iPad vs. Galaxy vs. Nexus vs. Kindle vs. Surface: Which tablet should you get?

2013 iPad buyers guide: How to choose between the iPad and other tablets, including Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, Amazon Kindle Fire, and more!

Apple has flipped the tables - er, tablets - and not only managed to cram a 2048x1536 display into the 7.9-inch Retina iPad mini, but managed to cram a full-sized 9.7-inch display into the new iPad Air. But is either of them to right tablet for you? While everyone here at iMore certainly believes the iPad is still the best tablet for most people, most of the time, there are rare exceptions where an alternative tablet might suit your specific needs better. The iPad may have the best overall user experience, the highest quality apps and games, the widest range of services, the biggest selection of accessories, and the best customer support, but there are also things the iPad doesn't offer that other tablets do, like subsidized hardware pricing, digitizer support, Microsoft compatibility, or simply no Apple about them. How do you know which one is for you? Keep reading!

Most delightful interface and experience

Unlike others, Apple built the iPad on top of a mobile-first operating system. (Little know fact: Apple actually began work on the iPad before the iPhone.) As such, it's not crippled by the need to support legacy interface paradigms or hardware, like mice and pointers and tiny click targets. Instead it was born from multitouch, and made everything that came before feel old and unwieldy by comparison. From slide to unlock to pinch and zoom, it's now become a mainstream sensation. Over time, Apple's built on that with everything from FaceTime for incredibly easy video calls to Siri for incredibly engaging voice control. A lot of other companies throw a lot more features at the wall, hoping something sticks. Apple's focus on the best, more coherent, most usable features. iOS 7 makes it even better. They re-built the entire interface on top of a game-style physics and particle engine, so it's even more discoverable, playful, and powerful than ever before.

Highest quality apps and games

Apple is neck-in-neck when it comes to sheer number of items in the App Store, but they're so far ahead when it comes to the sheer number of tablet apps that's it's not even a race any more. Out of the one million apps available, nearly half of them are now optimized for the iPad. Part of that is because Apple showed developers how to make tablet apps based on the ones Apple made at launch. Part is because of the set targets Apple provided, making it easier to create pixel-perfect tablet interfaces. Part is because that, from early on, iOS developers came from the very design-centric, experience-centric Mac developer community. That set the bar very high. Likewise, some of the biggest and best gaming franchises came to the iPad early, and still come to the iPad first. While you can get a lot of name brand apps on multiple platforms now, many of the boutique apps are still iOS exclusive, including Infinity Blade, Tiny Wings, Letterpress, and more. Then there are Apple's own - now free - App Store apps, which are some of the best in mobile: Numbers, Pages, Keynote, iMovie, iPhoto, and Garageband. Other platforms are still struggling to attain tablet breadth. iOS has that, and depth.

Widest range of services

Everything you need to know about Apple's iCloud -- PC-free, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Match, Photo Stream, Documents in the Cloud, Find my iPhone, Find my Friends, and more!

When you get an iPad, not only do you get instant access to all of Apple's great services, like iCloud backups, and iTunes in the Cloud re-downloads, but you also get access to pretty much all of Google and Microsoft/Nokia's best services - like Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, Google Drive, Google+, Hangouts, Outlook, SkyDrive, Bing, Skype, Here Maps, and even BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) via iPhone compatibility. You also get the best third party services like Dropbox, Box, Spotify, Songza, Pandora, Netflix, Amazon Kindle and video, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, and many more. Apple doesn't offer their stuff on any other tablets (iWork for iCloud on browsers being the only exception), but almost everybody offers everything on iPad.

Biggest selection of accessories

From protective to decorative cases, to keyboards and other peripherals, the choice of iPad accessories remains the best of any tablet on the market. Part of that is due to the iPads popularity. Part of that is due to Apple releasing new designs only once every couple years, and keeping designs on the shelf for 3-4 years. That means accessory makers can sell the same accessory for a lot of tablets, for a long time, which is the best thing in the world for them - and for iPad owners. Instead of worrying about making something for a wide range of tablets, they can concentrate on making a wide range of things for the iPad. No matter what kind of case you want, what capacity battery charger, what kind of stand or keyboard, what type of Bluetooth accessory, chances are you won't only find it, you'll find several different options to choose from.

Note: The full-sized iPad just got a redesign, becoming the iPad Air. It'll take accessory makers a couple of months to ramp back up, but they'll do it quickly.

Best customer support

If you have an Apple Retail Store near you, it's a great reason to buy an iPad. Apple will not only sell you the tablet, but they'll help you set it up and show you how to use it, and give you free lessons on all the main features and apps. More importantly, if anything goes wrong, they'll fix it for you or swap it for a new tablet, usually while you wait. You can make a Genius Bar appointment, walk in with a broken iPad, and thanks to Apple customer service and iCloud, walk out half and hour later with a replacement tablet containing all of your stuff, that's essentially a clone of the one you walked in with.

