Are Any Android Tablets As Good As The iPad?

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ipad2thumb1   Are Any Android Tablets As Good As The iPad?The latest web traffic statistics show that 78% of all web surfers using a tablet after the holiday season were on an iPad. Though its dominance is slowly dwindling, Apple’s device remains on the throne.

You may wonder – why? Is the iPad all that, or have better Android devices been ignored because of Apple’s famously effective marketing? That’s a difficult and controversial question, but not impossible to answer.

Why Does The iPad Dominate?

ipadinthekitchen   Are Any Android Tablets As Good As The iPad?

Before looking at rivals we should first clarify why Apple’s iPad has done so well. Some fanatics from the Android camp cling to the belief that Apple’s products sell to brainwashed yuppies that don’t know any better. That’s simply not the case. There are several reasons for the iPad’s dominance.

Display Quality

The iPad offered much higher display quality than most competitors even before Retina was revealed. After Retina, competitors have struggled to provide higher pixel density. Color accuracy, gamut and black levels are also excellent on Apple’s tablet.

Speed

Apple is one of only two companies that go to the trouble of designing processors in-house (the other is Samsung). Performance is the beneficiary. Benchmarks have consistently shown the iPad to be among the quickest tablets in the world. GPU performance is particularly good – no other tablet on the market can rival it.

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Battery Life

Despite bumps in speed, Apple has remained focused on battery life. It’s the reason why the third-generation iPad is thicker than the second. Battery life benchmarks reveal that all models of iPad score better than average.

The App Store

When Google released Android for tablets it did not encourage developers to make tablet-specific apps. Instead it encouraged apps that could be used on any device. Apple took a different approach and asked developers to focus on apps built for tablets only. This is why there are many excellent iPad apps but few excellent Android tablet apps.

In summary, Apple’s iPad has everything a consumer might want. It is attractive and quick yet doesn’t compromise on endurance. These features have made it possible for Apple to remain dominant despite the iPad’s relatively high price.

What about the iPad Mini? It is less impressive than the larger model in almost every way, yet the same praise applies when compared to other 7-inch tablets. The Mini is quick and has excellent battery life.

Enter The Challengers

Now that the iPad’s benefits are explained let’s have a look at potential challengers. There are just three tablets that are can legitimately stand up to Cupertino’s champion. They are the Google Nexus 10, ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity and Kindle Fire HD 8.9.

Google Nexus 10

nexus10   Are Any Android Tablets As Good As The iPad?

The Nexus 7 is a nice tablet. I know this because I own one. It is small, however, which means it will always be a budget alternative. Google’s Nexus 10 is a true challenger to the iPad and the best Android tablet on the market today. It beats the iPad in some benchmarks, slightly exceeds it in display resolution and does so at a price of just $399.

Yet there are a few problems. While Android 4.2 is a great operating system, it can’t get away from Android’s poor tablet app selection. Battery life is a bit short of the iPad, though still good enough for many users. And storage is limited because a 32GB model is the largest sold and there is no microSD slot.

Google seems to be selling a fair number of Nexus 10 tablets, as the model is constantly sold out at the Google Play store. Yet I have a hard time recommending it over the iPad. A $100 discount isn’t enough to compensate for its problems.

ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700

transformerinfinity   Are Any Android Tablets As Good As The iPad?

ASUS surprised everyone when it released the Transformer, a great tablet that could also be used as a miniature laptop. Since then the company has refined the concept and split the line into several different models. The Infinity is the best and most expensive among them.

With that said, however, ASUS hasn’t been able to keep up with the pace of Apple’s innovation. The Infinity isn’t as quick as the current iPad and can’t match its display quality. Battery life is inferior without the keyboard dock, which adds endurance at the cost of bulk.

ASUS technically has a price advantage because it offers 32GB of storage at $499.99, while the iPad offers 16GB for the same money. Yet that’s only an advantage to buyers who desire a lot of storage. Users will be disappointed by the Infinity’s MSRP.

The wild car is the keyboard dock, which is much better than anything compatible with the iPad. But it’s also an extra $139.99. That’s a lot of money for a peripheral, yet there’s no reason to buy the Infinity without one. The iPad is a superior tablet.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9

kindlefire890   Are Any Android Tablets As Good As The iPad?

