iPad vs. Nexus 7

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Jay Honeck, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had the unique pleasure of testing the Nexus 7 side-by-side with the iPad on our flight to OSH this year. Since Mary took the first leg, I had nearly 5 hours to button mash and play. :D

    First, the competitors:

    The iPad. Mine is the First Version of the iPad. Gorgeous screen, beautiful piece of hardware, saddled with a horrendous operating system. I mean, who came up with the idea of using your music software to delete photos? I've owned it and flown with it for a couple of years.

    The Nexus 7. I have been waiting impatiently for an Android tablet that could go head-to-head with the iPad. The Galaxy was close, but not quite. This one, running the newest version of Android called Jelly Bean, is simply amazing. With the NVidia processor, and a gorgeous screen, it is everything I've been waiting for -- and more.

    I knew that I would be purchasing an ADS-B receiver at OSH, the only question was: Which tablet would I use to display traffic and weather? So, the games began.

    First, I downloaded the Garmin Pilot app onto both units. I also downloaded Naviator onto the Nexus, and I already had SkyCharts Pro on the iPad. Since I didn't have the ADS-B receiver yet, I couldn't assess how that would work, but the software was all the same or similar -- basically moving-map charts, georeferenced to our position in the air.

    For the first hour, I had the iPad on my left knee, and the Nexus on my right. This gave me a virtual 17" screen on my lap -- very cool. :lol:

    First impressions:

    Screen brightness/readability: A tie. Both are gorgeous and bright. The Nexus is just a smidge better in direct sunlight, but later-model iPads have brighter screens. Both disappear with polarized sunglasses at certain angles -- an aggravation.

    Size.

    The iPad: I have never been able to find a comfortable place for the iPad in the cockpit. We bought a suction mount for it at OSH 2011, and it broke on the way home. Even when it worked, it simply blocked too much of the outside world. It always ends up on someone's lap, where it can't be seen.

    The Nexus: This thing is perfectly sized for the cockpit. It fits on a knee without teetering. It fits between the yoke handles. It fits in the pocket of my cargo pants. A clear win for the Nexus.

    Processor Speed

    The iPad is plenty fast -- but the Nexus is faster. That Nvidia processor, tied to that gorgeous screen makes it more fluid, with the little plane never not moving. It was close, but the Nexus wins.

    Software

    The Garmin Pilot app is brand new, and it shows. It's going to take Garmin some refining to bring it up to the level of Naviator, SkyCharts, and Foreflight. Since it's Garmin, however, I suspect they will do it right. They've already released two updates in the last two weeks!

    On the iPad, it runs sweetly, and allows a split screen between navigation info and the moving map. On the Nexus -- only out for two weeks -- it runs perfectly, but the software doesn't recognize it as a "tablet". This means it thinks it's running on a phone, so there is no "split screen" option.

    This means you have to toggle back and forth between navigation and map screens -- which is ridiculous. This is a Garmin problem, not a Nexus 7 problem, and I hope they get it fixed soon. Because of this major PIA, the iPad wins this one. When Garmin fixes this glitch, it will be a tie.

    Cost

    The Nexus 7 cost $246. The iPad ran over $600 in 2010 money. Obviously this little Asus/Google product is the better value.

    Usability

    This is subjective, of course, but the smaller size and portability meant that the Nexus 7 accompanied me EVERYWHERE on the grounds at OSH. Using the Sporty's/EAA schedule app, we always knew when and where the next Big Thing was happening.

    The iPad -- always too danged bulky -- stayed in the plane.

    There are other wonderful features of the Nexus.

    - No stupid proprietary charging cord. Got a USB cord? Charge it up!
    - No more iTunes! You can connect the Nexus 7 to your laptop, and it appears as just another drive, like your thumbdrive. Add/delete files as easily as drop & drag.
    - Complete integration with gmail. This alone makes it worthwhile, for me. Once you sign in with your gmail account, the Nexus 7 is completely up-to-date, and stays that way. All contacts, photos, etc. are instantly accessible, and always up-to-date.

    But, it all comes back to size. By the second leg of the flight, the iPad was relegated to the back seat. We haven't turned it on since Day One of our flight to OSH.

    Android FINALLY got it right, IMHO.
     
