Why I Just Dumped the iPad (Hint: Size Matters)

218 Comments

Like a surrogate child carried in the womb and then given to loving parents, I just sold the iPad I’ve owned for the last nine months. Don’t get me wrong; there’s much to admire about the iPad (s aapl) with its long battery life, touch-optimized user interface and support for thousands of excellent applications. The problem is that I simply don’t use it any more. Actually, let me re-phrase that; I stopped using the iPad about a month ago, after I bought a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab running Google Android (s goog).

Before I even continue with the discussion on why I did this, let me pre-empt some assumptions by clarifying a few points:

  • Apple is doing a phenomenal job with iOS in general and as someone who has used tablets of all kinds since 2004, I acknowledge that Apple has re-invented the tablet market.
  • I bought my iPad at launch and couldn’t put it down when I was on the couch, in bed, etc. It’s a great sit-down device.
  • I’m not suggesting Android is a better mobile operating system than iOS. Both have merits and challenges. Generally, I find iOS to provide a better user experience, although I think Android is slowly catching up.
  • I’m also not leading any charge against the iPad or Apple here. I use an iMac, MacBook Air and 4th generation iPod touch in addition to an Android smartphone and Android tablet.
  • I don’t assume my mobile computing needs are the same as yours. In fact, they’re likely not.
  • The Galaxy Tab has plenty of room for improvement. Here’s a smart list of 50 items that ought to be incorporated into or fixed on future Tab models.

The Best Tablet Is the One You Have With You

The Tab is roughly the same size as, but thicker than Amazon’s Kindle (s amzn), which ironically I sold when I got my iPad. Prior to iPad ownership, my Kindle would go everywhere with me because of its small size, light weight, stellar battery life and integrated connectivity. And I do mean everywhere: the device would fit in my jacket pocket or could be thrown — figuratively, not literally — in the car or in a gear bag. The Galaxy Tab offers me that same level of portability, while the iPad doesn’t.

Here’s a perfect example: I purchased the Tab on a weekend at the local T-Mobile store and my family wanted to hit the mall afterwards. I either carried the device in hand or placed it in my back jeans pocket while cruising the mall for hours. As my wife or daughter stopped to browse for clothes, I quickly whipped out the small tablet to manage email, web-surf, and watch YouTube videos. I wouldn’t have been able to do that with the iPad for one simple reason: the iPad wouldn’t have come with me on a trip to the mall in the first place.

If you look at the Tab and compare the screen size to the iPad, it’s easy to think there’s little difference between the two: one has a 7-inch display and one has a 9.7-inch display, right? But in actuality, the Galaxy Tab is half the size of an iPad (as shown below), making it far easier to tote around and use while standing or walking. As an aside: the difference in icon size is negligible and icons on my iPod touch are actually smaller than those of the Tab, so Apple’s “sandpaper down your fingers” to use a 7-inch tablet argument is a fallacy in my opinion.

Compromises Must Be Made

As I alluded earlier in this post, the iPad surely wins out on the breadth of application choices, media content availability and overall polish of the user interface. But it’s difficult to quantify that advantage. Is the iPad twice as good as the Tab or is it just a little better? Obviously, the answer will vary for each person, but after a month with the Tab, I find that what it lacks in functionality or ease-of-use is more than offset by the portability for me. And in some cases, the Tab has more functionality than the current iPad; it acts as a mobile hotspot to share the 3G data connection and can accept the microSD card filled with music from my smartphone, for example.

For my needs, both devices work perfectly fine for email, web surfing, occasional gaming, using social networks and other bite-sized activities that don’t require a full-blown desktop operating system. Yes, there are more apps for iOS and even when an app is available on both platforms, I often like the iOS version slightly more than its Android equivalent. But to think the Tab is unusable as compared to an iOS device is overstating the difference.

I’m willing to give up a smidge of usability or a wider array of software to gain the ability to easily use the device everywhere I go. It’s this very concept that makes the smartphone so enabling, regardless of make, model or platform: the ability to be connected everywhere is what’s driving the mobile revolution forward. In fact, I’m actually using my Android smartphone less as well. The Tab does all of the same things as my Nexus One, but on a larger, higher-resolution screen, making for a better overall experience.

What About the New Honeycomb Tablets?

It’s not likely I’ll jump on one of the new Honeycomb tablets coming soon, however. Android 3.0 looks great, but all the announced slates are still 10 inches in size, which means these devices will have the same limited use to me as my iPad. I’ll likely hold off until we see Honeycomb on smaller devices, which I don’t expect until mid-year at best. For the same reason, I can’t think of any feature of function that might get me interested in the next iPad either, although I reserve the right to change my mind: especially if Apple backtracks on its stated strategy and opts to offer a smaller iPad model. Yup, it’s doubtful, but I’m an optimist. Besides, this is the same company that said people don’t read books and then entered the market with iBooks.

Is Apple Missing a Market?

