St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Russ tests an IPad

Apple Ipad 10 inch Tablet with keyboard/case $600+

Klu from Curtiss 7 inch with keyboard/case $50
Margo was in the hospital for 2 days this week—home and fine now.  However, yesterday, when I went in to bring her home in the morning, they decided to keep her until  5 pm.  I didn’t have my computer along, and so checked out an IPad from the patient library to keep me occupied while Margo was recuperating and having some tests.

I have my own 7 inch tablet computer, an Curtiss Klu running Android 4.  It is a cheap one—Menard’s was selling them for $40 after a $30 rebate.  I have had it for several months and, although it is cheap, have been OK with it.  However, I always wondered what I was missing compared to the $500 Apple 10 inch IPad.

The IPad at Mayo came glued into a fold open keyboard case.  The first thing I noticed was it was quite heavy compared to my 7 inch (mine has a keyboard case I added for $8).  It wasn’t just the case and keyboard, but the IPad was heavy.  It was also big!   I have a book reader and tablet that are both 7 inch, and I have gotten used to those--and like the smaller and lighter format. 

Next, I tried to start it up.  To use the keyboard, I had to go to settings and monkey around with menus to identify the keyboard with Bluetooth WiFi.  I managed to make it work, but it was a nuisance. On my tablet, I have to plug it in the usb port, but then it just works. 

The biggest complaint I have with my cheap tablet is that the touch screen is not sensitive—it is a resistance type vs most tablets including the IPad that are capacitance. They are much easier to use, and the IPad was much better that way.  Mine gets confused as to whether I am trying to scroll or click--and I tend to use a stylus rather than my finger to make it work better. 

The Safari IPad browser worked OK, although I never did figure out how to kill the app.  On Android, you drag it off screen.   The buttons worked much the same on both, with the IPad having a volume control button  vs the Klu having a menu.  I think both were similar and moderately intuitive. 

The Internet speed was similar—both a bit slower than my laptop.  Hard to judge as Mayo’s WiFi is variable speed during the day. It worked OK, although not as fast as I am used to at home (Mayo’s fault).

I really didn’t notice that the 10 inch screen was much clearer or more useful than my 7 inch screen.   As I didn’t notice this, I don’t think it matters to have the bigger one. 

The IPad was somewhat smoother in screen scrolling—but again, not really striking.  Since Mayo had the tablet locked so I couldn’t download any apps, I can’t judge that.  Most folks say the biggest advantage of the IPad is the vast number of apps available.  That could be true—that apps are the selling point more than the tablet itself.  Personally, I think I have all the apps I want on my cheap one and can download others.

Overall—rating my under-$100 tablet vs the $500 IPad—couldn’t see enough difference to make me think I was missing out anything.   The IPad had a camera and my tablet doesn’t have one—but I think the cellphone is a better place for a camera than a tablet.  I did notice the battery life is probably twice my tablet—looked like it would last for 8-10 hours.  Probably why it is so heavy –the battery.

So, I turned the IPad back in to Mayo and went home pleased that I didn't feel I needed to upgrade my cheap tablet for an IPad.  I am quite sure if I did get one, it would be the new 7 inch model.  The 10 inch is really too big for portability and easy handling.  

However, I suppose if someone gave me an IPad, I would keep it :-)