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Two Reasons I Use Both an Android Phone and an iPad



A lot of mobile device users pick one OS ecosystem and use a compatible phone and tablet so they can buy apps once and learn just one OS. However, I use an Android phone and an iPad tablet… and love both platforms. I don’t plan to give either one up just to use a single mobile OS.

With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note I have put my iPhone 4 down and used the Note, the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and now the HTC One as my daily driver. When iPhone 4s hit, I upgraded, but quickly missed Android on my phone, so I quit using it, forwarding the line to my S3. The iPhone 5 launched and the same thing happened. I gave my wife the iPhone 5 and put our family phone number on her old iPhone 4s, which now sits at home most of the time.

I own a Nexus 7 and found a Nexus 10 for half price on Craigslist, but they’re primarily used as eReaders. I use my iPad mini 90 percent of the time. I’ve owned every iPad except for the iPad 4, since it wasn’t a big enough upgrade over the iPad 3, but I’ll buy the iPad 5 and an iPad mini 2, if it comes with Retina Display.

Here’s why I love my Android Phone and iPad.

android phone and iPad mini

iPad Apps Are Still Better

Early in the iOS v. Android war, iPad apps worked better, looked nicer and saw more availability than Android tablet apps. We’ve seen a huge improvement in Android apps in the last year. Developers improved their Android apps for tablet use. Developers, who produced apps for both platforms, sped up their implementation of key features on the Android side. This brought us closer to feature parity. When there’s a difference between platforms in an app, they’re usually minor.

Despite the improvements we still see a difference. This most often shows up in specialty apps and low profile apps. The big apps like Twitter, Facebook, HBO Go and others usually work the same or close to the same on both platforms. Lesser known apps often don’t. For example, I use a Bible app from a company called Logos Bible Software (free). The Android version (free) lags behind the iOS version. Since the app lets me read books, it’s more important on the tablet than the phone.

hbo go on android not compatible with nexus 7

While the big name apps often work on Android and iOS the same way, they don’t always work on all Android tablets. It’s common for Android users to see the dreaded “app is compatible with some of your devices” phrase in the Google Play store for a popular app, like HBO Go. Most apps work on any version of iOS and most users upgrade to the new version within a few weeks to a few months. On Android many users don’t have the choice to upgrade, but developers still focus on making their apps work with newer versions or older apps work only on older versions.

I use my tablet to write notes using a stylus. I’ve still not found a single Android app that handles inking and note taking/organization the way I like. I can count at least five on iOS that I’d willingly use regularly.

The Nexus 7 is a great small form factor tablet, but the iPad mini is still my primary tablet 90 percent of the time because of the above reasons, and because I was able to buy an LTE version at launch. Meanwhile, the LTE version of the new Nexus 7 showed up weeks after the launch. It’s more convenient to use my LTE iPad mini than it is to use my Wi-Fi only Nexus 7.

Android Screen Size and Customization Trumps iPhone

Despite all the reasons why the iPad works better than an Android tablet, the iPhone feels like a toy compared to the HTC One, my workhorse tool. That’s why I bought the HTC One before Apple officially launched the iPhone 5s. The Samsung Galaxy S4 served me well, but I prefer the HTC One hardware. I’d rather use either phone than any iPhone due to the larger screen and Android’s customization features.

Even if Apple bumped their tiny screen size to something like a wider 4.5-inch screen, it would still suffer from a terrible keyboard. On Android …

  • Users can pick from hundreds of keyboard styles
  • Slide between keys speeding up typing
  • Use excellent word prediction engines from Swiftkey or Google keyboards
  • See lower case letters when not typing upper case letters, which Apple inexplicably left out of iOS 7

These issues feel more pronounced on a smaller screen.

Android offers hundreds of great widgets that run on the home screen of an Android phone. Apple has the iOS 7 Control Center, which helps a lot. Still, I can’t use my two most used widgets on an iPhone.

evernote widget

My phone serves as a document scanner and voice recorder. The Evernote widget adds these tools to my home screen. iPhone doesn’t. Pocket Casts works great for podcasts. Their home screen widget lets me control the app without opening it, but iPhone won’t allow it.

These weaknesses exist on iPad, but they don’t matter as much. I don’t use my iPad for Podcasts or to record voice or snap pics of documents. The larger iPad keyboard could use improvement, but it’s not as big a problem on the bigger screen.



  1. mary

    09/28/2013 at 1:57 pm

    My iPad is in a keyboard folio, so I use it as a laptop. I have a Note 2 for my phone, a Note 8 and note 10.1. I’ve had nearly all of Samsung tabs (I used BlackBerry for close to 10 years). I find anything I want in the android store. But, the ipad II is my “work” tool. I plan to trade in my Note 2 and note 10.1 for the Note 3. Who needs a stylus writing app when the Note series takes care of that?