  2. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route PoA Supporter

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    It had better be more fluid - it needs a 12 core graphics processor to achieve that (and to only drive a 1280x800 display). :yikes:
     
  3. fnpdoc

    fnpdoc Pre-Flight

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    Doing a comparison between a brand new product and a product that has been out for a long time. The IPad has 2 newer iterations.

    Compare IPad 3 with the nexus 7. This comparison is pretty worthless, no offense meant. :)
     
  4. Captain

    Captain Final Approach

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    $499 vs. $199

    Closed vs. Open

    Ummmmm. I think Nexus 7 has a brigh future.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  5. Mafoo

    Mafoo Cleared for Takeoff

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    I like the Nexus 7, as I have spent a lot of time with it. I also have owned every iPad.

    While I find the Nexus great, I would suspect your observations, for the purpose of helping someone make a purchase choice, should be with the latest iPad, and not one for several years ago, that no longer can be purchased new.

    Lastly, usability.

    iTunes can very much be a positive, if you likes its features. I for one, would take the iPad over the Nexus strictly for this feature. I get very nice playlists created for me, and being I have far more music then the thing can hold, it does a very good job of predicting what I want to listen to based on my listening habits. All the genius features I like. You don't get that when you setup a music player like an external hard drive.

    I also like using iTunes to sort and organize my several hundred apps with my computer, and not the device.

    As for integration with gmail, my email account is gmail, and it integrates perfectly with the iPad. Calendars and all.

    If I could only have one for everything I would want a tablet for, there is no question it's an iPad. However the size of the Nexus I think makes it a better device for a cockpit instrument.

    It's a very nice tablet, and the price means I can own them both. However in a perfect world, Apple would make a 7" iPad. Rumor has it that will happen in September.
     
  6. Mafoo

    Mafoo Cleared for Takeoff

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    When you are doing something where reliability is important, closed works better.

    While iOS and it's apps are not perfect by any means, the quality of the underlying OS, and the apps on it are worlds ahead of Android.

    What you lose with iOS, is the ability to run an app Apple does not approve. If there are none of those, take the closed system.
     
  7. John221us

    John221us En-Route PoA Supporter

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    +1 the aviation apps have not caught up yet on the Android platform. Developing on Androids is more expensive, due to the vast variety of devices and and displays the app needs to be vetted on. The closed and limited platform accelerates app development.
     
  8. Funkeruski

    Funkeruski Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Pretty unfair comparing it to the first iPad. I will be getting the new smaller iPad when it is announced in September. The only thing the Nexus has at this point over the iPad is size, and that won't be in issue when the smaller iPad is released.
     
  9. jer.lawrence

    jer.lawrence Filing Flight Plan

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    Ooo, I didn't know there was a smaller iPad coming out.

    Do you guys use devices with 3G while in the cockpit? Do you need an internet connection for these apps to work, or are all the maps, sectionals, etc downloaded beforehand? I was considering an iPad 2, but would prefer a 7" tablet.
     
  10. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I have owned Android and Apple devices, phones and tablets and I prefer Apple for the OS stability. Each were fine for their purposes but I seemed to get many more crashes with Android than iOS, probably because of the closed vs open systems.

    One nice thing with iOS 5.X is the syncing of apps etc between the Touch, iPhone and iPad. It can be a nuisance if I really don't want an app on one of the devices because of memory but that is easy to fix via iTunes either on the computer or the Cloud.

    That said, I am looking forward to the "mini" iPad to see how it looks with charts and FF and if it looks good and is priced like the rumors @~$300, I will use that in the airplane and keep the iPad for other uses.

    As far as Android vs iOS, I could care less. If it works, it could be anything behind the screen including gnomes with abacuses or mini squirrels in cages.

    Cheers
     
  11. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Well, you basically comparing a 7" device to a 10" device, the rest just flows from there. Plus, the natural difference between Android and iOS. If your panel has a 10" hole, by all means go 10". If not, well, the choice is obvious.

    I heard Naviator was pretty smooth on Android devices.
     
  12. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    I disagree. There are millions of gen 1 and 2 iPads out there. In fact, the best way to buy any Apple device is to use their refurb store, where gen 1 and gen 2 iPads are still available for prices within sight of the Nexus 7.

    Thanks to the OP for this useful comparison test!
     
