There is no doubt that tablets can be included among the greatest inventions of the twentieth century. Of course, as we all know, the iPad raised the bar for all tablets, and still remains the king of sales and ease of use. Regardless of the iPad’s popularity, it appears that more and more people are rooting for Android tablets because of the fantastic utility they possess, and the features they have that the iPad doesn’t – and probably never will. This includes an SD card slot, Flash (I know, I know), USB port(s), and other features that Apple refuses to offer to its customers. If you are after functionality, versatility, and would like to customize what your tablet looks and behaves like, then you would wise to consider an Android tablet.
In all fairness, the iPad is still an excellent choice. Apple was wise to encourage their developer base, long before Google did with theirs, to start building apps for a larger screen format. To this day, there remains significantly more tablet specific apps for Apple’s iPad than there does for Android Tablets. Still, Android has finally matured to become both a powerful, robust, and slick operating system that can compete toe to toe with the Apple’s latest and greatest. As we all know, tablets have become very popular, with many people desiring them. Although tablets themselves aren’t a new phenomenon, and have been around for years, the OS’ powering them (cough, Windoze), lacked the sleek, easy to use and intuitive interface that consumers craved. Apple does deserve a lot of recognition for introducing the iPad to consumers but Android still wins the competition for bringing more options to choose from, varying price points, greater utility, flexibility and more.
If you are considering buying a tablet, consider the reasons below why Android tablets are better than the iPad. Aside from typically being more affordable, below are the top five reasons why you should strongly consider an Android tablet instead of the iPad.
A lot of people find it a hassle to bring bulky devices with them wherever they go. The good thing with Android tablets, is that they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. With 5.3 inch being the smallest for the Samsung Galaxy Note, and 10″ as the biggest size, there’s many different sizes to choose from. The iPad on the other hand, comes only in one size with dimensions at 9.56 x 7.47 x .5 inches.
There are many quality manufacturers offering Android tablets of different sizes such as Acer, ASUS, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Toshiba, Archos, and more. With Android tablets you have a lot of choice and you can go big or small, keyboard or keyboard-less, and it all depends on you and your preferences.
Left is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich multitasking with iOS 5 multitasking on the right
One of the biggest downsides of the iPad is that it doesn’t offer true multitasking abilities, which is what we really need in this fast paced life. The reason why the iPad deprives its users with such a feature is due to the device’s battery life. The hardware itself is more than powerful enough to support such a feature, but Apple appears to be unwilling to extend the functionality beyond being just a simple app launcher. Really, iOS 5 is near identical on both the iPhone and iPad, but then so too is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The fundamental difference, of course, between tablets and smartphones is screen real estate. iOS is great for phones, don’t get me wrong. But for tablets, it’s simply an insult to modern man. If you desire to be able to do more with you mobile device, then you should know that with an iPad it is very easy to become bored and dissatisfied with its limitations. Still though, for certain people, the simplicity will be welcomed and embraced.
Anyway, back to what matters. The clear majority of Android tablets offered on the market today run off dual-core processors, and are soon to have quad core processors as standard fare. This gives them more than enough power to handle multitasking with ease. The latest build of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (much like its predecessor, Android 3.2 Honeycomb) affords the user the ability to access the multitasking panel with just a single tap, so that you can access the recently used applications, and close them with a simple flick of the finger.
Left: iOS 5.0 multitasking | Right: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich multitasking
While notifications have been substantially improved in iOS 5, they still are far from ideal. In actuality, the notifications are very similar to what Android used in the previous generation for phones – Android 2.3 Gingerbread. With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, there is a persistent bar across the bottom of the tablet, that allows you to access recently used apps, go back, to go home, and to access the settings wherever you happen to be in the operating system. Simply put, Android tablets give you the ability to control what sort of notifications you receive on your device. Your usage and messages are tucked discreetly at the bottom part of the screen. Either way, both are good, and represent a big step forward in accessibility and offer the user a chance to have a birds eye of view of what is going on with their device.
One of the biggest grievances that I hear regularly from owners of Apple products is the constant necessity to sync with iTunes to update, sync content, and more. Clearly, Apple likes the owners of their products to stay within their ecosystem. Apple has, historically, always wanted owners of their products to update to the latest revision of their software, for obvious reasons. The most ardent Apple fans that are in possession of iPhones and iPads typically jailbreak them, which is to unlock the bootloader to allow greater customization. Any update from iTunes will break this new-found freedom and once again plunge their device into archaic darkness, forcing them to look at the hapless rows of icons, locking them into a UI prison where no deviance from the exacting symmetry that their Apple overlord dictates, is allowed.
With Android tablets however, you can purchase apps from the Android Market, download them on your computer, and send them to your tablet without the need to sync it to your computer every time you do so. Additionally, you can put widgets of all sizes on the large number of homescreens,
First off, why no USB connectivity Apple? How about an SD card reader? What if your customers are away from their computer, and have an SD card full of photos they want to unload? What then Apple? The answer to this question, as i’m sure you know by now – connect to iTunes. And forget about trying to connect to someone else’s iTunes – that’s just not going to happen. In another case and point example of Apple’s highly calculated, rigid, and vertically controlled software philosophy, you must connect to iTunes. I will, in no way deny that Apple’s products are marvelously easy to use – but for people wanting a bit more flexibility, it’s a no go.