  2. Bruce

    09/28/2013 at 2:53 pm

    I have used both Android and iOS tablets and phones. Each has advantages and disadvantages. I don’t get the religious zealots who claim one platform is inferior to the other.

  3. chriscarlton10k

    09/28/2013 at 3:42 pm

    A few Android tablets to launch next week feature one of Intel’s newest processors
    and offer impressive performance… Ramos Technology has partnered with Intel to introduce the i-Series with 8″, 9″, 10″ and 12″ models (from $199-$299) and all models feature HD displays and Intel’s processor with Hyper-Threading technology, which runs four threads simultaneously and outscores many quad-core tablets in benchmark testing–

    The most compact model is the Ramos i-8 ($199) and is the world’s thinnest 8″ tablet–
    featuring a 7.9-inch HD screen and aluminum-nickel frame for a sleek design; similar in
    size to the mini iPad… and easy to carry and almost as compact as a 7″ tablet, such as the new Nexus 7, but with 40% more screen space… which makes viewing content much easier compared to the 7″ size — and the new Ramos i-8 matches most features of the new Nexus 7 – plus MicroSD storage.

    Also to launch this week is a full-size Android tablet from Pipo Electronics that compares
    in size to the iPad – and the new 9.7″ Pipo M6 Pro ($297) is getting notice for its design
    and features and packs in a solid device with features that compare to the Nexus 10, but
    for considerably less… the Pipo M6 Pro offers 32GB and built-in GPS, plus a 2048X1536
    Liquid Crystal display, along with a Quad-Core processor – 1.6 GHz / 2GB Ram; and also
    Bluetooth 4.0, MicroSD memory, premium front speakers, a large capacity 10,000 mAh battery, and high speed WiFi. It also comes with quality dual cameras, and an option to use standard Android 4.2.2 O/S or a user-friendly Windows style interface; a 3G HSPA+ model is also available for Internet through GSM wireless carriers, including AT&T and T-Mobile.

    One of the first U.S. sources with details on both new models is — TabletSprint

    • somfw

      09/29/2013 at 7:15 am

      An 8″ tablet has 40% more screen size than a 7″ tablet? I must be the new math!

  4. Chuck

    09/28/2013 at 4:26 pm

    From Kevin…

    “I use my tablet to write notes using a stylus. I’ve still not found a single Android app that handles inking and note taking/organization the way I like.”

    Try using the Note 8.0 with REAL stylus and handwriting recognition that works and you won’t go back.

    • Kevin Purcell

      09/28/2013 at 4:47 pm

      I would love to, but the cost is a little higher than I’m willing to pay at this point. I should have mentioned the Note 8 and 10 however, so thanks for bringing it up.

      • mary

        09/28/2013 at 4:52 pm

        If you have devices you aren’t using- trade them in for a Note 8. I’ll be trading my Note 10.1 and Note 2 for a Note 3. I’ve seldom used the 10.1. I’m not currently locked into a contract. so the Note 3 will be $300 with contract. My trade-ins will cover It all.

  5. policywank

    09/28/2013 at 9:01 pm

    Interesting. I do the reverse of you. I have an iPhone 5 and a 2013 Nexus 7 LTE. I had a Nexus 7 wifi before it and an iPad before that. I find the “it just works” nature of IOS and Apple’s general ecosystem to be a lot more important to me on my phone than it is for a tablet. I had an HTC One X plus and an LG Optimus G, both for short periods. I actually loved the LG hardware and skin, but Sprint’s network was so bad where I live that I had to give it up and go back to AT&T. That’s where i picked up the One X plus. On the tablet side, I find the Nexus 7 to just be the perfect form factor for me. I use tablets much more for consumption than creation. Whether it is the kindle app, reading social networking sites or web surfing, I probably read more than anything else on them, though I do play some games. Even the iPad mini is too big for that stuff, to me.

  6. Ramona

    09/29/2013 at 2:43 am

  7. Rex_D

    09/29/2013 at 7:03 am

    Not meaning to sound judgemental, but for some reason it is weird to hear that so many people have so many devices. Not sure why, but it kind of creeps me out. It says something about us when we feel the need to have 1 laptop, 1 desktop, 1 larger tablet, 1 smaller tablet, 1-2 phones, and each of our 14 children having their “own” devices as well. Maybe it is because I am getting “older” and I am the eldest in my family, but I wonder how people can afford to have so many devices. Just trying to find a phone I can afford when my renewal comes up is frustrating enough, not to mention the cost of the monthly bill….and I am a college degreed “professional” and have no children to support. Maybe I am not fudging my taxes enough like other people are, or maybe I spend too much money on the people around me. Just makes me wonder.

