I feel like I’m getting settled in now. The iPad and iPhone have been banished and the Nexus replacements are holding up well. In fact that term – holding – is a key part of my thinking at the moment.
When Steve Jobs announced the iPad he did so with the aid of a comfy chair. He sat, fondling his new magical device while telling the world how good it felt to hold and touch. Although this might seem like the pitch of a world class salesman (which it undoubtedly was) there’s no arguing with the truth that was being conveyed. The iPad is far better to hold than a laptop. No great surprises there. The thing is that after three years of using one I’ve grown very accustomed to that particular squarish shape, and am struggling a little to adjust to the sleeker design of the Nexus 10.
At first glance they’re not so different, both are slim, light, pieces of expansive glass with a black border around their edges. Stand them side by side and you’ll notice that the Nexus 10 is wider (thanks to its 16:10 aspect ratio) and a little shorter than it’s fruity alternative. This makes watching movies on it a pleasant experience, aided by a lovely HD screen and two forward facing speakers. The bass frequencies can be a little lacking, which is not unusual on slim tablets, but the volume is respectable and coming straight at you – always a bonus.
One of my favourite uses for a tablet is reading news and RSS feeds on the Pulse app. Thankfully Pulse is available on iOS and Android so swapping over is a breeze. Within a few minutes of visiting the Play store I had all my feeds synced and was away. The layout is pretty much identical and meant that my transition from one device to another felt easy and with a minimum of fuss. Magazines aren’t quite so easy. On iOS I use Readr, which allows me to read lots of different magazines for a set price of £5.99 per month, saving me quite a bit of money. So far I haven’t found an equivalent on Android (if you know of one please let me know) and it’s also thrown up a small problem.
On my iPad I will often read magazines in portrait mode as I find it the best way to navigate around pages when zooming in and out. Holding the Nexus 10 in portrait mode just feels…weird. The taller, thinner nature is definitely designed to be used in landscape orientation, which is fine for video but not so great for magazines or comics. Of course this might not be an issue for you, but as I make my living writing for publications I also like to access them on my tablet. Amazon’s Kindle app works just great though.
The rubber backing on the Nexus 10 is very comfortable. I wish the iPad had something similar so it didn’t keep trying to leap out of your hands and hurl itself to the ground. Surprisingly though the thinness of the device still makes it hard to lean it against something without a bit of slippage. In the hand though I’m a big fan of the softer, warmer textures under my fingers.
One criticism often levelled at Android is the lack of tablet specific apps that are designed for it. So far this is certainly the case as many of the normal apps I use – Facebook, Twitter, Audible and others – all looking stretched across the wide screen rather than tailored to the environment. It was noticeable on the Nexus 7, but on the 10 it really starts to standout. This is something that I shall have to investigate further.
It’s early days with the Nexus 10, and using something else for the jobs that my iPad has done pretty much without exception for a few years now just shows how used to a certain weight and balance I have become. I’m sure that as the days roll by I will adjust to this new design, but it does feel alien at the moment. Next up…the Nexus 4.