Microsoft is starting to do likewise with Microsoft Stores and Skydrive. Most other manufacturers aren't even trying.


Even though the iPad's user experience is unmatched, the app, accessory, and services unequaled, and the customer service the best in the business, there's still more you may need. That's where iMore comes in. We'll help you get used to your new iPad, help you figure out which are the best apps, accessories, and services for you, and help show you all the things you can do with it, like photography, music, and more. And when you're ready, we'll help you upgrade to your next tablet. Whether you keep up with us on the web, via RSS, Twitter, App.net, Facebook, Google+iMore, YouTube, or iTunes (opens in new tab), or some other way, you'll quickly find out the iPad doesn't only come with great stuff, it comes with a great community!

Who should get the iPad?

If you want a tablet that just works, and that has all the great user experience, app and game, accessory and services, customer support and iMore community benefits, then the iPad is for you. It's not as cheap as many competitors these days, doesn't have a Wacom-style digitizer built-in, but it remains the single best tablet lineup in the world at what it does, and what it does it does very, very well.

Unless you have a very specific set of requirements or use cases that make something else a better option for you - see below - get an iPad. You'll be glad you did.

Who should get a Samsung Galaxy tablet instead?

Samsung makes a dizzying array of tablets in what seems to be every half-inch increment between 7 and googolplex. I'm not a fan of the Galaxy Tab series. They're iPad knockoffs and not very good ones. However, I am a fan of the Galaxy Note series because, awkward software aside, they include Wacom-style digitizers. That means they work with styluses as first-class citizens. Anyone looking for an amazingly portable Wacom tablet that also happens to run Android apps would be well-served to look at one of the tablet sized Samsung Galaxy Notes.

Who should get a Nexus Tablet instead?

The Nexus 7 has just been refreshed with a higher density screen, making an already good tiny tablet even better. The Nexus 10 hasn't been updated yet, but should be soon. Both run Android the way Google means for it to be run.

The interface isn't quite as good as the iPad, though it's getting better every iteration, and the tablet-optimized app selection is still a crime against larger screens, but services like Google Now are unmatched on any other platform. Also, Google typically eats profit margins on their hardware (since they make money off advertising in their services), so Nexus tablets can be quite a bit cheaper than competing devices, including and especially Apple's.

If price is your most important feature, and you like stock Android, you'll likely be happy with a Nexus tablet.

Who should get an Amazon Kindle Fire HDX instead?

Amazon is perhaps the only company other than Apple that understands humans don't want old fashioned PC desktops on their tablets. That makes the Kindle Fire line much more useful and approachable to mainstream customers. They've also recently updated both their small and full-sized line of tablets with the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.

Like Google, Amazon subsidizes the hardware cost of their tablets, although instead of ads, they do it with content. The Kindle Fire HDX is basically the world's best front-end to the Amazon store, and the best way to buy anything digital from Amazon. The downside is, because of that model, Amazon literally can't afford to put the Kindle Fire HDX up for sale in any country where they don't have a digital store to support it.

They also run a highly modified version of Android, called Mojito, but retain access to Android apps. If you're in the U.S. (or a few other countries), you're all in on Amazon, and you want to save some money up-front, however, the Kindle Fire HDX could make you happy.

Who should get Windows Surface or RT Tablet instead?

While the iPad sits between the phone and the laptop, Microsoft's Surface, and Windows tablet strategy in general actually sits between tablets and laptops. That makes them quite different in kind. And, thanks to the RT vs. Pro strategy, a little complicated.

If you have to run Windows apps, specifically Office, then you might have to get a Surface or RT tablet, or a Windows Pro tablet. The Surface is Microsoft's own hardware, but there are other brands as well, like the Nokia 2520.

If you want slightly more than a tablet, Windows RT might appeal to you. If you want slightly less than a laptop, Windows Pro might appeal to you.

(I'd still rather a MetroOS-only tablet (or one based on Windows Phone OS), with a touch-optimized versions of Office, but that's not the world we live in. Yet!)

Still undecided?

