Why I Exchanged My iPad Air For An NVIDIA Shield Tablet

After years of being surrounded by iOS users who swear by their devices and apps, I gave in and purchased an iPad Air as a belated birthday gift. The design is ergonomic and beautiful. The apps are brilliantly optimized. There’s something special about the unity between hardware and software that only Apple could pull off. I really wanted to like the device; however, only five days later, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to go back to my beloved Android platform.

I returned the iPad and purchased the (much cheaper) NVIDIA Shield Tablet – I already regret even giving iOS a chance. To be fair (and by no means is this a review of the Shield), here are some reasons why I had to come back to Android.

  • I’ve grown accustomed to front facing speakers on my HTC One M8, and for the tablet form factor, it makes NO sense to have side facing speakers like the iPad. Watching media and playing games while holding the tablet often required hand repositioning to avoid obstructing the speaker. Now I can prop up my tablet and enjoy watching movies or playing games with great audio.
  • I have countless micro USB charger cables throughout my apartment. Some hooked up to my workstation, others to my Chromebook, and even more connected to outlets. It’s become a universal charging standard for my gadgets ranging from smartphones and tablets to wireless headsets and Bluetooth keyboards. The iPad Air was my first and only device with a lightning connector which made transport, syncing, and charging inconvenient since I only had one cable. This was actually a much bigger deal than I thought.
  • Those who know my obsession with the Android developer community know that I’m a compulsive ROM flasher. This freedom just doesn’t exist on iOS. The interface is extremely limited, and quite frankly, trailing Android by years. Each new iteration of iOS brings “updates” which Android has had for a long… long time. This is perhaps the single biggest reason I could not leave Android – the freedom of choice. Apps which let me customize the interface. Bootloaders which can be hacked. Partitions which can be formatted to different file systems. The list goes on and on.
  • Using my Android smartphone and the Shield Tablet as storage devices is super easy. I can connect to a random computer and map the internal storage as a drive for transferring files without the need of iTunes.
  • I use Google. A lot. Chrome, Hangouts, Maps, GMail, Webmaster Tools, YouTube, Drive, Keep, Contacts, Rewards, and Calendar are only some of the apps which I use on a daily basis. Why deviate from Android, an OS managed by Google which synthesizes all of one’s online information into an intelligent, personal assistant – Google Now.
  • I already purchased a dozen-or-so applications on Android which I would have to re-purchase for iOS if I went that route.
NVIDIA Shield Tablet, cover, and SD card

So why didn’t I wait to purchase the Nexus 9? After all, it’s a Nexus device with the stock Android experience, more timely updates, and running the latest hardware.

In the end, the fact that both the Shield Tablet and Nexus 9 run a NVIDIA Tegra K1 chipset already made them pretty comparable. The Shield pretty much runs stock Android and has been receiving timely updates from NVIDIA since its release (with the promise of Android Lollipop coming soon!) Furthermore, the SD card expandability, Shield Hub, stylus (for awesome apps like NVIDIA Dabbler and Evernote), and optimization for gamers really put it over the edge in my mind. 🙂

Once upon a time, I upgraded to an iPhone 4… and then gave it to my mom three weeks later because I couldn’t stand it. Fast forward four years, and iOS still disappoints me when I give it a chance.

I’ll never betray you again, Android!

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