Again, what works for me may not work for you: I’m not suggesting everyone dump their iPads; I’m simply explaining my own decision making process to help you make your own. And aside from our own Darrell Etherington at the GigaOM Apple channel who tried, and then returned a Tab, I’ve heard from at least a dozen Tab owners who are also finding less use for the iPad (and other devices) based on the 7-inch form factor. Darrell’s experience with the Tab ironically made him realize that he wants a 7-inch iPad. I’m inclined to agree and would consider dumping my Tab if Apple were to sell such a device. It would be the best of both worlds, regardless of Steve Jobs’s insinuation that it will never happen.

Darrell’s sentiment highlights a key point I’m trying to make here: We often look at the features of a device, but I contend that form is just as much a feature as the CPU clock cycle or the amount of memory in a mobile device. Of course, you never know that until you try a new form factor to see how it fits in your lifestyle. I’m glad I did that with the Tab.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

218 Comments

Nick

Your crazy bro. The Tab is no more portable than an iPad? You still can’t put it in your pocket, meaning you need a bag. The operating system isn’t honeycomb, so its not optimized for a tablet like iOS is. Your delisonal my friend. Although perhaps in a few months when the new iPad comes out, you’ll dump the Tab too.

Andre

A 7″ tab will fit in many coat pockets, while a 10″ won’t. That said, can’t visualize how Kevin manages to fit one in his jeans pocket.

At least half my tablet use involves holding the device in one hand to read ebooks and web pages in portrait mode. The weight of the iPad is a definite drawback in this context. Portability isn’t just about size, it’s about weight. I can and do carry the iPad around in one hand, but I remember how much easier it was to do the same with my Kindle 2.

Kevin C. Tofel

The Tab does fit in a back jeans pocket because it’s not as wide as you’d think. It’s also wintertime where I’m at and it fits in my inside coat pocket with ease.

Agreed that with Android 2.2, it’s not quite optimized, but as I said in the post, Samsung has indeed rewritten core apps for the tablet and many 3rd party devs are supporting the Tab too.

And I can’t see why I’ll dump the tab when the new iPad comes out. You did read the post, which is mainly about tablet size, right? Unless there’s a 7″ iPad, I can’t see myself buying iPad 2 at 9.7″.

Mike

My coworker and I have debated this for several months. He has an Ipad, I have a Tab. He loves the size of the Tab but sees flaws in Android. Ideally he wants a 7″ IPad but neither of us think that will happen. I’m sold on the Tab for both personal and business usage.

My-iFamily.com

I hear a lot of good things about the Galaxy, but I just can’t imagine a notepad being only 7″ and still having practical use for it. I think Apple did it right with a 10″.

Mike

I got to play with a Galaxy Tab for an extensive amount of time at a mobile developers conference in Toronto earlier this year, and my impression was that while it was an interesting little device, it was too *laggy* in day to day use – especially when browsing sites (both flash and non-flash).

Is this still the case? Or did I have the (dis)pleasure of using a dev/pre-production device? Because while the iPad leaves a lot of room for improvement, the one thing that it isn’t is slow/laggy.

In my case, I’m not looking at any of the 7″ tablets – my primary use for tablets is reading PDF files and technical documents. The closer I can get to 8.5″ x 11″, the better the content looks. But I can certainly see a use for smaller tablet devices for some people.

Mike

Portability is an issue but as I never left home without a book the problem didn’t change taking an iPad as an ebook reader.
Important adavantage of the iPad size screen is the usability for the generation 50+. For us letter size matters if you want to read more than an email and a 10″ screen makes the difference.

Kevin C. Tofel

Mike, I’ll readily admit that from a performance perspective, the iPad can exceed the Tab, i.e.: I’ve seen more lag from the Tab than I did with my iPad. But, there are often simple optimizations or apps to help because while Samsung has done a nice job with the Tab’s software, there’s room for improvement. Regardless, it doesn’t sound like a 7″ device will fit your needs based on your primary use case. Sounds like iPad or maybe one of the new 10″ Honeycomb tablets is a better fit.

Jahan Khan Rashid

it makes me laugh when people say why carry a 7″ device when you can carry an iphone 4…..does the same thing with a slightly smaller screen. This tells me that the person probably hasnt even handled a galaxy tab, the Tabs screen is equivalant to 4 iphone 4 screens in size!

mahjong

No they aren’t the same, right. But is like having a compact camera and a big reflex camera. When you are traveling in a city and what great pictures you are going to use the reflex camera and take your time to take the picture. But if your are with the kids in the park and you want to make fair pictures without carrying the bug camera you will use the compact one.

Are both the same? No way. Same quality? Not even in your dreams. But you are using both… many users does.

Kevin C. Tofel

The size does make a big difference, but I think you need to use the device for a few days to really appreciate it and/or evaluate it.