Amazon rapidly matured its lineup of tablets after the release of the original Kindle Fire, which I thought disappointing. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the current flagship. A glance at the specifications quickly reveals that it is in every way inferior to the iPad. These disadvantages are excusable, however, because pricing starts at $299 for a 16GB model.

Unfortunately the Kindle Fire HD makes other mistakes. Though it runs Android, it uses a heavily modified version built to work hand-in-hand with Amazon’s app store and media content. Users won’t gain all the benefits from new versions of Android and the respectable selection of default apps, like the Chrome browser, are replaced with inferior alternatives Amazon has developed in-house. I can’t possibly express how much I hate the direction Amazon has taken with this tablet. Why did they replace the default Android browser with one that works less well? What were they thinking?

The price on this tablet makes the iPad Mini a legitimate a competitor, and it is better in almost every way. Only die-hard Amazon fans (do such people exist?) should go with the Kindle.

Conclusion

Having reviewed the options, the reason for Apple’s continued dominance in the tablet market seems clear – it makes the best product. It also makes the most expensive product, but that doesn’t seem to deter consumers, who continue to buy the iPad in droves.

Does that mean the Android tablets are invalid? Of course not. Android is different from iOS, and some users will absolutely want an Android tablet not because of superior hardware but instead because it runs Android – full stop. As the more open platform, users can tweak Android in ways that the iPad makes impossible.

But the people who desire Android for its openness probably don’t need my advice. They already have an Android device and already are experimenting with its possibilities. Apple’s iPad remains the better choice for most buyers.

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30 Comments -

Dany Bouffard

You forget some stuff about IPad tho, it might be superior in your eyes, but a lot of peoples dont like to be pigeonholed to use ITunes and like the freedom that android tablets offer in customization. Also you should also examine the charge time it takes to charge the new IPad compared to some android tablets.

lynx

I disagree. I looked at all the options and at the tablets themselves and i am thoroughly impressed with my new kindle hd. Not everyone wants bigger. I do have my complaints, dont get me wrong. But going from android phone to this wasnt that big of a leap. Now nfor apple users perhaps their tablets are better. But i truly think the kindle is just as good.

Aaron Clifford

I definitely think this boils down to what type of user you are. For most people I recommend Apple products, but for people who are fairly technical or power users I go Android all the way. Android’s open ecosystem means greater flexibility and just more to tinker with, plus the integration with Google services is a big selling point for me.

lol

Still asking me why you wrote this apple publicity introducing on it android. Are you scared about it?

Gary Volk

I think another reason why the ipad does so well is in its many available accessories. People love to have gadgets for their gadgets. I do agree that I don’t like the fact that the Kindle Fire is so heavily modified, and it seems you get limited to Amazon. Not a bad thing for some folks, but power users won’t go for it. With the Kindle ereaders that’s fine, but I like options when it comes to getting apps for the tablet. Another big problem is that Android CAN be modified by the manufacture, so one tablet may not offer the same experience as another with the same OS version. I hear Google is trying to minimize that, but not sure how much they can truly enforce it.

Mike

With exception of the Kindle, the comparisons are against like devices, pure android. Instead of the 2 pure android tablets, why wasn’t the feature rich Note 10.1added to the mix. Think this was a bias comparison as evident in the language used >> “Some FANATICS from the Android camp cling to the belief that Apple’s products sell to brainwashed yuppies that don’t know any better. That’s simply not the case”<< then continuing on to invalidate one camp vice simply providing quality unbiased review.

Matt Smith

I didn’t include the Note 10.1 because I don’t think it’s any good. Its display resolution is too low and it costs too much for what it offers.

Patricia Calvert

Very helpful article for me. I’m considering buying a tablet within the next year and if things don’t change from what I’ve read here, looks like my decision has been made. Apple. And darn, I didn’t want to be one of the Apple Sheep. :-(

Anonymous

I think that apple’s Ipad is also better because eventhough there are plenty of tablets to choose from, developers are still concentrating on making an app for apple’s products first. That is a personal opinion of course. But I agree on the iPad dominance.

