Monday, September 1st, 2014
If you’re looking to get a tablet, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is choosing an iPad or an Android tablet. While the iPad was the only real choice several years ago, nowadays both the iPad and Android tablets have evolved considerably. In this article, we’ll show you the strengths and weaknesses of each platform – as well as a few recommendations on the best iPads or Android tablets to buy. Let’s get started!
- Largest range of accessories and apps
- Easy to use
- Well designed, inside and out
So – the iPad. It’s the quintessential tablet, and its popularity is one of its greatest strengths. It means you’ll find a wide range of iPad accessories, from iPad cases and covers to chargers, screen protectors and stands. You can find accessories to fit pretty much every need and every style. With only two models – iPad Mini and iPad Air – to be released recently, an entire industry can work easily to support them.
The same popularity also makes the iPad the biggest target for app developers, allowing them to finetune their apps to suit the iPad and make the very best use of its screen and capabilities. That translates into better apps, and more of them.
Apple have always tried to make their products easy to use, and that continues with the iPad. The Apple tablet is simple in places, but that ensures that there’s little that you quickly won’t learn how to do. Even complex tasks like cloud printing are presented well, making it easy to get things set up properly.
Finally, the iPad is well designed, with powerful hardware and a stylish look. The tablet’s processor and GPU are regularly listed among the best in the business, and the battery life of the tablet is considerable too. The iPad is also good looking, with a slim metal design that feels solid and dependable in your hands. The most important strength of the iPad is its display though, which is generally pixel-dense, bright and well-calibrated.
- Little customisation
- More expensive
Of course, there are downsides to Apple’s approach. The simplicity they have wrought means that more advanced controls are hidden or not present at all, leaving the operating system far less customisable than its peers. Apple’s tight control of their app store also allows them to remove apps they find objectionable, particularly those on questionable moral or legal ground.
The iPad’s premium materials and hardware command a premium price, making the iPad more expensive than similarly equipped Android tablets. Additional storage is also costly, with a 32GB model costing £80 more than the 16GB option – and there’s no option to add more storage with a microSD card later.
iPad: Recommended tablets
If you’re looking to pick up an iPad, there are only two real models to choose between: the iPad Mini with Retina Display and the iPad Air. The iPad Mini has a gorgeous 7.9-inch display, while the Air moves to 10.1-inches. Both tablets are well crafted out of aluminium, and boast good battery lives in addition to their well-tuned screens. The iPad Mini is the better choice for portable use (with one hand), while the iPad Air makes a better tablet for keeping at home (with two hands).
- Wide range of tablets to suit any need (including low price)
- Deep customisation possible
The strength of the Android operating system for tablets is breadth and depth. In almost any attribute you can name – dimensions, speed, capabilities, camera, price - there will be tablets that hit every point on the range. Sony produce a range of powerful, waterproof tablets with good cameras. Samsung opt for slim workhorses, many with styluses built in. Amazon have a range of high-performance tablets, tied into their own ecosystem, for a low price. These are just the tip of the iceberg; with sufficient time you should be able to find an Android tablet to fit any requirements.
You also have a lot of choice with an Android tablet after you’ve purchased it. It’s possible to buy microSD cards which will extend your available storage cheaply, and there are a decent range of other tablet accessories available too. While there aren’t as many third-party accessories available as there are for the iPad, that means tablet makers like Samsung and Motorola often produce an excellent first-party range.
Customisability is another advantage with Android. It’s often possible to make deeper changes than on iOS, and there’s also the option to install a new variant of the Android operating system (like CyanogenMod) that will allow you even greater control. There are very few questions you can ask that start “Can I…” that end “No.”
The final advantage to Android is often price. Google and Amazon are well known for their low-cost tablets that still deliver an excellent experience with good hardware; their content-first strategies mean that they’re willing to sell tablets at a loss so you use their stores for apps, music, videos and books.
- Some Android tablets are poorly designed inside and out
- Less apps truly optimised for tablets
As we saw with the iPad, there’s a definite trade-off between simplicity and customisability. The average Android tablet errs towards customisability, which can be overwhelming.
There’s also a high amount of variability when it comes to the design of Android tablets, in terms of both software and hardware. Many Android tablets – including barebones Android found on the Nexus series – are well designed and look good, but there are also many tablets saddled with confusing interfaces, poor designs and underpowered hardware.
The final bugbear for Android is that of apps. You’ll find some great tablet apps, but lazily designed, stretched out mobile phone apps are still relatively common. The large range of Android devices also makes it harder for developers to optimise their apps, so you may find you’re arbitrarily unable to install apps if you aren’t using a well-known device.
Android: Recommended tablets
Google make some of the best Android tablets, which come with a clean version of Android, good hardware and an aggressive point. The most recent release, the Nexus 7, is a great choice with a sharp 7-inch display, good battery life and a simple, durable outward design.
