With the holidays approaching, many of you may be buying or requesting a tablet. I was kind of late to the tablet train. I didn’t get my first tablet till last Christmas, and now I have three. Ahhhh the life of a blogger!
If you’re not sure which tablet you want, I thought perhaps my experience could help you!
First, I’ll start by telling you that I consider myself an Apple girl. My phone, laptop and desktop computers are Apple products. However, I have a grudging respect for Android products. Honestly, as pretty as Apple products are, Androids are smarter.
Read my iPhone vs Android post to find out why I think so.
Weighing the Options
So when I started researching tablets last fall, I gave a lot of consideration to the Google Nexus 7, which was getting rave reviews at the time. (Naturally, they have since come out with a faster and better version of the Google Nexus 7 (2013), which goes for $227, but you can still get the original Google Nexus 7 for $188.)
The Nexus 7 is a smaller tablet. They do make a Nexus 10 ($398) that is full size, comparable to the iPad, but for some reason I wasn’t really considering that. My husband was really encouraging me to consider the Nexus 7 because in his techy mind, it was the best bang for the buck.
At the time, the iPad Mini wasn’t getting the best reviews, especially when compared to the Nexus. Supposedly the Nexus was easier to hold, just a big smaller, and had a better screen and some other features.
But the iPad Mini was so pretty . . .
Then again, there was the full size iPad option. They had just announced the iPad 4 with the retina screen, and in my heart of hearts, I was really jonesing for the tablet to end all tablets, the iPad.
I already had a Kindle (just the reader, not the tablet) so I liked the idea of the full-sized iPad, but I was also drawn to the idea of having an Android device again and the price of the Nexus 7 was hard to deny.
When it got closer to Christmas, after considering all my options, I decided I really wanted a full-size iPad and I should just spring for it. But before I had a chance to make my purchase, my husband gifted me with the Android Google Nexus 7 for Christmas.
My Thoughts on the Google Nexus 7
Of course I was thrilled to get a tablet, any tablet, and I slowly adjusted to the Android interface. It was somewhat familiar to me from the time I owned an Android phone, although switching between that and my iPhone got cumbersome.
I did find that I liked the small size. It fit neatly into my purse, so I found myself carrying it everywhere. And I really liked how easy it was to hold and type. That had been my one concern about the iPad. It’s so big, you have to set it down and type in an awkward hunt-and-peck method, whereas with the Nexus 7, I could hold it and type with my thumbs as if it were a smartphone.
I soon ended up reading books on my tablet and not my Kindle because what’s the point of carrying two devices??
But there were times when it just felt a little bit too small. Viewing recipes when I was trying to cook was annoying, and sometimes I’d be looking up something online and the images were too small to suit me. Plus it really isn’t big enough to watch movies, and I travel quite a bit. I still couldn’t shake the desire for an iPad.
And then there were two . . .
Fast forward to the spring of 2013, and I got a nice paycheck from a blogging project and went to Target and bought myself the iPad 4.
I WAS IN LOVE.
It was nice to be back on an Apple device and into familiar territory, and the size of the iPad and the clarity of the retina screen and the pretty design stole my heart.
Of course, the typing is a bit awkward on the larger device. And when I downloaded the Kindle app and tried to read on the iPad, it was a bit unwieldy for that. It gets REALLY heavy to read on.
But it is awesome for watching movies when traveling and for browsing Pinterest and Facebook, which, let’s face it, I do a lot! I made 2 cross country trips last spring (now that I recall, that is what caused me to take the leap and buy the iPad; I wanted it for travel.) The iPad is SO much better for watching movies on the plane.
So for the next six months, I used both the iPad and Nexus 7, depending on my needs.
Enter the iPad Mini
THEN. I accepted an offer from CVS to go to a media event. Lo and behold, a few weeks before the trip, what arrived in the mail but a brand spankin’ new iPad Mini!??????
WHO would have thunk? A year ago I had no tablets, and suddenly I had three. It’s ridiculous, truly.
But of course, I couldn’t WAIT top unwrap my shiny new tablet and try it out.
The iPad Mini ($299) is now my go-to device.
It is JUST ENOUGH bigger than the Nexus 7 to give me what I need. The specs don’t look that different on paper, but for some reason it makes a difference when in use.
Of course, as I said before, I’m used to the Apple OS and prefer to keep my devices consistent because my li’l ole brain can’t handle going back and forth between two different operating systems, so the familiarity was a relief.