A small list of absolutely essential functionality that you should be able to get out of an iPad, but can’t:
Really, the list goes on and on, and I won’t go into it anymore. I know that if you are reading this, then you are wondering about the pro’s and con’s of Android vs Apple, in the context of tablets. There are significantly more quality apps for Apple’s iPad – just the simple truth. For Android Tablets, the selection is still limited. That being said, pretty much everything you could want to do with your tablet can be done with Android. Everything from editing documents and spreadsheets, to modifying photos, to playing games – it’s all there. If, though, you want to have a nice device for the children to play with at dinner time, I would certainly opt for an iPad.
Both the iPad and some of the Android tablets we have mentioned in this list are very high quality electronics. Though this is the case, the deciding factor should be based on how user-friendly the devices are, their features, and which one will give the most value for your money.
Either way, I’d happily recommend both. The iPad is a revolutionary product, and is a wonderful companion in the morning, on the move, and at night time, particularly for those looking for media consumption. However, if you are the type that likes to tweak and tinker, and get the most out of your device, I truly would recommend an Android tablet anyday.
Best Small Tablets:
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Good list! But, you have missed the biggest difference, in my opinion. Android home screens are basically a blank canvas for widgets (and anything else you want). Widgets are not limited in size, content, or design. You can also place folders, shortcuts and.. yes, icons, too. I can custom design every home page to suit my needs. Every “content” I need can be made available without finding and clicking the icon first. Apple’s home screen is basically an app launcher much like the app drawer in Android. Palm OS, on the other hand, is basically the multi-tasking button/panel in Android. Only Windows Phone 7 offers advanced home screens similar in concept to Android, but its widgets are strictly limited to tiles (in design, content and size). The interface of Windows Ph7, although I love its modern code and animations, treats me like I am all thumbs. This is the biggest reason why I stick with Android.
I would agree with everything on the list except one. Although IOS may not have “true” multitasking, I believe their method of switching between apps is better than the one used on my TF101. There are times I wish there was a dedicated button to perform this task because I often hit the Home or Back button by mistake. I suppose I prefer the implementation of task switching on an iPad over an Android tablet
I’d say the notification systems on each is a draw. I think
What about the ability to plug in an xbox or ps3 controller for playing games. This set up can even be used with HDMI to put a NES/PSX/N64 emulator on a TV turning the tablet into an old school console. Or what about using this setup to play any game on a tablet such as GTA III or any number of games that continue to come out? This is a killer feature IMO.
I have noticed the biggest difference for me is the ability to download files and manage them right on the device. And another question should I keep my transformer prime or get the infinity pad, for the extra hundredbucks?
Absolute freedom can’t be compromised. Android for life!
You can connect a lot of USB devices such as cameras etc to the iPad.. you just need a cable that you connect into the charging port of the iPad. I own one, and I know that this works perfectly fine. Other things like syncing is not a problem with iOS 5 anymore.. thinking that we now sync with iCloud and do not need a computer for content. HDMI is also adapter, and so is SD-card reader.
The iPad way of multitasking drains less battery and power, someone like this.. some people don’t. I like it, since it never makes my tablet slow like the Android sometimes is, but on the other hand.. I agree that it is not as handy if you use programs that need to be running in the background and not paused.
At the moment no Android tablet can connect to a keyboard dock with extra battery in it either.. only the Transformer 1 and the Prime (which I also own) can do that. iPad could also have a keyboard dock with extra battery, it is just that no one has made one yet..
I agree to the 1st and 3rd point about sizes and shapes, and about the notification system. The ICS notification system is fantastic.
Edit: A thing I forgot to mention which is probably the main reason I use my Transformer Prime the most is the possibility of downloading and managing files in file manager very easily. This makes it easier when I use it as a study device and download .doc files and others.. I can still download those files on an iPad, but sorting them into folders and making them easier to find for later studies is not that easy on the iPad.
Just out of curiosity, does the Blackberry Playbook even stack up in this comparison?
You missed the big suck on Android… you have to wait until your OEM, Google and Carrier have stopped arguing to get an OS upgrade. And maybe minor to some… Android apps for tablets… maybe someone can show me a list of the top 100? As Jony Ive says “you don’t have to be first, new, cheaper or different… just better” Pretty much says why Apple is the biggest OEM of smartphones and tablets – and gives HP a run for its money in desktops.
Where better = better at promoting useless shit.
This is the most even handed are clear comparrision between the twco systems I have read. You did not include Widgets which are very usefull.
Everything you said holds merrit but one thing ……. Hold on to your seat here it comes …. We ceased to be in the twentieth century well before true tablets. Now we live in the twenty first century! Just saying!
Can Android tablets run programs such as Word and Excel?
Granted it may not be the best option on a touch screen tablet but is it an option just in case?
I like the way you explain each item.
I think you forget to mention about the PRICE. Yay! Android Tablet is much cheaper than the ipad.
Regarding with the synchronization issue, I do agree with you. They just want you to purchase their other products!
Biggest Fact, android tablets are much cheaper and also its os is an open source project.
So why people’s buy iPads ?
All great reasons, but having used both I still prefer the ipad, it is simply a slicker OS. I managed to pick up a cheap galaxy tab and love the extra freedoms that android offer but I find ios is a much better user experience with a cleaner more intuitive user interface. Weirdly even a lot of the google made apps have a better look and feel on ios. Also the google play store is a mess and rife with piracy (piracy is embarrassingly easy to to on android)