Tablets aren’t as popular as they were five years ago, but they still have their place. Creative professionals, such as artists and designers, often recommend the iPad Pro line as the best tablet they can use, barring an actual drawing tablet.
Whenever you see someone using a tablet, it’s never a Lenovo. You don’t see a Samsung tablet on Parks & Rec. This is because Apple has been running the tablet game for years, and while companies like Samsung are working to change that, Apple will probably be running the game for a few years more. But why?
The Main Problem: Android
Before I get started, I want to clarify that I am not hating on Android. I’ve used Android phones since I was 13, I used to own Android tablets—the NVIDIA K1 specifically—and I think that Android offers the best customizability and in-depth tinkering a user could ask for.
But Android is garbage for tablets.
Android wasn’t built for tablets, and that fact is immediate when you go and use an Android tablet. There are plenty of apps that aren’t optimized for tablet use, some features are, at best, clunky, and the user experience is not as smooth as an iPad. Love or hate Apple, their user experience is a level above the rest.
Android tablets offered a tablet experience for cheap. When Android tablets were at peak popularity, companies such as Asus, Acer, Lenovo, etc. were offering tablets under $100! But tech is a “get what you pay for” industry, and these tablets suffered from their low price point.
Due to Android being open source, many companies were even selling $40 tablets. What you ended up with was a slow, fragile hunk of tech that could be better used as a paperweight than a tablet.
These cheaply made tablets hurt the reputation of Android tablets but also introduced a performance difference that Apple didn’t have. You knew what you were getting when you bought an iPad, but you couldn’t say the same about an Android.
This problem still exists today, but the only Android tablets that are actually present in the tablet game is Amazon’s Fire series and Samsung’s S and A series. Amazon works well because of their low price point and Fire OS, and Samsung’s offerings are expensive but bring good performance.
However, iPad’s have had years to dominate the market using the shortcomings of Android tablets, and it’s not a domination that will be easily reversed.
Google has sort of…given up on tablets. Instead, they moved their priorities to Chrome OS, their lightweight, cheap, alternative to regular tablets.
Unlike Android tablets, Chrome OS is known for being a smooth, user-friendly experience due to it’s lightweight nature. Chrome OS is as barebones of an OS as you can get, and Google uses it effectively.
Where Chrome OS truly shines is when it’s used in a 2-in-1 format, similar to the Microsoft Surface. Chrome OS offers a smooth, tablet-like experience, and only for around $300! The Samsung S5e costs $400!
Chrome OS outshines Android in every way when it comes to portable devices, especially if you’re a college student. It’s kind of like the equivalent of finding a really good VPN discount.
In no way am I saying that all Android tablets are bad, per se, but they I am saying that they lack the quality and polish that iPads offer. I can buy the latest iPad for $250, whereas Samsung is charging me $400 for their offering. Why would I ever go with Samsung’s offering?
I may disagree with Apple’s proprietary practices, their belief in form over function, and their tendency to sacrifice freedom for business, such as their VPN purge in China, but I can’t deny that their tablets reign supreme for a reason. For some, form is all that matters. Others may not care about proprietary chargers or software.
I also hold a grudge against a $25 tablet I had during middle school. Is it petty? Yes. Do I care? Not at all.