    • Adrian Robinson

      09/29/2013 at 8:46 am

      Rex, the key to buying a mobile device these days, is purchasing a device “off contract”/”unsubsidized”. Last year, I purchased the Nexus 4 phone directly from Google for $329. Then I went online to and ordered the $30 month phone plan. For $30 per month, I get 100 voice minutes, unlimited texting and unlimited data. Since this is a month to month phone plan, I don’t have a contract and can jump carriers anytime. Going this route I will literally save $1,000+ dollars vs. going with a two year subsidized phone plan.

    • mary

      09/29/2013 at 9:36 am

      I am a gadget junkie. Not sure how that came about cos I went into it kicking and screaming. Sometimes I’ve bought a device and then didn’t like it (didn’t like the first nexus). Some I’ve traded up-will do that when the Note 3 comes out. I don’t have kids. Not married. Parental, live-in caregiver for 20 yrs 24/7. I don’t buy movies. I enjoy having one or two toys – or more – to release some stress. Sorry it creeps you out, but you don’t know us. Maybe folks with kids have one per kid. Ya know?

  8. somfw

    09/29/2013 at 7:25 am

    And yet another “feel good” article written just to be written. So you use both, who cares! It seems like you are trying to justify it and at the same time get acceptance for your decision. Nobody gives a crap.
    As soon as you mentioned the Bible, the gig was up. Unless you are using that app because the Android tablets built in toilet paper dispenser ran out, nobody will ever take you seriously. Do you have the Marvel comic book app too? The two are identical. Actually the Marvel one is more believable and reality based.

    • Yes!!!

      10/01/2013 at 12:21 am

      I want to like this comment

  9. Rick McConville

    10/03/2013 at 11:21 am

    You soooooo get me. I have the same devices. The difference is that I just recently got my iPad Mini. I debated heartily between the Nexus 7 and the Mini. I’ve had an iPhone 3g and it worked but it was hard to type on and I text and email quite a bit from my phone. So I switched to an Android phone the next time I upgraded and I fell in love with the customizability of the platform. Back in July I traded for the HTC One and I am in love with this phone. For consuming media on pocket size device there simply is no better option…not even the iPhone 5s.

    So after agonizing hours of playing wit the devices in large electronics stores (OK – it wasn’t actually agonizing – it was actually a lot of fun) I decided that the feel, size and layout of the Mini were right for me. And I am glad I made the choice. I can’t imagine ever again having an iPhone nor can I imagine that I would want to purchase an Android tablet.

    What I can imagine is you possibly sharing your choices for styli with us asI am looking to find one to use with my iPad Mini. :)

  10. Wenhan

    02/12/2014 at 5:09 pm

    Hi guys,

    I am also a dual platform guy. I use a Samsung S4 mini (never liked big phones) and the newest iPad Mini Retina. I use my iPad mainly for all the variation of wonderful apps that feel better on iOS. The phone well is just a phone. (messaging, calling, emails). On weekends, on short walks, I take only my iPad out.

    But as a dual platform guy, I started to miss my Phone calls and messages when I am on my iPad. I like to keep my phone plugged in charging because Android phones have worse battery life somehow.

    So I had an idea to copy my Android Notifications to my iPad. I am in the ideas stage so if you have the small problem as me, would you like to sign up for the beta?

  11. Zaidi

    04/05/2016 at 2:20 am

    i have a similar set up, an ipad mini 2 64gb and a galaxy note 4 (128gb with sd card). initially i was looking for ways to best optimize the experience of having this combination and i came across this thread.

    I find that IOS/ipad has the best hardware design in terms of simplicity -it makes it look professional. I work in sales so i use the ipad to show photos and documents, most customers find it very easy to adapt to the UI. Apps is key, Apple has apps optimized specially for the ipad hence the two distinct categories when you look into the app store; iphone apps and ipad apps. It is just not a giant, fit to screen size change, but it makes full use of the screen real estate with tabs, and whatnot. i do admit there is a lack of freedom in terms of customization, but apple made ios very neat, tailored and adaptable to most people.

    android tablets are finicky. apps are not optimized, hardware is not as clean as ipad with the product brand showing at the screen, which gets annoying to me when i rotate the ipad horizontally. thus i rather get an ipad for these reasons.

    now comes to the phone, i get that iphone and ipad has continuity really done well. however, iphone is not as customizeable as android. and lacks basic sharing capabilities, changeable battery (i could switch batteries if it gets spoilt, force shutdown by removing it if the phone hangs), memory cards which is essential to me as i use my phone very often. the note 4 has a big battery, and i can tweak the phone to last even longer. android is ‘on the go’ capable as well. transferring file from harddrive/thumbdrive is so easy. price wise, note 4 is way cheaper than the 6plus as i can get more memory space, better camera. the stylus is a plus. the note 4 is more durable as well.

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