If you're still not sure about the iPad Air or Retina iPad mini - or even the still-on-the-market iPad 2! - jump into our iPad discussion forums and the best community in mobile will happily help you out. If you're not sure in general, head on over to your local big box or carrier show and ask to try them out, and ask a lot of questions. Then dive into Android Central, Windows Phone Central, and experts there will help you make a final, fantastic decision.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I just wanted to throw it out there that my Surface RT's Office software does actually have a setting that toggles between pointer or touch preferences, with the touch preferences making all the buttons larger. And before everyone jumps down my throat for supporting Microsoft on iMore, I just want to throw it out there that I'm posting this from my iPhone 5s that I bought on launch day after searching 4 different AT
  • I know some that enjoy the Surface concept / hardware. Being a tech for years, cleaning viruses for years from everyone else's computers, I tend to avoid it for personal devices myself. I work on that stuff all day, so last thing I want is to battle that kind of thing when I get home. That being said, Microsoft has some catching up to do, even if they don't admit it. Their Re-alignment will take time. I expect to see several more attempts from them in the next few years.. Ironically, I hope they drop RT and replace that OS with Windows Phone OS for tablets.. We'll see what they do once Nokia is merged in the mix.
  • Viruses are not an issue on RT's closed ecosystem and sandboxed apps. It's one of the big reasons Microsoft keeps pushing RT.
  • Microsoft does have some catching up to do with some of the details and with their app store, but 8.1 has come along quite nicely and 100,000 apps in less than a year is commendable. RT is a much more powerful OS with far more potential than iOS. If anything, it will replace WP, not the other way around. I like Microsoft's vision, it's their execution that needs to improve. And with Surface 2 and 8.1, it is improving. But they have some work to do yet.
  • Another point on that is that Office and other PC activities simply work better with a pointing device. I think it's a fantastic option to have on a tablet which has eliminated my need for a laptop (but not my need for a PC). 8.1 has greatly reduced the "need" to use the desktop at all unless you want to. And a touch version of Office is expected to be out in 2014.
  • Office needs a UI re-write for touch-first use. The current bandaid isn't sustainable.
  • That's on the way.
  • Can't wait! I'd argue it should have been prioritized way sooner and shipped as part of a MetroOS Xslate/Xpad product. (With full Halo!) I'd but that in a heartbeat.
  • A completely Apple fanboy-ish article. C'mon, I'll ditch my iPad mini (and anything Apple) pretty soon.
  • For what reason?
  • It only plays well with a Mac, it's confusing to move stuff around, and iOS is boring to me
  • +1
  • Are you telling me that clicking and dragging is confusing to you? How may I ask did you make it out of the birth canal?
  • LMAO +1 good sir
  • I mean syncing media, I have to sync an entire folder instead of copying just one of photos inside
  • For what reason? The title shows "A vs. B vs. C vs. D" and the content is "The iPad has this, has that, has this and that, and has this." followed by one paragraph about each of the other tablets. Don't make it sound like a comparison article when it's not. Very poor "journalism" (I know this is a blog, but that doesn't mean the quality has to be crap).
  • For what reason? The title shows "A vs. B vs. C vs. D" and the content is "The iPad has this, has that, has this and that, and has this." followed by one paragraph about each of the other tablets. Don't make it sound like a comparison article when it's not. Very poor "journalism" (I know this is a blog, but that doesn't mean the quality has to be crap).
  • There are a lot more things to consider, say if you're comparing to a Nexus 10. For example, if you plan to watch a lot of videos, you will probably enjoy the widescreen aspect ratio on the Nexus more. If you want to hook up via HDMI, you will need a $4 microHDMI adapter from Monoprice for the Nexus, and a $40 lightning adapter for the iPad. Let's not forget that when it comes to customization, iOS7 still lags WAY behind Jellybean. I know this doesn't matter to a lot of people, and that's okay, but a real comparison article would mention, at least in passing, the numerous things Android is capable of that iOS just isn't. For example, you want to pair up a PS3 controller and play emulators on your tablet? Not happening on the iPad. Want USB OTG support on iPad? Tough :P It's also disingenuous to mention all those services for iPad, when you can get almost every one of them on Android as well. Obviously, iPad still has the larger selection of tablet apps, but I think Android has the 'bread and butter' apps covered pretty well. So I would say that unless you're either a tech tard or are into some specific apps that just aren't available on Android (like good MIDI control surface apps), there's really very little reason to consider an iPad, esp when you look at the price difference?
  • I'll move to Lumia 2520 when it's available. Customization is no big deal (I use WP8) and my tablet shouldn't be like a blown-up smartphone.
  • Good point. And that's my problem. I finally decided to buy a tablet, but the doubt is: which one? I was almost buying an iPad mini retina, because the size is great (and it's cheaper than the Air) and I could plug it to a 21" HDMI display and a bluetooth keyboard to use it almost as a notebook at work (especially now with Microsoft Office mobile app).
    The problem is that USB OTG and (cheap) HDMI for me are really important features. Other problem is the Gmail contacts sync, since I have been using Android smartphones for a while (now I have a Moto G with jellybean and it's awesome). But I also have a Macbook and that's why I first thought about iPad...
    Any suggestion?
  • I thought the same thing while reading it. Some of the points across the board are just plain biased and untrue.