Samsung are the biggest sellers of Android tablets, thanks to a massive range of models, a host of software additions to stock Android and slim designs. The Tab S 10.5-inch tablet is the most recent, and offers a good battery life, a bright and beautiful screen, and a slim chassis.
Sony operate at the highest end of the Android market, with top-notch screens and cameras and stylish waterproof bodies. The Xperia Z2 Tablet is a good example of their approach, with a squared-off waterproof body, good screen and relatively untouched version of Android on board.
Thanks for checking out the article – we hope it made it easier for you to choose an Android or iOS tablet! If you have any questions or comments, then please leave them below or speak to us on Twitter @mobilefun.
Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
You’ve probably heard of tile matching game Threes – or its slew of clones, most of which go by the name ’2048′. Threes is the real deal though, with refined gameplay, gorgeously minimal graphics and a lot more strategy than its imitators. It does cost a few quid, but it’s well worth it.
2. Plants vs Zombies 2
Plants vs Zombies 2 is a fun sequel to the popular PC game of the same name, where you must defend your back garden from murderous zombies with an assortment of flowers and flora. The game has been criticised for its in-app purchases, but it’s still quite possible to progress without paying a penny.
3. Super Hexagon
Super Hexagon is a game that I can’t stop playing. It’s simple enough – rotate your tiny triangle to avoid incoming barriers – but the pulsating visuals, brilliant soundtrack and intense difficulty make it a must-play. Mastering the first difficulty (hard) is tough but satisfying, and there are five more difficulty levels after that to really test your mettle.
4. Monument Valley
Monument Valley is probably the most beautiful game on the list, with M.C. Escher-inspired architecture and a serene soundtrack. Gameplay is simple but puzzling, as you move through an impossible level, each of which includes its own unique rules. It’s not a long game, but it’s still a pleasure to replay and one that you’ll want your friends to try too.
5. Super Crossfighter
Super Crossfighter is a fun shoot ‘em up with 80s-era graphics and plenty of alien spacecraft to destroy. The gameplay is simple enough to grasp quickly, but the levels are reasonably challenging later on and will definitely test your skill.
6. Snap Attack
Microsoft are suprisingly good at crafting word puzzle games, it seems. First we had Wordament, and now we have another Xbox-on-Android title: Snap Attack. You rearrange letter tiles to form words here, with locked letter positions and a time limit adding some urgency to the proceedings. The game is fun and free.
7. Modern Combat 5: Blackout
Modern Combat 5 is the latest iteration of Gameloft’s series of Call of Duty clones. They’re a decent enough translation of CoD’s gameplay to a mobile-friendly format, and the latest is one of the most advanced depictions yet. While the gameplay is derivative, the execution here is good, and there is plenty of content to go around: singleplayer, multiplayer and 4 classes.
8. Thomas Was Alone
Thomas Was Alone is a rather extraordinary 2D platformer, with deep characters and genuine emotion attached to some rather simple geometric shapes. There are 100 levels to play through, and though they pass quickly you’ll want to revisit them later on.
9. Dungelot 2
Dungelot is a weird combination of Minesweeper and Pixel Dungeon. You uncover squares one at a time (like Minesweeper), finding randomly generated treasure and enemies to fight. Once you’re dead, you have to start over from the beginning. It’s a lot easier to get into than most roguelike games, but you may be disappointed with its depth.
10. The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead is a puzzle game set in the same universe as the TV show, but featuring a different setting and cast of characters. The game is famous for the tough choices that it demands of you, which cause the story to arc in different directions. Each decision is important, each decision is remembered, and things rarely proceed as you expect.
I hope you’ve found these recommendations helpful! Let us know what you think in the comments below, or on Twitter @mobilefun.
Thursday, March 13th, 2014
The MOGA Pro Controller is one of the best gaming accessories for Android smartphones and tablets, giving you the tactile feedback of a traditional console controller. The MOGA Pro also includes a helpful flip-up clip called the MOGA Arm, which holds your smartphone just above the controller, like a handheld. Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
Use comfortable console-style controls on Android
The biggest benefit of the MOGA Pro is the greater level of control that it provides for games. Tapping on glass is fine – and indeed, we’ve seen a whole new category of games designed for this – but for playing traditional genres like RPGs, shooters or racers, there’s nothing better than a proper console-style controller. This is particularly apparent when you’re playing games that designed for the PC or consoles, whether they’re older titles played in an emulator or more recent ports to Android.
The MOGA Pro has exactly the same layout as modern consoles like the Xbox or PlayStation, with a pair of clickable thumb sticks, a D-Pad, four face buttons, start/select buttons, two shoulder buttons and two triggers. That means you won’t need to adjust to the controller – you’ll already be proficient with it. The controller’s rubberised grips are also console-quality, so you can play for hours in comfort.
