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iPad vs. the Galaxy Tab: The Winner is . . . Something Else?

I have always been unlucky when it comes to notebooks. They never last more than a few years before the motherboard explodes, usually just a few days after the warranty expires. That’s why last year I decided to get a desktop instead. It has everything I’ll ever need (hopefully) in a computer:

  • Intel i5 CPU
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 500GB HDD
  • Windows 7 64-bit OS
  • Nvidia graphics card
  • Dual monitors from Acer

In fact, the only thing my desktop lacks is mobility, which is why I keep ending up staring at the iPad display in every electronics store I wander into; and why I have been obsessively reading reviews for the Galaxy Tab, stalking my local Radio Shack until they finally put one on display.

Sure, the Tab only has a 7-inch display, but that means I can throw it in my bag and go, unlike the iPad, which will require a larger bag, though it is easier to interact with. The iPad is established with people across the board praising it and remarking how it is changing the way children interact with electronics. As a bonus, the iPad has a larger marketplace and everything is plug-and-play. But do I want to support something that isn’t open-source?

And round and round we go. Electronically, both devices are similar. For someone who is constantly on the go and wants to keep up with social networking, e-books, games, and some light business, both devices will fit those needs. And as for price, both the Tab and iPad have different price points depending on 3G, but $400-plus is guaranteed.

One of the reasons the Tab is so intriguing is that I also have an HTC EVO 4G, and I love it. They have the same operating system (and the same lag problems), so basically this would just be like getting a larger version of my phone.

{complink 7526|Semico Research Corp.} is forecasting that the Tablet market will reach 24 million shipments by the end of 2011, meaning the industry next year is going to be inundated with tablets, much as 2010 was inundated with e-readers, and they’ll all be focused on being sleek and stylish. It's enough to make someone focus on the product instead of her own needs.

This is why I have been obsessing over these products. What exactly will I be using this mobile device for? Typing on the go and internet browsing.

So with that in mind, what is my choice?

I’m going with the Eee PC 1015PEM. It seems crazy, I know. But it has a 13-hour battery life, a keyboard, clam shell for the screen protection, no service agreement, and an LED-backlit display. Oh, and its half the price. My heart breaks a little because this little netbook isn’t as sleek as the two tablets, but I know I won’t use half of the capabilities of either the iPad or the Tab, so it's hard to justify purchasing them, no matter how much I want to.

I may regret this choice by the second half of 2011, considering multiple companies will be releasing tablets over the next few months, including {complink 3074|LG Electronics Inc.}, Notion Ink, {complink 38|Acer Inc.} (April), {complink 5648|Toshiba Corp.}, {complink 1544|Dell Inc.}, {complink 4644|Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)} (Blackberry PlayBook), Kno (a dual-screen tablet), JooJoo, {complink 2376|Hewlett-Packard Co.}, etc.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and the motherboard will explode. It’ll be the perfect excuse to upgrade.

20 comments on “iPad vs. the Galaxy Tab: The Winner is . . . Something Else?

  1. AnalyzeThis
    December 8, 2010

    That's too bad about your horrible luck with notebooks… hopefully the curse doesn't apply to netbooks!

    Anyhow, I think you made the right choice. As you say, netbooks are cheaper and while not as flashy, I think if you're going to be doing a lot of typing having an actual keyboard (rather than a virtual touch one) is the way to go.

    For similar reasons, I still have a smartphone with an actual “keyboard.” Touch-typing on a touch screen isn't the best experience, in my opinion.

    No, your Eee PC won't get as many “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from random people, but I think it'll work out great for you! Good luck!

  2. DBertke
    December 8, 2010

    Hi Michell,

    Your post was very interesting to me as my wife went through the same dilema a few years ago about buying an EReader.  Like you, she found the the neatest toys of the year really had very little bang for the buck.  So she ended up with a netbook and we have both used it extensively.

    The netbook is small and inexpensive, plus it runs all of our windows software so we can use it to take notes as well as read an ebook or surf the web. As you pointed out, it is not how neat the device is as much as it is about what do you really need.

