Most of you will be surprised to read this, knowing that I’m a staunch Android fanboy, but I’ve been using an iPad 2 for over a month now, and I absolutely love it. The unit that I have is a WiFi-only 16GB – there’s nothing wrong with the baseline, honestly. I had previously used an iPad 2 with iOS 4.3.3 on it, and I really enjoy some of the improvements added with iOS 5. My previous tablet experience includes the Samsung Galaxy Tab (7-inch, Sprint variant), HP Touchpad (only lasted less than 24 hours with that one, lol), HTC Flyer, BlackBerry PlayBook, Velocity Micro Cruz, and Toshiba Thrive. The Toshiba Thrive lasted the longest – it’s seriously a phenomenal tablet, especially with the full-sized HDMI-out and USB port. However, I’ve stuck with the iPad 2 – here’s the good and bad (coming from an Android user)
- Battery Life – it’s ridiculously awesome. I use the heck out of this thing and can easily go two days before I need to juice up. It’s just plain nuts (and awesome for travelling)
- Responsive – there is literally zero delay when doing things on the iPad 2. This was one thing that bothered me on Android tablets, even the Thrive – system hesitation in various places. The iPad doesn’t hesitate, it just does.
- App Selection – I know this is a tiresome topic, and Android has come a LONG way in the apps area. However, I will confess that iPad apps are generally much more polished, with actual thought put into the user experience.
- Flipboard – Quite honestly, for someone as obsessed with reading content on the Internet, Flipboard is an actual bullet-point reason to buy an iPad. It’s that good.
- iOS 5 – iOS 5 is a pretty big improvement over previous versions, specifically with the notifications experience. More importantly, iOS 5 brings OTA updates, which means I don’t have to install iTunes on my computer anymore. I really don’t think I’ve hated any piece of software more in my life than I hate iTunes.
- Camera – aside from the front-facing camera, I honestly think back-facing cameras on tablets are the most useless thing ever. I have a phone, why would I want to look like a tool holding a 10-inch pane of glass up to snap a photo? That’s right, I don’t. Plus, the stills quality from the iPad 2′s back camera is atrocious. Makes the original RAZR look good.
- App Prices – there is a serious dearth of good free apps for iOS. Coupled with the inability to ‘trial’ apps like you can on Android, this is a big one for me. The iPad 2 starts at $450, users shouldn’t need to shell out another $50 on apps right out of the box. I have 53 apps on my iPad 2 right now, and only paid for like, 2 of them. Also, app prices range from $0.99 all the way up to stinkin $10.99 and beyond. I can’t fathom paying that much for an app, really. I’m not against paying for apps, though – I’ve spent nearly $50 on apps on the Android market – perhaps that’s why I’m hesitant to spend money on iOS apps. I also think the App Store experience is HORRENDOUS. I literally hate pulling up the Apple App Store.
- Almost zero customization – I come from Android – the land where you can change nearly everything and anything you want quite easily (even without rooting). To jump into iOS, the land where you feel lucky to be able to change your wallpaper, it’s a big adjustment. I’d like to be able to change the overall color (similar to Windows 7) of the UI, and I would like to be able to replace the keyboard, mainly.
- Using iPhone apps – with all the focus that Apple puts on the ‘user experience’, I’m astonished that they allow iPad users to install apps designed for the iPhone. The experience is completely horrendous. Not only do you have to click the ’2x’ button to stretch it to fit the iPad’s larger resolution, but the result is a pixelated mess. Worse, though, is the fact that iPhone apps use the iPhone keyboard, which is laid out COMPLETELY differently than the iPad keyboard. It drives me bonkers, and is a main reason that I avoid iPhone apps on my iPad like the plague.
- Twitter – I have yet to find a decent Twitter experience on the iPad that lives up to what I expect. I honestly love the idea of the Tweetdeck desktop experience on the iPad, but unfortunately, the Tweetdeck for iPad app has been pulled with no ETA (reports are that it was quite unstable, anyways). I’ve also noticed a really frustrating issue with the built-in Twitter support of iOS 5 – if, like me, you have multiple accounts that you want to keep separate (I usually use a totally separate client for my @Rcadden twitter than I do my @RadioShack account, just to avoid mishaps), iOS will automatically pull those into the same app. I tried this with Echofon for @RadioShack and found that the account was automatically pulled into the official Twitter app, against my wishes. REALLY frustrating.