 vs. 1768)
  • Android 4.2’s voice input and speech-to-text entry are second to none
  • NFC support (Only mobile device with dual NFC sensors)
  • Gets all Android updates the first day they are available
  • The new Android 4.2 Gallery app has been improved so you can now tweak your photos like pro software.
  • Has Google Wallet preloaded. Allows you to purchase things with your tablet.
  • Boots in 19-24 seconds
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Well-built and durable
  • Has MIMO WiFi and accelerated page-loading
  • Very good sounding stereo front-facing speakers
  • Rated “extremely repairable”
  • Capable of beaming media to AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Pleasant to hold. Doesn’t dig into your hand like the iPad 4
  • Has an RGB notification LED
  • Fast and smooth scrolling. The entire user interface runs at 60fps.
  • Android 4.2 has a new Swype-style keyboard that allows you to slide your finger around the keyboard to spell out words more quickly and accurately
  • Built-in barometer sensor improves GPS accuracy
  • Smart cover automatically powers on the tablet when opened
  • LED flash
  • No bloatware (pre-loaded apps which cannot be removed)
  • Quick settings can be accessed by pulling down on the top right portion of the screen
  • 16:9 display
  • Good parental controls (when multiple profiles used)
  • Photos taken with its rear camera have better color accuracy, definition and less noise than the iPad 4’s camera
  • 1080 video recording
  • A micro USB port rather than a proprietary connector
  • Gorilla Glass 2 screen
  • Built-in micro-HDMI port
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weaknesses

  • 16GB model is only available from the online Google Play store. 32GB model is available from Walmart, Staples, and Google Play
  • Many reviewers feel the Android ecosystem is lacking when it comes to good tablet apps
  • No microSD memory slot
  • Android 4.2 contains more bugs than earlier versions. Some were addressed in a 3.2.1 update, but others remain
  • No docks and limited other accessories are available yet
  • The included charger charges slowly, Consider buying Google’s magnetic pogo charger instead
  • No quad-core processor – Gets beat by the iPad 4, Transformer Prime and Galaxy Note 10.1 on most benchmarks
  • Battery life is acceptable, not great. One reviewer reports only 5 hours of video playback at full brightness
  • No 3G/4G support option today (some say it’s planned for the future)
  • Not as thin as the Asus Transformer Infinity (8.9mm)
  • Camera is only 5MP. Other tablets have 8MP and 13MP cameras.
  • Has a slightly larger bezel than other tablets (0.9″ Nexus 10 vs. 0.8″ iPad 4)
  • Like the iPad, it has some light leakage around the lower corners and sides of the LCD display
  • Wi-Fi signal strength issues
  • Lacks support of 802.11a
  • No infrared transmitter
  • Miracast not currently enabled
  • Its “smart cover” doesn’t stay closed very well
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • No physical home button
  • More Nexus issues listed under my first impressions article and a second article.
  • Update: The Nexus 10 went on sale on November 13th and the 32GB model sold out within two hours. Since then, Google has gotten more in.

    What about the build-quality of the Nexus 10? Click here, and scroll down to the bottom of the article.

    You can see the Split Screen feature here on the Galaxy Note 10.1

    The Galaxy Note 10.1 is the only tablet here with full stylus support including pressure sensitivity. This Android-powered tablet also has the ability to split the screen in two and run two apps at once.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

    Strengths

  • Full stylus support (1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • Fast quad-core processor (1.4GHz)
  • Excellent performance – Fast GPU – Beats the Nexus 10 on several benchmarks
  • Multi-view split-screen multi-tasking feature
  • Twice as much memory as most other tablets (2GB)
  • Very thin (8.9 mm)
  • microSD memory slot
  • Built-in infrared transmitter
  • 9+ hours battery life (7000mAh)
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Optional 3G/4G support
  • Good sounding stereo speakers
  • Capable of beaming media to AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Includes quality stylus and storage space for it in the case
  • microHDMI jack
  • Weaknesses

  • Average-quality case
  • Average-quality 5MP camera
  • Not the highest resolution display (1280×800)
  • Uses TouchWiz skin
  • No NFC support
  • Preloaded with some Samsung apps which cannot be removed
  • No Android 4.1 support yet
  • Camera is only 5MP. Other tablets have 8MP and 13MP cameras.
  • No physical home button
  • Not scratch-resistant glass
  • Some have reported the default Clock, Media Hub, Game Hub and Music Hub widgets affect performance
  • The Sony Xperia Tablet S is one of the thinnest tablets available

    The Sony Experia is the lightest tablet here. This Android-powered tablet has a fast quad-core processor and built-in infrared transmitter.

    Sony Xperia Tablet S

    Strengths

  • Starts at only $399
  • Lightest tablet here (570g)
  • Quad-core processor (1.3GHz)
  • Built-in infrared transmitter with programmable macros
  • Very thin (8.6 mm)
  • NFC support
  • 8MP camera
  • Scratch-resistant screen
  • Splash-proof (water resistant)
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Stereo speakers
  • Capable of beaming media to AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Full-sized SD card
  • Full-sized USB port (instead of a proprietary connector)
  • Full-sized HDMI jack (instead of a proprietary connector)
  • Aluminum body
  • Weaknesses

  • Only 1GB RAM
  • Not the highest resolution screen (1280×800)
  • No optional 3G/4G support
  • No Android 4.1 support yet
  • Back is not flat. Has a bump near the top
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • No physical home button
  • No camera flash
  • Areas of strength are shown in blue; Weakness is shown in red