Kevin C. Tofel

Ah, we chatted about the Dell Streak 7 on the podcast yesterday. Props to Dell for using Nvidia’s Tegra 2, but it’s a bit of overkill for the lowly 800×480 screen. Not a good resolution choice for a tablet of that size.

dean

sorry to throw this at you but the HD2 with TEXT REFLOW and a 4.3 inch screen is all i need as well…

Damian Ragar

While I respect your decision, I simply don’t know how I’d be able to function without my iPad… Apple is incredibly good at making us all technology addicts…

Tax Man

Kevin,

I enjoy these types of articles discussing actual usage rather than just an unboxing or spec review. I am intrigued by the Galaxy Tab as a WIFI iPad owner. I’d like to maybe retire the mifi and get a device with built-in 3G or 4G. But it seems to me like it’s too late to buy one of the existing devices, especially when it comes with a 2-year data plan commitment. It looks like the Galaxy Tab is approaching its end of life and the rumor sites are predicting April release of iPad2. Plus, there’s those new Honeycomb tablets coming out. Would you still recommend that somebody buy a Galaxy Tab today?

Kevin C. Tofel

Thanks – glad you liked the post and the good commentary / discussion. I retired my Verizon MiFi after buying the Tab: it and my Nexus One each can be a portable hotspot at no extra charge.

I hear you on the “it’s too late to buy one of the existing devices” argument. Because I review devices and cover the industry for a living, I had no problem buying this later in the lifecycle. But for most folks, it may make sense to wait at this point. Verizon has an LTE Tab coming and there’s sure to be many other tablets in this size over the next six months or so, perhaps some with dual-core processors.

Lee

I use a dell streak as my primary phone and the tab as my tablet. I purchased the tab in Canada and it has phone capabilities. I use the streak and the tab on at&t and I am very happy with this duo. The portability of both devices was key in deciding to get these devices but this combo may not work for others. I have light duty computing needs and this combo fits my needs. I think a 5 inch phone and 7 inch tablet is what I will continue to buy in the future. Since purchasing these devices I rarely use my netbook or desktop anymore.

jedibeeftrix

“The Best Tablet is the One You Have With You”

Very much agreed.

My ideal format is an oversized smart-phone such as the dell-streak, but sporting a QHD resolution along with an OpenCL compliant dual-core SoC such as the rumoured Apple A5.

Iain

A 7″ tablet is way too big to carry around day to day.

The Tab has too many flaws to justify a purchase. In addition, as with the current iPad, it is too late in the product cycle to recommend.

Iain

I see no point in lugging around a tablet when I can pop my smartphone into the pocket of my jeans.

As far as day to day mobility is concerned, tablets to me are what 10″ tablets are to you. Ridiculous.

Kevin C. Tofel

“As far as day to day mobility is concerned, tablets to me are what 10″ tablets are to you. Ridiculous.”

Congratulations Iain, you found the super-secret hidden meaning of this post because *clearly* my point was how ridiculous a 10″ tablet is!

(Note: Except it’s not. At all.)

Kevin C. Tofel

On that trip, yes, only because had brought it to the T-Mobile store to pick up the Tab. On most other trips these days, no – I popped the SIM in an junky voice phone for the past 2 weeks. You’re focusing on a valid point, which is “the Tab can’t do cellular voice calls so one must carry a smartphone,” but in actually, the device natively does have cellular voice capability. Here in the U.S. however, that functionality is removed because the carriers don’t want it there. Yet I can still receive / send texts via Google Voice or even take calls by forwarding my GV calls to my Skype In number: works fairly well although I’ll readily admit it’s not something most folks would do.

In any case, while there’s a point to be made for carrying a device for voice capability, this post isn’t the place for it: if you carried a 10″ iPad or other tablet, wouldn’t the same requirement apply to your argument? ;)

Andre

Books are way too big to carry around day to day. People carry them at their discretion, not all the time. The same applies to tablets, whether they’re 7″ or 10″.

Sitting in a donut shop for the last 45 minutes, I’ve probably written 4 or 5 comments on this post with the iPad. I would’ve never done that with my smartphone, nor would I have been inclined to break out my laptop.

Microsoft failed with slates in the past because they were too focused on the model of a writing tablet, putting too much attention on pen input. What really make tablets popular is the ability to read documents, books and web pages in portrait mode, and to watch videos. Apple had the insight that MS didn’t, but if they’re committed to thinking that most people actually type on the iPad (I’m the only person I’ve ever seen type more then 40 wpm on one; most people I see just hunt and peck), then they may eventually lose most of their first mover advantage.

Andre

I’m replying on the iPad right now, but I plan to get a Honeycomb tablet as soon as one emerges with a 7″ form factor and a higher horizontal portrait mode resolution than 600. 10″ is ideal for touch typing, but I find Apple’s keyboard layout frustrating (I just had to correct the last apostrophe I typed, which is my most frequent typo on the iPad, since there’s no dedicated key for it). I’m willing to try the Xoom to see if a better keyboard substantially changes the experience, but I doubt it.

Since Apple isn’t likely to provide a 7″ option for some time, I think the Android tab market will demonstrate much higher consumer demand for 7″ models than 10″ models (i.e. 7″ Android tablets will outsell 10″ ones, even if the iPad outsells any particular Android tablet).