  • Using the word "fanboy" immediately prevents any intelligent debate or discussions. It's also weak sauce. If you have any specific points or facts you take issue with, I'd love to hear them. Otherwise it's just comment name calling :)
  • You didn't mention the Surface Pro has a stylus, support 10-point touch, Office 2013 (both on RT and Win8) can switch between touch and keyboard/mouse mode, and its accessories are more functional than just cosmetic.
  • But that's really no different than any Windows 8 laptop/hybrid. The software just isn't mobile-first. It's a great sub-laptop, not a great tablet. Office is a prime example, it's horrendous as a tablet app. Windows hurt the Surface, it didn't help it. It's begging for MetroOS.
  • The software isn't mobile first, but there are quite a lot of gestures. oh, c'mon
  • "The software isn't mobile" that's entirely the problem. Until that changes, unless you absolutely need Windows compatibility, it's a non-starter. (Why they've struggled in the market.)
  • Windows is a requirement on a tablet like the Pro. That's the whole point of the Pro. It's not for everybody, but it serves a purpose. RT still needs some work to remove the NEED for some desktop elements, and to Microsoft's credit it has improved greatly on that end with 8.1. As has full Windows 8.1 for that matter. You can use it pretty much just like any other tablet without using the desktop. You are right that Office is horrendous as a tablet app. The desktop in general is bad on a tablet being used as a tablet typically is. But that's where the kickstand and keyboard make it more than just a tablet. That's what enables my Surface RT to replace my laptop for my personal mobile use, and I would hate to lose that option just because some people are apparently offended by having the option available.
  • I love Microsoft's new vision and it angers me to see people insult it. The theory of "removing the desktop" is ridiculous. Why remove something so dependant in developers when keeping such a feature will not only enhance business and revenue but creativity with the mixture of two interfaces. I dislike apple, not because their interface is relatively based on the iPhone but because the lack of creativity. Despite apps, you cannot interact the same way as windows 8 tablets. To slack the fact that surface tablets have limited accessories is preposterous, why insult a new device on its lack of accessories when its recently been released where as Apple's iPad as been available for years. I love Microsoft's new concept and always will as far as metro is included. I think those who dislike change are stuck with apple, those ready for a new innovative and inspiring platform tend to stay with Microsoft and those loving privacy leaks stay with android.
  • I thought this was going to be a useful comparison article, alas I was mistaken Sent from the iMore App
  • What did you expect from iMore? iMore is by far the most fanboyish member of the Mobile Nations family. The writing can be truly awful. This isn't journalism, this reads like paid Apple marketing. That's not to say the iPad isn't a good tablet or that some of Rene's points aren't valid, just that this "comparison" as a whole is next to worthless.
  • We're more "fanboyish" than CrackBerry? If that were true, I think Kevin would give me a raise. Either way, I'd challenge you to find anything that's "fanboyish" about the above article. That Apple has huge advantages in tablets has nothing to do with me. Neither does their targeting of a mainstream market for whom traditional computing was off-putting. If you disagree with me, disagree with me. Put some effort and work into it. Let's have a discussion!
  • Rene, anyone who likes Apple products is immediately labeled as a fanboy, while they themselves continue to slobber all over Samsung phones.
  • Now that's an ironic statement. Talking about being labeled while labeling others. All in the same sentence. Impressive!
  • I have no problem with anyone loving any device. Subjective opinions are great. We're lucky to have such choice and diversity. If someone loves Samsung or anyone else, I respect the hell out of them.
  • I guess that depends on how you define "fanboyish", and I don't think that discussion would be constructive. Heavily biased would perhaps be more accurate. One example is your claim about nobody else even tries to offer Apple's level of support. Have you been to a Microsoft Store? Have you used SkyDrive to back up and restore an 8.1 device? You can find differences, I'm aware of that, but to claim nobody else is even trying is blatently false. I mean heck, even much maligned Sprint gave me a lesson on how to use Android. I could go on, but I think further points would be redundant.
  • Microsoft deserves points for pushing out their stores, and Skydrive on on Windows 8.1 is absolutely an improvement. You're right, the "trying" part is incorrect and I'll remove it. They're starting to get there. I'm not sure using Apple's model is the best thing for them (I'd rather Microsoft be the Bill Gates Microsoft), but they deserve the chance to wow us. I'll update the article. Thanks!
  • +520
    Send from my Win8 laptop :D
  • I know this is an Apple site, but you cant do a 'vs' article where over half the article is 'Most', 'Highest', 'Widest', 'Biggest', 'Best' all about the iPad and then a few words on the other contenders in the 'vs' shootout. Again yes, Apple website, Rene Fanboy, some bias expected, but this article is just rubbish, not a vs article in the slightest.
  • Totally agree. While expecting a strong lean towards Apple, I was expecting at least a little objectivity when I saw the title, not something that could have been sourced by the Apple marketing dept.
  • What's not objective about it?
  • Hmm only the entire thing. The title is the worst part. I was expecting an Apple-leaning comparison of the tablet. Unfortunately it was a biased and subjective list of reasons why someone, who prefers Apple products, thinks everyone should buy an iPad. It was like reading a Fox News comparison between Speaker John Boehner (being Apple in your article), President Obama (being Samsung), and two other Democratic politicians.