    While I see a potential for the Tablet computers, so far they appear to be of limited use to me.  My eyes are too old and my hands are too big to even think about using any of the interactive applications.  I see them as a useful tool to people who need instant access to the internet, but one could never take the place of a good laptop or regular desk PC.  I think if most people really look at their needs, the netbook is of much greater value than the initial steroid infested cell phones.

    Good job in bringing people out of their Ohs and Ahs to see what the real choices are.

    DAB

     

  3. Barbara Jorgensen
    December 8, 2010

    I have 3 laptops in my home office in various states of disrepair. One makes a good doorstop; one is a great paperweight; and the other is good enough to keep my 13-year-old away from my business computer. I, too, am gun-shy about the next big thing in computing technology.

    I've been mulling the idea of the disposable lawnmover. I have three of those also. If someone made a lawnmower cheap enough to recycle at the end of the season (we have them in New England–seasons, I mean) I'd bite. Remember the $100 PC? Whatever happened to that?

    All kidding aside, your blog is really helpful. Let us know how it goes!

  4. DataCrunch
    December 8, 2010

    Michell, don’t sweat it.  At the moment, I still prefer real keyboards rather than virtual keyboards.  My smart phone also has a slide out keyboard (as well as a virtual, but almost always use the real one). 

    However, we may be the minority on this one.  Over the summer ASUS CEO Jerry Shen stated that sales off the Eee PC were down due to the iPad and lowered sales expectation for the rest of 2010.  ASUS will soon be releasing a series of Eee Pads to combat the iPad, and based on what I preliminarily have read on the new Pads, they seem impressive

    It’s just a matter of time before we may all conform to owning a tablet.  At least before with the laptops/notbooks/netbooks, we were able for the most part to rely on cross compatibility because the majority of the devices were running a Microsoft Windows OS.  What makes the tablet purchasing decision-making more difficult and confusing is now having to choose not only the device, but which OS you want to use and in some instances which cellular carrier, similar to buying a smart phone. 

    The bottom line is to use what you feel most comfortable with at the moment and don’t get caught up in the flavor of the month.  If you are just going to be using it for emailing, blogging, and watching a few videos every now and then, any of these devices, whether it’s a notebook or a tablet will do just fine.  Enjoy!

  5. t.alex
    December 8, 2010

    I would probably prefer the  Eeepc, for a simple reason: I don't like touchscreen 🙂

  6. Hardcore
    December 8, 2010

    I've just spent the last few days looking at 'clone' ( that is about the politest word we can use) tablet devices. 

    There is currently a massive supply source in South China for these devices ,and it is starting to spill out of China with the usual predictable results. That is to say large numbers of people claiming they were ripped off or did not get the product specification they paid for.

    It seems everyone is looking for the highest quality at  below manufacturers price, again with totally predictable results.The internet forums are a buzz with weird and wonderful stories of discovery and how to identify the real products (the sailors stories of yesteryear are back, mermaids and dragon have again been sighted!)

    For my part the investigation reveals masses of factories buying in cases, LCD displays, touch screens and PCB sub-assemblies(most from dubious sources of course) then assembling product that all looks the same, but could come from anyone of several hundred sources.

    Thankfully I was able to pick up a number of very good reliable clones, from some guy sat in his shop door cutting his toenails.

    A quick strip-down (of the product not the guy), reveals remarkably good assembly procedures have been used, plus a week of solid device burn in is showing good results as well.

    So congratulations Apple …you have done it again.

     

  7. Parser
    December 8, 2010

    Choices, choices and choices and they complement individual people with their needs. As you write no matter how much you would like it you cannot justify the expense. I say to myself no matter how I cannot justify it I like is so much that I will buy it. Since I don’t have money now I will wait and try to save until next generation of iPad will show up and I hear it will be sometimes in April-May.

    Everyone is praising your article and wishing you good luck, which means you, will have an iPad very soon :).