The 7″ form factor feels more ergonomically correct to me. It’s big enough for sustained portrait mode reading without eye strain, and the weight difference make it much more comfortable to hold. 3-4″ phones are fine for 10 minute reading stints, but I find longer sessions to be torturous. If I don’t have a bag or coat, I don’t want to carry a phone larger an 4″ (I got rid of my Evo and went back to the much less capable Hero).

Some people like reading hardcover books, some people like paperbacks. Like paperbacks, I find the 7″ size less cumbersome.

Kevin C. Tofel

Awesome thoughts, Andre. And if a decent 7″ tablet with Honeycomb (and likely a dual-core CPU) comes along with no 7″ iPad in sight, I’ll likely upgrade at that time. Hoping for 1280 x 800 res on such a beast for Android.

“Some people like reading hardcover books, some people like paperbacks. Like paperbacks, I find the 7″ size less cumbersome.”

+1. :)

ckd

For an apostrophe, touch the comma key and then slide your finger up. That’s a big time-saver (and in your case probably a big typo-saver).

Andre

Actually, I discovered the upswipe gesture a couple of months ago, but after 20 years of touch typing, it’s not a motion I can smoothly integrate into my keyboard technique. A better keyboard design, like special characters overlaid on the main keyboard as superscripts accessible with an Alt or Fn key, would have been more logical.

JohnM

I have a Tab and an iPad and like them both quite a bit. I still have the unlimited data plan for the iPad and I swap the microSIM between the two devices to use it. (With an adapter for the Tab.)

A couple of things that are oversold with the Tab…

1) The lack of apps designed for it. Eh, it’s fine. Most apps in the Market scale up nicely and the ones that don’t are not awful. It does stutter occasionally and it’s not as fluid as the iPad, but again, it’s still pretty good.

2) Portability. The Tab is marginally more portable than the iPad. You’re going to have to carry it most of the time and if you’re carrying it, you might as well carry the iPad. The Tab doesn’t fit in any coat pocket I have and it barely fits in the back pocket of a pair of jeans. You will not want it a one-pound slab of glass back there for very long. (About three steps.)

I did buy the Tab because I wanted a more portable version of the iPad. In reality, I didn’t find that much of an advantage to it – the seven-inch screen ends up being too much of a compromise…not small enough to be truly portable and not big enough to match the iPad as a couch-surfing gadget.

To find a truly portable tablet, I bought an unlocked Dell Streak during the recent sale on them. Have not had it long enough to offer an informed opinion on it, but after working through some issues with it, it seems promising.

Kevin C. Tofel

Fair points and criticisms. I actually have no problem carrying the Tab in hand, in an inside jacket pocket (it’s winter now for me) or even in the back pants pocket. And I’m relatively small at 5’5″! ;) In the back pocket, the device does stick out but I’m not concerned about the glass while walking around. Of course, I’d never sit down with the Tab in the pocket! ;)

Good luck with the Streak and let me know what you think of it. I’ve stayed away due to Dell’s lack of Android updates. And the new Dell Streak 7 would be a step back for me too: 800×480 res was a design mistake IMO.

Herkay

isn’t it amazing how every single Apple fan in this thread has the exact same opinion, reminds me alot of Republicans.

topics like these are largely unimportant because Apple fans will NEVER admit to wanting a 7″ device until Steve says it’s okay.

Xaviera

Hear hear. Yawn to apple fanboys And republicans

Interesting article though. And am still very happy with my Tab, which can be held in one (count 1) hand. Only thing missing is Plants vs Zombies – but I’ve read that will be corrected soon.

Gazoobee

The thread was so nice until you two showed up. Herkay just shows up to make an unsupported dig at Apple users in general (as well as Republicans), that is easily disproven by simply looking at the comments above him, and Xaviera chooses to start her comment with a similar random insult.

What’s the point folks? All I got from this is Herkay hates Apple (and Republicans), and Xaviera likes the Tab. How about commenting on the article instead?

Kevin C. Tofel

“Apple fans will NEVER admit to wanting a 7″ device until Steve says it’s okay”

I’m very much in the minority on this one, but I still think he will say it’s OK. ;)

will

why I’m thinking of dumping apple:

wondering if anyone else has found that the ridiculously expensive APPLE sync/charge cables are a piece of ****? – the split and no longer work scenario where you think oh I must have pulled it from the wire, I’ll get a new one and pull it out only from the plug, few months later, again the new piece of **** splits and doesn’t work!

