I recently bought an iPad Air 2, upgrading from an original iPad 2.
TL; DR: I returned it after 2 days for a Nexus 9 and couldn’t be happier.
Note: this is mostly a blog post for @aaronwolfe so we don’t have to actually discuss this in person.
Having spent 2 full days with each device, I’ll give my early thoughts on both in the style of Brent Rose. Normally I buy (or drink) everything Brent tells me to, which is why I went iPad in the first place, but in this comparison, I think he was pretty far off base.
I agree with Brent here. It’s pretty much a toss up. The Nexus has a little bit of lightbleed around the edges. Doesn’t bother me too much, but it’s there. Slight edge iPad, but overall a tie. They are both gorgeous.
Again, this one is pretty close. They both look great. I went with the white Nexus over the black one after reading complaints about cheap feeling manufacturing on the black one, specifically a slight bubble when you press the back. I have to say, the constuction of the white Nexus is excellent. Doesn’t feel cheap at all, and no bubble in the back. Personally, I prefer it over the iPad. I found the iPad’s sharp metallic edges to be unconfortable. Reminded me of the switch from iPhone 3G to iPhone 4: the sharp metallic corners leave lines on your hands. The Nexus is definitely more confortable. Touch ID is nice on the iPad, but double tap to turn on the Nexus screen is also nice. Slight edge Nexus here for comfort.
(After using the Droid Turbo’s wave-your-hand-in-front-to-see-active-display-notifiations, everything else, including these tablets, seems absurd. It’s one of the most how-did-i-possible-live-without-this-before features I’ve experienced in a long time. Like using a mouse that doesn’t scroll)
Not even close. Nexus has amazing sounding front facing stereo speakers. The iPad has speakers on bottom, or worse, on the side when watching a movie in landscape. It’s like listening to headphones when one earphone breaks. I found it unusable for watching movies without headphones on. Oh, and when you turn the volume up, the entire iPad vibrates. Like a lot. Like a whole lot. You can’t actually listen to music and read at the same time. Nexus=great. iPad=dealbreaker.
I didn’t try the camera on either and never will.
Since it’s not my phone and I just use it for movies and reading, I thought I could get by with iOS. I was so wrong. I forgot how awful iOS is. The put-30-apps-into-a-folder-called-crapple-and-move-it-to-the-last-page thing? It’s ridiculous. Apple Maps? Ugh. Safari? Mail?
And logging into new apps, which you do like 50 times in a row with a new tablet, is a personal hell on iOS. It takes 12 taps, some searching, and a bunch of double clicks to copy-paste credentials from LastPass. Compare that to one-click autofill every single app on Android. Boom.
Speaking of software, this was my first time using Android on a tablet. I found it pretty good but not earth shattering. On a phone, it’s earth shattering. Google Now, Aviate, etc. It literally blows my mind every day. On a tablet that I use in the evening? Well, it’s fine. It gets out of the way, which is mostly what I want.
Oh, and it runs Lollipop too. Lollipop is pretty enough, but nothing too exciting for me. I was already using ART. Most of my apps already upgraded to Material Design in KitKat. Motorola’s active display notifications really are fantastic, so the new Lollipop notifications aren’t a huge leap. I think if you’re coming from 4.3 or a non-Motorola device, it’s a pretty sweet upgrade. For me, meh.
I didn’t notice a difference.
I am loving the Nexus 9. Between iOS, the mono speaker on one side, and the vibrating speaker, the iPad Air 2 was a complete nonstarter.