I’ve had my Google Nexus 7 tablet for a little over three months now. I had been looking at tablet computers for a little while but hadn’t quite got to the point of investing a squillion quid on the offchance that my life would be transformed by having one. I had seen plenty of people with iPads and most seemed very pleased with the convenience and usefulness of the device. Many people have been considering their application in education, not least Ollie Bray, who has published a series of posts recently on how to ensure their impact on teaching and learning.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I won a Nexus 7 in the Krystal Hosting Halloween draw (thank you!).
Hardware – display problems
Imagine my surprise and delight when the display started flickering erratically after three weeks. I called Google support. Not their problem. I called Asus support. They arranged courier collection and transport to Holland for repair. They sent it back by courier, “no fault found”. It still had the fault. It went back. Courier again. It came back, “no fault found”. It still has the fault but after all the shuggling about travelling around Europe, it’s infrequent. A few more trips should have it sorted out, but why didn’t they just replace the evidently faulty unit and save all the courier costs?
Software – The Google Play App Store
There are loads and loads of good apps available either free or for a few quid on the Google Android “Play” App Store. Not all of them are bug-free: I downloaded Infinite Design today, having tried the free version and been impressed by the beautiful interface and functionality of this intuitive drawing app. The paid version (£3.22) includes the ability to export vector graphics, which I might use with Video Scribe software to produce digital artefacts for the mooc I’m enrolled in. Imagine my surprise and delight when the paid version of Infinite Design crashed frequently, to the point of being unusable. I checked the returns procedure and discovered that you have 15 minutes in which to return apps bought in the Google Store, after which it’s, “screw you, contact the author” (I’m paraphrasing here, obviously). Now, I’m no lawyer, but I think that’s not right under consumer rights legislation in the UK. It certainly not filling me with confidence as my finger hovers over the purchase button as I ponder my next killer app download. As I’m writing this, by the way (on my trusty never-gone-wrong-in-three-years-even-after-all-the-abuse-it’s-had Apple Mac), I’m using the Nexus to examine the Google App Store App, which has just crashed.
So far, I’ve found that the tablet computer is a wonderful thing, allowing me, when in a wifi-zone, to do some pretty good things, be highly productive with maps, email, calendar and all the googly goodness of modern technophiliac living. I figured out how to fix the bug in the Infinite Design app – I just uninstalled and re-installed the program and it seems fine now, apart from the occasional flickering of the display. I will continue to use it because I still can’t afford an iPad mini and I’d rather have my flaky Nexus than a naePad.
If I were in the market for a tablet computer, would I buy the Nexus at £160 or the iPad mini for a hundred quid more? I think that because for me it is important for things to just work, I’d go for the Apple and consider the extra expense justified in the cost of the time I don’t have to spend pfaffing about with stuff that doesn’t.