When I use my iPad now, it feels heavy and bulky, and it is hard to type on because it is just enough too big to hold up and type on (it’s fine if I set it on a table, but I often use it on the couch or in bed).
The iPad Mini is the PERFECT size for typing, and it’s big enough to see what I want to see — whether I’m looking at pretty pictures on Pinterest or trying to read a recipe. And it is so lightweight and portable. I take it with me everywhere.
I rarely feel that I need the bigger size of the iPad. Even though my iPad has the retina display and my iPad Mini doesn’t, if you consider the price difference, I’m kind of sick that I spent that extra $200. The only thing I haven’t tried yet is watching a movie on the iPad Mini. I’m sure it would be fine, and although the iPad would be better, I don’t think it tips the scale in its favor.
The Nexus 7 has been passed down to my husband (who, let’s face it, is the one who really wanted it to begin with) and I use the iPad and the iPad Mini. But mostly the Mini.
I’m not ready to pass on my iPad because I spent my own hard-earned money for it, and it is a beautiful device. It usually stays by my bed, where I like to make one last email/Facebook check before I go to bed. And my kids like to play games on it and watch Rainbow Loom tutorials on YouTube. Oy.
If I had to give up all but one of my devices, I would keep the iPad Mini. No questions asked.
iPad Mini with Retina vs iPad Air
I found this post super helpful in comparing the two: iPad air vs iPad Mini with Retina on ExtremeTech.
Basically he is saying it comes down to the size you want. If you watch a lot of movies or need bigger text to read, you might want to pay the extra hundred bucks and spring for the iPad Air. But for me? I would definitely stick with the iPad Mini because of the ease of typing.
There’s really no contest. If I had to buy a tablet today, I would buy the iPad Mini with retina ($399) which has JUST been released. Although the previous iPad Mini ($299) — the one I have — is certainly nothing to sneeze at and saves you almost $100.
If you like a bigger sized tablet, that iPad Air looks SUH-WEET!!!! It is much lighter than the original iPads, and the price at Target this weekend is AH-mazing. (See below.)
As far as the Android Nexus tablets? If you’re used to the Android OS and you like it, you should consider an Android tablet — probably the Nexus 7 or 10, depending on your needs. CNET calls the Nexus 10 ($398) Android’s Best iPad Alternative.
But if you’ve got an iPhone and you like the Apple iOS, AND you’re willing to fork over the extra dough, go for one of the iPads.
If you ARE considering an iPad Mini 3 or an iPad Air, Target is running a Black Friday promotion you might want to know about!
- iPad Mini Wi-Fi 16 GB, $299 plus a $75 Target GiftCard with purchase (note this is NOT the retina version)
- iPad Air Wi-Fi 16 GB, $479 plus a $100 Target GiftCard with purchase
That is such an AMAZING deal on the iPad Air!! WIth the $100 GiftCard, it brings the total price down to $379 – which is LESS than the Google Nexus 10!!!!
For more great deals this weekend, you can view Target’s Black Friday ad at Target.com/WeeklyAd.
AND, this just in, Best Buy has upped the ante. They are offering a $100 BB Gift Card with the purchase of an iPad Mini 16GB with Wi-Fi! (This is the old one that I have, NOT the one with retina. Still, a fabulous deal.)
When you add an iPad® mini 16GB with Wi-Fi from the list below to your cart, a free $100 gift card will be added automatically. Plus, get free shipping.
Since I can’t personally speak to the other tablets out there, you might want to check CNET’s Best Tablets for a great guide. (I’m a closet geek. I love reading CNET!!!)
The Samsung Galaxy is definitely a contender if you’re not an Apple gal.
And my husband has the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, which he thinks is pretty slick. (Of course, it’s more of a computer than a tablet.) I tried to use it when my son was in the hospital, and the Windows interface about put me in the looney bin. But I know a lot of people love it. Again, I think it goes back to what operating system you’re used to.
As always, these kind of decisions depend on your needs and your preferred operating system, but hopefully my experiences will help you make up your mind!
disclosure: This post is NOT sponsored by Target or Amazon or Best Buy, although I’m a member of the Target Inner Circle. I’m linking to these sites because they have the best prices I’ve seen on these products. I have used affiliate links for all three retailers, meaning that if you purchase through the links in this post, I earn a small commission. I use affiliate links often in my posts when linking to products that can be currently purchases, as it helps offset the costs of running this blog. I appreciate your support!!!