My tablet journey (finally ending with an iPad)

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So I don’t know about you guys, but I can now officially say I’ve owned my share of tablets.

It all started with a Samsung Galaxy Tab maybe five or six years ago (sold it), then a Surface RT (traded it in for credit for something else), a 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab (sold it to a coworker who now only uses it as a remote, it’s not good for much else), a Google Nexus 7, and an Amazon Fire HD 8.

But now, as my first iOS device ever, I bought a refurbished 2017 9.7″ iPad directly from the Apple Store. Since I was having issues with the two other tablets that I still have (the Nexus and the Fire), I wanted to get an iPad so I could see what the fuss was all about.

And I hate to sound like an Apple sycophant here, but damn, all I keep thinking since I got it is, “Where have you been all my life?”

Now, I know the iPad, when it was first released, probably had humble roots, much like the original iPhone kind of seems ancient compared to the current crop of iPhones. But the experience as it stands now, just blows me away. Everything about the tablet is such high quality … the build, the OS, the performance, the ecosystem. I’m an amateur musician, and I’m very excited about trying out the various music production apps that are available, which is something that was lacking on my Android tablets.

Some of the other tablets I’ve owned I liked … my first Samsung Galaxy Tab was okay, the Surface RT was … okay, but the platform fizzled, as you all know … the Nexus 7, was a very nice Android tablet.

And even the Amazon Fire … for the *money*, it’s pretty good, especially if you’re heavily invested in the Amazon world. And I sideloaded the Google Play store onto it, which was a nice bonus.

But man … I just couldn’t put up with the problems any more. Especially poor Bluetooth performance with my wireless headphones. And the almost constant pausing of video and/or music playback. My iPad suffers from none of that.

So I guess I now understand why the iPad is kind of considered King of the Hill as far as tablets are concerned.

Now only that, but the refurb I got was $100 less than the current price of the new model that replaced it, which only differs (I think) in a slightly newer processor and pencil support. I think that’s a pretty good deal for an Apple product. It was even packaged as if it was a new product, in the traditional elegant Apple way.

Do you guys agree/disagree? Think iPad is the best, or does it have any serious competition? I’m interested in your thoughts.

Comments (26)

26 responses to “My tablet journey (finally ending with an iPad)”

  1. hrlngrv

    Re Kindle Fires, when they work, they'e great, and when they don't they REALLY SUCK. I bought my wife the 2nd best one 2 years ago for Christmas, and it worked great for about 8 months, then it started having problems. Some were bad enough that Amazon had to send replacements, but they never send new ones as replacements, only refurbished ones, and we went through 4 replacement ones before I broke down and bought my wife an iPad.

    FWIW, the Kindle Fire's problems were mostly about the virtual keyboard not working, missing keystrokes, sometimes not detecting any finger presses in that section of the screen while finger presses still worked outside the virtual keyboard. Maybe my wife has a perverse EM aura, but no problems yet with the iPad (touch wood).

    Anyway, let's say I'm unimpressed with Amazon's tech support, and that should be factored into the overall cost of Kindle Fires.

    • adam.mt

      In reply to hrlngrv:


      To be fair, refurbished replacements are unfortunately common practice in the electronics industry and Apple in particular are well known for it (unlike some others they give a brand new case so many don't release the internal quality isn't the same as new). Support is often under-rated by reviews.


      Have to say that iPads do offer a great end user experience, the only drawback for me (besides the walled garden which with time I could overlook) is that the apps are more expensive. Most android stuff is free or very cheap (usually due to adverts). iPad versions are paid, although sometimes slightly better quality. Buying all my child's apps on iOS would cost a fortune!

  2. Bats

    That's funny, but I've had a Galaxy Note Pro 12", Nexus 7's, and even a two HP Spectre 12", I have never had a problem with any of them, especially with regards to bluetooth connection. I think the problem may be your wireless bluetooth headphones and that the iPad just supports it better (or whatever).


    I, for one, will never get an iPad, because I have no use for it. I'd rather get a Windows 2in1 machine or even a Android/Chromebook tablet because my "everything" ecosystem is centered around Google services and the iPad would be considered a third party.

