Monday, July 29, 2013

Nexus 7 vs. iPad Mini

From the picture above, Homer and Marge appear to be confused and unsure about their upcoming tablet purchase.  The salesperson is doing all that is possible, but the stalemate continues:  Nexus 7 or iPad Mini?

The team at have a great article today comparing the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini (read here).  While the article is very clear and uses the specs of each unit to compare for a general audience, there are some educational aspects worth noting, as well.

To begin, a 7" slate is not the best choice, in my mind, as a tablet for all grades.  I love the idea of smaller children having the smaller device (7-8"), but once a student needs to write sentences, take notes, or do both math and scientific calculations, the device needs to mimic paper in size.  I'm not sure where that cutoff might be, but I am guess that K-4 should handle a smaller device just fine, while 5-12 grade need something larger.  And not only does the interaction matter, there are ergonomics to consider.  The smaller children with the smaller hands need a device they can hold comfortably, which a 7-8' tablet affords.

After reading the excellent comparison, I wish Adam Mills (the author) had used the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as a comparison as well.  I say this because I am a fan of the stylus in educational tablets, and the Note 8 has a very useful stylus in a stylish on par with the iPad Mini at the least (my own opinion).

From the list of features both have, two are very useful in the educational setting and cannot be discounted.  They are

  1. Wireless charging
    • Imagine the class never worrying about running out of battery juice because the device is being charged, wirelessly during the class!  An IT and teachers dream and no more "Dr. Z, my tablet won't work because the battery is dead."
    • I'll be honest, I have not looked into the wireless charging and don't know if you can charge while the device is in use.  But, if the tablet can charge even for the 10 minutes between classes, then that's better than nothing.
  2. Multi-user support
    • A very, very important feature if your school keeps the devices in a particular class and students come TO the device.  So, if the tablet is kept in one room, the students who use the tablet change class-to-class and day-to-day within a class.  Having the ability for multiple users to login to the device and have a server app that then updates the tablet to the users settings is very important.  Apple iOS does not at this time allow for multiple users and cannot be used in such a way.
So, if all else is equal in terms of apps you want to use and IT support, then the Nexus 7 is a good choice for the budget conscious school wanting a 7" tablet for their classroom.

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