    That’s it! Now it’s up to you to select the best tablet based on your needs. Let me know which one you decide to buy and why.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    – Rick

    P.S. Because I’m starting to get some stupid comments from Apple fan-boys, I’m going to give you a little background: Before anyone accuses me of being an Android fan-boy, you should know that almost all of this article was written on an iPad 3, which I like very much. I write very opinionated articles about all platforms. My previous post was about Windows 8 tablets. One of my most popular posts slams Samsung and Google about beaming. I was also an iPhone user for three years and think Apple TV is a great product. Some of the new Apple products look very appealing to me, but sadly the iPad 4 is not one of them. I’ve listed everything good and bad I can find about every tablet here and I’m continually updating this post as I find more stuff. Make sure to check back later to see how this article evolves. There are a few new tablets that have come out since I wrote this. Although I haven’t had time to add them yet, you can read about them in the Comments section of this article.

    Thanks for making this my most popular post ever!

    This post received more views on 10/30 than any other post I’ve even made. I never thought it was possible to get this many views in a single day. Thanks everyone!

    Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    Why You Shouldn’t Buy an iPad Mini

    Last updated: March 6, 2014

    This article has had over 110,000 views! Thanks for reading it.

    Why You Shouldn’t Buy an iPad Mini

    There are certainly some good qualities about the new iPad mini with Retina display. It’s thin, light and runs iOS 7. Unfortunately, it’s missing more than forty important things you’ll find in other tablets and costs much more.

    A 32GB Nexus 7 costs $230 less than a 32GB iPad mini with Retina display

    A 32GB Nexus 7 costs $230 less than a 32GB iPad mini with the same quality display

    1. It’s much more expensive than other tablets – You can now buy a 32GB Nexus 7 for only $269. To get the same amount of storage in a iPad mini, you’d have to spend $499. That over 46% more, for a product with worse performance. The 16GB Nexus 7 is only $229. Apple charges $399 for exactly the same amount of storage. That a 43% price premium. Apple charges $529 to $829 for a mini for cellular support. Amazon charges only $329 for a 16GB Kindle Fire HDX with LTE support. Google charges only $349 for a 32GB Nexus 7 with LTE support. That’s a savings of a $280. You can literally buy a second Nexus 7 with the money you save.

      Apple charges much more for a mini with LTE support

      Apple charges much more than other companies for tablets with LTE support

    2. Apple products almost never go on sale – Apple rarely allows discounts on their products. When products like the iPad do go on sale, the discounts are very small. I just purchased tablets for my family members for Christmas and was surprised to find most of the tablets in Best Buy were on sale at discounts between $50 and $100 off their already low prices. I picked up a great 8″ tablet for my dad for only $249. Even better discounts are available online from Amazon and other online merchants and you’ll almost always get free shipping as well. Even the brand-new Kindle Fire HDX was on sale for $50 off it’s already low price.
    3. The Kindle Fire HDX has a much higher-resolution display than the iPad mini

      The 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX has a much higher-resolution display than the iPad mini with Retina display

    4. Other tablets have higher-resolution displays – Don’t be mislead by the Retina label. Tablets like the Nexus 7 have a display that’s every bit as good as the iPad mini. Tablets like the Kindle Fire HDX have a display that is even better than the new iPad mini. How much better? The 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX has almost a million more pixels than the iPad mini (4,096,000 pixels vs. 3,145,728 pixels). It’s worth mentioning the iPad mini doesn’t even fit the definition of a true retina display.

      Screen resolution isn’t the only problem with the new iPad mini. It comes in last place in this small screen review where they said “the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is the best performing tablet display that we have ever tested.” Here’s why the Nexus 7 and Kindle HDX beat the iPad mini.

    5. It’s easily breakable – The Apple iPad mini has been declared to be the single most breakable mobile device in the world by SquareTrade, who performed a battery of tests on it and other devices. To make matters worse, it’s very difficult to repair when it’s broken.
    6. It’s not expandable – Tablets from Asus, Barnes & Noble, Samsung and others come with a microSD slot, so you can easily expand your storage. You can double your memory for only $12, to $19. To double the memory of an iPad mini, you have to spend at least $100 more.
    7. Because it doesn’t have a microSD slot, you can’t quickly copy media to an iPad mini without using a computer. Tablet owners with removable media slots can take the memory card out of their Go Pro or D-SLR camera and pop it directly into their tablet. No computer is required to copy video, or other media. This is a real time saver.

      The iPad mini runs out if power two hours faster than the Nexus 7

      The iPad mini runs out if power two hours faster than the Nexus 7

    8. Inferior battery life – Even though the iPad mini has a much more powerful battery than other tablets, this doesn’t translate into better battery life. The Nexus 7 has much better battery life when browsing the web. That means you’ll be surfing the Internet two hours longer on a Nexus 7 than an iPad mini.
    9. It doesn’t have a quad-core processor – Even though the Nexus 7 is only $229, it has a powerful quad-core processor. Having two extra cores allows the Nexus 7 to do more things at once without slowing down. The iPad mini only has a dual-core processor that runs at a much slower clock speed than the Kindle Fire HDX (1.29 GHz vs. 2.2 GHz). Before you make a comment about Apple’s benchmark performance, you need to read this article.
    10. When it comes to specs, the iPad mini lags in many areas

      When it comes to specs, the iPad mini lags in many areas

    11. It’s thicker and heavier than other tablets – Apple brags about the thinness of the iPad mini, but tablets from Samsung and Sony are thinner. Much much thinner? The Sony Xperia Z is only 6.9mm. That’s 9% thinner than the iPad mini. The Nexus 7 is 14% lighter than the new iPad mini (290g vs. 331g). The Kindle Fire HDX is lighter than the iPad mini as well.
    12. The Nexus 7 does much better than the new iPad mini on display tests like contrast and brightness

      The Nexus 7 does much better than the new iPad mini on display tests like contrast and brightness

    13. Much worse brightness and contrast ratings than other tablets – The iPad mini has a much lower maximum brightness than the Google Nexus 7 (370 vs. 583 higher is better). The iPad mini also gets a contrast rating of only 804, while Nexus 7 gets a contrast rating of 1273 (higher is better).

