ipad vs android vs surface rt

A tale of three tablets.

Ok I admit it, I am a technophile. If finances allowed I would be knee deep in every gadget I could get my mitts on. One of the benefits of owning a business that supports technology is, it is rather easy for me to convince myself that my techno lust is justified as I need to “research” emerging devices and educate myself in the operation and utilization of said devices to properly support our customers. So given that back story, I am the proud owner of three tablet computing devices.

The first device is an Acer A500

acer a500

Computer Doctor of Hampden Acer A500

The device itself is well built, here is a link to a full review on the device. The shortcomings that make me under utilize this device include less then stellar navigation, an app store that you have to wade through and hope you don’t download a bug ridden mess that locks up your tablet. However, my biggest pet peeve is the fractured development platform. If you are lucky you get one major OS jump after purchase, then you just fester wishing you could work your way though the alphabet with sweet android goodness. No Jellybeans or Kitkats in my tablets future. Each manufacturer tweaks the OS release and decides which models will get a new update. This reeks of planned obsolescence to me.

My next tablet was a gift from my wife, that means I am not allowed to sell,trade or barter it away. For those of you who are unfamiliar, here is the iPad 3 in all its gleaming retina display glory.

Computer Doctor of Hampden iPad3

Computer Doctor of Hampden iPad3

The iPad just plain works and it does what it proclaims to do very well. With a minimum of fuss this finely crafted hunk of aluminum delivers in every respect. It is not however a laptop, it fills a niche Apple created with the advent of apps. If your needs can be met within the App store, it can and will continue to be all (some) people need to interact with media, lite gaming, email and social media. The beauty I see in the device is the huge variety in the app store, the decent job of vetting the apps therein and a unified hardware and software platform that is well supported.


My latest acquisition  is the Microsoft Surface RT. A relative latecomer to the game Microsoft opens the door to laptop replacement by adding Office 2013 as part of the mix as well as a nice keyboard, built in kickstand  and an actual full size usb port. An interesting twist is Microsoft uses it’s own version of the magsafe adapter, something that would be a welcome addition to the iPad.

MS Surface RT

Computer Doctor of Hampden Microsoft Surface RT

What do I use these devices for? The Android tablet is relegated to act as a cash register in my office using the Square reader, not that it isn’t capable but I don’t have time to futz around with it and with choices why  not use the best device for a given set of tasks, The Acer tablet has a big screen and mounted in a stand it captures signatures and I wouldn’t be heart broken if it hit the floor.

The iPad3 has many uses. My daughter loves it, she uses it for games and reading books on the kindle app and netflix. It is the one that comes along for family trips and vacations. I will use it for apps like flipboard which is a gorgeous app that collects media from many sources and displays it in a beautifully elegant format. Once again the iPad’s strong suit is the mature development community with an endless selction of great apps. I will also check email, facebook, linked in etc when on vacation. The iPad is my recommendation if you have younger children and if you or a family member have been looking to switch from a laptop and you are more of a consumer of media and information than creating and editing files and docs, this is the winner hands down.

This leaves the Microsoft Surface RT. A horse of a different color for sure and for many it can replace your laptop. With the upcoming Windows 8.1 release you will not only have a very familiar Windows 8 experience but with the bundled Office 2013 RT you can have a full MS touch enabled office suite including outlook. The added value of that software package alone is worth the price of admission. The Surface RT will not run standard windows x86 programs but with Office many of your needs are taken care of. the Windows app store is no longer a ghost town, but it does have a long way to go. Where Microsoft screwed up marketing wise I feel is making any comparison at all to an iPad. If you are looking for an iPad experience you will be disappointed this is not an iPad! If you are looking to have a uber portable windows laptop replacement that also features some pretty cool apps than this is an amazing device at a bargain price.