A convenient form factor for portable gaming or console-style gaming on TVs
The MOGA Arm clip is also a great help, ensuring you don’t need a separate stand to use with your phone. You can play just as easily on the tube as you can in your living room, with the whole affair proving compact and light enough to easily be wielded in a single hand.
As you have a Bluetooth connection, you’ll also find it possible to hook your smartphone or tablet up to an HDTV (using an MHL or SlimPort adapter) and the included tablet stand. Then, you play games on your TV just like a traditional console. It’s quite an experience playing Dead Trigger 2 on a 40″ HDTV, and if you don’t have a Xbox or a PlayStation it’s a nice and cheap way to get the same kind of experience.
Finding the right game is easy
There are plenty of games that support controllers on Android, and MOGA have made them easy to find with their new MOGA Pivot app, which shows all MOGA compatible games. The MOGA Pro controller is compatible with all Android devices running 2.3 or higher with Bluetooth… which is basically all of them.
Like the MOGA Pro, but more powerful…
The MOGA Pro is also available in a new variant, called the MOGA Pro Power. It’s just like the MOGA Pro, but it also includes a 2200 mAh battery pack. With this, you can charge your phone while you’re gaming. This reduces the impact gaming tends to have on your battery life, and can keep you going for hours away from a plug socket.
MOGA Pro is in stock now
Whichever variant you prefer, you can order it right now from Mobile Fun. To place your order or see more information on either controller from MOGA, check out the links below.
Thanks for checking out the article and be sure to let us know what you think of the controllers once you get your hands on them!
Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
Yesterday was perhaps the biggest single day of mobile news in the year, as Microsoft announced its plans to acquire Nokia and Apple announced that their new iPhone event would be taking place in a week’s time. But Google perhaps pipped them all, with news of the latest version of Android.
You may know that each version of Android has a codename, which is 1) in alphabetical order and 2) named after a dessert. We’ve had Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, Honeycomb, FroYo, Eclair and Donut. Well, Android 4.4 is codenamed KitKat – the first licensed dessert to be used as an Android version.
The name comes as part of a branding agreement between Nestle and Google. While no money is changing hands, Nestle will be providing a worldwide marketing campaign in exchange for the name. Nestle will promote the new version of Android on 50 million KitKat bars sold in 19 countries. The two companies are even running a giveaway together on these specially marked chocolates, offering 1,000 Nexus 7 tablets and plenty of Google Play gift cards to lucky winners.
So why KitKat and not Key Lime Pie, which had been teased for months before? Well, Key Lime Pie was apparently nixed after it was determined that not many people worldwide have ever tried the dessert. Android’s head of engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer was a big KitKat fan, even having them made available for coders working at Google, and so KitKat was the obvious alternative dessert beginning with the letter K. Google met with Nestle at the Mobile World Conference to pitch the deal, and within an hour Nestle was sold.
Interestingly, the Android 4.4 announcement video that Google made to celebrate the announncement may have included a cameo from the Nexus 5. At one point in the video, Googlers are taking pictures of the KitKat Android statue, and one person has a smartphone with a horizontal Nexus branding, similar to the new Nexus 7. That phone is thought to be made by LG, and may in fact be the new Nexus 5. Google pulled the video almost immediately upon release, but a copy was saved. If we see that video reappear without that scene, we’ll know pretty conclusively that the Nexus 5 wasn’t meant to be there!
It’s not yet known what features Android 4.4 will bring, but as it’s a point release it’d suggest that it’ll only be a few small additions and bug fixes, rather than a complete redesign. Google are rumoured to be releasing a new Nexus 5 smartphone and new Nexus 10 tablet soon, so it would make sense to expect a new Android release at the same time.
So what do you make of Android 4.4 KitKat? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for checking out the article and have a good one.
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
The original Google Nexus 7 proved that there was a market for super-affordable Android tablets, and this year’s follow-up looks set to continue that success. This time around, makers Asus and Google have worked together to prepare a range of accessories for the tablet, including the subject of this blog post – the Asus Nexus 7 2 Travel Cover.
The Travel Cover is designed to be as thin and stylish as the new Nexus 7 itself. The cover is manufacturer from a light yet durable polymer, ensuring an optimum blend of protection and minimal bulk. The fit is quite tight, but due to the flexible nature of the case it’s easy to take the Nexus 7 out if that’s ever needed.
The Travel Cover is also stylish, and comes in a wide range of colours to match any taste. You can choose from dark grey, pink, orange, green and blue. They’re all nice shades, and should definitely add a splash of interest and colour to the tablet.
Of course, one thing to note is that these are first-party accessories for the Nexus 7 (2013 model). That means that you’ll get uncompromising quality, a perfect fit and cutouts in all of the right places. Asus and Google have proved they can make great and well-suited accessories for their past devices, and it’s no different here.
For more information on the Nexus 7 2 Travel Cover, check out the links in the colour of your choice below!
Thanks for reading the article and be sure to let us know what you think of these hot new cases for the Nexus 7 2.