    14. It has less memory than other tablets and this causes problems – The best Android tablets have either 2GB of RAM or 3GB of RAM. The iPad mini only has 1GB of RAM. This translates to worse multitasking and slower app load times. How much slower? The game “Asphalt 7″ loads in only 18.5 seconds on a tablet with 3GB of memory. The same game loads in 45.0 seconds on the same tablet with 2GB of memory. iOS 7 has made matters even worse. Many iPad owners have reported memory-related problems like only having enough memory to open 6 tabs in Safari, or have 4 apps open at once without reloading tabs or restarting apps. By contrast, Android 4.4 has been optimized so it runs well on devices with as little as 512MB.
    15. Poorer color accuracy than other tablets – Color accuracy on the iPad mini is only 63%, while the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is 100%. That means what you see on the Kindle is what the content creators intended you to see. This is also important if you use your tablet to edit photos. The Nexus 7 beats or ties the iPad mini in 7 out of 8 display tests. The Nexus 7 has more accurate color reproduction, better color saturation and as mentioned above, a much better contrast ratio and much better brightness than the iPad mini. The iPad mini also does not have sRGB coverage, while though the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 do. This means they display a wider range of colors
    16. You can use Google Wallet anywhere you see these images

    17. No NFC digital wallet support – NFC and Google Wallet lets Nexus 7 tablet users buy things at over 300,00 PayPass-enabled cash registers in places like Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, Einstein Bros Bagels, Home Depot, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Peet’s Coffee, Pinkberry, Rite Aid, Sports Authority, Whole Foods and many more places. You can learn more about NFC here. The iPad mini has something called Passbook, but it only works at Starbucks (and the Apple Store).
    18. GPS support is only available cellular models – The iPad mini is small enough to take with you anywhere, so it certainly makes sense that you’d want it to have a GPS so you could use it for directions. Unfortunately, you have to spend $130 more for a cellular model to get GPS support. Tablets like the Nexus 7 have full GPS support on their Wi-Fi only models.
    19. It doesn’t appear on your desktop as a drive – It’s a major hassle to get anything (but photos) on or off of an iPad mini. Android devices don’t need iTunes or iCloud to copy media. Just connect a USB cable, and your device will appear on your desktop like a hard disk. You can then drag and drop any file (or folder) to it. This is really useful.
    20. It doesn’t work with standard cables – Many Android tablets use exactly the same micro-USB jack, so you can easily connect them to any charger or peripheral without purchasing an expensive cable. The iPad mini uses all proprietary connectors so Apple can sell you cables for $20 to $50. If you want an extra charging cable for an iPad mini, it will cost $19 and is hard to find. You can buy an Android power cord almost anywhere for as little as $2.
    21. Its AV adapter doesn’t support 1080p video – Another big downside to Apple’s use of a proprietary Lightning cable is that its Digital AV adapter (which connects to the HDMI jack on your TV) doesn’t support 1080p video today. It’s capable of supporting 1080p, but Apple has chosen to hold back 1080p support for now.
    22. The size of the letterbox displayed when movies are played on the iPad mini is much larger than other tablets [Photo: Gizmodo]

    23. No 16:9 screen, Reduced-quality movies – Tablets are great way to watch movies, but all movies are formatted to fit on a 16:9 display. Because the iPad Mini has a 4:3 aspect ratio, all 16:9 movies need to be letter-boxed with only 1024×576 resolution, which is getting pretty close to standard definition video rather than true high-definition 1280×720 video found on tablets like the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7. As Gizmodo points out, “when you watch a movie in landscape there’s almost more letterboxing than actual video. Seriously. It. Looks. Ridiculous.”
    24. It has ineffective parental controls – Apple finally added Parental Controls to iOS 6, but they are buried is Settings and disabled by default. Even if mom is smart enough to find and enable them, her kids will still be able to read the copy of “50 Shades of Grey” she bought earlier, because Apple’s Parental Controls do not hide explicit books that are already in a library. The iPad mini is a single-user device and this prevents a good solution to this problem. By contrast, Nook tablets allow multiple users to share a single tablet using separate accounts. Each users content is hidden from other family members automatically, and profiles can be password protected. Parents with a Kindle Fire HDX can also give access to appropriate content for each child. The Nexus 7 also supports user-profiles.
    25. You can share media by simply touching two NFC-enabled Android devices together

