Matthew Hinton

Just where I spout off on whatever I feel like

Month: February 2014

Nexus 7 (2013) Evaluation

My first generation WiFi Kindle Paperwhite recently decided to not connect to WiFi networks anymore. This unfortunately makes it a Paperweight.

So I needed a new ereader to replace the Kindle. I thought I would take the opportunity to reevaluate what I wanted from a mobile device. I wanted to be able to read Kindle books, programming books in PDF format, and it would be nice to be able to watch video.

The Google Nexus 7 isn’t that much more expensive than a new Paperwhite and as a long time fan of iOS I was interested in seeing what Android had to offer. At first I pretty happy with the Nexus 7. Then I started noticing things that irritated me. So I decided to make a list of the pros and cons of the device as I was using it.

Pros:

  • 7″ form factor is very nice
    • Light weight, easy to hold in one hand
  • Nice for reading Kindle books
    • I read an entire fiction book and the experience was pretty good
  • Nice for reading PDF files
    • The Acrobat Reader software wasn’t bad
  • Nice for watching videos
  • Keyboard with predictive text is very nice

Con’s:

  • Poor onboarding experience for new users
  • Needed os updates out of the box that caused reboots with no warnings and failed because of battery level
    • Updates worked after plugging into charger
  • App store sucks
    • Many apps have reviews complaining about crashes and bugs and these are the first reviews you see
    • So many apps look like junk and are filled with ads
  • Nexus 7 has a high res screen but fonts still look worse than on the iPad
  • Touch targets aren’t very accurate
    • Sometimes I have to touch several times to get it to register. Links are especially bad.
  • The auto brightness setting is always adjusting the brightness value on me
  • Charges slowly, it seems to charge very slowly
  • Android is very quirky

The pros all fit nicely with what I was looking for and if I had not used an Apple device before that would have been the end of the story. Because I have used Apple mobile devices since the iPhone 3G and I am very familiar with iOS and the Apple platform I just couldn’t be happy with an Android device.

I returned the Nexus 7 to Best Buy and bought a retina iPad Mini instead. The iPad Mini was $50 off when I bought it. Best Buy didn’t have the saled price marked anywhere so the sale was a surprise to me. If Best Buy marked the actual current price on their merchandise they might sell more of it.

The retina iPad Mini has almost all the same pros as the Nexus 7 and is better at video with the larger screen and none of the cons so for me it’s totally the right tablet computer.

Wreckage of the Storm

Driving into work today was something else. We had around a half foot of snow fall the day before yesterday on top of the icy conditions on the ground. This made for some very slick conditions on the Interstate. I have never seen so many wrecks beside the road as I saw today. The wrecked vehicles I saw looked like they had been blown up.

I will be very relieved once this horrible winter is over.

Not So Super Bowl

Yesterday we watched the Super Bowl and the best thing about it was the awesome Nacho plate and drinks my wife made. I am not a fan of either the Broncos or the Seahawks so I really didn’t care who one but the Broncos got blown out so there was no drama to the game at all. The other highlight to watching the Super Bowl is seeing the commercials and aside from the Radio Shack commercial with all the 80’s characters none of them were very interesting. The entire spectacle was so uninteresting I spent most of the game reading a book.

Amazon’s Kindle Platform Shortcomings

I love Amazon’s Kindle ebook platform. I have bought so many books cheaply that I have greatly enjoyed. I have bought so many books that I wouldn’t have bought at all if I wasn’t able to get them for $0.00-$2.99. So the basic ebook platform is great however there is an issue that has been a pain point for me for a while and another I just discovered today.

One of the features of the Kindle platform is Personal Documents the ability to upload your own PDF documents and read them on the Kindle. This is great except I mainly want to read PDF documents on a computer and the Kindle apps for Computers don’t support the personal documents feature.

I became a Amazon Prime customer this year and one the benefits of that program is the ability to check out certain Kindle ebooks for free. I have been reading the first book I checked out on my Kindle and I wanted to continue reading it today over lunch on my computer but only Kindle devices support that feature.

I really wish Amazon would make all the Kindle platform features available in all their Kindle software applications.

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