I resisted the lure of the iPad, but started to see reasons for carrying a tablet around rather than my iPod Touch. The iPod held my diary and most of the apps I needed for work, but the small screen and tiny ‘keyboard’ were a problem for my fading eyesight and fat fingers. I spent a few days browsing, and a few hours playing in the shops, and eventually bit the bullet and bought the Android 3.0 based tablet. It was bigger than the iPad2, but around the same price and had far more connectivity – USB, memory expansion, HDMI…
So, a few days into ‘Android life’, and I’m very happy with the purchase. There are good things, and there are bad things… and a couple of majors…
- It’s of course heavy. The weight really becomes noticeable only when you take it to bed though; holding it balanced on the belly as you watch iPlayer is tiring – but hey if you weren’t tired why are you in bed…? There’s obviously no fix for this.
- The screen is very good, both vibrant and responsive to finger waggles, but like most displays it’s almost useless in bright sunshine. There’s obviously no fix for this
- The keyboard, although non-standard, is very responsive and I can type as fast on it as I can with the PC. I’m not a touch typist, but I can race along with about five or six fingers in operation. Depending on the app in use, the letters on the display don’t always keep up with my fingers, which is offputting and means I’m not doing much correcting of this first published draft (now checked and formatted on the PC!).
- When the tablet is on the charger the touch screen appears sluggish and this can make typing at any speed almost impossible. I’m hopeful of a fix for this shortly
- Of course, one of the key selling points over the iPad is Flash, and the BBC news videos work very well. iPlayer (which uses Quicktime) has a synching problem, where the speech lags the video by about a second. I’m hopeful of a fix for this shortly.
- I really wanted to use Skype on this, but at the moment the app is unusable. It doesn’t offer video at all, and although the speech is clear the active window is easily lost, so that you cannot control the call, nor end it. Major fail and I’m hopeful of a fix for this shortly.
- I need a good genealogy program, and at the moment there doesn’t seem to be much on offer for Android. I’m hopeful of an app for this soon.
- On the PC I use Microsoft Outlook, and I’m now synching to Android via th Google calendar site. I’ve yet to find a good way of synching my contacts and notes…
- Once a calendar entry is made on the tablet or through Google Calendar it can only be edited on the online Google calendar. This is a major fail as it means the diary cannot be updated without having either a wifi or a mi-fi signal. I’m hopeful of a fix for this shortly.
- I haven’t worked out how to print over the wifi network to the network printers… I’m hopeful of a fix for this shortly.
- The Android 3.0 Gmail widget appears not to update all the time, unless you scroll the email list up and down… I’m hopeful of a fix for this shortly
- NEW If you use headphones, and then remove them with the tablet asleep, when you wake it the sound is still piped to the headphone socket and you have to insert and remove the headphones again to remedy it. I’m hopeful of a fix for this shortly.
None of the above shoukd take away from the positive aspects of this tablet. I’m very happy with it, and I’ve tied it to a Mi-Fi router, which mens I will be able to do more of my personal and council work while I’m on work breaks during the day. The list of available apps on Android market is obviously smaller than the iPod app store, but I don’t need twenty ways to waste time. Having said that there are some great Android 3.0 Honeycomb games out there and more coming. The graphics on this are remarkable and (I think) better than Apple can offer. I would have liked the drum kit though…
NEW Totally loving the new pinball sim that was released this week too. Three tables, excellent ball physics, no lag on the flippers and decent table designs. The only down side is when you enter your name on the high score (using a non-native keyboard) the game exits. I’m hopeful of a fix for this shortly!
I’ll try and remember to update this as time goes on, and spell check it too!