    26. No touch-to-share – Newer Android tablets like the Nexus 7 can easily share media by touching another device with NFC support. This allows you to share photos, videos, contacts, Web pages — as well as information between apps. You can see it in action here.
    27. No wireless charging – Tablets like the Nexus 7 include support for wireless charging, so you can just sit them on a charging pad and charge them without connecting a cable.
    28. Nano-SIM makes it harder to use with other carriers – When you buy an iPad from Apple’s site with the cellular option, you’ll find Apple forces you to pick a carrier. Other unlocked tablets from Google and others don’t force you to do that. To use your iPad mini with most international carriers you will also need a SIM cutter because the iPad mini uses a nano-SIM. Most Android tablets use standard or micro-SIMs.
    29. The Kindle Fire HDX is easier to use and has a media-centric interface

      The Kindle Fire HDX is easier to use and has a media-centric interface

    30. It’s harder to use and doesn’t have a media-centric user interface – If you compare the Kindle Fire HDX and an iPad mini side by side you’ll see the Kindle Fire is much easier to us. It only has 7 app icons on it’s home screen because that’s all that most people need. The remaining space is devoted to things that matter including your favorite books, magazines, music and movies. This makes sense and is also done on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. The menu on the Kindle Fire also only has a few easy to understand options. The iPads settings are a mess. The Kindle Fire even has a “Mayday” button that allows an on-screen customer support person to temporarily take control of your tablet to assist you with problems.
    31. It doesn’t support Flash natively – Flash may be a dying format, but there are still millions of Flash videos around, and the stock browser in the iPad mini can’t play any of them. There are several free Android browsers including Firefox that play Flash videos. See my Nexus 10 tips and tricks article for more info on this topic. Update: There is now a $10 Flash Player that runs on the iPad.
    32. Android now beats iOS in many areas – This may come as a surprise to some of you, but Android 4.3 and 4.4 has many advantages over iOS 7. You can see them here.
    33. Readability issues with magazines – The screen on the iPad mini is just too small to read magazines or comics because of the tiny, non-adjustable typefaces used. Text looks pinched, because it’s optimized for the iPad’s larger display. The Kindle Fire HD gets around this issue with its text view mode.
    34. It’s not a great eReader – In the previous bullet I already pointed out the readibility issues with magazines. That’s not the only reason why the iPad mini is not a good eReader. It also has one of the most reflective displays you’ll find in a small tablet. Because of this, using the iPad Mini outside is often a problem because of glare. How bad is it? According to Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies, “The Screen reflectance on the iPad mini is surprisingly high (9.0%). The Nexus 7 has a much lower 5.9 percent reflectance, while on the Kindle Fire HD has a reflectance of 6.4%. As a result, the iPad mini reflects 53 percent more ambient light than the Nexus 7 and 41 percent more than the Kindle Fire HD. That’s quite a large difference.
    35. Samsung tablets have much better stylus support than Apple

      Samsung tablets have much better stylus support than Apple

    36. Reliable data cables – Apple’s Lightning cables get a 1.5 star rating in the Apple Store due to breakage, fraying and corrosion.

    37. Limited stylus support – Although you can use a capacitive stylus on an iPad mini, you don’t get the same level of expression that you get on Android tablets. Samsung’s Galaxy Note tablets have a Wacom touchscreen with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. iOS also won’t let you toggle between a brush, pencil or eraser by simply holding the stylus above the screen and clicking a button. The stylus on Galaxy Note tablets even lets you preview emails, photos or videos by hovering slightly above the screen.
    38. No infrared transmitter – Tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 — along with Vizio and Sony Experia tablets all have built-in IR-transmitters so you can use your tablet to control devices in your home like your TV — without using Wi-Fi and special apps. The iPad mini does not have infrared support.
    39. No multi-user support – The iPad mini is a single-user device tied to a single iTunes account. Nexus tablets allow multiple users to log-in. Each user has their own home screen, background, apps and widgets. Things like game-progress and high-scores remain separate.
    40. Mediocre-sounding speakers – The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (and other tablets) have better sounding speakers than the iPad mini. Reviews say “O.K. is also how I’d describe the speaker system. The Kindle Fire HD, which sports Dolby stereo, pumped out noticeably more pleasing audio than the Mini’s speakers.”
    41. Very difficult to repair – The iPad mini is much more difficult to repair than other tablets. iFixit gives the iPad mini with Retina display a repairability score of ‘2 out of 10,’ where 10 is the easiest to repair. One of the main reasons why it gets such a poor score is because large amounts of cement hold the front glass, logic board, battery, front camera, back camera, ribbon cables in place. This cement makes repair extremely difficult. By comparison, the Kindle Fire HDX and Nexus 7 both get repairability scores of ‘7 out of 10’ (10 is easiest to repair).
    42. The iPad mini is not water-resistant like Sony tablets

      The iPad mini is not water-resistant like Sony tablets

    43. Not accident-resistant – Sony’s Xperia Z Tablet is water resistant. You can submerse it in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes at a time. Now you can read in the tub, use in the kitchen or browse by the pool, worry free.
    44. Can’t make phone calls – You can make phone calls on Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.7 and Nexus 7 if you’ve installed a SIM. You can also send or receive texts without using a special third-party app. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 calling function has been upgraded to let you make and receive voice calls privately by using Receiver Mode in public places.
    45. No replaceable battery – Tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Toshiba Thrive have batteries which are easily replaceable. This is important, because all rechargeable batteries have a limited life-span and need to be replaced.
    46. Inferior multitasking – Apple places restrictions on third-party apps which run in the background. In most cases, they are suspended and not allowed to communicate with other apps. Android supports true-multitasking without any of the above restrictions. This makes it possible to do things on Android tablets that can not be done on the iPad mini.
    47. Small keyboard makes it hard to type accurately – The keyboard on the iPad mini is small enough that you’ll have a hard time typing accurately on it. To some extent this issue is true with 7″ Android tablets, but you can install one of the many great third-party keyboards like SwiftKey3, which have much more accurate corrections and predictions than the iOS keyboard. You can see the dramatic difference here.