I’ve had an 3G and 3GS since they were released and this has happened to EVERY (Apple) cable I’ve had. I’ve literally lost count and got to the stage of really resenting Apple about this issue. What bugs me is that they surely must know about this, not to mention ALL my friends with iPhones HAVE THIS EXACT SAME ISSUE!! …. therefore it’s not illogical to presume that Apple employees also have this issue – ok maybe they don’t have to pay some ridiculous price for a replacement.

the point is that I can just about forgive a company for bad quality products, just about, – if that company was not seemingly a “quality product premium price” brand.

therefore, as consumers I put it out there that we should leave this “quality product” myth in the past, and forgive ourselves for believing and buying into this illusion. it’s because of this unconditional apple fan type of customer that this company has become smug enough with this issue. I mean my first cable has this issue years ago…..

do they do it for the revenue of selling replacement cables?

do they do it because a company as large as Apple somehow is too dumb to manufacture (or to arrange the manufacture) of……. a wire!!!!?

I cannot see it is any other of these 2 options, either way the company reeks of arrogance to believe that this kind of policy wouldn’t even dent their bs quality product brand image.

feel free to distribute the following picture, taken in a well lit room, on a 3GS camera, manufactured at such time that mobile camera tech was held back by apple from this product, giving me the consumer reason to (need?) to purchase an iPhone 4 – presumably with a piece of junk charge cable..

http://www.delightwebdesign.co.uk/images/Apple-product-quality.JPG

I’d just like to add that my (some other brand via eBay) cable is absolutely intact, the point being:

it is possible to very cheaply manufacture a wire which does NOT break

it’s about time Apple had 1 iota of respect for it’s customer base because they’re having a laugh.

golfdoc

i can see a person occasionally getting a lemon in their product purchases but you must be extremely rough with your toys. i now own 7 apple products and have never had a problem with any of them. of course i am always careful with them. the way that my nephews treat their electronics is why they haven’t got any of my apples, they’d have it broke in a week. just saying…

Mike

Umm the Sync cables are easily found on Amazon for $2-3 bucks, I ordered 5 just to have some in every room.

They work with every device I have (Original iPhone, iPhone 3g, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPod Classic, iPad.

Stop being cheap and Try again….

mahjong

I did it the other way around. I got both too, the iPad and the Galaxy Tab (GT), and I finally sold the GT. Reason? Size matter.

OK, GT with its 7″ screen is more likely to be in my jacket’s pocket. As a matter os fact I traveled as tourist with it. GPS, camera, access to Wikipedia while visiting the monumental sites. Great. I cannot do that with my iPad. Not without a backpack at least. And even in the case I carry it in a backpack I cannot find my self putting the iPad in and out of the backpack all the time.

Hmmmm… So let’s sell the iPad, right? Wrong. I own an smartphone too. Before having the GT I traveled with my smartphone. Got GPS, camera, wikipedia access while visiting monumental sites. And I don’t need a jacket to carry with it.

So size matter. Then… why I should carry a 7″ GT if I do the same with a 4″ smartphone… and in many cases that smartphone has the same operating system than the GT.

On the other hand I use the iPad at home and at work.

At home to read and answer my email while in the coach or bed. To post messages in forums or blog like this one. Have you ever try to type a long post in the GT? Really? What about the iPad? Is not far more comfortable?

At work when I’m in a meeting I type notes in my iPad. I tried the GT to do the same. Horrible experience. Then I take my iPad to the construction sites and show floor-plans to my colleges to ask them modifications or just to check the workings. I tried that with the GT… too small to share. I tried that with a netbook… too uncomfortable due to the keyboard. I tried that with a TabletPC… too heavy… battery too short for a day.

So yes, size matter, so I sold the GT and keep my iPad and when the size or weight is a concern I use my smartphone. I use the smartphone while waking trying to find a place, or in the car as GPS, etc… I don’t need a tablet for that.

Kevin C. Tofel

Great points – one difference between your use cases and mine: you’re (understandably) relying more on your smartphone, which greatly reduces the need for a 7″ tablet for those activities. Both do all of the same activities although the Tab can’t do cellular voice calls; at least not in the U.S. because that functionality was stripped out – foreign models can do voice. Because I prefer the larger screen, I’m moving in the other direction: away from the smartphone for those activities. Just a personal choice. :)

mahjong

That’s right, is all about personal choices. I don’t fully understand many of the comments, some of them are so rude, so hot, so angry… so sad. Hopefully there is a size and features for everyone, so what is the point in this fight?

And you are right about the voice calls, I’m from Spain and my Tab got voice calls. Pretty big for that but I was using a BT headset.

Anyway my personal choice is smartphone + iPad.

(Sorry about my english I know sometimes is far from being good)

Kees

Hi, why do you think your choice is so interesting for other people, given your so special computing needs? Did you mean to say that there is only a very small market for the Galaxy Tab? If so, whom are you writing for? If not, your needs are not that special.

Kevin C. Tofel

Huh? Which was the “special computing need” that I outlined in the article: email, web surfing, or social networking? ;)

How many people do you know that have an 10″ iPad? (Probably a bunch)
How many people do you know that have a 7″ Galaxy Tab? (Probably very few)
How many people do you know that have both and have lived with them on a daily basis for a month? (Probably nobody)

That’s why I wrote the article: to offer perspective between a 10″ tablet and a 7″ tablet that few others can provide. Use the information or don’t – that’s up to you.