  • You keep saying it, but you can't seem to list anything to support your assertion? We can have different opinions, that's fine. But I support my opinion in the article with a ton of facts. Do likewise, and we can have a discussion. (Also, I'm Canadian, so you're political metaphors don't really resonate :) )
  • Precisely, a joke of an article. Tells you where the allegiance lies. Seems the writer is working for Apple need I say imore.
  • If you want to be taken seriously, absolutely! (I wish I was getting Apple money, I'd buy a both a Lambo!)
  • I do love iMore's photoshops, lol.
    We need a new "Fire Everything!!" one by the way. ____________ Sent from the iMore App
  • I didn't mind them at first. But now that they are recycling the same images instead of coming up with new ones I find it a little annoying. Also the fact that the first half of the article was copy and pasted from the previous iPhone5 article is a little disappointing as well.
    OK not copy and pasted but reworded to convey the exact same information.
  • They were originally the same article, because iOS devices are essentially the same in every way but screen size now, so the advantages are the same. However, iPhone and iPad buyers are still different, and the competition is still widely different, so it didn't work as one article and I had to split it in two. I could have moved words around and stuff to make it superficially different, but that seemed like a waste of time. Most people will only read one or the other, as the year draws on.
  • No, you are right that makes sense. If someone is going to be searching for just iPhone or just iPad, they are going to be more willing to read an article based on that specific device. Good call didn't see it that way. No more grief from me.
  • No worries! It's something we're struggling with doing right, and feedback is always appreciated!
  • iPad mini with 128 gig !!
  • Can't be said enough, useless article. I would not ever publish this trash with my name on it. People see vs and truly judge from them. We all know it is a much closer race than is portrayed in here. But then again, opinions are like a$$holes, everybody has one.
  • What's worthless about it? I can understand if you dearly love something that's not an iPad it might not subjectively interest you, but objectively it contains true things. Also, the name calling isn't necessary :)
  • Who's name calling? Might wanna read that again. I wasn't calling anyone a name. Wouldn't want that on one of my articles, but would accept the criticism.
  • Including you, so why bother............
  • That's why I skip all articles of this fanboy
  • And yet, here you are.
  • So you scrolled down to the comment section just to post that gem? C'mon bruh, you SHOULD have better things to do, but unfortunately don't.......
  • This article in the beginning states, "2013 iPad buyers guide: How to choose between the iPad and other tablets, including Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, Amazon Kindle Fire, and more!" ("More" meaning just the Surface mind you...)My question is why would a ipad buyer consider buying any other tablet if they're clearly an "ipad buyer" and probably already own one?!
    Not a great or fair article at all.
    I guess I'll have to visit the other sites for a REAL comparison.
  • The presumption is, and I think fairly, that for most people, most of the time, the iPad is still the best and default tablet. Unless and until that changes, it made the most sense to point out why the iPad is the best choice for most (read: mainstream) buyers, but also point out what other tablets have that's unique and worth considering for edge cases. What would you have like to have seen done differently?
  • Been coming to this site for years back when you guys were tipb.com but I have to say the fanboy copy and paste journalism is starting to get old. Do you have to keep bringing up the point that iOS 7 is "built on top of a game-style physics and particle engine" every time you mention it? The most humorous of all is Rene goes out his way to mention how many words he's written in his articles. And while I'm on the imore bashing bandwagon - Georgia's responses in the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 "month later" articles were nothing short of pathetic. You work for one of the biggest Apple news sites on the web - you owe it to your readers to be using the latest devices and software and give your opinion about it. Might as well of just asked my grandmother what she thought....
  • Thanks for the feedback. It's really hard to make sure we cover all bases, for all readers. Remember, very few people actually read iMore as a blog vs. find these types of articles for the fist time based on search. So, while it's kinda boring for linear readers, it's brand new for the vast majority of people. That's the nature of the Buyers Guide posts. They live for a year, and there's huge duplication from one year to the next, and device to device, because there's huge duplication between Apple's products year to year, and device to device. If you have a better solution, I'd love to hear it!
  • Rereading my post reminds me why I shouldn't give my opinion about things before my coffee in the morning... But in all seriousness, I get what you are saying regarding first time readers. The Georgia responses still irritate me though :p
  • In fairness to Georgia, I stuck that in because a) it reflects a percentage of the general opinion, and b) peer pressure to upgrade!
  • Arg, double post.....
  • Nice to see a decent comparison article for once and on iMore of all places. Thanks Rene, you Mobile Nations folks rock with your love of all OSes! I deal with all OSes in my job and usually ask the requester what they plan on using the tablet for before making any recommendations. It comes down to your needs really since there are so many good choices for tablets now compared to a year ago or so. It's a great time to be in the market for a new tablet.