      Android keyboard apps provide different keyboard layouts like this one with number keys

    48. It has a much worse on-screen keyboard – Like the iPad mini, the Nexus 7 has standard keyboard features like a spell checker, auto-capitalization and auto-correction. However, the Nexus 7 has a much better on-screen keyboard. It has the ability to add words to a personal dictionary, show correction suggestions, perform gesture typing where you swipe from key to key, show next-word suggestions and the ability to change your keyboard to one that is more PC-like and includes all numbers and extra keys.
    49. Not able to easily load custom ROMs – Android devices like the Nexus 7 don’t come with locked or encrypted bootloaders. That means you are free to install customs ROMs and fully tailor your device however you wish.
    50. Undesired side-effects of the new display – One reviewer pointed out that “because the screen real estate is so much larger than an iPhone but icons are now roughly iPhone size, apps with lots of navigational elements can be a little less intuitive to navigate.
    51. Hard for small hands to hold securely – The iPad mini is wide enough that it is harder to carry securely than Nexus 7. The bezel is also so narrow that its hard to hold the screen in portrait-mode without touching the active part of the touchscreen.
    52. No LED alerts – Most Android phones have a small LED indicator that alerts you to missed calls, new messages and other system events. As with other Android phones, you can customize exactly how this works by installing a third-party LED control app like Light Flow. The iPhone has a setting buried under Accessibility that flashes an LED when a call or text is received. The iPad mini does not support LED alerts at all.
    53. No multi-window Support – Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note let you split the screen in two sections so you can interact with two different apps at once. Not only can you view any two windows at once, you can also drag things from one window to the other. This is a really useful feature the iPad mini does not have.
    54. No ability to set software defaults – One of the most powerful Android features is the ability to change the default software the OS uses for different tasks. For example, if you want the Dolphin browser to open any URL (instead of the stock Android browser), just pick the app you want to use. Want to use a different app for turn-by-turn directions or media playback? Pick one, and it will use that app every time. This is an incredibly powerful feature.
    55. iCloud is inferior to other cloud services – Third-party cloud services are more reliable, provide more storage, and are much more flexible — because they don’t lock you into an Apple-only world. If you shop around, you’ll find up to 50GB of free cloud-based storage, much better photo sharing services that automatically upload every photo and improve their quality, and store an unlimited number of photos at full-resolution (e.g. Google+). Android office apps like Google Drive are also much better than Apple’s offerings. They support more formats, allow you to share more easily and even collaborate with others at the same time. They also automatically save every change you make to the cloud, so you can access everything from any device or computer — not just Apple products. Android calendar and contact apps also have advantages and are much more open. Sure, some of these products are available to iPhone users as well, but most iPad users stick with Apple’s inferior pre-installed cloud services.
    56. DLNA Support – Most Android tablets include DLNA support. That means they can stream media to over 10,000 devices. Chance are you have several DLNA-certified devices in your home and you don’t even know it. Most TVs, game consoles, media streamers and Blu-ray players are DLNA-certified.
    57. Better tablets are on the way – Every month exciting new Android tablets are released. Many of these will have better specs than the iPad mini with Retina display.
    58. The iPad mini is not a bad product, but it’s not the thinnest, or the lightest, or the fastest, or the highest-resolution tablet of its size. Other tablets are available that cost much less and do much more. You owe it to yourself to check them out. You can use some of the money you save to buy books, movies, music and some great premium apps, which will increase your enjoyment even more.

      Why You’ll Still Buy an iPad Mini

      If you’re an Apple fan, you don’t comparison shop. You don’t care that Apple products cost more and do less. You tell yourself that specs don’t matter and Apple’s ecosystem is superior — even though you’ve never actually used an Android 4.4-powered product. You’ll find a way to convince yourself that all of the above reasons somehow don’t apply to you and, you’ll buy an iPad mini anyway.

      – Rick

      If you like this article, you may like these as well:
      40+ Things you won’t get with the iPhone 5s
      Debunking the Retina Display Myth – Why the iPad mini isn’t a true retina display
      Who makes the best tablet on Earth?

      For the Apple Fanboys

      1. This is an opinion piece – I think the title makes that very clear. Don’t read this if you can’t handle an opposing view point.

      2. This article is focused on the advantages of other tablets – I’m aware there are some good reasons to buy a iPad. Since every other reviewer focuses on those, I see value in showing another point of view.

      3. I don’t just pick on Apple – I write highly-opinionated articles about other companies as well. Here are examples where I single out Samsung, AT&T, United, Google and Rhapsody.

      4. I don’t hate all Apple products – I think some of the new Apple products are fine — just not the iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina display. I’ve owned two iPhones, two iPads and an Apple TV. I buy Apple products when they outperform other products and are not insanely priced.

      5. I want this to be factually correct – Believe it or not, I really do try to keep my articles factually correct. If you find an error here, please let me know and I will fix the section containing the error. If you read the comments section, you’ll find many examples where I’ve done so.

      6. Save your flames – You’re not going to change my beliefs and I’m not going to changes yours.

      Copyright 2013-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.


      Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

      Note: This article was originally written about the first iPad mini. Since then, it has been updated to reflect new iPad mini with Retina display. Keep this in mind when you read the comments.

