Saturday, March 9, 2013

So I Bought a Tablet...

And went against everything I said in my previous post.

You know how I was going to stick with an Apple product?

Yeah? Nah.

I followed my brother's advice and went and got my hands on all the tablets I was considering. I loved the iPad and it's little sister, the iPad Mini.  Elegant, uncluttered, simple and familiar. But expensive.

I hesitated: What if the Nexus 7 really would do the job for almost half the price?

So, off I went to Staples (where I had a rewards coupon) to take a look at the Nexus. I played with the tablet for almost an hour. From a design perspective, the Nexus is a little more rugged-looking than the iPad. It has a textured back to prevent slippage and it comes in black/grey. That's it. No pretty, clean white. That made me just a little sad. But, realizing that this is a tool and not a fashion accessory, I soldiered on and looked at the facts.

The Nexus 7 - manufactured by Asus for Google
The Nexus 7 - manufactured by Asus for Google
Take a look at it here.
The Nexus 7 is big enough for me to share information with a group of people, as I had hoped to do, but small enough that it fits comfortably into my medium sized purse. It fits nicely in my hand, too. The iPad Mini was just a smidge bit too big for my hand. I also did the music check - I pulled up a piece of sheet music and put it on a stand to see if I could read it.  I could. Easily. This means I can use this for performances and practices to organize my music.  Recently, I saw a group of musicians at an outdoor gig using this technique.  What a concept! No more clothes pins to keep the music from blowing away.

The next thing I was worried about was the investment I had put into my iPhone apps.  As I browsed through my apps I realized that most of my apps are freebies. And, since I am hanging on to my iPhone, I still have access to the apps that weren't free.  I looked up all the free apps I had on my iPhone at Google Play and most of them were there - still for free.  In fact, a couple of them were more feature-rich than the ones I had on my iPhone.

All my Google applications (Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Blogger, etc...) were already installed, making migration to the Nexus a snap. I entered one password and I was in and working. And I love the Google Now feature. If I have an appointment in my calendar and I've put in an address, Google Now will tell me how long I'll need to get there in current traffic and remind me when it's time to leave. And that's just the tip of that iceberg.

Everything syncs over WiFi so as soon as I hit a hotspot everything updates automatically. No more plugging in and launching a program to sync and update. The interfaces for all the Google apps are beautiful, too.  They're very clean and it's obvious where everything is on the screen. As I explored the tablet, the loss of the clean white look of the iPad bothered me a lot less.

The Nexus 7 16GB doesn't come with cellular connectivity, you have to go to the 32GB device for that feature. In thinking over that almost $100 difference in price, I decided that I didn't need to have constant access to the internet on the tablet, because I still have an iPhone. If that's a consideration for you, it would be a good idea to check to be sure that your cellular provider will support the Nexus products. It looks like not all of them do.

The final nail in the iPad's coffin was the price. The Nexus 7 16 GB rings in at $199.00 (and I had a coupon, remember) as opposed to $329.00 for the base model of the iPad Mini or $399.00 for the refurbished iPad 2 - 3rd Gen at the Apple store.

Frankly, I couldn't think of a real reason NOT to save $130 - $200, so now I am cross-platform.

It's a pretty nice spot to be in.

Special thanks to my brother, Edward, for the tech/lifestyle guidance. This might have been a disaster without you!

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