So Close to Purchasing a Tablet

With the release of the new iPad, I find myself constantly considering buying a tablet. My Samsung Galaxy S smartphone does a pretty good job at keeping me connected to the Internet and allowing me to consume content. My laptop stays at the office most days as I can easily work from home on my powerful desktop. So when I’m out and about, it would be nice to have a larger screened device that I can use, or what would essentially be a personal laptop that I can load with games, movies, and music for travelling or when in bed.

I had a bad experience with a Macbook Pro a few years back and it totally threw a wrench into both the quality and customer service expectations that I had when it came to paying extra for Apple products. Basically, my laptop had everything go wrong with it, and I replaced nearly every component of it over the course of three years with a few snide remarks from an Apple store employee and a lack of help through their online support.

After long discussions with a friend of mine, and his endless success with Apple products, I’m almost considering giving them another shot. Now that we are getting past the first two generations of their tablet product, I think it is a pretty safe buy.

Now you might think that because I have an Android phone that I would instantly go for an Android powered tablet. I’ve considered this, but the market is filled with tablets, and it can be hard to determine the right fit for me. I’ve been very interested in Lenovo’s tablet products, as well as Motorola’s and Samsung’s. RIM’s Playbook continues to be a very inexpensive option, and while it has huge limitations and issues of its own, being half the price of the other options is definitely a strong draw for me.

At the end of the day, I don’t expect a tablet computer to be a huge content generation machine like my laptop or desktop. I expect it to basically be of similar use to my smartphone, providing me a larger screen to watch videos on wherever I am, in a light, easy to manage form factor.

If only I could live with each of them for a period of time before deciding.

So, what about the rest of you? Have you purchased a tablet computer? Are you planning on buying one this year? Which one really captures your imagination?

8 responses to “So Close to Purchasing a Tablet”

  1. Buying an Android tablet is like buying an HD-DVD player. The iPad is Blu-Ray. We know how that played out.

    When you are buying a tablet you aren’t just buying a device. You are buying an ecosystem. Much like buying a DSLR camera, whichever camera you choose… you are going to be locked into that system. Their lenses. Their accessories.

    Buy an iPad and you get access to the bets tablet apps available. The largest accessory market available and you are guaranteed updates to the OS because Apple doesn’t abandon it’s products and you’ll at least get iOS updates for the next 3 years or so.

    Buy an Android tablet and well… good luck with that. You’ll get access to lot’s of Android phone apps blown up and displayed on a larger screen they weren’t designed for. You’ll likely not find very many accessories and OS updates? Hah. Have fun with that. It’ll likely be forgotten by whoever created the tablet within 6 months of it’s release because they’ll be on to releasing their next failure of a product.

    Buying anything other than an iPad at this point in time is like flushing your money down a toilet.

    This may change in the future, sooner or later someone is going to have to come out with a competitor that can actually shake up the market. But it hasn’t happened. All the Android tablets being released as disposable device that are forgotten by their manufacturers soon after they are released… leaving their users forgotten also.

    • I do have an Android phone, and in some ways, I get what you mean. The funny thing is, I don’t need all the updates to the Android OS, my machine runs fine without them, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything critical, so I don’t consider the updates “issue” to be a detracting factor in my selection.

      As for accessories, I would say that the Android OS is actually very good at accepting third party devices, hence why many companies keep putting full sized USB ports on their tablets.

      The biggest point, and the one that really strikes home for me is when you mention that Android tablets are disposable and I would, for the most part, have to agree. They keep releasing lots of new models, but it all feels very haphazard and a bit frustrating as a consumer. It reminds me of the early days in the PC world where you would get your computer home, unwrap it, and there would already be a “better” one on the shelf.

      As for buying into the entire ecosystem, I guess that’s what I’m worried about. There are two reasons I went Android for my cell phone: expandable memory and swype. I like that I can put in micro-SD cards into my phone. I have some with seasons of TV shows, and then my main one with a bunch of music on it. Swype is just the best keyboard experience on a touch screen that I’ve ever had.

      If Apple or some enterprising company/developer could negate one or both of these key things for me, I would probably buy an iPad as soon as my budget would allow. (Dropbox could easily make many inroads for me in terms of expandable storage)

  2. I agree with Carl – if you’re getting a tablet, then the iPad is the way to go. Your comment that you wouldn’t use the iPad for content creation is very likely going to be quite wrong – I know a few people that use their iPads for work all the time, and I’d expect you’ll use it that way as well.

    • I didn’t mean it as a knock against the iPad when I said that a tablet for me wouldn’t be about content creation. Actually, I meant the reverse. So many Android tablets have stuffed the edges of their devices with ports so that you can connect a billion different things to it, and as much as I thought that’s what I wanted back when tablets first came out, I realize now that I don’t want to lug around a big keyboard, mouse, etc… to make a tablet into a “laptop”.

  3. David, I sold my 17″ Macbook Pro a little less than a year ago and bought a Macbook Air. Ever since, I have barely touched my iPad. We have two iPads, my wife stopped using it and even my kids are using it less and less now that they have their own iTouch. It’s interesting, my kids FaceTime with their iTouch not the iPad, even though I think the iPad is better suited for it, go figure. We mainly use our iPads for long travel trips. To be honest, if you’re into the Apps/Games etc. then of course the iPad has some lasting appeal. But in terms of productivity, I find the iPad to be overrated, and you know how much of an Apple guy I have always been. Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s because we have other devices, but I have found our iPads are getting marginalized over time and used less and less. Furthermore, a lot of ppl are making a big deal about the iPad 3’s HD video camera and 5MP still camera. But I can’t help but chuckle a bit whenever I see someone holding one up to take pictures or video, honestly, can you envision a more awkward camera than holding up the physical equivalent of a picture frame to take video or still photos? I do wonder now that I’m on my Air so much, if a 7-inch iPad would be more appealing. Having said all of this, if you want a tablet, if you can envision how a tablet will fit into your digital lifestyle, then the iPad is the only choice. I’ve used a bunch of the OtherPads, and they aren’t close to the same experience. Apple has worked their butts off for over a decade to turn hardware into a software-dominant paradigm. They won, and everyone else is behind that curve, and that’s not a lead that will evaporate anytime soon. Just don’t over-romanticize how much you’ll use a tablet. It’s still very much a ‘nice to have’ but certainly nowhere close to a necessity. I’d give up my iPads long long before I gave up my iPhone.

    • Very interesting James (and nice to hear from you). I really think a tablet might be one of those things that I will have to rent/borrow/steal from a friend or business so that I can see if there is a place for it in my life, and only if I end up without a laptop in my life because I still don’t really see a spot for a tablet in a desktop, laptop, and smartphone universe. And it makes even less sense if you add in a newer generation console (PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii), at least when it comes to media consumption.

      I think most people, if asked, would probably give up their tablets before their phones, and I don’t see that changing. The real question that is coming down the pipe is: laptop or tablet?

    • I’m with James – I purchased an AIR as my secondary/portable piece of my personal computing puzzle. I was deciding between that and an iPad. My previous employer had an office-use iPad and I’d bring it home occasionally, but rarely would use it. The AIR we use immensely every day and ironically we also have an iPod Touch that gets heavy use too. I’m not so certain when I see a tablet making sense in my own personal situation, but you never know I suppose!

  4. I’ve been leaning towards an iPad as well but recently I’ve decided to upgrade to a used MacMini, a new monitor, and an iTouch. I can get all those for the price fo an Ipad. So it seems like so much more usability and efficiency than an iPad.

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