Oh, the tablet wars

Oh, the tablet wars. They’re almost as prominent as the OS wars that have been raging for years on end. Though, really, it’s not much of a war when you think about it. It’s just a choice of three systems:

  1. Apple’s iOS
  2. Google’s Android
  3. Microsoft’s Windows 8 RT/Windows 8…uh….normal?
I’m sure each tablet brand and OS brand has its benefits over the other, as well as its downsides compared to the others. All I know is, iOS is a little bit more new-user friendly than the Win 8 OS. In the spirit of fairness, the Win 8 tablets are great little machines for productivity. I actually prefer typing on my Surface RT instead of my iPad. They keyboard for the Surface is far nicer and easier to type with than the cheap keyboard I got for my iPad. But the iPad has a lot more apps that appeal to me in the entertainment aspect than the ones on the Surface. And that’s just scratching the….uh….Surface.
In this post, I’ll describe what I like about both the iPad and Surface, and what I hate about each of them. All in the spirit of fairness. 🙂 And plus I’m bored and want an excuse to hear the popcorn sound when I type on the Surface.
Pros – iPad
  1. compact
  2. nice screen size for reading, game playing, drawing, and movies
  3. syncs beautifully with my iCloud on my Mac
  4. easy to accessorize
  5. lots of choices of bag and cover styles
  6. simple, streamlined OS interface
  7. tons of interesting apps. if you can think it, there’s an app for that
  8. it’s Apple. instant win.
  9. instant access to iTunes account
  10. durable aluminum casing
  11. very customizable home screen. hold the icons till they wiggle and arrange them as desired
  12. familiar OS out of the box
  13. gestures are included for ease of use and to help move stuff out of the way
Cons – iPad
  1. no Flash support. biggest downside to this platform for my needs
  2. relatively small HD compared to newer tablets
  3. somewhat more expensive due to he smaller hard drive
  4. keyboards are hit or miss depending on the brand
  5. keyboards must be Bluetooth and don’t snap in and work right away
  6. charging cord is cumbersome to plug in and unplug
  7. aluminum backing scratches and discolors with the Smart Cover
  8. only comes in one OS version – an app-based OS so you can’t install your desktop programs on it
  9. feels like much more of the same in Apple’s OS designs, leaving it feeling tired and dated
  10. slightly heavier than the Surface, though not by much
  11. no MS Office to continue working on documents away from home (it’s untested as of this writing whether the Web app version of MS Office will run on the iOS. i’ll have to try that out sometime soonish)
  12. no built-in stand. you need to buy one separately
Pros – Surface
  1. RT comes pre-installed with MS Office and SkyDrive so you can access your documents anywhere
  2. USB port on the side of the screen for extra storage options and document transfers
  3. keyboard is easy to type on and snaps to the bottom of the device
  4. IF you have MS Office 2013 on your computer, it’s the same interface on the Surface, so no learning curve to continue working with your documents
  5. lightweight
  6. widescreen format makes it feel more like a computer and less like a mobile device
  7. Skype comes preinstalled, so go nuts
  8. IE comes in 2 flavors: app version on the start screen and desktop version on the desktop
  9. highly customizable home screen. you can even change the size of some icons to show more or less info by making them smaller or turning off live tiles
  10. charger cord is a similar magsafe tech as what Apple uses on their MacBook laptops
  11. the keyboard acts as a cover and can be reversed if you want the slightly fuzzy side to sit on the table instead of the keys when you don’t need the keyboard
  12. comes in 2 flavors: RT (app based) and Pro (can install your normal desktop programs on it)
  13. built-in kickstand
Cons – Surface
  1. Windows 8. enuff said
  2. big learning curve due to the newfangled fai–attempt to be different OS
  3. RT models are limited in what they can do because of being limited to whatever apps are available on the Microsoft Store. yes, that means no Steam on the Surface RT
  4. Skype needs to be merged with your Microsoft account if you plan to even think about using it on the Surface
  5. few apps that I personally care about. ie: no Steam because Valve decided to boycott the failure that is Win 8
  6. can’t customize when updates apply. they’re always on automatic download and install
  7. flash is updated only when the system updates. you can’t update it on your own
  8. the RT can’t be used with the fancy stylus that works with the Pro model. don’t know why, but I find it silly
  9. the keyboard that comes with the RT (if you bought that version) is touch-sensitive rather than actual mechanical keys. this tends to make me misspell words now and again or flat out miss a letter or two. there is a keyboard with mechanical buttons, but I don’t want to shell out $130 for a keyboard to go with a tablet that already has one
  10. extra apps are hidden within pointless gestures. this goes with the learning curve of the OS, but there should at least be a button in plan site for ease of access to all the apps on the machine and not just the couple dozen that come default on the start screen.
  11. gestures are required to learn to get the full functionality out of the touchscreen OS. unlike with the iOS, gestures are required to learn on Win 8 as some important features are hidden behind them.
Well, that’s just my sleep-deprived lists of what I like and hate about both tablets. Maybe at some point I’ll revisit this list again when I come up with more likes/hates about the two machines. Overall, though, I like them both pretty equally. The iPad is and always will be a larger version of the Kindle. It was designed to be an ereader with games and some web browsing, and for that purpose, it excels incredibly well. The Surface, on the other hand, was designed with productivity in mind. That has always been Microsoft’s focus, and they bring their Windows OS to the tablet world incredibly well. I can’t vouch for Android, as that OS holds no interest to me whatsoever. I do challenge you to come up with a list of likes and hates for it if you do use it. You’ll surprise yourself with the knowledge of how you really use your tablet.
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