  • I believe the phrase that should have been used at the beginning of the 3rd paragraph is "neck-and-neck" as in, when two horses in a race are about even, thus, "neck and neck." "Neck-in-neck" is not a saying and makes absolutely no sense. It's similar to when people write that someone "should of" done something when the phrase is "should have..." It's one thing to have something sound a certain way when you hear it, but it helps to actually read what you're writing sometimes. Alas, the slow death of the English language!
  • Surface 2. One single device for everything.
    I don't want 2 devices a laptop and a tablet anymore.
  • There's no such thing as "one device for everything". We live in a world with opportunity costs. You can't have things both ways, in every way. It's like saying "I'm going up and down at the same time!" No, you're just standing still. iPad and MacBook Air are better tablets and laptops than the Surface, but if you can't afford both, or can't carry both, the Surface is an okay but not great compromise on both. And that's fine. That's how it should be. We need that product. We just can't be delusional about how far it stretches on both ends, or it'll break.
  • That is as presumptuous as the post you replied to. iPads and Surfaces have very different strengths. I find a Surface to be excellent for my personal needs, much more so than an iPad+Mac+whatever. This "Apple is better if you can afford all their products" attitude gets old. The Surface does things the iPad simply can't. And vice versa of course.
  • Maybe I didn't communicate effectively. The iPad is a better tablet than the Surface. The MacBook (or any modern laptop) is a better laptop than the Surface. The Surface is an okay compromise between the two, but that compromise comes at a cost. Likewise, the iPad is a horrible laptop, and the MacBook (or any modern laptop) is a horrible tablet. Nothing is good at everything. Some things are great at one thing, others are okay at a couple things. It's like you have 10 points to spread around. You can put 10 points on one thing, or 5 points each on 2 things. If Apple made a Surface, the same would be true. (OS X would be just as much of a mess on a tablet as Windows is, and and iOS layer on top of it would be just as much of a bandaid as Metro is).
  • I don't think I usually disagree with your opinion. Just the way you present it. But why do you consider Metro a bandaid? I consider the desktop mode to be a bandaid until Metro is developed as a full OS and includes a touch version of Office. Metro works quite well as a tablet OS in my experience. Fast, fluid, and powerful. It's biggest failing was being forced to use the desktop for certain tasks, which is much improved in 8.1. Far from a bandaid, I think it's clear that it's Microsoft's future.
  • I'm glad to see I am not the only one who say the onsalught of biased commentary here. The moment I read the writer saying he doesn't like Galaxy Tabs I checked out there. I mean we all like Apple products but we all know that Apple is not the end all be all. There are other benefits and perks that Windows and Android have over Apple at times. Looks like while this writer of this article was looking to pour more kool aid everyone was moving their cups out of the way.
  • Yes... All the comparison uses Apple as a baseline.
    We have a lot of good stuff in all others like multiuser, domain authentication, install local printers (not air print), USB Host and much more... Apple keeps lying to the customers that doesn't have enough knowledge and believe on blindly on them.
  • Not to mention DLNA, Miracast, NFC. These are significant items. I could write twice as much supporting Android and Windows as Rene wrote for the iPad. As nice as the iPad Air is, and it is very nice, I could never go back to such a limited and proprietary OS. The competition isn't perfect, but I feel the price to pay is quite small for the freedom you get in return.
  • Not sure I agree. Miracast is so bad half my Twitter stream in Phil Nickinson and Brian Klug complaining about it. NFC is a chipset, not a feature set. You can likely do as much with Bluetooth 4.0 LE as with NFC. (And I say that as a Canadian who can pay with NFC credit cards almost everywhere). All OS are proprietary. A non-proprietary OS is almost unusable. (Android without proprietary Google apps would be... a disaster.) I agree that for some people the limitations of iOS are frustrating. For the vast majority, though, they're the first computer that's accessible.
  • I don't like the Galaxy Tabs. I like the Galaxy Notes. I've tried both, I'm really experienced at this, I form solid opinions that I can back up in reasoned, logical debate, and I spend a ton of time on them. I'm happy to discuss both our opinions, respectfully, if you are.
  • Just a few tweaks:
    "Most delightful interface and experience" this is 100% opinion. I think a delightful interface allows me to use it how I see fit. Not just squares with a red number. I find a widget-ey interface a more "delightful interface and experience." "Highest quality apps and games" a lot of opinion. I could say I think an app is higher quality if it allows more functionality. I want a replacement mail app that can actually use push. I want an SMS app that can give me text pop-ups. I find that higher quality. The only app on that list (barring the Apple apps) that isn't for Android afaik is Amazon Video. Steve Jobs himself even wanted Facetime on other platforms afaik. I can agree with the support one. One pet peve I have with these Samsung mentions is TouchWiz. I have had many Samsung devices, and the *only* thing I use TouchWiz for is tapping the Play Store to download Action Launcher. I find it more intuitive than iOS. I can open a widget with a swipe, without having it take up my whole screen normally. I can have a folder that opens an app when I tap it, and the folder when I swipe it. Way more useful than iOS in my opinion.
  • Interesting how so many of these critics state that iMore is such a fanboy site that it's not worth reading. But, of course, they're all here spending time reading and writing their complaints. If you think Rene is such a fanboy or poor writer, why do you read his articles and spend so much time writing comments?! Don't get me wrong: I don't think iMore is perfect, but the use of "fanboy" is getting old.
