Are tablets making us better? Yes and no.

IdeaPad vs. Kindle Fire vs. iPad

This is my last post about my Lenovo Tablet nightmare experience. Six months ago (check the original post here) I made a wish list of all the wonderful things I wanted to get done with my brand new Tablet. Here’s the update:

What did I plan to achieve with my new toy?

1. Read more eBooks with­out burn­ing my legs while try­ing to fall asleep.
Accomplished. Not only do I not have to deal with the heat and weight of my MacBook Pro, but since I can’t type as fast on the Tablet, I don’t spend much time checking and replying to emails or working on other things. I effectively have doubled my annual reading average.

2. Update this blog from any cof­fee shop, read while com­mut­ing, work on a plane.
50/50. The Tablet is not comfortable for typing long articles like this one, and the apps are relatively slow. But reading on planes (or buses, or the subway) is absolutely wonderful. By the way, seven inches is the PERFECT size for a Tablet—big enough to read, small and light enough to hold it with only one hand.

3. Watch more movies, and use Google Music.
Accomplished. The movie quality is not great but it does the trick, especially while waiting for a delayed plane at the airport. You can set Google Music to download selected songs so you don’t need to be online to enjoy the app. Awesome.

4. Use sev­eral film­mak­ing tools includ­ing a Director’s Viewfinder, and Slate.
Not accomplished. Bright sunlight is like kryptonite to the Tablet. Plus, both cameras on the IdeaPad A1 are SO bad that compared to my two-year old HTC cell phone (add link to serendipity search results) it is like a medium format back compared to a point and shoot.

5. Per­haps use it as an Exter­nal Mon­i­tor while shoot­ing video (more on this in an upcom­ing post).
Not accomplished, I was too naive. There is no way to physically connect the camera to the Tablet, and the wi-fi solutions are still too slow and clumsy.

6. Read my RSS Feed with my morn­ing cof­fee with­out feel­ing that I’m already “in the office.”
Absolutely yes! Since I now live half a block away from Ocean Parkway I have been enjoying the summer sitting on a bench in the late afternoon, catching up with news or enjoying a great book.

7. Avoid car­ry­ing my lap­top to meet­ings where I only need to take notes, while hav­ing access to all my Google Docs.
Sorta, kinda accomplished. It worked great for the short time that the Micro SD Card reader was working (read my previous article about this issue here [link to Tablet part 3). Let’s see how long the new Tablet will last.

8. Check my email accounts (I have four), and cal­en­dars (I have five) with­out hav­ing to worry about sync­ing issues.
Google apps are incredible. Everything syncs amazingly fast and trouble free.

9. Use it as a GPS on road trips (I have been using my phone with great success).
Not accomplished. The GPS on the first Tablet was broken since day one. I’ll test the new Tablet but my hopes are pretty low. The positive side is that Google Maps works fairly well, even when there isn’t a Wi-Fi connection available. Once again, Google saves the day.

10. For $200 I get pretty much the same, or bet­ter, specs than the Kin­dle Fire and Nook Color, but I have access to the full Android Mar­ket­place AND the Kin­dle Reader app. If I com­bine this with Ama­zon Prime ($79/year or $39/year if you are a stu­dent) I believe I can get the best of all worlds.

I did get the Amazon Prime membership and dumped Netflix. I has been a great experience (no minium order),  I have saved time and money (free 2-day shipping), and even though the movie selection is not as good as Netflix I now have 70+ movies on my “queue.”


A research study at Carnegie Mellon University called the Ultimatum Game comes to mind. Two people receive some money to be split between them. One proposes how to split the money, and the other decides whether to accept the proposal or not. If they don’t agree, neither of them gets a reward. The game demonstrated that when people receive five dollars out of ten dollars, they feel much happier than when they receive, five dollars out of twenty. They get the same amount, but the second scenario feels “unfair” even if it is not.

I feel the same about the Tablet. For $200 I am getting a lot more than similarly priced devices (like the Kindle Fire), but because not everything works (GPS, Micro SD Card, cameras, etc.) and Lenovo’s tech support has been absolutely terrible, I feel that I am not getting a fair deal. It would be nice to hear back from either Lenovo or Kindle users. Have you had similar experiences?

IdeaPad vs. Kindle Fire vs. iPad