Monthly Archives: August 2013

New Nexus 7 – Initial Impressions of the Google Tablet

I am not a full time tech reporter or reviewer. I just spend a little bit too much time reading about products I rarely purchase.  But with the New Nexus 7, released on July 30, 2013, I have jumped in feet first.

I have had a limited experience with the Android OS, using it on a Motorola Droid 2 in 2010 for about 12 months. It was Android 2.2, whatever was before Gingerbread update. As I told my friends, I like everything about it, but it doesn’t make phone calls very well.  Overall, it was a rough experience and I went back to iOS as soon as possible.

However, with each Android software update, I have continued to be impressed with their direction…in theory. In theory I loved what Google’s OS was doing, but in practice I as miserable.  So, it was with excitement and nervousness that I decide to bite the bullet and get the new Nexus 7 this past month.  Thankfully, with this 7 inch tablet, I want to do just about everything BUT make phone calls! This is my second experience with a tablet, iPad3 user for 12 months in 2012 on iOS 6. So, I have high expectations for what a device can and should do. I am seeking a tablet that will me access my content (books, articles, documents/Evernote) and web content in a pocketable but usable device. I have an iPhone 4s and I am tired of typing on the unforgiving keyboard and squinting at a microscopic screen.

Initial Impressions:

I very much like it, in fact, it might be love.

Pros:

  • Operating System (OS): One of my biggest frustrations with my first experience with Android OS was that it wasn’t smooth. Google has been working on that (in a strangely titled project, “Project Butter,” as in “smooth as butter”) with each OS update. With OS 4.3 Jelly Bean they have nailed it. It is smooth and responsive. 99% of my “touches” are acknowledged and the tablet responds flawlessly.  At this point, granted it is early, I have very much enjoyed this improvement from previous Android experiences.
  • Screen: The screen is amazing. The colors pop and I can’t find a pixel (that is a good thing). At times, the width is a little tight.  It is a 16×9 ratio which is great for movies, but does make PDFs & webpages tricky to find the sweet spot.
  • Value:  It is a great price point ($270 for the 32 GB which is plenty) and looks like it has the specs to be a good tablet for the next 2 years. I am sure you can find it cheaper by looking online a little bit. I think you could also get away with the 16GB version which is $230.
  • Size/Form Factor: As most reviews have said, it does at times feel “tall.” But it doesn’t feel awkward. It is comfortable in one hand and isn’t heavy. The back feels very good, it is a non-slip feel but doesn’t feel tacky/sticky.

Cons:

  • Google Play Store: The bottom line is that iTunes and Apple’s philosophy about having an easier platform to develop for (App makers only have to worry about 3 screen sizes) does make their offering of apps better. Even with “many, many” apps available on both platforms. I have found most of the apps I use on my iOS (iPhone & iPad) that are really innovative (example: Drafts for iOS, Tweetbot, or Checkmark), aren’t available on Android.  Apart from having to purchase them gain, I just can’t find them!  This isn’t the Nexus 7 fault. But it is a problem it has to deal with.

If you are looking for a tablet, this is a great choice. Is it “better” than an iPad? I think it is better than a non-retina iPad (i.e. iPad Mini or iPad 2).  If you have $400+ to spend on a tablet, by all means, get an iPad 4. If you are like most people, you need to find a balance between value and quality, this is the tablet to get.

 

The Quest for Productivity!

Well, I am back at it. With the new school year (and me finally being out of school!) and me now a few months into a new job (Pastor of Wrightsville First UMC), I am exploring a productivity system (i.e. GTD/To Do List/Project Management software) to help me thrive with my life and career.  In the coming weeks (probably months) I will be back to reviewing and exploring various To Do apps and systems and will post my thoughts here.

Cartoon from Natalie Dee

The programs I am considering:

  • Asana: This has been my system of choice for most of the last year. But I have been continued to be frustrated with it’s poor mobile apps. As of today, this is what I have been using, but I am hoping that their are better options.
  • Nozbe: Recommended by Michael Hyatt which says something (he is a productivity nerd). It has some great looking features and has a great track record, pushing 6 years in the GTD “game.”
  • Remember the Milk: Some people love this software and the name. I hate the name and have been unimpressed with my limited (a couple of days) use. I will keep trying it. It does some things amazingly and some overly difficult.
  • Toodledo: I like the philoshpy of this system. It isn’t about “projects” but goals. But sometimes I just want to do a project. So, we will see.
  • Trello: A newcomer, only a couple of years old if that, but it really turns task management/to do’s on it’s ear to see what works best. Imagine comparing this as a church plant with Nozbe being First Church Downtown. It will be able to try things that the other apps won’t even consider.
  • Todoist: I don’t know how far I will get to in this. I don’t want to miss out on a simple system though.

What I have used in the past and won’t be revisiting:

  • Things: Mac only and while beautiful seems to improve VERY slowly. 
  • Producteev: They were bought out about a year ago and I can’t figure what the point or their goal is. To help me GTD or to create a social platform.
  • Wunderlist: Pretty? Yes. Helpful for my needs? No. They continue to improve, but I just don’t think that they are heading in a direction I am going. I want easy, not simple.

What I value and want:

  • Great interface that has quick and through input without having too many choices I have to make for every single entry
  • Mobile apps that offer everything that I need to get things done while away from my computer
  • At this point, I am willing to pay for a GREAT system
  • I am currently using four platforms to work: Mac OS, web, iOS, and Android (thanks Nexus 7!) – I would like to have something that can talk and play nicely with each other!
  • I work alone currently. I don’t need to share my list and I don’t have a team that works together on projects.

 

Ok. The quest has begun. I will you know. Until then I recommend a great site: AlternativesTo. It will help you find some options which you might not have even heard about.