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.