Gideon Waxfarb

Ok, I’m not an Apple hater and do realize that the iPad is superior in a few ways. For example, if you want to play around with audio/MIDI stuff, the apps are definitely better for this on iPad. Also, iPad has a better selection of games. However, a few points to consider:

– I don’t think comparing the speed of these devices is necessarily a 1:1 comparison, esp since iOS can do about half of what Android does. Even still, it’s not like the Nexus 10 is a slouch :P Haven’t had any performance issues with it, or the Nexus 7. (Never used an Infinity, so can’t comment.)
– If you have another Android device such as a phone, you can run the same apps on both devices. You don’t need separate apps in most cases.
– iPad has some very frustrating limitations. Want to disable the lock screen for home use? You have to jailbreak. You can’t change the default browser. You can’t change the default notification tone in most apps either. I think they finally let you have a few more icons on the home screen. Widgets? Maybe they’ll put it in the next version, which they will call Magical, and sell 30 million units. From a functionality perspective, it’s like a goddamn toy. Android is WAY ahead in this category.
– If you want to do HDMI out with an Android tablet, all you need is a $4 cable from Monoprice. Want to do the same thing on iPad? You need a $40 adapter, plus the cable.
– You can run emulators on Android, and link up physical controllers with bluetooth. Want to do that on Apple? Jailbreak :P
– While it’s true that iPad has a better variety of tablet apps, I think the gap is a little overstated, since Android has pretty much all of the basics covered. If you download an app like Tablified, you will see that there’s many tablet apps to choose from. Obviously not as many as iPad, but more than what most people would need.
– Please stop including the Kindle Fire in your list of Android tablets, because it’s not an Android tablet. It’s an Amazon tablet running a bastardized Android variant that’s not even recognizable as such.

Gideon Waxfarb

PS: Sorry for the sloppy formatting in my last comment. Apparently, line breaks are not allowed here. I didn’t realize that before posting :)

Mike3

Wow this author is an idiot. Your an ignorsnt person if you think the ipad is better than the Nexus 10 or Infinity. Ipad has a 4:3 ratio and the OS is just a tired and boring screen with icons. Do ineed to go into a list of 50 reasons Android is better than IOS? Victims of marketing and technological illiterates are the only thing keeping the sinking ship of Apple afloat.

Mac Witty

Dear Mike3, I appreciate reading comments, especially if they do not agree with the author because I get a wider view. But to say that the author is an idiot, victim of marketing and technological illiterate do not take the discussion further and I can not take your post seriously. If you have a different meaning than the author or additional information please write it without taking the honor the author who took the time to write an article.

jose

And, yet AGAIN, the Nook HD+ is left out of consideration. In my experience, it outdoes the Kindle Fire (especially in its display and its ability to add memory).

Anthony Murphy

Whilst Apple may have a technological advantage over Android companies, why doesn’t everyone have one? It is because they are overpriced and lack any user customisable options except the background and grouping apps. We can say the same apple macs and other competitors like Linux and Windows, Apple Macs are less likely to break, have less viruses but why doesnt everyone have a mac – they are overpriced and lack the ability to be upgraded without those lovely apple support fees.
Android tablets may not be as technological advance as iPads but they give the everyday person a chance to do whatever they want with writing apps, their own operating system if they wanted to.
I used to own an iPhone and an iPad but after 12 months but i sold them because they cant be changed, i cant upgrade memory and i cant even take the battery out when it crashes.

michel

why do people (especially those apple cultists) have an emotional relationship to an object? No teddy bears as kids?

Seriously, it’s a tool or a toy. It fits your needs or not. Others are not morons for having different needs. Get out of the basement, off the internet and maybe find someone to date.

Oh, and mangled spelling and grammatical errors do not make a convincing argument.

Tom

I have a Sony S 32GB Android Tablet and it is every bit as amazing as the iPad, which I had and returned to Best Buy because I did not want the proprietary iTunes.

The Sony S does everything the iPad does at 1/3 the cost.

Tom

I have a Sony S 32GB Android tablet which does everything the iPad does except use the proprietary iTunes, which is why I took the iPad back to Best Buy and ordered the Sony S instead (last year).

I do NOT like proprietary software that logs and follows my every move.
The Sony S is very powerful and does everything the iPad does.

