Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Media tablet showdown: Retina iPad Mini faces newly beefed-up challengers

Galen Gruman | Dec. 5, 2013
The Retina iPad Mini, Kindle Fire HDX, Nexus 7, Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 go toe to toe in InfoWorld Test Center's review

As a result, the iPad Mini provides the best collection of fun and serious apps available for mobile devices for practically any purpose, and Apple's iTunes U library of free courses, aimed mainly at high school and college students, is an amazing resource. That's probably the iPad Mini's biggest advantage: It's not just a media tablet.

The Apple App Store also has the benefit of being rigorously screened for malware, which is not true for the Google Play Store that powers the Nexus 7, Note 8.0, Venue 7, and other Android devices. The app selection in the Play Store does not match what Apple offers, but for the kinds of apps you'll want on an entertainment tablet — gaming, social networking, and information apps — the Play Store's options are strong. Over the years, Google has strengthened its backup services so that apps you get in the Play Store are available to your other Android devices. The Nexus 7, Note 8.0, Venue 7, or other similar Android tablet can therefore double as a business tablet in a pinch.

But just because you bought an app on one Android device does not guarantee it will run on another. You only find out when you try to install them — there's no indication in the list of previously purchased apps as to which are compatible. The good news is that some of my media apps that didn't run on the 2012 edition of the Nexus 7 — such as the Economist and USA Today — do run on the 2013 edition Nexus 7, as well as on the Note 8.0 and Venue 7.

The Kindle Fire HDX's selection of apps is much more limited than Android's Play Store offerings, mainly to edutainment apps and lightweight utilities. But the Kindle Fire has an extensive game catalog.

The Dell Venue 8 Pro runs both the vast selection of Windows 7 apps and the more limited selection of Windows 8's native Metro apps. But Windows 7 apps are nearly impossible to read and navigate on the 8-inch screen — they're difficult to use even on a full-size 10-inch tablet — so the net result is you won't actually use the Venue 8 Pro to run Windows 7 apps routinely. And there are few compelling Metro apps, though the game selection is decent.

All the media tablets have the most popular social apps, such as Skype, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, either preinstalled or downloadable for free.

The app support winner. There's no question the iPad Mini has the greatest and best app catalog. The Android tablets' catalog is strong for media tablet usage, whereas the Kindle Fire HDX's catalog is only adequate. The Venue 8 Pro makes standard Windows 7 apps all but unusable, so it's not appropriate for the PC apps that are its key selling pitch.

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  Next Page 

Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.