I brought, and used, my iPad again for the first time in over a week, and left the Nexus 7 at home. About time I started using my trusty old friend; I’ve been neglecting it too much in favor of the new, smaller device. Besides, iOS 6.1 was released the day before, and I’ve updated both my iPhone and iPad right away. Time to see what’s new, and to give back some love to the old friend which I’ve loved using constantly, in its various incarnations, for a couple of years.
It’s nice going back to this device. In my short time with the Nexus 7, I’d forgotten how large the iPad was, how slick the interface, how polished the apps, and how elegant and stylish the user experience. Using just the iPad for months and months, I’d lost perspective and saw only the bad stuff, and sorta got too used to using one. Now that I’ve gotten a look at the other side, I can have that perspective back.
I’ve found equivalents for all my iPad apps on the Nexus (with the exception of a precious few), but it’s nice to go back to the original and have an unimpeded, unrestricted “big” view of everything. I kinda missed this. Everything works as before (and why shouldn’t it?), but everything seems to work more “together” and more quickly than it used to. App switching seems faster and more responsive, more flawless and glossy, but I realize now—it’s always been this way. I just didn’t see it from my perspective.
(It’s funny how there isn’t much Android stuff on the news apps on the iPad. Obviously. I had gotten the urge to update my news feeds to include my newfound appreciation for Android things, and I’ve taken a second look at my Android Lenovo cell phone and became more serious with it. It’s not very surprising as most of these apps originated on iOS, and came as afterthoughts to Android. With the possible exception of Currents, as it’s from Google, and as we all know is the creator of the Nexus 7.)
It was just as I envisioned it.
The Nexus 7 is a workhorse device, designed to go anywhere, to be put casually in a pocket or thrown in a bag and dragged along to wherever I’d be going that particular day. It’s meant to be used in one hand in a car, in a meeting, in a busy restaurant—wherever the need arose. It’s for checking your Twitter feeds or breaking news, or playing a quick game while you endure the time traveling to your next destination. It’s the perfect size for it! I imagine it would be kinda the same for an iPad mini, if I had one. (Although I can’t get over that niggling extra inch of size of the mini, which makes it slightly uncomfortable to hold in one hand and ungainly for that use-everywhere convenience, for me at least. Heck—it’s just still too damn big!)
The full-sized iPad is more for relaxed use, wherever you had the luxury of having a “bigger” screen, or someplace where you would use a laptop. (With the addition of a Bluetooth keyboard, that iPad becomes practically a convenient replacement for a laptop, as I’ve found.) The iPad is meant to be used resting on a table or with two hands, and requires more attention than a Nexus. It’s meant to be used in a quiet cafe, for instance, where you have the time and the luxury to write emails, or make a post on your blog or something.
I was hesitating buying a Nexus 7 a week ago because it seemed an unnecessary expense, a duplication of functions. I already had a tablet, what do I need another tablet for? I realize now that it isn’t really the same banana. The Nexus 7 is for everyday use that you can bring around everywhere and use anytime, and the iPad 3 is for relaxed use around the house or bringing around to a friend’s place or a coffee shop or something. At least that’s how I see it now. I’m good at justifying things.
Of course, you can always use one or the other for either purpose. You can use an iPad for all of those things or conversely, a Nexus 7. It’s up to you and your preferences. You can use a handy, everyday, pocketable little gadget, or use a bigger one that you had to put in a bag. But there is an authentic and separate use for both of them. No kidding on that, if your resources weren’t limited to having just one. I chose to have both. And there’s no beating the Nexus 7 on price too: my 32GB, WiFi-only model sells for US$250, while an iPad mini with comparable specs sells for US$430—a US$180 price difference! Never mind how much more a similar, full-sized, Retina-display iPad would cost. (Well, if you must ask, it’ll cost you about US$600. You could purchase almost two and a half Nexus 7s for that!)
I’ve had to give up the LTE/3G functionality of the iPad and transfer the SIM to my new MiFi device so that the Nexus could benefit from the connection too (you remember I could only afford a WiFi unit). But it’s a workable compromise, and I’m happy with it. My other tech gear also benefits from this free WiFi, like my PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS XL, and recently I’ve taken to bringing one or the other with me.
But all in all, I’m happy I got the Nexus 7, and happy at being introduced into the Android world. It broadened my horizons as a gadget reviewer, opened my mind and sort of tempered my rabid fanaticism with all things Apple. I no longer have this automatic condescendence and snotty disdain for gear made by anyone other than Tim Cook and his gang.
Which is a good thing, really.
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