  • If the comments are so bad, why did you bother to read them and then respond in a way that adds nothing of value to the topic at hand?
  • Well, let me spell it out for you: I read them for interesting and informative contributions to the topic. It might surprise you that I was reading them for that purpose, not to look for trolls or negative "fanboy" criticisms. I think pointing out the tiresome and useless nature of such comments has value because 1) the writers might reconsider how they're spending their time and hopefully stop cluttering up the section and 2) like-minded folks will see they're not the only ones tired of such comments and the tone these commenters take with the article's writer. Got it?!
  • Sorry, no, comments complaining about other commenters without adding anything to the converstation don't accomplish anything other than adding some interesting irony I suppose. And maybe some personal venting. Do you feel better after those rants? I do.
  • Since it is part of Mobile Nations. They should have a fair comparison. that's all
  • ...
  • It's weird, isn't it? I love what Android Central, Windows Phone Central, and CrackBerry write even if I don't always agree with every opinion on every thing. It's why we have separate sites for each platform.
  • I think it's funny that people are shocked and outraged when articles posted her lean Apple heavy. If you went to a similar site for Android or other tech, you'd find the same thing. They sure wouldn't be talking about how better Apple is than Android, that's for sure. It's strange that people would come to a pro Apple site and expect to be told to buy something else.
  • And well, I am able to think for myself anyway. I love my Apple products, but that didn't stop me from sampling the Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire, both of which the benefits have been posted about on this site. Then again, having had both, it made me appreciate my Apple products even more.
  • Since it is part of Mobile Nations. They should have a fair comparison. that's all
  • What was unfair?
  • That he/she doesn't like Apple products & you had the audacity to say positive things about them compared to other products.........think I got it.
  • they best that can be done is: get what all platforms have and merge them in a XLS file, columns with the device name and say (yes or no) for the functionalities (free iwork, free office, free cloud space, micro sd, usb, multiuser, domain login compatible, etc...) instead used Apple as a baseline for everything in the world... I could invent something completely new/innovative and it will never be part of the comparison if a apple device doesn't have it.
  • Oh, that sounds incredibly inhuman. I get that geeks love that things (we're making a monster speck chart as well) but no one should ever - not ever - buy or compare based on that. It's nerd porn. Pick up a tablet. Use it. Experience it. Chipsets are not feature sets. Checkmarks are not moments of delight. Enterprise used to buy on lists and it made users want to jump out of windows. I don't think that's a great methodology at all.
  • Just yesterday iMore's sister site Windows Phone Central posted a comparison. It consisted of a spec comparison chart and allowed people to draw their own conclusions and discuss. I don't ever recall seeing an article like this one on AC or WPC waxing poetic about Samsung or Nokia superiority, beauty, and delightfulness over Apple. They evidently don't feel the need to constantly justify their favorite devices like Rene does. Commenters are another thing, they are bad everywhere.
  • +1
  • We get 4-odd devices a year. Exploring the "why" is a luxury it affords us. So is writing these Buyers Guides. Can you imagine having to do one for every Android device family that ships?
  • I have a Nexus 7, and a Nexus 7 2013. I can't get a Kindle Fire because Amazon doesn't sell them in Canada (because they don't have a digital goods store here to subsidize the price). I agree they're good alternatives. I do think Android phones are still way ahead of Android tablets, though. But that's changing.
  • this comment should be the new disclaimer before every article like this.......so simple & obvious, yet so many clowns above don't/won't/can't get it
  • I don't think any tech site is going to give you a 'fair' comparison. No matter where you go, they all have their biases and preferences. At least here they are upfront about it. I saw an Android site today that compared the new Nexus 7 to the new IPad mini. Guess which tablet won?
  • +1
  • i bought a Nook HD+.. was only 150 and runs tons of android apps now. its not locked to B&N only. I even have the kindle app on it :)
  • Everyone on here blasting Rene needs to take the time, write their own article, then submit it for press.... this is the Apple site of mobile nations. So it would make sense that even in a comparison article, it should lean Apple (same as if this would have been written by a windows blog). I for one enjoy reading all the articles here. I don't post often but I couldn't help this time. Rene seems to spend a lot time and energy into this site, to blast him because he doesn't feel the same as you do is TRULY unfair. If you don't like the article.... shrug your shoulders, and move on. There is absolutely no reason to belittle some else's life work to empower yourself.
  • I think Rene is mostly right, although perhaps a little selective in mentioning features. iOS does have the widest range of services (including MS, Google, Amazon and now BBM), the best customer support, arguably the best quality apps, and the biggest range of accessories. I think UI is subjective, although I tend to agree with Rene on this also. And for most everyday users, I think the iPad is a compelling tablet device. Another commenter noted some of the features common to other devices and missing from iPad that Rene omitted, and these may be deal breakers for some people, but I doubt for most. Most of the people taking time to bag Rene's article, and those who label anyone who dare's say anything positive about Apple, are usually either users at the end of the typical-user bell curve, or trolls.