Hari

Author is clearly an apple fan boy. Who really thinks they are still innovating? The only thing they got right is the concept of apps and lock-in, and this along with the cultivated fan boyism is what they are caching.

Schvenn Meister

Privacy, privacy, privacy.
How about rooting your Android device and installing something like LBE Security Master to control what information is allowed to be sent from your device?

I use an Acer Iconia a110.
Yes, it’s an inexpensive tablet, but the SD card slot and HDMI out make it more powerful than the Nexus 7.
The high end processor/GPU make it very fast, easily as fast as the Nexus in real-world tests.

The amount of free software for Android too, is a huge consideration.

Noah Wakey

Android tablets are not as good as the ipad. but tablets that are running Linux definately are. I run a MSI Windpad 100w with Linux Peppermint installed.

Robert Backlund

If you look at the specs for the Nexus 7 and 10 x Google clearly did some stupid things if it were in direct competition to the iPad which it is not by the way and should not have even been compared to the iPad. Google is upset with Amazon for forking the Android OS and in their opinion should not have been done, so Google is in direct competition with Amazon not the iPad. If you follow the pricing between the Nexus line and Amazons offerings, Google waits to see what Amazon is charging for their tablets and then matches their price. This is the reason that there is no micro SD card reader and limited memory and why they dropped from a quad core processor in the Nexus 7 down to a dual core in the Nexus 10. Their aim is to keep the price of manufacture as low as possible but yet have the tablet still better than anything Amazon is producing. I believe their aim is to take away buyers of Amazon’s Kindle line not to take away buyers of the iPad. Google is in a position to continually sell their Nexus line at a loss if that is necessary in an attempt to drive Amazon out of the market. I for the life of me cannot understand why you only chose what are clearly the low end of the Android market with the exception of the new Asus Transformer Infinity. Any tablet priced at 300 dollars or lower are not going to have the same level of components that a 500 to 600 dollar tablet will have. You mentioned that the keyboard dock is only 139 dollars and you clearly state that it is better than anything that is available for the iPad. The interesting thing is that you fail to mention how much of a premium that Apple charges for their 32GB version, a whopping 599 dollars, that is a 100 dollar premium for an additional 16GB of storage. I just checked on Newegg dot com and the Asus Transformer Infinity is selling for 449 dollars (that’s a 150 dollars less) and they sell the docking station for only 129 dollars. If you look at the price of micro SD cards a class 10 16GB cars sells for 12 dollars on newEgg so for 12 dollars you could upgrade your 16GB iPad, oh damn you cant because there is no sd card slot on the iPhone so you will just have to pay an extra 100 dollars. To gloss over this deficiency of the ipad you comment that only people who need lots of storage will see this as an advantage, well guess that is about everyone. Most people I know are putting lots of music and an increasing number are putting more and more videos on both their phones and tablets so only offering 16 GB of storage on a tablet that costs 500 dollars is a glaring deficiency. If you check, even if you have 16GB of internal storage you the end user will not have access to all 16GB to use how you see fit. You could purchase both for what you pay for the iPad. You also make it sound like the iPads battery life is significantly better than the Android tablets. Apple states on their website that you should get 10 hours of battery life from the iPad and Asus states that you should get 9.5 hours, less but not significantly less! If you add the docking station you can add up to an additional 6 hours of time, clearly a significant increase to what the iPad is capable of at the same price point. The other thing that the docking station gives you along with the keybord and extra battery life is a full sized USB 2 port and an additional micro SD card slot. I do not own one of these tablets yet so I do not know for certain but I do have a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone and I can do some very interesting things with my Android phone that is not possible to do with Apples. Can you attach an external usb pendrive or usb 2 hard drive to an Apple product? I can on my S3 by using an On The Go Cable, it plugs into my usb port and has a standard female USB 2 connector on the other end. I have even had my D Link 4 port powered USB hub plugged into it and have not had any difficulty mounting and using the files stored on what ever I plug into it. So far I have had 2 external usb hard drives, one with 2TBs of storage and a 1TB laptop drive, and 2 pendrives plugged in at the same time and all of them were mounted and I could access most of the media, The one thing that is a limitation is everything needs to be formatted to fat32, this only becomes a problem with large video files. Fat 32 can only access files 4GB and smaller, even a ripped DVD is larger that 4GB so if you want to have HD resolutions you will need to split up the movie into several parts. video and music and all of my text docs as well as PDF’s that were stored on them. The iPad and iPhone only wishes that it could do this. My son recently purchased the Asus Transformer TF300 that has everything that the Infinity has except for having lower screen resolution but only paid 250 dollars for it. I just looked up the docking stations for this model and NewEgg is selling them for around 100 dollars. He just told me that when he gets the docking station he will be able to plug in external USB 2 drives into it an access them. His tablet came pre installed with Polaris Office (free on the Google Play store) that is very capable I will grant that the iPads screen is nice, however the Infinity’s is no slouch either. Resolution of 1920×1200 vs the iPads 2048×1536. In my opinion most mid range to high end Android tables offer so much more that I will not even consider Apples over priced hardware when I can get so much better capability with the Android Tablets that are currently out there. I will never get locked into Apples ecosystem and be forced to use only the apps that they choose for me, I want more freedom, freedom to pick what web browser, freedom to travel to the many Flash based websites that exist and the list goes on and on. Apple is still doing okay because they have created a large number of Apple zombies due to their marketing. If you think this is incorrect go down to you local Apple store the next time they have a major launch of a new iPhone or iPad and you will see all the Apple bots lining up in hopes of being the first ones to have the new Apple device, so what if it is several hundred dollars more than something comparable but it is an Apple.