  13. psachseJr

    psachseJr Pre-Flight

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    I'm sorry, but what about the iPad is closed? There's an app store with 1000's of apps; the only caveat is the code has to be well written and provide value. Anyone can write an app for an iPad and publish it, and you can write your own app and use it and never publish it. Granted, the Android is more open (what choice did they have)?
     
  14. tinerj

    tinerj Cleared for Takeoff

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    Was the comparison worthless? Hardly.
    Size -- Nexus 7
    Process speed -- apples and oranges, or rather iPad first vs iPad latest.
    Software -- wash
    Cost -- Nexus 7
    Usability -- Nexus 7

    I, too, have owned both iPad and a 10 inch Android. Both were too big to be usable in planes that I fly. (I also found the iTunes interface a major headache.) At this point the iPad 7 does not exist. It will be worth a look when, and if -- and that is still an if-- it comes out.
     
  15. onwards

    onwards Pattern Altitude

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    Yay for Nexus.

    I was hoping that between last year when I grudgingly purchased the iPad2 specifically for Foreflight, and next year when I buy the next device, there would be:

    1) a solid Android tablet
    2) a solid choice of aviation software for said tablet (since FF is iPad only)

    With WingX and Nexus, I now have both. Bye bye my only Apple product! happy to see you go! (can you tell I'm not an Apple fan?)
     
  16. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    While I agree with the gist of your argument, the size difference is truly what makes the Nexus 7 more usable in flight.

    If/when Apple comes out with a MiniPad (or whatever they will call it), THEN a comparison will be more valid. But I ran with what I had, and I don't see that big a difference between the iPad 1, 2 and 3 WRT flight usage. Other applications, yes.
     
  17. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Naviator was VERY nice on the Nexus 7, and had features that Garmin does not. (Rubberbanding your flight path, for example.)

    The ability to receive ADS-B weather and traffic with Garmin Pilot, however, trumps all. The Naviator users group says that "ADS-B capability is coming" -- but I've fallen for THAT line way too often. (Remember AvMap, and XM weather?)

    So, for now, I've got the 30-day trial version of Naviator. If they add compatibility with my new Garmin GDL-39, I'll probably buy it -- but not until that happens.
     
  18. jconway2002

    jconway2002 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Im tempted to buy a Nexus 7. What apps would you recommend?
     
  19. jconway2002

    jconway2002 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    ...well i just went out and bought a nexus 7...lol
     
  20. Mafoo

    Mafoo Cleared for Takeoff

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    I do think it's kind of a poor comparison, using one device several generations old, to compare against something that just came out.

    But the big win here, is someone used a $200 tablet as a cockpit tool, and found it perfectly competent.

    That's a win, regardless of if there is an iPad option or not.
     
  21. JohnAJohnson

    JohnAJohnson Line Up and Wait

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    Nice review and comparison Jay, thank you.

    I bought a Samsung Tab 2 7.0 a few months ago specifically for the cockpit and I'm running Avilution AviationMaps. Very happy with it and the tablet so far, but whoever comes out with a 7-8" tablet with a screen that is actually readable in the daylight will crush their aviation competition, even if that competition is Apple.
     
  22. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I have a wifi only, preload everything I need before flight, turn off the wifi and make sure it's there and then fly. I would do the same thing if it had 3G since who knows if it would receive in flight. I use a Bad Elf for GPS since when I used the 3G on my iPhone, it was not as accurate and besides, I like gadgets.

    Sporty's has an iPod blog that is very helpful. http://ipadpilotnews.com/

    Cheers
     
  23. Off In The Jungle

    Off In The Jungle Filing Flight Plan

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    Hey John the Galaxy tab 7.7 is a lot more readble in the sunlight than the Tab 7. I flew with one two weeks ago. It is a cool little tablet with an Amoled screen. The price tag is pretty steep though. $550. Ouch.
     
  24. Inverted

    Inverted Cleared for Takeoff

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    All I can do is laugh that you compare the first iPad to the Nexus 7. The iPad 3 destroys the Nexus 7 on paper and in real life.

    This doesn't matter to the GA pilot, but Android tabs will never be approved for 121 135 use. Its the "closed" system that makes it very standardized and predictable for suitability in the cockpit. I am sure Android will start catching up in the world of aviation apps, but when you have a huge number of potential customers that can ONLY use the iPad in the cockpit, well it only makes sense as to where devs cater to.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  25. Rigged4Flight

    Rigged4Flight Cleared for Takeoff

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    ditto
     
  26. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Apparently you have a bigger cockpit than I do. I simply can not find any place to put the iPad.

