Sunday, March 13, 2011

iPad 2 Hands-On with Photos (Aside Notion Ink Adam)

     The single most compared to item in the tablet world has now turned one and grown a little to compete with an ever growing niche. The upgrade was minor, but it was enough to bring it up to date. This thing is thin, fast, and just about everything Apple brags about on their homepage. With all that being said, there are still things that the Adam does better than the iPad. Take a look at the areas where it shines and falls short after the break(s).

You can see the viewing angle difference. Both screens are at full brightness.
     We all knew that the iPad's screen is better than that on the Adam. You can't really notice the resolution difference in everyday use. The iPad's screen seemed to be a little bit brighter (though with more glare), and the viewing angles were almost non-existent. It's important to note that the Adam's LCD has terribleviewing angles. The iPad'sscreen also seemed more responsive in general. The capacitor on the Adam only accepts two finger inputs at a time, while the iPad accepted 10 without a pause. Apple excels at anything to do with touch input.
     The iPad wins here. No question. The only thing the Adam has going for it here is the curve.

     The iPad has an alright speaker on its back, but it is mono and not very loud. I don't need to tell you about the Adam speakers again.
     Tablets aren't exactly meant to be good cameras, and the junk they shove in there just proves the point. The Adam's swivel is rated at 3.2 MP and standard definition video. The photos and videos both turn out mediocre. The rear camera on the iPad can shoot video at 720p, but you would never know it; the photos are even worse at less than a megapixel. While both cameras are just bad we still need a winner in the rink. For still photos, the Adam wins (barely), and for videos the iPad wins because the Adam's micrphone picks up all of the CPU noise. I post a video here soon that demonstrates both of the cameras.
     It is now time to discuss the most important part of any tablet. The iOS on the iPad, with its new dual-core 900 MHz chip is lightning fast. I might even go as far as saying it beats the XOOM. Everything whizzes by and apps take seconds to load. Apple manages to do this by making iOS as lightweight as possible. If something has the possibility of slowing things down, it stays out. One of those things that was stripped down was the multitasking (more on that later).

     The Adam's Eden UI on top of Android is slow. The snail pace and unresponsiveness isn't the fault of the hardware. The homescreen is the silky smooth when replaced with Launcher Pro. On top of the slowness, most of the items that were created by Notion Ink (e.g. the launcher, Mail'd, etc.) have a nasty habit of crashing every once and a while. Android has more potential and strength than does iOS. I want you try and copy a file to a flash drive with your iPad. Better yet, I want you to try to even find a file on your iPad. Pretty hard right?

     Android also excels at multitasking. The Adam disappoints here because NI have replaced the standard app switcher with a panel switcher. There are only about ten apps right now that even have a panel to switch to, so this add-on is worthless. Likewise, the panels should add some side by side multitasking to the experience, but it has very limited amount of uses.

     The iPad has super slick app switching when you double click that home button. The problem? It isn't real multitasking. Only certain actions are allowed to happen in the background like playing music or GPS. Everything else just hangs in a frozen state. The apps have to be written to make use of multitasking as well. On Android, they just multi task; plain and simple. It's all a matter of choice for the software. Do you want fantastic speed with not so much functionality, or do you want awesome functionality (it will be more functional once the software bugs clear up) with less speed.
Smart Cover
     Every tablet needs something that sets it apart from the rest, and here it is. The smart cover is a really good idea. Everything works by magnets. It's held on with magnets, and a magnet in the tip wakes the iPad when you open the cover. The best feature is the stand that it makes when you fold it into the triangle. They make a lot of stands for tablets, but they are all extra thing to carry around... except the smart cover.

     There have been many rumors of less than stellar battery life on the Adam, and most of them are true. Once I removed the cell standby with a simple and safe hack, those worries went away. This will not work with a 3G Adam and the life may not be ten full hours of non-stop use, but it still very good. The iPad's battery lives up to the ten hour mark for the most part.

     It is all a matter of opinion. You have many choices to make. Better screen or more ports? Super thin or have a curvy handle? Android or iOS? Bad swivel camera or two bad fixed cameras? I am perfectly happy with my Adam while I watch the iPad stroll around the house. No one is better than the other, and they excel at different things.
In perfect harmony

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