    How to Evaluate Mobile Processors


    Since this article was first written, an updated version has been posted here. Check it out. A lot has changed.

    The Need for Speed

    The HTC Rezound has a 1.5GHz processor making it one of the fastest smartphones

    The processor is the engine behind your mobile device and determines its speed. Mobile processor speeds have been increasing quickly over the past few years. Today, most of the best smartphones have processors which are either 1.2GHz or 1.5GHz. The HTC Rezound and Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE both have dual-core 1.5GHz processors. Processor speed isn’t the only thing that matters. The number of cores is important as well. Back in February, we saw the first smartphones ship with dual-core processors. Dual-core processors allow your mobile device to do more things at once without slowing down. They are also faster than single-core processors and this can result in a more responsive user interface. Over the next year, dual-core processor speeds are likely to top out around 1.7GHz. Although processor speeds will continue to increase, there are limits to how fast they can get. Mobile processors are beginning to face the same performance and power challenges desktop CPUs faced a few years ago. Demanding applications such as HD video playback and advanced gaming are stretching their capabilities. In order to further increase performance and stay within the available power limits, mobile devices will migrate to processors with more cores.

    Apple iPhone 4S

    HTC Rezound

    HTC Titan

    Motorola Droid RAZR

    Samsung Galaxy S II

    Samsung Galaxy Nexus

    Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

    800MHz dual-core

    1.5 GHz dual-core

    1.5 GHz single-core

    1.2 GHz dual-core

    1.2 GHz dual-core

    1.2 GHz dual-core

    1.5 GHz dual-core

    Chart 1: A comparison of the processor speeds of popular smartphones

    Four Can Do More

    Like PCs, mobile devices will migrate from dual-core to quad-core. Quad-core makes even more sense on platforms like Android which allows multiple apps to run in the background. Having four different cores allows your phone (or tablet) to do more at once without slowing down. Tablets will be the first mobile devices to get quad-core processors.  The NVIDIA Tegra 3 will be the first quad-core processor available on mobile devices. NVIDIA says it has 2 to 5 times the processing power and 3 times the graphic performance of the Tegra 2. This will result in smoother graphics and better gaming performance. The Tegra 3 is also capable of 1440p video playback. That’s higher quality than you can watch on your HDTV. The Asus Transformer Prime will be the first tablet to ship with a Tegra 3 processor, but rumors are also circulating about quad-core tablets from Motorola and others. Smartphones won’t be left out of the party; phones with quad-core chips will be announced at CES in January.

    The Asus Transformer Prime will have the first quad-core CPU

    Most quad-core processors are more efficient and generate less heat than today’s dual-core chips. That will result in better performance and longer battery life. How much longer? NVIDIA says a Tegra 3 tablet should be able to provide 12 hours of HD video playback.  The first quad-core processor will be 1.3GHz, but speeds will increase to 2.5GHz next year. Those chips will be faster than some of the CPUs that ship with mid-priced home computers today. Of course, NVIDIA isn’t the only company making quad-core processors, Qualcomm, Apple and others will also launch products containing quad-core processors next year.

    Amazon Kindle Fire

    Apple iPad 2

    Asus Transformer Prime

    B&N Nook Tablet

    HTC Jetstream

    Motorola Xoom 2

    Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

    1.0 GHz dual-core

    1.0 GHz dual-core

    1.3 GHz   quad-core

    1.0 GHz dual-core

    1.5 GHz dual-core

    1.2 GHz dual-core

    1.0 GHz dual-core

    Chart 2: A comparison of the processor speeds of popular tablets
     

    The Importance of the Graphics Co-processor

    Some of the fastest phones have separate graphics co-processors, which can have a big impact on performance. Even though the iPhone 4S has a slower processor, it outperforms the Samsung Galaxy S II in some benchmarks. This occurs mainly because the iPhone 4S has a faster graphics coprocessor. See the chart below for details.

    Even though the iPhone 4S has a much slower processor than the Samsung Galaxy II S, it outperforms it in some benchmarks. Chart courtesy of AnandTech

     

    Final Thoughts

    In summary, the speed of the CPU and GPU in your mobile device has a major impact on its performance. Dual-core processors almost always outperform single-core processors, and quad-core processors outperform dual-core processors. Although dual-core processor speeds are starting to slow down, quad-core speeds will improve substantially next year.  By the end of the year, quad-core processors will be found in most high-end tablets and smartphones due to their improved performance and extended battery life.

    In case you’re wondering, my next post will discuss the importance of 4G on data performance speeds. Stay-tuned…

    – Rick

    Copyright 2011 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    How to Evaluate Mobile Displays


    Since this article was first written, an updated version has been posted here. Check it out. A lot has changed.

    In my last blog post I talked about the best mobile devices on the market today. This will be the first in a new series of posts that will help you evaluate each part of a smartphone or tablet. Since the display is the main interface to your mobile device, let’s start with it.

    Bigger is Better

    Three main parameters are used to specify the size and quality of a mobile display:

    1. Screen size measured diagonally in inches
    2. Screen width and height in pixels
    3. Screen density measured in pixels per inch (PPI)

    The Samsung Galaxy Note has a much larger screen than the iPhone 4S

    Today’s best smartphones have displays which are 4.3″ or larger. The largest screen available on a smartphone in the U.S. today is 4.7″ and can be found on the HTC Titan. Think that’s big? It is, but mobile displays are going to continue to get larger. The Samsung Galaxy Note, which was recently released in Europe, has a 5.3″ screen.  As screens get 6″ or larger, the line between smartphones and tablets will begin to blur and these devices may no longer fit into your pocket. Is it worth it? If you spent lots of time browsing the Web, playing games or working with business documents the answer could be yes.

