As an avid reader, there comes a time when you accumulate so many books, you have to question whether there’s a better solution. Sure, you can donate books when you’re done with them but what if you’d like to read them again or use them for reference. I suppose fabricating some strange furniture out of them is a possibility but whenever company comes over, they’d ask to borrow a book and there goes the end table.
I made the brain boggling decision to find out whether investing in an eReader or Tablet would be worthwhile. Would it really save me money and be any more convenient? Or, would it just be another gadget to frustrate me to the level of cursing and only end up a $300 paperweight? No one likes those; they’re reminders of money badly invested.
It’s a hard decision for an old school traditional type of gal like me to give up on the paper format of books and move to electronic. Books have a mysterious nostalgia to me – don’t ask I can’t explain it.
Like most, I’m a loyal Apple fan. I own an iPhone, MacBook Pro, IMac and have several generations of iPods in various locations. Each, I’ve found, has its own use and place in my life. Even though I’m a huge Apple fan, I had to investigate what else was on the market.
Is the iPad Mini worth the $329 investment or is there a better option?
Before money even enters the equation, you have to ask yourself a few basic questions:
- What will I use this for?
- Will it be easy to use and integrate well into my life?
- How often will I use it to make it a good investment?
- The money question – Can I afford it and/or have I saved for it?
With the answers to those questions solid in my mind, I proceeded to narrow down the options, of which there were many. According to the IDC, tablet shipments totaled 49.2 million units in Q1 2013, surpassing that of the entire first half of 2012. The Top five manufacturers are 1. Apple, 2. Samsung, 3. ASUS, 4. Amazon.com Inc., 5. Microsoft. Surprisingly, the top tablet operating system is Android, followed by Apple’s iOS. The Android OS has experienced a 247% year over year growth; most likely due to Samsung tablets and ASUS Google Nexus tablets.
I knew immediately the traditional, cheapy eReader with the black ink etch a sketch type of screen were out. They were hard to read and the touch capabilities were wonky. Tablet it is! But which one? Tablet offerings in Canada: Samsung, Asus (Google), Apple, Sony, Kindle, and Kobo, all offering several models each.
Has your brain melted yet? Mines almost there and I haven’t picked a tablet yet!
The Two Competitors in the Ring
Ipad Mini 16GB vs. Google Nexus 7 16GB
In this corner: Google Nexus 7 16GB
The Nexus 7 operates on the Android 4.2 system, something I am not used to as an Apple user. The interface is somewhat different from the rows of apps that Apple uses. It was more of a mosaic of apps. Regardless, simple to use overall.
- Hi-Res 7” 1280×800 (216ppi)
- Android allows more user customization
- Notification centre allows for faster replies to social media. No need to load an app first.
- Google Now – a sassier version of Apple’s Siri – a personal assistant that will alert you to your appointments, talk to you about the weather and who knows what else!
- 7” screen, 198.5 x 120 x 10.45 mm, 340g (WiFi Only) – the unit seemed awkward for me to hold, almost a bit too small (narrow) and slightly heavier. This is strange as I have very small hands.
- Higher heat output
- Android apps can be designed and uploaded by anyone. Yep anyone. So, that means if your little ol granny didn’t like your insult about her plum pudding giving you gas at Christmas, you might not want an Android based device. Grannies know how to get revenge! Ultimately, this means they are not tested and could be loaded with spyware and/or viruses.
- Antivirus software is a good idea and available for Android tablets at an extra $50 expense.
- Front facing camera only
- 7.9” 1024×768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch (ppi)
- 200 x 134 x 7.2 mm, 308g (WiFi Only)
- Front and rear cameras
- Some say the color is washed out to compared to other tablets; I have no scientific proof or web article stating so.
- Lightning adapter vs. old iPhone adapter
- Value vs. processing speed compared to similar tablets
The test drive or Show and tell – the fun part!
First research trip
Nothing is better than actually testing out a product. I spent some time at my local electronics store comparing the iPad Mini and the Nexus 7. The touch, feel, ease of use and weight of a device that you’re going to hold for hours are important.
Like your average consumer, I spent over 20 minutes in the store, walking between the units, comparing books, video, games, and apps. Even though the Nexxus 7 has a higher res screen, compared to the Ipad Mini, I found it harder to read a book. The text seemed fuzzy and not as clear as the Ipad Mini.
The sunglasses test – I am serious.
Where do most people read? Outside. In a lounge chair. On a beach. Wearing sunglasses and possibly a floppy hat. That’s what I do…..you don’t do that? Oh.
Well, it made for a fun outing in the store anyways and proved a point. I always thought that the glossy screens of most tablets would make it hard for reading in bright light outdoors. I was also under the impression that it would be near impossible to read them wearing sunglasses. Guess what? Both of my misconceptions proved to be false. Both the Ipad Mini and the Nexus 7 passed the Sunglasses test.
Second trip or “The Purchase” trip:
Going into the second trip, I was clearly leaning towards the Ipad Mini. What was my justification?
- I currently have primarily all Apple devices, so I am used to the platform, the iTunes store.
- The Ipad Mini was more comfortable to hold, just as I would a book and it felt lighter.
I took time to speak to an associate at the store this time around to get their feedback. I told him which units I was comparing and his reaction was immediate – Ipad Mini. All right Mr. Decisive, why do you say that? His response included some interesting points:
Nexus 7 has a longer load time. We tested it and yes, it took an average of 1 minute compared to 17.5 seconds with the iPad Mini.
Nexus 7 cannot be used while plugged into its charger. This didn’t make sense and I couldn’t find it on Google anywhere but when I was in the store, I tried turning the unit on and it wouldn’t. It just flashed the battery-charging symbol. Finally once it was completely charged, it turned on. So strange!
Again, I was told about the Android app problem and that I would have to buy Antivirus software for it. An extra $50 investment unless I wanted to chance spyware and viruses.
Dollars and Cents – Is a tablet worth it or are sticking to books better?
Total cost of Ownership (TCO) is important to me. I worry. A lot. So I’m concerned about things like service, support and how many times will this thing break. Or, how easily will it break. Aside from initial cost, here are things my OCD brain considers:
Ease of use or usability – I already have an iTunes account, do I want to keep track of a Google Play account too? What OS do I prefer?
Available Apps – Apple’s App Store offers 800,000 apps; Google Play has 700,000. (Though that may undersell the disparity: Apple boasts 300,000 iPad apps; Google won’t say how many tablet-optimized apps are available in Android.)
Quality – will this last me 1 year or 10 years?
Support – how easy is it to get this unit repaired or have a question answered.
Cost of accessories (remember you’ll need a case, possibly a keyboard, stylus etc…)
How many books would it take to pay off the initial cost of a tablet?
My book budget per month is $40. The average book costs me $20-30 each. Depending on how busy I am, I average reading 2 books per month, or 24 a year.
$40 budget X 12 months = $480 a year in books minimum. This provides that I don’t go over budget.
Ipad Mini initial cost $329
EBooks average $10.99 each or $24.82 per month. $24.82 X 12 = $297.84
As you can see, if I stick to average priced eBooks I would spend $182.16 less each year. The Ipad Mini would have paid for itself in 2 years of reading based on the $182 a year savings of eBooks vs. physical books.
With bookstores downsizing their in store selection of books and paying shipping for buying online, it’s easy to see that eReaders and tablets are the way of the future. This traditional paperback gal will just have to pony up my birthday gift money I’ve been saving and buy that Ipad Mini.
Oh yea…did I tell you? I bought an Ipad Mini. I love Google but the Ipad was a better fit for me.
Brain is fully melted but I think I have just enough left to accessorize!!