Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tech Tuesday: What do you look for in a mobile device?

Having a mobile device I can use to check my email, organize my music, and access the web with when I’m not at home, is very important to me. It makes my life more pleasant and less stressful. However, I have avoided acquiring a tablet device so far because of the cost. As a student, I am always having to pay careful attention to my budget, and $600 for an iPad has been an expense I couldn’t manage while paying for classes—so instead, I settled for a much less expensive (and much smaller) iPod touch. I know many other people who use their smartphones rather than a full tablet computer.

This week, however, I had the opportunity to play around with a Kindle Fire and found it fairly tempting because, while it is not as large as an iPad, it is still much larger than my current device and is available at the same price. The Kindle Fire has a 7 “ color screen which is great for reading e-books and watching video. I enjoyed streaming my favorite shows using a Netflix app in a way that just wasn’t possible with the tiny screen I am used to from my iPod. I was very pleased with the selection of apps in the Kindle app store, and found it enjoyable to read one of my e-textbooks on a pleasantly sized screen. I did notice that the load time for apps and new pages was a little slow. Additionally, the screen was less responsive than I am accustomed to and was sometimes frustrating.

Being able to compare two devices made me wonder what devices other NOVA students use. I haven’t encountered anyone yet who uses a Galaxy tablet or an android device other than the Amazon Fire. I realized I would love to know more about what other students think. Do you use a smart phone or tablet device for e-books, video streaming, music, or apps? What features or qualities of the device factored into your choice? How do you balance decisions about cost and usability?

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