    Screen Size

    Pixels (H x W)

    Screen Density

    Apple iPhone 4S

    3.5”

    960×640

    326 PPI

    HTC EVO 3D

    4.3”

    960×540

    256 PPI

    HTC Rezound

    4.3”

    1280×720

    342 PPI

    HTC Titan

    4.7”

    800×480

    199 PPI

    Motorola Atrix

    4.0”

    960×540

    275 PPI

    Motorola Droid 2

    3.7”

    854×480

    264 PPI

    Motorola Razr

    4.3”

    960×540

    256 PPI

    Samsung Galaxy S II

    4.3” or 4.52”

    800×480

    217 PPI

    Samsung Galaxy Nexus

    4.65”

    1280×720

    316 PPI

    Samsung Galaxy Note

    5.3”

    1280×800

    285 PPI

    Chart 1: A comparison of popular smartphone displays

    Quality Matters Too!

    The HTC Rezound has the highest resolution display available today.

    Screen width and height is another popular measurement. Today the best smartphones have 1280×720 pixel displays. The Samsung Galaxy Note has an even larger 1280×800 display. Although the total number of pixels is important, it’s not the best indicator of screen quality. The density of pixels is what really matters.  The higher the pixel density, the more detail a screen can display. Although most people think the iPhone 4S has the highest pixel density, they are wrong. The HTC Rezound has a display with a higher pixel density than the iPhone 4S (342 vs. 326 ppi). Even better screens are on the way. Earlier in the year, Toshiba announced a 4-inch screen with a 367 PPI resolution. Pixel densities are likely to hit at least 386 in 2012.

    It’s worth mentioning there is some debate over the ideal pixel density. Steve Jobs once said a device with a pixel density of 300 exceeds the limits of the human retina. However, some photographic experts say that number is too low. They believe the ultimate pixel density is 477 PPI. At that point, it’s said the pixels become invisible to an unaided human eye.

    What About Tablets?

    Screen resolution is one area where tablets can improve. The best tablets have screen densities below 200 while some smartphones have pixel densities higher than 300. Apple is known for their great displays. How does the iPad 2 compare to Android tablets? Let’s see: The iPad 2 has a 9.7″ screen with 1024×768 pixels. The Motorola Xoom has a 10.1″ screen with 1280×800 pixels. Which is better? The Motorola wins on all three categories: screen size, total number of pixels and screen density (with a pixel density of 160 PPI vs. 132 PPI). If you refer to the chart below, you’ll see there are five other Android tablets with even higher screen densities than the Motorola Xoom. Will we see higher resolution tablet screens next year? Definitely! The Lenovo LePad S2007 will have a 216 PPI display and tablets with 2560×1600 screens will be available some time in 2012. These tablets will have a screen density of at least 300 dpi.

    Screen Size

    Pixels (W x H)

    Screen Density

    Amazon Kindle Fire

    7.0″

    1024×600

    169 PPI

    Apple iPad 2

    9.7″

    1024×768

    132 PPI

    Asus Transformer

    10.1″

    1280×800

    160 PPI

    Asus Transformer Prime

    10.1″

    1280×800

    149 PPI

    B&N Nook Tablet

    7.0″

    1024×600

    169 PPI

    Motorola Droid XYBOARD 8.2

    8.2″

    1280×800

    184 PPI

    Motorola Xoom

    10.1″

    1280×800

    160 PPI

    OGT Eros Tablet

    7.0″

    N/A

    188 PPI

    Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0

    7.0″

    1024×600

    171 PPI

    Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

    10.1″

    1280×800

    149 PPI

    Chart 2: A comparison of popular tablet displays

    That’s Not All

    Of course pixel density isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to screen quality. The color accuracy, color vibrancy, brightness, contrast ratio, black level and viewing angle are important as well. The durability also matters. Gorilla Glass screens are more damage resistant than regular displays. Gorilla Glass 2 screens are on the way, so watch for those.

    Well, that wraps up my review of mobile screen technology. In my next post, I’ll write about the heart of every mobile device: Its processor.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2011 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    The Ultimate Mobile Device (Updated Feb.)


    Since this article was first written, an updated version has been posted here. Check it out. A lot has changed.

    Although there are lots of great mobile devices available today, there is no one single device that is best at everything. It is possible to say which phone (or tablet) has the best display, processor and so on. After reading this article, you should be better prepared to purchase the ultimate mobile device based on your needs.

    Best Mobile Display

    Since the screen is the main interface to your mobile device, it’s very important. Although the size and total number of pixels matters, it’s the pixel density which determines the amount of detail you’ll see. More info.

    The Galaxy Note is the the only smartphone with a 5.3" display

    • First place: The HTC Rezound has a 4.3” screen with 1280×720 pixels and a higher pixel density than the iPhone 4S (342 ppi vs. 326 ppi). The Windows Phone Lumia 900 is the most readable under bright light. More info.
    • Runner-up: The Samsung Galaxy Note has the largest screen you’ll find on a smartphone today. It’s an amazing 5.3” and has a record setting 1280×800 pixels. The reason it doesn’t come in first is because its pixel density is lower than the HTC Rezound. When it comes to tablets, the Samsung Galaxy series have some of the best displays available today, and pixel densities which are almost 30% higher than the iPad 2.
    • What to look for: A tablet with a 2560×1600 pixel screen will be available in 2012. Smartphones will get screens with pixel densities near 400 ppi as well. Also expect to see displays with polarized filters, that make screens more visible in direct sunlight.