    • ErichK

      In reply to Bats:

      I had put my Amazon Fire and Google Nexus on Glyde to sell, but after a little over a week I decided to hell with it, and I'm going to keep those two tablets just for gaming. But my iPad will still be me my main tablet.


      As far as ecosystems go, I'm finding the flexibility that I needed, because I loaded it up with OneNote, Word, Excel, OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Play Music, and Amazon Music -- all that stuff is where I keep my content -- and it's working out very well.


      I think yes, you can definitely argue that iOS is the least open and customizable of all the options, but the entire package as a whole still feels like evolution from where I was before.

  3. Lauren Glenn

    Definitely the least problematic. With older iPads, I used to have an issue where bluetooth would always cause audio to lag behind video by 150ms even when I disconnected the bluetooth headphones and played it from the speakers. They may have fixed that, but to me, the only real negatives about the iPad are (1) lack of micro SD card expandability, (2) no AptX HD support (or at least I don't see an option for it)..... I keep all my music in iTunes and have my iPod Classic which is great for when I'm in the car or on a long trip to the city where I'm out and about for hours. That thing can last 14 days straight playing music with the updated battery and iFlash Quad board, so to have everything on that and using iTunes Match to have everything be synced is great.


    I even switched to an iPhone as (like Blackberry), I have less call issues with an iPhone compared to Android. On my current Android phone, it would lose connectivity to TMobile to where it would stop getting calls or bluetooth would just die and stop connecting. Someone told me... Clear the cache, or reboot in recovery mode and clear Dalvik cache and the cache partition...... iOS just requires far less user intervention to keep it working.

    • ErichK

      In reply to alissa914:

      I used a microSD card in my Amazon Fire, which I admit was very nice.


      The iPad I bought has 32 GB of storage -- I know that might not be considered gargantuan by some, but I think I'll be okay with it.

      • Lauren Glenn

        In reply to ErichK:

        With streaming options out there, it's enough to cache music depending on your library.... then it works for you. After driving cross country and roaming outside of major cities in red states (except OH and IN), I've learned to keep an offline player and offline GPS app on my iPad at all times. That's why I always get the 128GB model when I can.

  4. Gregory Steeno

    100% Agree. And concur with @curtisspendlove. That's the hook.


    And I'm sure you saw that GarageBand was just updated to include a bunch of free Artist Lessons. As you're amateur musician, the GarageBand / Logic combo is great (so I hear from my musician friends).

  5. illuminated

    So android tablets are on the slow death march now. Software sucks. Play store sucks. Hardware is either too slow or overpriced and OEMs are abandoning the category.

  6. johnh3

    Had a few tablets, the first was Surface RT. But recently bought a iPad 9,7" inch. The so called low budget version for schools.

    Still using Windows on the desktop but for tablets I think Apple are the best option.


  7. wolters

    I've had a tablet journey and while I can't say it has ended, I am currently with a Pixelbook as my "tablet" and my Surface Book to an extent.


    I traveled from the early Android Honeycomb tablets to trying to use a Windows Device as a tablet. I actually ended up liking Windows as a tablet with my Dell Venue 8 Pro with stylus but after my third one failed, I just used my Surface Pro 3 as my tablet.


    Eventually went back with an Android Tablet, the Samsung Tab S3. Beautiful device and screen but it truly suffered lag issues and I have grown to prefer non-skinned Android. Now, I'm sporting a Pixebook which doubles as an Android tablet and a surprisingly productive laptop.


    I can agree that as far as a great "tablet" goes, it would be iPad or perhaps a Fire.

  8. Jeffery Commaroto

    Same boat and conclusions. I tried for years to make various Android tablets work for me. The moment I switched I immediately "got it" and realized why they dominate. I wish I had saved the time and money using anything other than an iPad over the years but at least I came around.

  9. F4IL

    I too would agree with your observations. In most cases the superiority of the platform is so obvious that it sets a benchmark in the particular category.

  10. ErichK

    Thanks for the feedback. My phone may still be an entry-level Android, and I'm okay with that, but as far as tablets are concerned now, I can't see myself going back.


