Monday, January 20, 2014

A Tale of Two Tablets

Back in October, I started looking at tablets. We are still in the stone age with regards to cellphones - I have a 3G flip phone, as does my husband, and neither of us text or use the thing for pictures or anything like that. All we do is talk on it.

I looked at the Kindles and the MS Surface. I did not look at iPads much, because they were much more expensive. It's too bad I didn't buy stock in Apple years ago, because if I had I'd be rich. Oh well. We can't all own it or it would be worthless.

On Christmas morning, my husband surprised me with both tablets. He gave me the Kindle Fire and the MS Surface. He bought the lower end of both on Black Friday and paid very little for each (he showed me the receipts after I protested). I don't think he realized that I was looking at buying one or the other, not both. But he did get very good deals - they were each about 75 percent off list price. He got both for about the price of one, so I could not say much about the extravagance.

It has been almost a month and I have toyed with both items. The Kindle Fire is very easy to use. All I had to do was log into my Amazon account and there were my books and music I'd purchased. There are many free apps available, including popular games like Candy Crush and Words with Friends. If the thing updated I was not aware of it.

It has taken me a while to adjust to reading on it, even though I also have a first generation Nook and so have used an e-reader before. I have had trouble figuring out how to highlight and make notes, things like that. I should probably read up on it but I generally piddle with things first and look at directions last. I will eventually read the instructions.

The MS Surface is bigger than the Kindle. I like the size of it, as it is easier on my eyes. It has a good feel to it. It has a kick stand in the back so that if you purchase the keypad that is available (sold separately, and expensively, I might add), you can have a mini-laptop. It is lightweight, very portable. It has a space for a mini-SD disk, and since I am not much of a "cloud" person that appeals to me.

It is a hybrid between a tablet and a PC, really. You must have a MS email account to sign in, and I did not like that much. I already have about 10 email accounts and didn't really want another. I also seemed to have to sign in frequently at the beginning, which is a pain because I try to create difficult passwords.

The Surface comes with Office for free, but at first it came with an "Office preview" and I had to go online and figure out that I needed to hunt for a line in Windows setup to download Office. I did that, and was happy to see Word, Excel, etc. there for my use. However, the default save is to the cloud, which is called SkyDrive.

A lot of MS apps were preinstalled, like Bing news and finance, Skype, - things that were of little interest to me, really. Going into the MS apps store, it doesn't appear that any of the popular game apps are even available there. I am puzzled by this.

Like most MS pcs, the thing kept downloading and updating. Then it decided to do an entire new Windows version update. So I let it sit and do its updating thing and messed with the Kindle.

As of today, I am using the Kindle more than the Surface. I don't have Facebook on either tablet, but will eventually put it on the Surface, I suppose. I also haven't hooked all of my emails into either device. I want to try to keep the Kindle for reading but the fact that it has the better game apps is, well, irritating. I imagine there is some way to get those apps on the Surface but I haven't bothered to figure it out.

Now that I have spent time with both tablets, I would tell anyone who asked to go purchase the high-end Kindle. I think that's the Kindle Fire HDX with 32 GB or something like that. Either that or the iPad. I can't really speak to the iPad since I don't have one, but I suspect it is probably the better product.

*Nobody paid me anything to talk about any of the products mentioned in this post.*


  1. You really should put the Facebook app and a few others on your Kindle and Surface. I love reading on the Kindle app on my iPad. When I bought the Air, I went to 32G and haven't regretted. I have loads of apps on it, but haven't paid for a single one since the Apple app store has so many free ones. My old iPad 2 at 16G was close to being filled up. A tablet is so much easier to lug around a tablet than a laptop if you're going out, but even at home, I find I'm using the iPad more than the computer.

  2. It is such a pain to learn to use a new electronic gadget that I can't imagine trying to learn two at once! I'm sure you will become comfortable soon...and then it will update and you will have to start over.

  3. I have a Kindle Fire (no HD) and love it but prefer using my big computer for any 'computer' work. Maybe it's because it's like an old friend to me. Nothing beats an old friend.

  4. I got the Kindle Paperwhite back in the summer and I must say that I do like using it. However I will always be drawn to an actual book, I love the feel and smell of them!

  5. I have a sneaking feeling that the Kindle HD would have suited my needs as well as the (expensive) Ipad. I intend to find out, one of these days.

  6. I would love to get one of the higher-end, all-purpose Kindles, but they're a bit out of my price range right now. Amazon has a ton more free books than B&N, in a wide variety of genres. I have the PC app, but rarely use it as I hate reading on the computer. A friend of mine has three Nooks, and gave me the basic one to use, seeing as we have similar tastes in reading. I have used the other two at her house, and much prefer the tablet over the other. Though both connect to the internet, the tablet is far superior and easier to use. For now, I'll be content with the borrowed basic Nook, but one of these days...I would really like a Kindle.

  7. Oh god, I don't even know half the stuff you guys are talking about. I have a tablet that Kurt got me for my birthday last year. I couldn't tell you what kind it is. Some no-name brand I think. Certainly not a Kindle. He put a few books on it for me a couple a months ago and that was cool. And that's about all I've done so far. I'm lucky I'm on this computer. I'll get there though... It just takes me longer.


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