Gameboy213

I have to say this is why this article was good I think. You took experience of using both for a long time and discussed why the size made a difference to you.

That really can’t be argued with, just disagreed with.

I do disagree but that is just me! Ha

Kevin C. Tofel

Well, it *can* be argued, but that would be silly: I can’t tell you what the best device is for you any more than you can say which is best for me. ;) Certainly can be disagreed upon though, and I’m fine with that. Thanks!

Andre

Kevin could’ve written either of two headlines:

1. Why You Should Dump the iPad
2. Why I Dumped the iPad

If he wrote for the likes of Gizmodo, he probably would’ve chosen the former and gotten twice as many pageviews and comments, but he chose to limit the scope of his argument to his personal experience to avoid being presumptuous. Not every tech writer insists on writing up opinions as fact.

Roberto Lim

I have to agree on the size, although I do not own a tablet for myself. Between the smartphone and a MacBook Air, I have all my bases covered. I got a Tab for my wife. The 7-inch size means it can fit in 11 of her 12 shoulder/handbags. A iPad would only fit in 2 out of 12.

Now if there was a 7-inch iPad, well that would be a much better choice than the Tab in my opinion. But there is none. The new 10-inch Android Tablets do not interest me either.

Kevin C. Tofel

“Now if there was a 7-inch iPad, well that would be a much better choice than the Tab in my opinion”

I’d consider jumping ship from the Tab if that happens. Can’t argue with the simplicity, usability and developer support for iOS.

Ted Johnson

Fascinating. I just did the opposite (or plan to anyway). I just sold by Tab to a buddy because I didn’t find it a big enough difference from my iPhone 4. The retina display on the iPhone really impresses me and it made me choose it when portability was key and so I didn’t bring the Tab along like you do. I’m hoping iPad 2 will be get the improved screen and then this will be my larger screen option when portability isn’t key.

P.S. It’s nice to be able to have a civil discussion and be able to like Apple and Android. Thanks for your balanced approach (even though I arrive at a different answer than you).

Kevin C. Tofel

Interesting POV on the screen size difference between iPhone 4 and Tab – I have the 4th gen iPod touch (same screen as iPhone 4) and I find it small, but I prefer a larger screen. Would love to see Apple move to a 4″ screen although I could very well be in the minority on that.

Totally agree about keeping the convo civil. :) This ultimately isn’t about iOS vs Android and I’m glad folks realize that for the most part. Thanks!

Epleguy

I would really like a 4″ screen on the iPhone as well. I can manage a bit less pixel density.

Gameboy213

I personally enjoy the form factor of my iPad and thought the Tab was too small. I do take my iPad with me almost everywhere and am glad to have the size it has when I need it. I have three cases to choose from so it can be taken with me easily. Man bags are cool!

If I didn’t bring my iPad somewhere I wouldn’t have brought a tab either, just my smartphone, which is a blackberry.

7 is too small to really get work done for me on the road, or anywhere outside of my office.

Lichmd- thats a ton of devices there! Wow

Kevin C. Tofel

Completely understand – 7″ can be a little cramped if you’re looking for major mobile productivity. I prefer not to carry a bag with me, which is why the iPad started staying home – I figure if I’m going to carry a bag, I might as well put the MB Air in it at that point, but that’s just me.

Mark

I bought a Tab for the same reason and it’s played out quite well. It does everything I need from a tablet, it plays Flash video so I can watch baseball and hockey games that are inaccessable to the iPad and it slips into a pocket of most of my pants which means it comes with me while the iPad continues to collect dust sitting at home on my desk. In addition, after using the Tab almost exclusively for the past couple of weeks, the iPad seems to weigh a TON. I haven’t sold the iPad yet because I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep the Galaxy Tab but I think the iPad’s end is inevitable here, the Tab is a clear winner because, as you wrote, the best tablet is the tablet you have with you.

Kevin C. Tofel

I think you nailed it, Mark: the smaller tablet is toted along while the software / functionality benefits of the larger one become irrelevant at the time / place because you don’t have it with you.

Lichmd

I think folks are missing the point here, Kevin’s use case (and my own) is for a preference for the largest pocketable slate possible.
I love my iPad, but I’ve not brought it out of my house since I bought my Tab 9 weeks ago. I also use my smartphones differently, and less frequently, for anything except calls and music while on the move.
My experience is as follows
17″ MBP for photo and video editing, file management and large file creation.
iPad, with BT keyboard, for 1-3 day business trips, for document editing, large scale email management, powerpoint and other demos.
Tab for personal computing, social media, casual email, media consumption, web browsing.
Smartphones for calling, music and light email or social media when I can’t use the Tab.
YMMV

Kevin C. Tofel

Bingo! You hit the jackpot in the first sentence IMO, and it sounds like our use cases are pretty similar. I use a 13″ MB Air for creating long form content / work and the Tab for consumption / light content creation (email, texts, social networking, etc….) which is nearly everything I used to use my smartphone for.

