Tuesday, May 03, 2011

iPad 2 - Almost

I had decided to buy a tablet this trip to the US, and hence made my way to the nearest Best Buy from office. Yes, after having been one of the earliest adoptors of netbooks 3.5 years ago, I was finally ready for a tablet. My market options were the IPad 2, PlayBook, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7, Acer Iconia and Moto Xoom.
Being a fan of open ecosystems, the IPad 2 was basically ruled out already when I walked into the store. I was really looking forward to getting a really good Android Honeycomb 10" tablet!

But guess what?
1. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" - Ruled out!
Reason: 7" form factor wasn't too compelling. I like bigger screens and I have fat fingers. Also, the response was quite sluggish, it is a previous generation product, yada yada

2. Blackberry PlayBook - Tempting, but still not compelling enough!
Reason: UI was brilliant, superb use of the bezel as part of the touch experience. Multi-tasking was top-notch. Screen quality was top-notch. But then once again 7". Also too new in the market, and I wasn't sure about the apps support, and hadn't read any reviews on it.

3. Moto Xoom - Ruled out!
Reason: Heard some bad reviews on it. 10" was good, but finger prints showed very badly. Also, was heavy, and very thick. Seemed like a Gen 1 product for sure. Played some games on it. They were brilliant. Very high quality. Really liked it otherwise. But the whole interface was very cluttered and unintuitive. Was unlike any Google product I've seen before. Maybe the store had a really messed up version. Anyway, something about it put me off.

4. Acer Iconia - Quite good, but still not compelling enough
Reason: Screen was much better than the Xoom. Even had a USB port on it. But I still couldn't commit to buying one because after looking at the IPad 2, it seemed like a monster. Even thicker than the Xoom. Also unsure of the Acer brand after my last Acer netbook conked out in less than a year!

5. IPad 2 - The best of the lot! Almost bought it! Sanity prevailed in the end!
Reason: Definitely the best product in the market. Even tempted an anti-apple guy like me. The screen was crystal clear. Touch experience, much better than the others. And far thinner and lighter than any of the other options in the market! I was just about to pick it up and walk out of the store when I decided to go for a walk and come back. Finally sanity prevailed. No USB. No AVI support. Definitely deal breakers for me. My use case was for the Tablet to be a replacement for my laptop when I'm not on work. In that case, I'm not really "creating" anything, but would definitely like to
a) Download the photos from my DSLR when my CF card gets full.. Typically during vacations or Ultimate Frisbee tourneys
b) Plug in my external drive and play movies from it when on travel. Obviously I'm not going to store all my movies on the tablet.
c) AVI support? Xvid support? "oh.. you can convert the movie to mp4 through iTunes." said the Best Buy support guy.
NOT happening! It takes forever. Also a pain to keep converting whatever I need, when the most popular format is clearly AVI.

Mr. Jobs. You got me. Almost. But yeah, definitely kudos on the product. I wish you would reconsider your stupid stance on a closed ecosystem and NOT supporting any of the standards (Mass Storage Class, AVI, etc.)
Mr. Competitors. You guys really have some catching up to do.

So, the wait continues. I hear that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1" is even thinner and slicker than the iPad 2. That solves half my problems. Hope they support USB, and I'll buy it and retire my netbooks! I'm not going to buy an iPad 2 just for the sake of owning one. If Email is all I needed to check on that, I'd use my BB. Far better typing experience! :-P