Adrian Brown

An OTG lead will sort out most of the issues you have raised re Android devices with low storage capacity.

Tina Johnson

I have the Asus TF700 and love it. I like the ability to have a table or connect the keyboard and have a notebook. Because I use Evernote and Dropbox I have my most important documents available quickly and easily. Because I turn my tablet off when not in use, I get lots of time from the battery and then witht he keyboard having exra battery and the ability to use a memory stick I have tons of memory. I really love having the keyboard.

Vipul Jain

Well the development behing Nexus 10 is enough is enough to make it go leaps ahead of the iPad.
Also gone are those days when the generic statement “Android lags” applies :p
So IMO Nexus 10 > iPad > Others.

Dave Hilling II

I am a big Android fan, but I use both for very different purposes. As a musician, I love the real-time sound processing capabilities of the iPad with the iRig adapter for my guitar. It’s actually saved me money over buying stompboxes that tend to run about $50-$100 apiece. I do everything else with my Androids because of their customization. Other than sound processing, the playing field is pretty level.

Walter Askew

Thanks for the review. I have been looking at tablets for awhile now, at least now I only need to look nat three.

Walter

John

The elephant in the room for Android is the lack diverse application software and the lack of critical mass from the commercial software development community. Everyone makes comparisons based on hardware, screen size, and ability to tweak the OS and get under the hood so to speak. None of these speak to the question of “What can I do with it?”

If I all I did was surf the web, buy stuff on Amazon or read a eBook, then any tablet would do with Kindle being the front runner. But this is not the case for the majority consumers (78% apparently) and it not because of “Apple marketing”. The reason the iPad is at the top of the hill is because it offers more quality software (Games, Utilities… just about everything) which makes it function more like a laptop then web device. This is really the argument of Betamax vs VHS all over again. From a consumer perspective Betamax had its supporters. But they just couldn’t get the content.

I can hear the grumblings already from people that do not like comparison. I will tell you this as a software developer, I can speak to the many reason why this is the case and why it is not as attractive make software for Andriod.

1.) Developers have an incentive to write iOS apps – Marketing data shows Apple users BUY software – Android users seldom do.

2.) It is very costly to write and test an application across all version flavors of Andriod out there. Samsung being the worst offender here by creating its own tweeks to Andriod and making the task of write once run everywhere impossible. ( In my opinion this is why google introduced the Nexus…. to get Samsung to stop polluting the OS and row the boat in the same direction Google wants) Hey I bough a Samsung infuse phone with the “Samdriod” version of Andriod installed on it and I was very disappointed with never being able to upgrade to newer versions of android and I certainly didn’t like the security holes the introduced with their changes anyway….

Until Google can offer software developers as good as a platform as iOS for monetizing these apps this trend will not change. Hell even the Surface is better from that perspective.

hotdoge3

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