Sunday, June 23, 2013

iPad2 - 2 years later

Several days ago, I read a very interesting post by Dustin Earley who expressed his sentiments regarding Nexus 7 which in his opinion went from the best to the worst tablet he has ever owned over the course of a year.  I've always had an interest in the Nexus 7.  I have an Android phone and I definitely like the more affordable price.  I enjoyed the post as far too often product reviews are conducted during the honeymoon period.  Simply stated, the product is new and shiny and the the owner is often excited and pumped up so it is likely that you are getting a biased "new love" review without the benefit of time.  What is important to me isn't whether it works good for a month; I want to feel as though I will get my money's worth a year or several years out.

I have owned my iPad2 for about a year and had purchased it used where it had been in service for about a year so I am estimating its age at about 2 years old.  One of my concerns in purchasing a used tablet was battery life as batteries can be expected to degrade with age.  The good news here is that I have not found battery life to be an issue.  While I have not performed a scientific study, I would estimate my iPad2 battery life at around 4 or so hours.  I use it on nearly a daily basis for an average of 60 to 90 minutes and charge it every 3 or 4 days.

Dustin cited performance as the underlying issue in his opinion of the Nexus 7 going from best to worse.  The comments to Dustin's post greatly contributed to his post.  In my reading of the comments, it seemed as though Nexus 7 users were about evenly divided as far as their perception of the Nexus 7 after a year.  Of the half with issues, many identified potential explanations as to the reason and some offered potential fixes.  Two of the potential explanations that stick in my mind are the issue of memory space being filled and not thoroughly emptied / restored and the second is the issue of software evolving beyond the capacity of the original hardware.  On both accounts, I would have to report more good news for my iPad2.  I simply have not detected performance issues that I can attribute to memory issues and I have installed and uninstalled numerous apps.  Likewise, I have also installed many updates and thus far have not found my performance impacted.  (I will note that I am not a "gamer" so I may not be sampling some of the heavy CPU / heavy graphics needs of some gaming apps.)

Before you cue Ray Steven's, "Everything is Beautiful," music, I'm going to jump to some of the areas where my iPad2 has lost some luster:
  1. Data Entry:  In fairness, this is not a criticism of the iPad2, but rather my issue with tablets in general.  I am a touch typist (yes, from the days of typewriters and home row keys) and I just don't find tablets conducive to data entry.  As I write this post, I am on "old faithful," my laptop.  I have never written a single post on my iPad2 and prefer my laptop for anything that requires substantial data entry.  Perhaps at some point, I may invest in a blue tooth keyboard and that may help to address some of this issue.  However, I emphasize here for any tablet newbies who are thinking that their tablet will become their "everything" device and replace their computer.

  2. Updates:  While updates have not resulted in a performance issue, there are some opportunities for improvement when it comes to iPad updates.  First, I would like to see an opportunity to back out of an update.  Sometimes even though there isn't a performance issue, you just don't like the update so why shouldn't you be able to go back to the way it was.   Second, I would like to be able to select multiple apps at one time for updating.  Currently, the only way to update apps on my iPad is to either select a single app to update or select to update all apps.  Often, I have a listing of 40 or so apps that have updates available, but I only want to update 4 or so - why shouldn't I be able to just select the four.  It is annoying to have to do it 4 times.

  3. Blogger:  There have been a couple occasions where I have made a typo in a post and wanted to make a quick fix and attempted it on the iPad.  I have found that the Blogger editing will not show your entire post; it will show the upper portion but if the error is on the bottom portion you are not able to fix it while in "Compose" mode.  This is well discussed on the internet and while I realize that you can (and I do) switch to "HTML" mode to make the edit, it is very inconvenient.  This is specifically an iPad issue.  I had an opportunity to test the issue on the Nexus 7 and on that device, I was able to scroll to the bottom of my posting while in "Compose" mode in Blogger.
The critical question that arises whenever you review a product with the advantage of hindsight is:   "if you had the opportunity to do it over would you make the same purchase?"  In the case of the iPad2, the answer is a resounding "yes."  In fact, I may go so far as to say that given my experience with the iPad2, I might have even been inclined to purchase one much sooner.  Despite the items that I've listed above I use the iPad2 on a daily basis, far more frequently than all other devices.  Its quick on start and easy to read size makes it ideal for the quick data finding needs that crop up on a daily basis.  So two years and the love is still strong... too bad my Apple stock hasn't yet felt the love.