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Tablets: The Pick Up and Go Challenge



As some of you will recall I’ve been working with the iPad and iPad 2 for some time and have recently picked up an HP TouchPad as well as a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. I’ve been dutifully approaching each of the two new Tablets, not to see how they measure up to the iPad 2, because they don’t come close, but to see which of these Tablets I could use if I had to grab one and spirit off to a meeting and feel content to have it with me as my primary tool in that meeting.

The bottom line for me came yesterday as I’m dealing with some small emergencies at the theatre where I work. I had decided to leave the iPad 2 and the HP TouchPad behind that day and work with just the Galaxy Tab. As I was in town where I live for a doctor’s appointment (versus being at the theatre) some other things came up that I had to deal with. I don’t want to make too much drama out of this, but I was so frazzled by the tasks that lay ahead of me that I swung by the house, ditched the Galaxy Tab, and picked up the iPad 2 to move forward on the work at hand.

The night before that as I was installing OS X Lion on my MacBook Pro, I thought it would be an excellent time to work with both the TouchPad and the Galaxy Tab and also enjoy a bit of leisure time. I did, but when I wanted to check my RSS Feeds, or Twitter, or Google+, I inevitably picked up the iPad to do those tasks, setting down the other Tablet.

Telling? I think so. But let’s look at some context. For most of my theatre work I need to do several things beyond note taking:

  1. Have access to a calendar
  2. Have access to email
  3. Have the ability to create a document
  4. Have the ability to view and edit spreadsheets

That’s it. Everything else is window dressing. Using Apps that are available on each of the Tablets allows me to work on each of the three devices. QuickOffice handles the document chores on all three and I use Dropbox to access those documents. I use GMail and have that on all three so that’s not an issue. While I use PocketInformant on the iPad, I can easily get by with access to Google Calendar on the other two Tablets. All three tie in well to the MiFi card I’m using when I don’t have WiFi, with an exception that I’ll note below.

So, where’s the problem? Bottom line, I’m more comfortable with the iPad 2 and its UI than I am with the other two Tablets at this point. Like I said, I’ve been forcing myself to use each of the two newer Tablets exclusively. But on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 there’s this nagging feeling that something’s missing or something is just not quite right with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. How I relate to that touchscreen always seems like I’m in learning mode rather than operating mode. I have to think too much. The radios on that device also seems to be inferior to those on the iPad 2 and the HP TouchPad as I have a harder time establishing and holding a connection regardless of whether it is WiFi or MiFi.

With the TouchPad, the slowness or sluggishness of the system can just be debilitating when I need to get work done. To be blunt, while I really enjoy the potential of the HP TouchPad, I need to be in a zone where I’ve got some time and patience before I fire it up for doing some real work.

There are many who have written off the Tablet contenders we’ve seen so far released as also rans. I’m in that camp as well.  I’ll keep plugging away with both the Galaxy Tab and the TouchPad when I have the luxury of time and also the luxury of not having a stressful workload. But until HP, Samsung, and Google up their games a notch, I’ll be grabbing the iPad 2 when I need to get things done.
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  1. Anonymous

    07/22/2011 at 6:07 pm

    Funny how Apple users become so use to using an IPad they tend to turn a blind eye to anything else.  I never understand why people write these so called reviews and mislead people who may be in the market for a tablet.  As an owner of an IPad 2 and GT 10.1 I honestly prefer the tab over the ipad 2 for many reasons.  Simple reasons at that, honestly both do the exact same thing but the Android OS gives YOU the user more flexibility and OPTIONS.  If you like simplicity and fad then I would say IPad 2.     

    • Anonymous

      07/22/2011 at 6:36 pm

      Have you used and iPad?