     

  8. Mydesign
    December 9, 2010

        Michell, we are all in the same line. Every day companies are coming up with new gadgets, having lots of new advance features and applications. So as a customer point of view, they are getting confused about the products. Like you said, me also get confused with Galaxy tab and IPad, especially during the trip time and need for less baggage. So I had done a short cut for selection, I downloaded all the necessary applications and tools to a particular device, which have rich features and compact size. Surely I used to take a power back up also. I think we have to be more choose before selecting the right product.

  9. Susan Fourtané
    December 9, 2010

    Michell,

    Manufacturers seem to add a timer to the laptops for crashing after two years and some weeks after they are bought. 

    I had a pretty and expensive Sony Vaio which hard drive crashed before a year after I bought it. I got a new one and the guarantee was still valid. After a year the motherboard crashed. It was more expensive to send the Vaio to the only Vaio service in Europe, which is in France, than buying a new laptop. I bought an HP. It is still healthy but it has had some little problems, too. Although, nothing comparing to the luck of the Vaio. 

    I bought a first generation white EeePC Seashell netbook two years ago. It's healthy and serving me well. It's small enough to put it in my bag and go.  I carry it with me most of the time, just in case I feel like stopping in a café and do some work there. I have a USB Internet connection which allows me to be online and work from anywhere I want. It covers my needs on the go. I am now using Chrome web browser and Open Office. I use Dropbox to sinc documents with my laptop. The Seashell has been pretty loyal so far. 

    I, too, would like to have an iPad or a Tab. Why? I am not sure and that is exactly what keeps me away from really, really want it. It might be the case of the new gadget which everybody is talking about syndrome? Maybe. 

    Think of your needs. I think you are pretty much on the right track. And just in case you decide to give an iPad or Tab a try, wait until the second generation is out. 

    -Susan

  10. Michell Prunty
    December 9, 2010

    Susan, one of my laptops has been a Sony Vaio.  Interestingly with that one, the motherboard crashed right before the warranty was up so I got a new one.  A few weeks later (right after the warranty expired), the HDD died.  They refused to fix it and like you, it was cheaper to get another laptop so I switched to an HP as well.  My old HP still works – but it only will turn on when it feels like it.  I’m glad your EeePC is still serving you well.  Gives me hope!  

    Laughably, right after I wrote this article, my fiancé’s laptop died and we finally found a use to all those old fried laptops of mine:  Frankenstein his laptop back to life.  The desk had 4 torn apart laptops scattered around, but it worked!  So Barbara, have hope, maybe one day one of those doorstop computers will be useful again.  

    Thanks for the comments everyone! >

  11. Susan Fourtané
    December 10, 2010

    Michell, 

    It seems like we have been walking a very similar laptop-luck path. How interesting that we had almost the same experience with Sony Vaio. I wonder if those two Vaios belonged to the same series and shipment out from the factory. It's a possibility that many Vaios suffered the same luck. Unfortunately the ones who pays is the customer as they don't lose anything. Or, should I correct myself and say the lose customers? After the experience with the Vaio it was unthinkable for me to buy another one. 

    It's good news that you did some recycling there. Fantastic! 

    -Susan 

  12. Anna Young
    December 10, 2010

    There is an assumption here that Windows-based computers can be differentiated based on the manufacturer. I think the main differentiation we can talk about nowadays is between Apple Macintosh and Windows PC. Even here there isn't too much to talk about outside of the operating system.

    The involvement of the EMS provider, or the contract manufacturer has relegated OEMs — Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Sony, or whoever — to some (minor) design and mainly sales, marketing and supplier coordination functions. If any faults appear in these machines, it probably comes from the assembly line. Will this appear in other equipment, including the tablets discussed by Michell?

    Differentiation appears in these equipment at the early stage but soon once electronic equipment get commoditized then the faults become spread throughout the supply chain.

  13. elctrnx_lyf
    December 11, 2010

    The quality of elctronic products is coming down at faster rate compared to the past. It is lot more in case of the consumer electronics. This is mainly due to the companies trying to design their products have very less time to market due to competition. The second thing is the designs are not completely tested and the reliability is definitely going down. In addition to all this the companies are not interested take the products back and see what caused the failure. It is important to buy devices that are already working well for at least few months and be wise to select something as per the need not just because it is looking cool.

