When you hear the word tablet, you probably picture an iPad. You know that tablets are the trendy, new product to use so you think just because they’re ‘cool,’ they must be made by Apple. You’ve learned over the past couple of years from both advertisements and real life experiences that Apple products are for hip, young people and PC products are for old, boring people. You associate Microsoft with work and school and Apple with design and fun. So why when looking to buy a personal product would you consider anything other than Apple?
Well – it’s simple. Apple isn’t the only cool guy in the game anymore. The release of Windows 8 has changed the face of PCs forever. Literally. You can have a touchscreen desktop computer. How cool is that?! Of course, with this new release Internet Explorer and Microsoft have upped their game as well, and Intel now has a wide variety of Windows 8 tablets available that can be used for both work and play.
When considering buying a tablet, most of you would probably just buy an iPad without researching any other tablets out there. I am certainly guilty of that. I wanted a tablet, so I got an iPad. No questions asked. But recently, I was sent an Acer Tablet from Intel and my Apple-biased attitude has changed. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been using both the Acer Tablet and the iPad and have discovered that although they have many similarities, they are actually very different. Here’s what I found out:
Since they’re both tablets, they’re obviously going to be similar. They both function as e-readers for books, magazines, articles, etc — The Intel Tablet even comes with a Kindle app, so you can actually use it as a Kindle. Both tablets are great for browsing the Internet. The iPhone uses Safari, where the Intel Tablet uses Internet Explorer. And as un-cool and as 90’s as you think IE is, it’s really not that bad. Especially the new Internet Explorer featured on these tablets. You can also use both to pin pictures of your future wedding, refresh your Facebook newsfeed, check your email, and watch any TV shows you missed this week.
Another thing both tablets have in common is that they are touchscreen (duh). I prefer the iPad’s touchscreen for two reasons: 1. I’m used to it, as I am on my iPhone 99.5% of my day and 2. the keyboard pops up automatically when you click on any text input area. On my Acer Tablet, I often have to click the keyboard image in the bottom right corner to type. This can be annoying, but I have to admit — sometimes the keyboard pops up on my iPad and iPhone when I don’t want it to. So I guess either way, no one wins. But you can attach a mini keyboard to any kind of tablet… so… problem solved!
If you want to use your tablet to write papers, create spreadsheets, and work on any other kind of document, you will want to go to with an Intel Tablet. You can’t get Microsoft Office on your iPad. Yeah, there’s been talk that Microsoft may release a version of Office for the iPad, but it’s not looking too good.
There isn’t anywhere to store files on an iPad unless it’s a picture, email, or song. But since you can’t really create files on your iPad, you wouldn’t have anything to save anyway. Since the Intel Tablet functions as a desktop, you can save files to folders just as you would on your laptop, home, or office computer. There’s also TWO USB ports on my Acer Tablet, which the iPad certainly does not have. That’s a big plus.
Big Phone or Small Computer?
This is the biggest difference between iPads and Intel Tablets for me. After using both, I have come to find the iPad is a big smartphone and the Intel Tablet is a small computer. The iPad screen is the same one you would find on your iPhone and you have to get apps in order to do anything. The Intel Tablet lets you switch between an interactive interface where can scroll through your apps AND a desktop. Using the desktop screen on the tablet makes you feel like you are using a PC, and it’s because you are. Plug a keyboard into it and you will have yourself a little laptop. This doesn’t make the Intel Tablet better, though. It really depends on what you’re looking for.
All tablets are good sizes — that’s why people love them — but not all are the same. My iPad has a larger screen than my Acer Tablet, but the new iPad mini is smaller. The Intel Tablet is the perfect size for me. Not too big, but not too small. It fits in my bag so I can bring it everywhere. It is definitely heavier than the iPad, but not by much.
Which one is more user-friendly?
If you have an iPhone, you won’t really have anything new to learn from your iPad, since they’re basically one and the same. If you have an Apple computer, the iPad links to your Apple account so you can connect your music, pictures, and any other information from your computer (or phone) directly to your tablet (over the cloud or through a USB). Even if you’re not an Apple person, it’s very easy to navigate. It’s just a bunch of apps! The Intel Tablet does more than the iPad, so there is definitely more to learn. Or at least for me there was, as I had never used Windows 8 before and only use a PC at work (but it’s, like, Windows 1995 so it doesn’t count). I’m still learning how to do different things with the Intel Tablet, but it’s definitely not hard to use. And if you get stuck, there’s always Google.
All in all, it really depends on what you want to use the tablet for. But if you’re looking for something that functions more like a computer — something you can create and save files with — you should most definitely go with an Intel Tablet. They are student, work, AND entertainment friendly, where as the iPad is strictly entertainment friendly only. Even if you just want the tablet to use for fun, you should consider an Intel Tablet. They cost much less than the iPad… and they do much more. But in the end, it’s really up to you. Which one do you think you’d prefer?
Full Disclosure: I received an Acer Iconia W510 Tablet for free from Intel as part of joining the tablet crew. I am free to write whatever I want and all opinions are my own.