Android Tablets Are Not All The Same
There's no doubt that tablets are changing the landscape of mobile computing. According to Gartner, this was the first year that there was a decline in the number of PCs sold, and tablets are partially to blame. We still have folks debating whether tablets are just the latest in a long line of technology-oriented fads. But personally, I don't think they're going to disappear anytime soon.
Many people shopping for a netbook or notebook really only need to check email or visit Web sites on the go. If the mobile device for which you're shopping is only meant to get you from one desktop PC to the next, while maintaining some semblance of connectivity, tablets do, in fact, make a lot of sense. Your priority isn't content creation. It's content consumption. The goal is to stay connected without the hassle of lugging around a netbook that you need to open up on your lap or boot up to a desktop operating system.
Really though, the challenge is finding the best tablet for what you want to do. Right now, the battle is between Apple and everyone else. If you want an Apple product, the choice is simple: buy an iPad 2 (check out Apple's iPad 2 Review: Tom's Goes Down The Tablet Rabbit Hole).
If you're not an Apple fan, the choice gets a little more complicated because there are several Android-based tablets. Each one is a little different; the experience is a little more like shopping for a notebook. Even though all Android tablets share similar hardware, depending on the model you choose, display quality, performance, and connectivity features vary. We took a thorough look at Motorola's offering (Motorola Xoom: The First Android 3.1 [Honeycomb] Tablet). Now let's move on to Acer's Iconia Tab A500.
It's great fun, has a great battery life compared to my laptops and I just enjoy it.
I take it to college (I do I.T Cert IV, Diploma next year) and it's very handy for drafting documentation when working with the computers and taking notes.
If I'm to pay a significant fee for a niche product, it had better be really good at a specific purpose. Better at it, in fact, than other, cheaper products. I got my kindle despite the fact that you can read ebooks on computers, smart phones, ipods, etc, because it damn well did a great job of being a book. It did it better than these other devices. The form factor combined with the great battery life and easy on the eyes screen made it worth it. Plus, you can read it in sunlight.
What then, is the purpose of buying a tablet over, say, a netbook? The tablet is geared at media consumption, but it doesn't do a significantly better job of that than the netbook. In fact, it does a worse job of it, allowing me fewer media options, while simultaneously costing more and having less storage, with an OS that won't run proper, useful software.
Maybe they'll get better, but right now, they're overpriced toys.
I bought the A500 under the assumption Skype, Netflix, HBO2Go, and Xfinity were standard apps across the Android offering. Turns out Netflix and Skype will run on newer phones with earlier versions of Android, but not this one.
Xfinity and HBO2Go are yet to be created for Android.
I worked with the network admin at my job to get this running on the network there (we are currently evaluating handhelds in the workplace) and we found it doesn't work on all PEAP/Wep Wifi network combos. It won't even connect out of the box. I read up on 'Advanced Network tools' for Android and found that people on earlier versions of Android were able to connect to this type of network using these tools. By golly they didn't work on this version.
Additionally, those on screen keypads are frustrating. The lag is apparent if you have any typing ability beyond the 40wpm mark. If you type too quickly, it won't even pick up your laters as I think it recognizes them as "mistake touches".
I've owned my A500 for around 2 months now. I've picked it up to use it around 10 times since I've gotten it primarily only because someone else was on my favorite laptop and I wanted to browse the web. I keep waiting for the update to let me do all the things I still can't and it hasn't come.
The finger swipe games are fun for people who are into that. I'm not. There are plenty available.
Again, I can't stand Apple, but out of the box we got the iPad on our corporate network and it plays Netflix, HBO2go, Xfinity and does Skype. While the hardware seems extremely advanced with these Android tablets, it seems the newer OSs are taking steps back in time.
As a result, I've found this device to be an over-sized mediocre gaming device (like a DS) with OK web browsing capabilities since not everything works in the browsers on Android. It has plenty of potential since the hardware is great, but these things aren't ready for prime time. Look for mine on Ebay come late November if they don't pick up on real software support for these things or if I still can't connect to my corporate network.
I sum it up as such:
Unrealized potential means nothing!
"Oh he was always so smart, but he just didn't apply himself" - kind of like that.
Out of every tablet I have played with so far(sorry havent seen a Galaxy yet) the Asus is a homerun and there is absolutely no chance I would buy the Iconia or any other Android tablet besides the Asus.