Long Time Android User's Foray into iOS with the iPad Mini

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  1. Stuntman

    Stuntman Well-Known Member

    I've been an Android user for almost 4 years now. My first Android phone was an HTC Desire Z. I then got an ASUS Eee Pad Tranformer and now am using a Samsung Galaxy S3. In the past few months, I started actually using some iOS devices. My work phone go upgraded from a BlackBerry to an iPhone 5S and recently, I decided to start using my wife's iPad Mini (which she doesn't use because she prefers using her iPhone).

    I've already did a post on my experience with the iPhone 5S. This post will focus more on the iPad Mini. When doing comparisons with Android, I will primarily compare it with the Samsung Galaxy S3. My usage on these two devices are most similar to each other. (My iPhone 5S is primarily for work and my usage is different on that.) Also, these two devices were released within months of each other. Even though they have different form factors, I think that they are the best devices I have at my disposal for a good comparison of iOS and Android. Occasionally, I will make comparisons between other devices.

    First of all, I really like the size of the iPad Mini. I have the Transformer tablet and got it mainly for its keyboard dock. When not using the dock, I found it to be rather big and heavy to comfortably use. As long as it was docked, it was fine resting on a table or on my lap. When I didn't want to use the dock or can't (because the stupid app does not support landscape), it felt rather heavy after a while. The iPad Mini was nice and light and I never felt my hands got tired holding it. It had a larger display than my phone and was easier on eye to read and view when mobility was not required. Even without a keyboard dock, typing on the iPad Mini was rather pleasant. I use the split keyboard. Even though I don't like the iOS keyboard on the iPhone, the keyboard was pretty good on the iPad both in landscape and portrait.

    The one thing that I found the iPad Mini blows away my Galaxy S3 is in web browsing. When viewing complex web pages, the iPad Mini was more responsive when I wanted to zoom or scroll down. On the Galaxy S3, more complex web pages had a longer load time. Before it finished loading, I could not scroll down. Watching videos on web pages on the iPad Mini was a much better experience than on the Galaxy S3. On the iPad Mini, it was easy to just pinch zoom to view the video in full screen mode. On the GS3, I had to hit the little full screen button on the corner of the video. There is one thing that I found a little annoying when web browsing that happens not very often, but more so on iOS.

    There are other places where the iPad is noticeably smoother and more respoinsive than the GS3. When downloading and installing an app from the App Store, it is rather smooth when I start to browse other apps within the App Store. On the GS3, downloading and installing an app makes navigating Google Play slow and stuttery. For all of the multitasking capabilities that Android touts, this is one case where the overall experience does not match that of iOS. My understanding of the design of iOS is that it seems to place a high emphasis on the UI experience. The web browsing and situation where an app is installing in the background highlights this.

    Other than web browsing and while an app is installing in the background, I found both the iPad and GS3 to be just as smooth. Both are not smooth all the time. I have experienced the odd jerkiness in on both the iPad and the GS3 from time to time. Overall, both are about as smooth when scrolling most of the time.

    Both iOS and Android have most of the apps I use. There are a few where the selection of apps don't overlap. I've found that some apps on Android (not counting widget only apps) are not available on the Apple App Store and some I use on iOS not on Google Play. Of the apps I use on both platforms, both perform more or less just as well. Some apps look better than others and that is the case on both platforms. Consistency between apps isn't always there either. It is more so on Android because I find that there are still some Android apps that feel like a lazy port from its iOS version. I couldn't figure out why the Android app behaved in such an unusual manner until I started using iOS more. Then I realised it was behaving like the iOS app instead of an Android app.

    I have noticed that some apps have features on one platform, but not the other. I found this to be rather frustrating. There doesn't seem to be any reason for many of these features to appear on one platform and not on the other. For instance, GasBuddy has a favourites list on Android, but not on iOS. Yahoo! Weather has a time lapse of the radar map on iOS, but only a still image on Android. I just cannot see why these and other features are not available on both platforms.

    The one thing that I still haven't gotten used to is how iOS apps go back to the previous screen. On Android, there is the back button. The lack of a back button I find is really annoying. iOS apps do have a button to go back to the previous screen only, it isn't called the back button. It's called something different every time and it's in a different location depending on the app. Most of the time it is on the upper left which is pretty much the most difficult part of the screen to reach with my right thumb. Some iOS apps have a swipe in from the left edge to go back. I find this gesture to be difficult to use as I sometimes don't swipe horizontally enough. If my swipe is at too much of an angle, the screen scrolls up or down instead of going back to the previous screen. Of all the Android features I don't have on iOS, this is actually the one feature I miss the most.