  14. Susan Fourtané
    December 11, 2010

    Anna, 

    You present good points here and a very good question concerning the assembly line also in relation to the tablets.

    Actually, later on after writing my last comment, I was thinking that all my computers have been PCs so far. I have encountered problems in the Microsoft OS in all of them without exception. This year I have been pretty determined to get an Apple as my next laptop. I don't have much use for a desktop these days, I need mobility above all. 

    -Susan

  15. Susan Fourtané
    December 11, 2010

    electrnx_lyf

    You are certainly right. Now, what if companies would start manufacturing their products more focused on quality instead of launching a new product two times a year?

    Which laptop/netbook/tablet would you recommend to Michell?

    -Susan

  16. elctrnx_lyf
    December 11, 2010

    Susan,

    I'm sorry but I can’t suggest anything that would really be a promising product. At the end of the day it's all about what is the need, and there is lot of laptops that are reliable for long time. The field consumer electronics is really a competition area for all the companies since who ever comes first they can sell first and sell more. I want to hear more comments from the consumers of companies like apple who are giving out great products and with great reliability.

    Kiran

  17. Hardcore
    December 11, 2010

    If manufacturers  based their designs , with more focus on Quality, then I'm afraid they would not sell more product, in fact chances are they would very likely go out of business.

    No manufactured  product can be 100% correct as regards quality, purely because you need market feedback to improve the quality of a product.

    The PC market dictates fast turn around with ever greater features and lower price , Asus generally turns round a new motherboard design in 1-3 months.

    Apple is successful becasue it controls the whole process,you do it Apples way or you don't do it at all, they  have an underlying OS that is incredibly stable on a single platform, because they do not have to write software that runs on hardware from hundreds of companies.

    Their hardware is reliable, because they define the standard ,with no second guessing about how the software will run, pc manufacturers are continually second guessing each other in a battle to add features, this in turn leads to unstable hardware which then impacts the software development process.

    Plus with the 'home' PC market you throw users into the mix, many of whom have absolutely no idea about design/maintenance of high tech electronics, and yet throw a computer in front of them and they suddenly think they are competent to modify computer software+hardware.

    In reality, most of them are completely incapable of performing hardware upgrades correctly, mainly because they don't even follow the most basic of component handling rules (anti-static) due to some belief that the laws of physics somehow don't apply to them.

    Most reliability issues can be traced back to a single source, and that is the user.

     

     

     

  18. Susan Fourtané
    December 12, 2010

    Hi, Kiran 

    Fair enough. Now that Anna has brought out the topic, I would also like to hear more about Apple consumers. 

    -Susan

  19. Susan Fourtané
    December 14, 2010

    Hardcore,

    Very good points and good analysis of the reasons why Apple OS is more stable and reliable. The only disadvantage I see in the Apple products is the high price they still have. Many people would choose Apple over any other if they wouldn't have to pay 2 or 3 times more. Stability and reliability are two important things to consider when purchasing a new computer or tablet today. The fact is that there are not too many people complaining about the Apple products as there are complaining about the others. Quality makes stability and reliability possible. And they sell despite the higher price. That means that there is a market for quality products. 

    -Susan

  20. Hardcore
    December 17, 2010

    I have always liked apple products, not because I'm a fanboi or I like style and aesthetics, but because I realize that time is money and using apple products save me time.

    However I'm beginning to feel uneasy about jobs and his 'new order', certainly on his ideas to control the platform to such an extent that they dictate what software you can load, and if he continues in his ways, ultimately i suspect he is going to fall  foul of the  US laws covering  protectionism and prevention of others writing software for the apple platform.

    As regards tablets, I have a number of 'clone' Android devices from China, they are cheap enough to smash up , loose, or from an engineering point of view disassemble.

    The one issue I do take exception to….. it the misappropriation of 30% of  software costs to people like apple & google, how the hell can they justify taking a cut of 30% from the selling price, if anything kills  pad computers, it will be the shear greed  of the people controling the distribution of software, at lest google 'Android' has the decency to allow you to install software without going via the store.

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