      • Anonymous

        07/22/2011 at 7:22 pm

        Yes, I own both.  Ive been using the Ipad 2 since launch.  I bought my wife the Ipad 2 as a gift because she liked to play games on her ipod touch and shes not technically advanced.  And lets face it, the Ipad is easy to use.  As an android phone user I leaned toward an android tablet but passed on the xoom and finally went with the GT and dont regret it.  Theres the “App Gap” which is true but we all know half the available apps on both platforms are useless anyways.  I was just saying, an unbiased review is more helpful for those looking for a tablet then .  Theres things the GT does that the IPad2 doesnt, and i haven’t ran across anything the iPad 2 does the GT cant yet.  And in reality, as another poster has pointed out, if you really want to do real work you will be disappointed with a tablet. 

        • Anonymous

          07/22/2011 at 9:34 pm


          Good, glad to see you like I are coming at this from having put our money where our respective mouths are. I’d like to know what you can do with a Galaxy Tab that you can’t do on an iPad 2? You show me yours and I’ll show you mine. I bet I can come up with a few things that the iPad 2 can do that the Tab can’t.

          I quibble with your point about real work. One of the things I had to do the other day (which prompted this post) was make a presentation to a prospective donor who was being called out of town and our meeting had to be moved up. I did some quick edits on the presentation and headed to the hastily called meeting. I was able to make the presentation with the iPad. I’ll call that real work and I wasn’t disappointed.

          As to bias, if I have one its for devices, systems, and software that work without patching, hacking, or otherwise finding a way to do something that should be pretty straightforward. Bias is a two way street and though I won’t through the word around the way you have, I could easily say you’re biased towards Android and the GT based on what you’ve written so far. Like I said, I won’t do that, and simply put, because all of this is about personal preferences not absolutes.

          Give me your list of things that you do with the GT that you can’t do on an iPad 2. I need to learn some of those things, because at this point in time I’ll stand by my much earlier statements that Google and Samsung have bamboozled all of us into thinking that Beta Tablets are the real deal.

        • Anonymous

          07/22/2011 at 11:24 pm

          “Give me your list of things that you do with the GT that you can’t do on an iPad 2. I need to learn some of those things”

          Having a back button on top of a lone home button is helpful at times.  Using the same identical app on both devices found that copy and paste is not accessible on everything on the ipad.  Tabbed browsing, sync bookmarks with PC, uses a single box for typing URLs and searching, a more “TRUE” form of multitasking (neither are really quite true multi tasking), so pages continue to load in the background when you switch tabs.  ITUNES NOT REQUIRED…enough said with that.  Plugging in to laptop and able to transfer files instantly (drag and drop) with full access to your files, unintrusive notifications, resizable very useful widgets, homescreen customizing (not having to have every app i own be on 30 homescreens), option to plug extra storage devices, Flash content (being able to run Flash is better than being banned from running Flash, options) , being able to place my cursor where i want to edit text without it become a hastle, Over the air transfers/updating, Voice commands off front screen, will have 4G support, etc,

          Just off the top of my head and minor and some of these will be included in IOS5,  but in using the ipad now at times have become frustrated with some of these lacking things knowing the GT does these.

          Yes i mentioned i WAS biased towards Android because i had an android phone and was the reason i leaned toward the GT and already have used the Ipad 2 frequent.

          Again not taking away from the Ipad it is a nice piece of hardware but not for everyone and people on the lookout for a tablet should have more honest reviews/opinions.  And if anything wasnt “beta” it wouldnt require updates…

        • Anonymous

          07/23/2011 at 3:25 am

          That’s an impressive list. I agree that the back button is helpful. I’ve never run into a copy and paste issue on the iPad. Which identical Apps are you using? Tabbed browsing is a win for Android, although I don’t use it much. I sync my bookmarks with my MacBook so that’s not an issue for me. The single box for urls and search is a preference thing in my view. I agree multi-tasking is more true on Android. I’ve also crashed Apps on the GT more than I have on iOS. (BTW webOS multi-tasking beats both iOS and Android.) ITunes not required is a plus for many. As to plugging into laptop and transferring files, that’s pretty effortless for me using Dropbox without having to plug into anything. Having to plug into a computer to transfer files is sort of like needing iTunes to sync. I do like Android’s notification system better but I’ll be damned if I can figure out those tiny icons on the GT. I’m not a fan of widgets myself, again a preference thing. Customization of homescreen is a plus for Android. I have no need for extra storage devices. Flash Content is a plus for Android, but it is still a mess and Flash should be but out of its misery, especially on the mobile side. BTW, I’ve never felt like I’m missing anything because of lack of Flash on the iPad. I have the same cursor issues with Android as I do with iOS. OTA updating is a plus for Android currently. Android has the edge with Voice Command, although the new Dragon Go! is a big step up for iOS. 4G support? Yeah, that’s a big if, not when where I live, and I wouldn’t pay the extra freight for it until it actually arrives in areas where I can use it.