  • Alright - we've seen these articles before - this exact formula - and that's ok. The article is biased towards Apple and that's ok too. It's ok because most of the points illustrated are correct and supportable with some simple fact checking. There are more points that could have been illustrated with regard to advantages that other platforms have over Apple but that's just details. There are more apps, more games, more services, more peripherals, and documented better support for Apple tablets. Period. Personally I still don't want any IOS device because I disagree with the first point made in this article which is that IOS is the most "delightful". I've complained about this before. Being delighted is an emotion. It is completely subjective and when stated as "fact" (using the term semi-loosely) it comes off as "fanboi". Rene, I know you hate the term but when the first point is trying to sell on emotion it sets the tone for the rest of the article. There are many ways to describe the technical advantages (perceived or factual) without pandering. Pandering might be a bit strong but I think you get what I'm saying. You can state with certainty that you find the experience delightful. I don't think you can state with certainty that users of Apple products feel more delight than users of other products. And no - customer satisfaction stats do not equate to measurement of delight. It's your show and you can do what you like but I think it's disingenuous to your expertise to use "IOS makes you happy-dance in your tum-tum" as your #1 criteria for why it is best - or simply how it compares to competitors. For my part, I don't find IOS delightful at all. I do prefer Android for many reasons but I don't think I'd say delight factors into that either - maybe sometimes - I'm only human :) Cheers!
  • I have a Nexus 7 1st and 2nd gen. Just so everyone is clear, it's a royal PIA trying to get technical (warranty) support from Google if your Nexus device has issues. How does one reach them? If you do, the long wait times are insane. There is no local official authorized Nexus repair centres. As far as BBM is concerned, I can't have that on my Nexus. It's not supported. I am not sure if it actually is supported on the iPad. If cost is not an issue, definitely go for an iPad, but if money is tight I'd recommend Nexus because it has none of the bloatware that Samsung has. I won't even consider a Windows device.
  • ...and I won't ever consider an iPad or iPhone. I'm just not into shiny and expensive. I've dumped the 1980's all-icon look for the vibrant, customizable, innovative live tiles of WIN8 and WP8. Think of a Surface Pro as a MacBook where you can remove the keyboard and use it as a Touchscreen tablet that runs full desktop apps. Now that's innovative!!
  • When the iPad mini came out, I really wanted one. But I wanted the retina display, so I decided to wait. I thought the iPads were too heavy to use for an extended period of time. Over the summer I picked up a Nexus 7 (2013) because the screen was gorgeous and I wanted to experience Android. I found Android to be frustrating. Lots of app UI differences and bugs; like a PC, the user has to manage a lot. I'm past that. So I was back wanting an iPad. Went in to look at the iPad Air, thinking I still wanted a Retina Mini. After considering the Air's weight and screen size versus the increased weight and price of the upcoming Mini, I decided "Why wouldn't I get the larger screen?". After test driving the Nexus 7 for a couple months, I bought the WIFI 16GB iPad Air. And I am very happy with my choice. Sold the Nexus to an Android-using friend.
  • This is very transparently a fairly illiterate puff piece to push apple products, in the guise of a fair comparison. Just advertising.
  • Here is some insight on the IOS platform if it helps someone avoid frustrations. With the recent introduction of IOS 7 and OSX Mavericks, a number of functions have been removed. As fundamental as this seems, they dropped support for synching contacts with a MAC using iTunes and a USB cable. You are forced to use their iCloud service (and send your private information to a server). Also, the very basic task of merging songs from one playlist to another is no longer possible. So if you buy a number of songs, you have to remember what you bought or write them down on paper. The convenience of opening your "Purchased" playlist and adding the songs to your favorite playlist is no longer supported. There have been several updates since IOS 7 first rolled out but doesn't look like Apple is planning to bring back past conveniences we took for granted to the new user interface. Its possible they are simplifying their software since they are now giving it "free" if you purchase their hardware (IOS and OSX). Also their sandbox system forces you to send a copy of files from one app to another. For instance, many times, you need several apps to get something done like downloading, editing, printing and uploading/emailing. So you download via browser then send a copy to another app to view/edit the file then copy again to another app to print and/or to email/upload. You are left with several copies of the file where you manually launch each app to delete/clean up. There is no flexibility in the sandbox to explicitly let Apps share a file (which Android seems to have). This may not be a big issue but the problem is that you rely on apps even to do fundamental file management tasks and frequently app developers vanish and you constantly have to keep looking for replacements. The Apple App store is designed to reward app introductions but since customers pay only once for the life of an App, there is no motivation for developers to maintain the app beyond the point where they are no longer getting significant new customers. The IOS apps are unstable for periods longer than a year, it seems. I really like the iPad mini retina hardware but the operating software and the Apple ecosystem is getting more restrictive and less usable. I am planning to seriously consider migrating to an Android device. Sony seems to have interesting new devices.
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