    The battery life on the iPad Mini is excellent. It takes me a few heavy days of use before I need to charge it. My Transformer tablet had a good battery life as well, but the difference between the iPad and Transformer is that the iPad battery doesn't drain much when not used. My Transformer drains a lot faster when not used and I have to recharge it after a few days of not using it. The iPad Mini has lasted weeks while not used. My wife last used her iPad Mini on a cruise we were on. When we came back she never used it. Even weeks after she last used it, I still heard the chimes when it gets an email.

    Both the iPad Mini and GS3 are just as stable. I have had the odd crash/hang on both devices. These are very rare occurrences. I think it only happened once or twice in the past few months from what I can remember.

    Overally, I am very happy with my iPad Mini. I use it exclusively at home. While I'm out, I use my GS3 as the iPad Mini is still too bulky to carry around and my GS3 still functionally does pretty much everything my iPad Mini can and more. I do use the iPad Mini more than the GS3 at home because of the larger screen and strong battery life. I also have some games on it that isn't available on Android. As my iPad Mini is WiFi only, I still use my GS3 for much of my messaging use. There are some things I'd rather do on my GS3 or PC instead of the iPad Mini due to the lack of functionality in certain iOS apps or the app is not available on iOS.

    I do find that the combo of the iPad Mini and a GS3 to work quite well for me. After using both devices, I do appreciate the strenghts of each platform. iOS had the edge in the web browsing user experience. Android has the edge in overall functionality.

  2. Gmash

    Gmash Well-Known Member

    Nice write up. As far as the web browsing, it depends on what browser you are using. Some will let you scroll while the page is loading. I totally agree with you about the back button. I don't understand the trend of having to swipe or gesture when a simple button press does the job better and simpler. I'm hoping Android will stop copying ios with this ridiculousness.
  3. Stuntman

    Stuntman Well-Known Member

    I primarily use Chrome as my browser on my GS3. I also use the Pulse app to read articles and RSS feeds. Pulse has its own browser for viewing sources as web pages. Some sources only show a part of the article in RSS mode. With both of these browsers, any complex web page takes some time to load enough before I can scroll. For simpler web pages, there is little delay before I can scroll.
  4. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Well-Known Member Contributor

    After iOS 7 I couldn't stand looking at it. For those new to iOS, it isn't so bad but I think it looks downright hideous
  5. Gmash

    Gmash Well-Known Member

    I've tried a lot of browsers, and Chrome is one of the worst imo.
  6. Stuntman

    Stuntman Well-Known Member

    My wife recently upgraded her iPhone 4s to an iPhone 5C. We were able to get the phone for free upon renewing her contract.

    The one thing that I really like about iOS is the ability to easily transfer everything (or in my particular case, most things) from her old phone to her new phone. I used the iCloud backup feature. The day before we got her new phone, I did an iCloud backup. When she got her new phone, restoring from iCloud was very easy.

    The backup and restore did not restore her music. She had her music synced through her PC, so I had to plug her phone into her PC and then use iTunes to resync her music. I had to update iTunes as well as her existing version was too old. Upon restoring her music via iTunes, her ringtone reverted back to the default. I had to resync her ringtones via iTunes as well.

    Overall, the process was rather easy on iOS. The last time I got a new Android phone was 2 years ago and there was no obvious way to transfer things from my old Android phone to my current one. I had to do everything manually. It wasn't that big a deal for me as I configured my new phone slightly differently. I did notice that when I got my Eee Pad Transformer tablet, it gave me the option of automatically installing all of the apps I had on my Google account. That was pretty useful at the time.
  7. mrex

    mrex Well-Known Member

    I dont know about iPad mini, but no one should get their latest iPad Air. It is bad.. With 1gb memory there are several problems like crashing,/memory low, reloading when several tabs are open, refreshing apps when jumping between them. Apple have fixed some of the problems like rebooting (some people still have it) but there are still several left... I quess if they launch iPad Air 2 on autumn, it has 2gb ram., hopefully not only 1,5gb or less. Because they have been quite silent about the next iPad, it might just be almost the same as the present one.
  8. Stuntman

    Stuntman Well-Known Member

    I've seen some little quirks with all devices I and my family have used. It's not limited to Apple. The stability of most high end devices are pretty good overall. No device is perfect and I've had to restart them all or at least some apps on them from time to time.

    Comparing my Galaxy S3 and iPad Mini, I'd say they are more or less just as stable. They are very good and incidents where I have had issues requiring restarting the app or device are similarly far between for the amount of time I have used them.
  9. mrex

    mrex Well-Known Member

  10. trophynuts

    trophynuts Well-Known Member

    I may have had Safari crash twice since owning my IpadAir...other than that, I have experienced none of the problems you state. I use mine primarily as a media device. It works great with the Amazon instant play app....I have it loaded with movies and shows that I use VLC to watch. I have ZERO complaints with my Ipad Air.

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