          Now, here’s some (emphasis on some) of my list for my iPad preference.

          I love giving presentations on the iPad using Keynote. Potential clients (donors) like it as well. This works well either via a projector or just sharing it with a client allowing them to scroll through the presentation.
          Ink note taking in Penultimate is close (but not quite) as good as Inking on a Tablet PC.
          Reading and browsing with Flipboard and Zite and sharing/collecting info with Instapaper and or ReadItLater is effortless.
          I can use many different Twitter clients on an iPad. Not as many work on the GT yet.)
          iPad/AirPlay integration with Apple TV is effortless and a real joy in our house.
          I don’t print much from the iPad but when I do, AirPrint works great.
          Evernote recently updated for Android Tablets and finally looks like a Tablet App on the GT. Others need to do the same.
          Infinity Blade on the iPad just rocks for mindless hack and slash entertainment.
          QuickOffice seems to perform better for me on the iPad than on Android. I can’t give you a tangible reason for that, but that’s my sense of things.
          Google+ isn’t Tablet ready on Honeycomb. It’s not great on the iPad, but at least it’s easier to scroll for new posts than it is on the GT.
          My two local newspapers have iPad Apps. (Actually one is an iPhone App that works well on the iPad)
          Touch is more natural and fluid on the iPad than it is on the GT.
          The iPad screen is easier to clean than the GT.

          Like I said those are a few of my thoughts. More if you want ’em.

  2. Alain Chappaz

    07/22/2011 at 6:54 pm

    I’ve used an iPad. I’ve used a GT with Froyo. If I wanna get busy, I’m still reaching for one of my Win 7 machines.

  3. Cuhulin

    07/22/2011 at 7:06 pm

    One advantage that goes to the Ipad 2 in Warner’s case, but also for a lot of people, is familiarity.  It’s human nature to grab what is known at a time of need.  The Ipad has been around longer, follows the interface from the Iphone and simply is known.  

    One other aspect of this is the larger number of apps that use the screen.  I’m a Remember The Milk user, except under Windows, and the Ipad has its own version, with much better screen usage.  Android still uses the phone version, blown up.  The difference in usability is huge.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of “fad”.  I have been considering the Tab 10.1, though the comment on radio quality is a concern I will have to check out, but It looks more like an Ipad may be right for larger tablet use when my 7″ Nook Color on Gingerbread is not enough.

  4. Dale Strauss

    07/22/2011 at 8:28 pm

    I side with Alain on this one. I’ve been back and forth between Android and iPad (usually “liking” the iPad more) but every time I try to use either in a hurry, I long for my “fatty” HP 2740p. My biggest use for the iPad is for note taking, and I have to spend more time “thinking” about the ink than “inking.” When I go back to my convertible and OneNote, it is just like pen on paper – almost effortless by comparison. Then as I edit Word or Excel files, I invariably hit the wall and long for MS Office – PLEASE!

    So yes, I am a fossil. I love the size and convenience of the iPad, but absolutely love the response, feel, and quality of the HP 2740p.

    OK WORLD – where is my iPad 1 size Win7 Tablet PC (I would not even dare dream of an iPad 2 size)!