Scott

There is a smaller iPad available that I take everywhere with me. It’s called the iPhone.

bubbatex

Not for everyone. I went from a 3GS to an EVO (mainly because I needed a phone to make calls with and ATT was not cutting it for me) and I got used to the screen size. Now the iPhone’s screen is just too small for me. Again, it is personal preference, but I like a bigger screen than the iPhone currently has. And yes, I have older, focus challenged eyes!

Ben

Exactly! If I want portable, I take the phone. I was skeptical about buying the iPad after everyone saying “it’s just a big iPhone”, but after I got one, I found that is the very reason it is so fantastic! Even on a 7″ screen, reading books or watching movies seems like I’m squinting to watch one of those old “portable” TVs that were the size of a lunchbox with a 4″ screen. But with a screen that’s almost the size of a sheet of paper, I can comfortably do anything I like. I carry my iPad EVERYWHERE, and it has simply become an extension of myself, and the fact that I can’t put it in my pocket makes me give it the respect a $600 device deserves. Let me know when you sit on your Tab and have shards of shattered Gorilla Glass stuck in your butt!

Wes

I can see your reasoning here, but I’m inclined to disagree.

For me, the iPad is a great device, as you said, for reading or browsing while lounging around the house. Mine doesn’t go with me when I just go “out” very often, if at all. But for me, the iPhone is more than enough in those instances.

I do, however, take my iPad with me on trips when I don’t want to lug along my Macbook.

Perhaps you’re right, and Apple is missing out on a market here, but I’m happy with just having my iPhone 4 and iPad with no in between. I don’t think the smaller Tab would be enough for me while at home and lounging, or in a hotel room; the main instances in which I use my iPad, so even if Apple did offer a similarly sized device, I wouldn’t own one.

And I’m not sure Apple would risk a smaller, cheaper device cannibalizing sales from the iPad.

Ken

I am the exact same way. I love my iPad for around the house, casual, media consumption use. I rarely take it with me locally, but if I’m traveling it goes with me. And if I’m traveling far enough away, or for an extended period, then the MacBook Pro goes too. But out and about, around town, the iPhone is all I need.

Now I think Kevin was hinting at using the Tab in place of a smartphone. I could see that. Meaning get a cheap dumb phone, a Tab and a laptop. I do feel that having both the iPhone and the iPad is a bit redundant, which I guess may be why I rarely carry both out in public.

Kevin C. Tofel

“Now I think Kevin was hinting at using the Tab in place of a smartphone. I could see that. Meaning get a cheap dumb phone, a Tab and a laptop. I do feel that having both the iPhone and the iPad is a bit redundant, which I guess may be why I rarely carry both out in public.”

Spot on – I’m trying a little experiment right now: put the SIM from my Nexus One in a basic phone and using the Tab for all “smartphone” activities. I’m also starting to install custom ROMs on the Tab, some of which enable voice calling. Problem is that they disable 3G data, so still a work in progress.

Mircea C.

Using the Tab to write this comment…
Yes, it’s not as fluid as the iPad but size matters…I find it totally sufficient for my needs: browsing (any web site, flash, desktop or mobile version), email, texting via Google Voice, calling via Sipdroid or 3CX, navigation. It goes everywhere I go, including at the mall where I now have a pleasant experience. I would even venture to say that a 5″ Tab with the same resolution – 1024 x 768 – would be even better. So far I am extremely happy with the Tab.

Kevin C. Tofel

Good insights into the experience Mircea. I used to think a 5″ screen would be interesting, but there are plenty of 4″ and 4.3″ smartphones, so it doesn’t seem like a big enough jump for me in terms of improving the experience. On the other hand it’s a more pocketable device…. tough call!

Kamal DS

Dell Streak is what you need. It has 5-inch display and WVGA resolution. I think WSVGA would be a bit too much for a mobile device even if you have 20/20 vision.

ArchiMark

+1 for the Dell Streak….

Have had mine for a few months now and love it…very nice sharp 5″ display and very slim and trim, so, easily fits in a pants pocket, even with my Dell Streak wallet case on it…

Even better with DJ_Steve’s custom FroYo ROM’s that he updates on a very frequent basis….

Find the 5″ display is quite usable even with my ol’ eyes…

Check it out!

joe c

Burn the witch!

Actually I’m very happy having both an iPad and and iPhone with no desire for an inbetweener.

Apple might still come out with a slightly larger iPod Touch if they want a piece of that smaller tablet market without admitting they were wrong.

Come to think of it, they never technically refer to the iPad as a “tablet,” do they?

Kevin C. Tofel

Joe, I think many folks feel the same way: no desire for an inbetweener. But, after getting some solid time with the form factor, I’ve seen many change their mind. It’s a matter of not knowing you might want something until you actually try it. Not suggesting that playing with a Tab would change your mind, but it’s something to consider.