    Best Mobile Processor

    The processor in your mobile device determines how fast your apps will run. Today’s best mobile devices have multi-core processors, which allow your device to do several things at once without slowing down. More info.

    The Asus Transformer Prime was the first quad-core powered mobile device

    • First place: The ASUS Transformer Prime has an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor which out performs every mobile device on the market today in most benchmarks.
    • Runner-up: The HTC Rezound, LG Nitro HD and Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket all have 1.5GHz dual-core processors. The HTC Jetstream tablet also has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor.
    • What to look for: Quite a few quad-core smartphones will be announced in Q1. Dual-core CPUs in smartphones will hit speeds of 1.8 GHz in 2012. Tablet processors will hit speeds of 2GHz in 2012, and could go as high as 2.5GHz.

    Fastest Data Speeds

    4G LTE devices are at least 5-10x faster than 3G devices

    Data speeds have a significant impact on the perceived speed of your mobile device. Verizon claims 4G LTE speeds that are at least twice as fast as AT&T’s 4G HSPA+ phones and up to 12 times faster than 3G speeds. More info.

    • First place: LTE phones like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S II HD LTE win because they work on LTE networks and support both 2.5GHz and 5.0GHz Wi-Fi.
    • Runner-up: The HTC Rezound, Motorola Droid RAZR, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, HTC  Jetstream and all other mobile devices which support LTE or WiMAX.
    • What to look for: Expect Apple’s iPhone to finally get LTE support in 2012.

    Best Camera

    Today’s best mobile devices have 8 megapixel rear cameras which are capable of taking surprisingly good-looking photos. Most have LED flashes and front-facing cameras for video conferencing.

    The HTC Titan II will be the first phone with a 16MP camera

    • First place: Too close to call. The 12MP Nokia N8 wins on specs with its Carl Zeiss optics and a xenon flash, but it’s on a Symbian phone which is more than a year old. When it comes to smartphones with 8MP cameras, the iPhone 4S, HTC Amaze, HTC Sensation, HTC Titan, Samsung Galaxy S II and T-Mobile MyTouch Slide all take photos which rival some point-and-shoot cameras. The Samsung Galaxy 10.1V tablet comes in first because of its 8MP camera. Unfortunately, this model is only available in Europe.
    • Runner-up: The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has a stellar light sensor and almost no shutter lag when taking photos in rapid succession. The BlackBerry PlayBook and HTC Flyer also deserve recognition because they have 3-MP front-facing cameras.
    • What to look for: The HTC Titan II will be released in March with the first 16-megapixel camera! Fujitsu is also releasing a 13.1MP camera capable of ISO 25,600. Expect to see a camera with a xenon flash and optical zoom later this year as well. Future tablets will also be capable of 1440p video playback.

    Most Internal Storage

    The Archos 70 has 250GB of storage

    Today most mobile devices have only 16 or 32 MB of internal storage. Unfortunately that is not enough storage for a large media library.

    • First place: The Archos 70 tablet has an internal 250GB hard drive.
    • Runner-up:  The Apple iPhone 4S, Nokia N8 and Nokia N9 are all available with 64GB of internal storage.
    • What to look for:  Expect to see more tablets which have lightning-fast solid-state drives like the Asus Eee Slate.

    Most Powerful Battery

    Today’s fastest mobile devices require more power than ever. Especially those with high processor speeds and power-hungry LTE radios. That’s why we’re seeing mobile devices with more powerful batteries.

    The HTC Jetstream has a 7300 mAh battery

    • First place: The HTC Jetstream has a 7300 mAh battery, which is the most powerful battery available in a stock mobile device today.
    • Runner-up:  Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (7000 mAh). The Droid RAZR Maxx has the most powerful battery in a smartphone today. At 3300mAh, this phone has a talk time of 21.5 hours and a standby time of approx. 15.8 days.
    • What to look for in the near future:  Expect to see even more powerful batteries in mobile devices, and the ability to add a second battery to some tablets.

    Thinnest Case

    Today’s best mobile devices are incredibly thin and light.

    The Droid Razr is the World's Thinnest LTE Smartphone

    • First place: The 6.68mm Huawei Ascend P1S is technically now the world’s thinnest smartphone. It’s effectively tied with the Fujitsu Arrows F-07D which comes in at 6.7mm. Too bad neither phone is available in the U.S. and both don’t support LTE. The 7.1mm Motorola Droid RAZR is the thinnest LTE smartphone. The 7.0mm OGT Eros is supposed to be the world’s thinnest tablet but it has yet to be released.
    • Runner-up:  The 8.3 mm ASUS Transformer Prime is the thinnest tablet available in the U.S today.
    • What to look for in future cases:  Expect to see more mobile devices which can be submerged in water. Fujitsu’s new quad-core phone can be submerged 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

    The Final Word

    It’s a given that technology will always get better over time, but we’ve seen unprecedented improvements in mobile devices over the past year. Today’s best smartphones blow away some of those which were released earlier. If you’re eligible for an upgrade, you should consider some of the devices covered in this article. As you can see, there isn’t a single mobile device that is best at everything. You should pick your next smartphone or tablet based on the things which matter most to you.

    Update: Since this article was last updated, a chart listing the best smartphones was published here.

    Copyright 2011-2012 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.