    If I could, I would like it a lot more. Because I can't, it's close to useless.

    The Nexus 7, in addition to being equal or superior to the Apple product, is simply the right size for a Spam Can's cockpit. I purchased a RAM mount for it at OSH, and it fits perfectly on the yoke -- where any tablet belongs.
     
  27. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    You left off battery life. Curious about that one.
     
  28. Mafoo

    Mafoo Cleared for Takeoff

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    and 3G performance. ;)
     
  29. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I personally DO NOT WANT a smaller IPad. Yes the size precludes putting it on the yoke but so what. I like something large and easy to see in the cockpit. The thing fits on my lap just fine. I already have a smaller screen backup - an IPhone.
     
  30. Mafoo

    Mafoo Cleared for Takeoff

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    Then don't buy one. They are not going to stop making the 9.7 inch model.

    All things equal, I prefer choice, even if I don't personally chose to buy it.
     
  31. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Seems about equal. In the plane, when you're using GPS and Bluetooth, ship's power is essential to both, of course.
     
  32. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Didn't want or need another data plan for my iPad, and I don't want or need one for the Nexus.

    I've already got four smartphones on my plan. If I need to connect when I'm away from wi-fi, I either use my Droid phone, or set it up as a hotspot.
     
  33. Inverted

    Inverted Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well I dont keep it on my lap usually. In the Beech 99 I keep it on the dash, actually in the Lear I do too. I could see if you wanted it exclusively on your lap then yes, but I dont so it doesn't bother me. I periodically look at what I need on the iPad then put it back I dont need to stare at it, but I also dont use it as sole means of navigation either. On an approach I hold it to brief the approach and set it up, then double check it as I need to.
     
  34. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Fly with the Nexus, mounted on the yoke. Because it's closer to your eyes, the size of the display isn't much different than the iPad on your lap -- or (as happened to me about a jillion times, when it fell off my knee) on the floor.

    Data input whilst on the yoke is vastly superior to working on your lap. Looking down in turbulence always sucks.

    The iPad does SOME things better, due to it's larger size, but they're all home-based uses, not in-cockpit. For example the big screen makes the iPad nicer at home for reading full-color magazines. I used it once to watch a movie, when I first got it, but I've got HDTVs that blow it away so I've never used it for that again.

    Mostly, I am loving the fact that the Nexus fits in my cargo pants pockets. This sounds like a small thing, but when you can carry it around with you, it just gets used more. In this regard it's like my Kel-Tec PF9. I like shooting my Smith & Wesson police issue better, but the Kel-Tec fits in my pocket and is therefore used a lot more.
     
  35. Inverted

    Inverted Cleared for Takeoff

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    I disagree with this. I get about 7 hours of battery life keeping 3G and WIFI on, with Foreflight open, swapping to Jepp TC when I need to, and listening to music with bluetooth. Granted I am not usually flying for 7 hours but I dont have a problem with battery life wit the iPad 3. I get 10 hours with. We have the ability to plug them in but I dont need to. That being said I have to plug it in nightly because I fear it wont last the next day.
     
  36. Inverted

    Inverted Cleared for Takeoff

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    I might add that I want a Nexus 7 just because its a gadget and its cool. But strictly with regard to aviation it cant hold a candle to the iPad 3. Again not speaking in GA terms but in official use terms.
     
  37. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Apparently at least one Tech Editor would disagree you.

    Link

     
  38. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ah, that makes a difference.

    For us, the Nexus is replacing our old Lowrance AirMap 2000c, which has been our pilots-side GPS for many years. As such, it gets referred to every few seconds, and therefore needs to be in-view -- which is why yoke-mounting is important.
     
  39. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Okay, let me rephrase that:

    "On a flight of 7+ hours, as during our flight home from Oshkosh, ship's power is essential in both units whilst using GPS and Bluetooth."

    For a typical hamburger flight, it's not necessary, and the internal battery will work in both the iPad and the Nexus 7.
     
  40. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I did a test the other day at home with the Bad Elf plugged in and with Pandora and FF active and it lasted over 7 hours, more than I would fly any day. Plug it in overnight and it's good to go the next day. I do keep a charger in the flight bag JIC but never had to use it in the airplane.

    Cheers