  5. Yogh

    07/22/2011 at 9:41 pm

    I don’t own a TouchPad yet, but I’ve read there are a number of patches you can apply that significantly improve the speed, mostly by disabling various logs. In this post speed seems to be your main complaint with it. I don’t know if you want to keep your TouchPad stock for review purposes, but as homebrew is supposed to be one of the TouchPad’s strong points it seems fair to take advantage of it.

    • Anonymous

      07/22/2011 at 11:14 pm


      I haven’t gone into the Homebrew part of the game yet but intend to here in the future. That said, one of my main points in all of this excellent discussion touches directly on that. Why should I have patch and OS or root and OS or whatever to an OS to make it work the way we’ve seen that a Tablet OS and UI can work? I buy if you want to tinker and mod that’s up to you and go for it if that’s your pleasure. But, the bottom line for me is that these devices should not require that kind of care and feeding to get decent performance.

      • paris89

        07/24/2011 at 5:04 pm

        the same reason people jailbreak the ipad 1 & 2 the only reason i agree with your article is that it is based on what your use preferences and not what everybody think or jumping on apple bandwagon i think that if not the best then second to the best is samsung galaxy tab 10.1 the reason why people tweak with there devices is because it let them make there devices look and sound anyway they wanted it to something that apple lack. apple is a good manufacture company but they give you no options or no way to personalize your 500 or ect devices anyway you want when you buy a apple product yea it is nice yea it is good but that it no option to do anything else with the device because certain stipulations tells you can’t and apple product have been getting jailbreak since the first gen ipods and iphone it is the same thing as rooting i don’t want this post to seem like a augment cause it is far from that cause i like your article        

  6. DNel

    07/22/2011 at 10:50 pm

    I agree with Warner as you tend to grab the tablet with the UI that you are most comfortable with. For me that was the Galaxy Tab 10.1 as I’m coming from an Android phone. That said, I was so frustrated with the Tab when I got it that I almost thought of the iPad as a choice. I’m glad that I didn’t (I irrationally hate Apple and all its products with a passion). It turned out that the Tab I originally purchased from BB was meant for another country that did not support the Market. After a smooth exchange (and check to make sure the Market was accessible at BB) I went home with a fully functioning Galaxy Tab. I love the Google Calendar, Mail, Reader, etc. integration. As Warner pointed out all 4 bulleted points are easily done on all three devices. As to WiFi, my Tab works flawlessly and shows full bar reception where I use it the most. I don’t have a MiFi device to check that out (and won’t get one). I don’t think it will take too long for the Market to catch up with Honeycomb optimized apps (or Ice Cream Sandwich when that comes out) Remember we’re still in year 1 for Android 3.1 (what I consider the truly first usable Android tablet version), while iPad is in year 2 (usable from the start).

    Alain, I totally agree with hoping for a Win (8) device the size of any of these tablets with real active digitizer inking and battery life to match all for comparable cost (none of this $1500+). I still grab my Tablet PC to do any heavy application work.

  7. Brucewilsonpa

    07/25/2011 at 7:34 pm

    Very interesting thread — better than most IMHO.  But I note that nearly everyone has comments that largely tie back to familiarity with a UI and software.  I have followed Warner for years and recall his many articles about Windows tablets and his disappointment with their decline when the ipad first arrived — although I also remember how he adapted quickly to using his ipad, reinforcing his commentary here.  I’ve had three ipads — (2) ipad1 (wifi then 3g) and an ipad2 3g — they were fun to use and easy to adapt to, but I never liked itunes and ultimately decided they were little more than an oversized iphone4 (my current phone).  In parallel with these I also went thru a Galaxy Tab (7″) — loved the form factor — an EVO View 4G and my Moto Xoom, which is my current tablet of choice.  As with others commenting here my preferences seem to relate back to UI and software (I love widgets and live wallpaper and prefer the Honeycomb apps).  I guess the bottomline is that, with time, there are bound to be a selection of likeable tablets, none of which will really completely replace the laptop but are handy and therefore highly usable.  As one who is concerned by Apple’s rapid growth in power and marketing clout I hope the competition catches up soon if only to keep them in check. 

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