    I've used my Asus 2-in-1 as a tablet from time to time, and with Windows 10 tablet mode, the experience isn't bad IMO, but sure enough, the Bluetooth problems reared their ugly head -- to the point where my headphones would just stop working altogether.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to ErichK:

      Thanks for the feedback. My phone may still be an entry-level Android, and I'm okay with that, but as far as tablets are concerned now, I can't see myself going back.


      Be careful, that is where they get you. ;)


      You'll be looking at your phone thinking, man I wish it were as smooth as my iPad. And the next thing you know, you’re holding an iPhone.


      The lag and stuttering of my Samsung “android test” phone was the reason why I upgraded it to an iPhone X at the beginning of the year.

  11. Paul Thurrott

    You made the right choice for sure.

  12. innitrichie

    The 2017 iPad and 2018 iPad are incredible bargains really when you consider Apple's typical pricing strategy. The 2018 even has pencil support now which was previously reserved for the pricey iPads Pros. I agree in tablet form, iPad is the best option unfortunately and nothing really comes close in terms of rival products or competing platforms.


    Having switched to Android on the phone, I've found no Android tablet that comes close to what iPad offers. The one that gets the best reviews the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 costs way more than the budget iPads, rarely gets any software updates, and of course suffers from the usual problems with Samsung layering lots of their crap on top.


    I think I'd quite like to see a OnePlus tablet but it's never going to happen, and this wouldn't solve the fact Android has very little tablet optimized software - whereas iPad has substantial developer support.

  13. PeterC

    I absolutely agree. Like you my “ device graveyard list” covers most sizes and OS’s. Before last Xmas with the demise of win 10m I had to confront the family devices situation covering parental controls, music tv streaming etc. Compared to win10m, Android is a needy petulant kid on the longest car journey from hell with some dire personal data privacy issues thrown in. I can choose to ignore data privacy issues but as a parent I won’t for my children. I’m sure they can do that themselves at some point!


    Anyways IOS it was for phones and tablets and darn expensive too. But, and I whisper this, I’m no longer the families IT support helpline. I simply haven’t had to spend hours in my dressing gown on a Sunday morning fixing everyone’s gadgets.


    Windows/office/Surface remains my desktop and work platform. IOS covers the rest and dare I say it, they work absolutely fine together and I’ve stopped spending hours endlessly customising Android for no purpose apart from you can.

  14. jimchamplin

    Yeah. It's an iPad.


    My old iPad 3 still runs fine. Sure it's stuck on iOS 9 but... so what? It runs everything that it can run just fine. My "new" iPad is a mini 2. Absolutely not "up-to-date" but hey, it's gonna get iOS 12.


    Can these things actually run newer software? I don't know. There's clearly a big difference in "mobile" and "desktop" CPUs and the acceleration curve between generations.


    Who knows.


    Maybe not.

  15. paulkocz

    Agreed. The iPad just works, has great apps, easy to use and reliable. The Apple ecosystem sucks - it's just hard. But compared to any other tablet(s) on the market, it's just superior. Microsoft are right to not spend too much time trying to make Windows devices more like iPad's. They aren't even close. That's not to say that touch isn't the right thing to do. The flexibility of using Windows as both is great - it just doesn't work as well as an iPad for a consumption device. I know that the form factor works for some, but there is something about the iPad that just makes the experience work so well.


  16. yaddamaster

    I've had two Windows tablets (Dell Venue Pro 8 and then some other one that came with a laptop) and one iPad. I also have a Surface Book which transforms to a tablet.


    For a small tablet the Dell was easily the best. The Surface Book is unbeatable for a large tablet.


    But I still remember the day I unpacked the iPad. It was almost magical. Thin, light, fantastic display, etc. It was beautiful.


    And completely ruined by a turd of an operating system. Nonsensical controls, no customization. And worst of all - i couldn't browse any other computers in my house. So my idea of simply browsing photos or playing videos from a server in another room - nope. Not unless I wanted to shell out more money for a utility that should come with the stupid OS in the first place.

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