A question from a reader and mucky screens

By | February 1, 2015
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I had a question the other day that I thought other people might like to know the answer to… so here you go…

An answer to a question I got the other day (iPads vs Android)
I had an email the other day, from someone who’d read my note on how to tell whether a tablet is an iPad or one running Android:
What would be useful to know – and I think what most people want to know – is what each does. When you have neither we want to know exactly what we can get from each one before we decide which to buy. That’s the question!

Good question – after all, if you’ve already got a tablet, you might want to check what it is. But if you’re thinking of getting one, how do you decide which to get?

What’s the difference between them?

Well, the surprising answer is “Not as much as you might think”.

I mean, they’re made by different people and they work in different ways. But they do much the same things.

For example, when you turn them on with the on button, on both you have to slide something on the screen to finish turning it on (so it knows you haven’t accidentally pressed the button while it was in your bag).

On an iPad, you touch the middle of the screen and slide your finger to the left, sliding the picture on the screen over.

On most Android tablets you touch a padlock in the middle of the screen and slide it out to a circle around the edge of the screen.

Slightly different, but basically doing much the same sort of thing.

And you can use both for more or less the same things. You can browse the web, read and send emails, watch online TV, read ebooks, play games, use online maps and so on – on either type.

The most famous limitation is that Amazon’s Kindle Fire (which is their Android tablet) won’t let you run most of Google’s services.. so you can’t watch videos on YouTube or download apps from the Google Store. But even there, Amazon have their own store, so it’s not as big a difference as it sounds. And other Android tablets don’t have that limitation.

So a lot of it comes down to two things: which you prefer using (in my experience, they’re pretty similar, so if you haven’t used either, it doesn’t make much difference). And which one has the exact features and price you want.

For example, you might want one that has a camera that you can use for video phone calls, but apart from that you might just want one that isn’t too expensive. So you might go for one of the cheaper Android tablets (Android ones tend to be a bit cheaper for the same level of power, generally).

On the other hand if your next door neighbour has an iPad and you’ve borrowed it a couple of times, you might go for that just because you’ve got a little bit of a head start on how it works.

I wish I could give a more definite answer to “What’s the difference” and “Which should I get”. But despite what the techies like to suggest, there isn’t that much difference between what you experience with an iPad or an Android tablet. It’s much more important to think about whether you want a camera for video calls, how big a screen you’d like (7 inch is great for ebooks and occasional web browsing… and carry in a bag or pocket – 10 inch is great for more web browsing, writing emails and so on – and the bigger screen makes it easier to tap the right part of it!) and how bothered you are about how long the battery lasts between charges.

And if you really really want a definite answer, well, when Dad wanted a tablet last year and asked for some advice, we talked about what to look for and he settled on a Samsung Galaxy Tab, which runs Android. With a ten inch screen. I’m not saying it’s right for everyone (in fact, it’s not the one I use – I use a mixture of an iPad and a Nexus 7, but then I deliberately use both to stay up to date with them both) but it was a good option for him.

One more thing to help you choose

Oh, and if you have already decided whether to get an iPad or an Android tablet, but you’re not sure which one (even if you’ve chosen a manufacturer, there are lots of options like how much memory/storage space, what cameras, what size screen…), both the iPad and the Android books do cover this in a bit more detail, so if you’re thinking of getting them it could be worth getting them before you buy the tablet, to help you choose exactly what model.

If you already have a tablet, of course, then it’s easy to decide which version of the books you want – if you have an iPad, you want the ipad one, otherwise the Android one.

Read more here.

Smears or dust on your screen? Here’s what to do…
If you have a PC with a monitor, and you get any direct sunlight on it (I know, seems pretty unlikely at the moment, with snow, hail, sleet and rain the order of the day) you might notice that it tends to get a build-up of dust on it.

And it’s worth wiping it off because it does affect how clear the picture is.

If it’s just dust, then it’s pretty easy. Just use a soft dry cloth.

But if you find there are smears on the screen, it’s worth cleaning them off, too. We seem to get them all the time at home because Alastair and Edward keep forgetting that our home laptop isn’t a touchscreen one!

You can buy special screen wipes, but all the ones I’ve tried have actually smeared it more! So I find the best way to do it is simply to turn it off and wipe with a damp cloth. Then gently dry it with a soft dry cloth to stop any water marks.

It’s all it needs.

If you have a tablet or smartphone or a touchscreen laptop, you can do the same thing (again, turn it off first and only use a damp cloth, not a wringing wet one!) Yes, you can buy a pack of fancy wipes, but you probably don’t need to – nothing wrong with doing it the simple way!

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