It feels like it was a long time coming, but in reality, the switch only took a few hours. I, Adam Callaway, traded my iPad for a Nexus 10.
I’ve used the 4th Generation iPad as my main computing device for six months now, and I’ve come to know both its strengths and weaknesses. One of its major strengths is the fact that it is idiot-proof. Anyone can pick up an iPad and figure out how to use it within a couple of minutes. It’s the tablet I would recommend to my mom, dad, sister, or anyone else who needs a full-size tablet that’s just going to work.
However, for those who are not invested in the Apple ecosystem, or for those who are a little more tech savvy, I would recommend the Nexus 10 over the iPad all day.
Let’s back up to how I wrote on the iPad. I used a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard and a combination of Pages (Apples flagship word processor) and Google Drive. I used to use Google Drive exclusively, but I needed a word count function to track my daily writing and Drive didn’t work as smoothly as it should on iOS. Pages is a beautiful and responsive word processor that syncs keystroke-by-keystroke to iCloud. You can group files together like you do apps on the home screen, but there is nothing remotely like the folder functionality you get in most programs. It makes organizing documents a clumsy chore, which is one of the reasons I retained Google Drive for storage.
I write whenever I have a spare moment. Using the iPad and keyboard, I could have Pages open to my current project and my keyboard synced in under five seconds. No joke. It’s that fast, allowing me to get write into the action. Also, because multi-tasking is functionally non-existant in iOS, the writing was distraction free.
But, and we’re going to start to get into the reasons I switched now, iOS CANNOT be customized. Don’t like the stock onscreen keyboard? Too bad cause you can’t change it. Don’t want the home screen to be a bunch of boxes with your apps inside? Too bad because there are no third-party launchers for iOS.
That lack of customization is seriously limiting to me as a writer and a user. Besides that, I’m finally going to get a smartphone in early 2014, and if I’m going to get an Android smartphone (because Apple has a grand total of two phones to choose from and Android has dozens), then I want an Android tablet too. The night before Thanksgiving I checked on Craigslist to see if there was anyone wanting to trade a Nexus 10 or Galaxy Note 10.1 for an iPad, and Thanksgiving morning I went and picked up a beautiful, like new Nexus 10.
Oh my god, you guys, where has this device been all my life.
The screen: eye-meltingly beautiful. The camera: I wasn’t aware these came with something called a “flash.” The speed: the term “Bugatti-like” comes to mind. The software: intuitive, smart, and CUSTOMIZABLE.
One of the biggest advantages is the form factor. Apple is stuck at this dumb 4:3 form factor since it wants legacy apps to work. This makes it so the iPad is almost as wide as it is tall; a pretty aluminum squarectangle if you will.
The Nexus, though, is a glorious 16:9 bit of plastic and glass. I can hold it in one hand comfortably (I’m talking across the back of the device, like a giant smartphone).
And it really is a comfortable device to hold for a long period of time. The back has a rubberized texture, and even though the body is plastic, it doesn’t feel cheap. It’s also so, so light. The iPad feels like a red brick compared to the Nexus.
Writing on the Nexus is very similar to writing on the iPad, just fine-tuned to my liking more. Just like the iPad, I can have my keyboard paired and document opened in under five seconds. I’m using Google Drive to write because it runs like a boss on stock Android (4.4 Kit Kat…yum). To check my word count, I open the doc in Kingsoft Office (one of the fastest, freest, attractivest word processor I ever did see). And because I trust the Google Cloud more than the Apple Cloud, and because Google Drive is accessible and stable from any internet-connected device I could ever use (unlike the not so slick iWorks for iCloud beta..shudders), I feel more secure that my writing is not going to disappear into the ether.
This isn’t meant to be a tirade against Apple, iOS, or the iPad. The iPad served me faithfully for six months and is the sole reason why I’ve been able to write fiction every day for the past 150+ days. It’s an impeccibly built, well-designed, intuitive device that I would recommend whole-heartedly to those under eighteen and over fifty. But for those with a bit of savvy or a desire to tailor their experience to their liking, I’d suggest Android.
More on this to come.
PS…Swype. Oh my god….Swype.