And I’m really starting to wonder if Apple will zig when everyone else is zagging, as they often do. All of the major players are focused on the 10″ space right now, which Apple clearly owns. Outing a 7″ Apple tablet would have them one step ahead of the competition again – aside from Samsung, that is, in terms of form factor. ;)

Kevin C. Tofel

Given that your needs are better met with a netbook over an iPad, I’m not surprised and totally respect that viewpoint. But you forgot two words in your second sentence: should have ended the “still mostly useless” with “for me.” Clearly the device isn’t mostly useless to the 1.5 million that have bought it, right? ;)

To your point though: I wished for a usable 7″ Windows slate since the 2006 Origami Project. That’s why I’ve spent around $3k on different Samsung UMPCs over the past several years. Sad those investments didn’t really pay off, although I did get some good use out the devices.

dennisvjames

ditto. If Windows 7 was remotely fingerable and if there was a 1.5 slate, and if it would last 8-10 hours, I would be there. This might be our year tho.

Alan

I didn’t want portability, but I recently dumped my iPad also – because of APP FATIGUE. Too many apps are no beter than their web site version, which brings up the major iPad problem: lack of a good browser, rather than Mobile Safari! Other irritations included poor printing support.
I guess what I really want is touchscreen MacBook; the closest thing to that is a MacBook Air which I bought. Although the iPad is a great $500-700 computer, it is not enough.

KsbjA

Touchscreen MacBook = ARM FATIGUE. Also, what’s wrong with Mobile Safari? WebKit is great, and, if the app itself lacks features, go with a custom browser like Atomic or Perfect.

Andre

1. No Flash support. Granted, many Apple enthusiasts don’t want it, but other people do.

2. Terrible for blogging, since Mobile Safari can’t insert a cursor in WordPress’ WYSIWYG fields. You have to use the HTML tab. Even the WordPress iOS app forces you to write in HTML. I don’t have a problem with writing in HTML per se, but the iPad keyboard requires you to toggle layouts each time you need to access a special character, which is a pain considering the number of tags you have to type.

The iPad is fantastic for ebook reading and general purpose web browsing, but it’s clearly not optimized for production work.

Eric

Just as in any artform, most software is junk, but there are a lot of great apps.

On the browser side, Perfect Browser, Skyfire, Downloads HD and Atomic all offer features (like always visible tabs) not available in Safari. There are some great magazine apps like The Economist (which also includes audio versions) and The Wire. For video, Netflix, Hulu, ABC and PBS give you plenty to play with.
A lot of great music listening apps are “Universal” (i.e. optimized for iPhone, not iPad) but shouldn’t be ignored since they’re mostly used in the background or over Apple’s Airplay – MOG, Rdio, Pandora, etc are all fantastic.

And of course, games. Dead Space HD, Infinity Blade, Angry Birds, crossword apps… there’s tons of worthwhile, console-grade content.

ManwellC

1. The Tab stutters when using the browser on pages like Engadget.

2. There are very few decent programs still for Android.

3. The Tab is about to be discontinued.

Why would you basically recommend it to people at this stage of it’s life cycle?

I just took two back to T-Mobile after a weeks usage. Even trying a custom ROM yielded so so results, not enough to keep them and they were buy one get one free at that.

Still waiting for something better to be released here.

Marc

“Why would you basically recommend it to people at this stage of it’s life cycle?”

Because it works for him. Also it is his personal opinion. How hard is that to understand?
There is nothing wrong to recommend people to look at the size of a device in combination with their needs before buying something.

Ryan

Marc, it’s ManwellC’s opinion that the author is missing a few key details. How hard is that to understand?

If we’re all going to write, “Great Post”, then comments are pretty useless.

Kevin C. Tofel

Manwell, good point in terms of browser performance; I find the iPad to be slightly better in a few cases. Engadget is a great example: it’s a very “heavy” page for mobile browsing. Using the DolphinHD browser on the Tab has helped – it does a better job than the Samsung customized browser IMO.

To your second point: no argument in the comparison of overall apps between iOS and Android – I stated that up front in the article quite clearly. Obviously, I find enough good apps to use the Tab (and a Nexus One), but as I said: all of us have different needs.

You sort of lost me on the third point because I haven’t recommended any product in this post. The article isn’t about a particular product, per se, but more about the size and portability of tablets. I thought that the intent of the article was pretty clear in that regard.

JMUDukeDog

I have an iPad and my fiance has the Tab. His Tab renders pages much more quickly than my iPad. I love the iPad for the apps (specifically Netflix) but his Tab definitely performs better. Did you try the Opera browser?

I’m not sure why you feel that it’s future discontinuance precludes it from being a good choice. The second gen iPad is in the works. Does that mean we should avoid purchasing the iPad as well?

The fact that you think there are very few decent programs for Android makes me think your view might be a bit biased or that you are unfamiliar with the OS.

The Galaxy Tab is great for those who want a portable android tablet and don’t want to wait for the new tablets coming out (especially since they are priced quite a bit higher than the Tab). That’s why he recommended it.

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