Last updated on July 21st, 2023
After years of owning Android tablets, plus a Fire tablet, I’ve finally bought my first-ever iPad.
A few weeks ago, I bought the entry-level 2018 (sixth generation) iPad model, which was on sale (unusually for a new Apple device). It’s a pretty typical iPad model: a 9.7-inch screen, 32GB of storage, and so forth. It also came with a trial for Apple Music, but given I already have Spotify, I’m not sure it’ll be that useful.
The previous tablet
The iPad is replacing a 2017 Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet. While it’s been useful, I wanted something a bit nicer. The Fire’s downsides, as I previously noted, include being a bit sluggish and lacking certain apps. The Amazon app store doesn’t have the range of apps that Google Play offers. While I did sideload Google Play, that still left a few things to be desired.
Additionally, the Fire tablet’s tied primarily to promoting and consuming Amazon and its services. That’s down to the widgets/Fire OS layout and that there’s an extra charge to remove ads from the lock screen.
One of the iPad’s advantages is getting access to the full Apple app store. Just like on my iPhone, I can install all of my usual apps without sideloading anything. Marvel Unlimited is a big example; it requires being sideloaded on Fire tablets, as it’s not in Amazon’s app store.
The iPad’s also a nicer device in general, befitting costing more. The larger, sharper screen makes reading comics a pleasant experience. (The iPad offers 2048 x 1536 resolution, versus the Fire HD 8’s 1280 x 800.)
Apple’s tablet is also a lot less sluggish. This would fit Apple’s hopes to make the iPad capable of doubling as a laptop-replacement device.
Most iOS apps are also actually designed to work well on a larger iPad-sized screen, unlike most Android apps/tablets. Apple’s even recently promoted iOS on the iPad to its own version, iPadOS.
As I already own an iPhone, the iPad also has familiarity going for it, in terms of OS, apps, and usage.
Other than the iPad’s cost, the iPad’s only downside so far is getting used to its larger size versus my previous tablets. All of those were 7- or 8-inch sized devices, and thus were easier to hold in one hand. Still, I did buy a case for the iPad, so that should help.
Overall, I can see why the iPad is the most popular tablet around. It provides excellent features, usability, and quality for its price.
That said, the iPad does have competition at both end of the price scale. On the low end, Amazon Fire tablets, despite the flaws I listed above, are still a very good deal for those with undemanding consumption needs (watching Netflix, checking email, reading ebooks, etc.). I’d certainly recommend them over similarly priced Android tablets. On the higher end, the iPad is competing with Microsoft’s Surface tablets, which have become popular laptop-replacement devices.