While I’m not an Apple fan, with my Android phone, compatible smartwatch and Windows PC, my one exception to that is my trusty iPad Pro which I still use almost daily.
I use this tablet for gaming, for writing, for editing videos, for streaming movies in bed, for scrolling through social media and much more – though I’ve tested loads of Android tablets that I really want to love, I always fall back on the iPad as my go-to tablet.
But two key pieces of news, one at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 launch at the beginning of 2022 and another at Google IO 2022, have made me think that Android tablets could go from being my side piece, to my main slate.
The problem with Android tablets
I’ve never been a fan of the software on Android tablets – I think Google’s own-built software has never really suited, or made the most of, the larger screen size.
This is best exemplified with the menu that you get when you swipe down from the top, housing your notifications and all the quick settings. In Apple’s iPadOS, swiping down brings you just your notifications, while doing it in the top-right gives you the Control Center for all your options.
However in Android, it’s all presented in one narrow list, so if you’ve got loads of notifications, you have to scroll through them – all while there’s empty space to the right and left of the list. This works fine on phones, but on tablets, Android just isn’t optimized well.
The home screen is another good example, as there’s just so much empty space between apps in Android when it’s on a tablet.
It’s also worth pointing out that lots of top-tier apps, mostly of the paid variety, are iOS-only – Final Draft is one great example that I use all the time on my iPad – which is another reason I sometimes avoid Android tablets.
Time for a sea change
These problems with Android tablets are, thankfully, being fixed – Google announced that its tablet software is getting an update to fix loads of problems. This fix will come with Android 13 later in the year.
The main fix here is that the software is getting redesigned to better fit tablets’ larger screens. Now, the swipe-down menu will have your notifications and controls side-by-side, while apps on your home screen will better fit the large display, and lots of Google’s own, as well as third-party, apps have been tweaked to better fill the screen space.
Plus, multi-tasking – something I hate that I use as much as I do – is being made a lot easier to set up, so it should be as easy to start as it is on iPads.
This alone would be nice, but not ‘put-down-my-iPad’ levels of nice… however news from earlier in the year changes that.
Earlier in the year, heavyweight iOS video editing app (and a tool I use constantly) LumaFusion announced that it was going to be available on Android tablets, starting with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 family, very soon.
We’re hoping this starts a wider exodus with top-end iOS apps moving to Android, but even LumaFusion alone is great news for me.
I drop the iPad
Once these updates have become available on Android tablets, I can really see myself ditting the iPad Pro for one of these alternative devices.
I really liked the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra for its huge screen (and free stylus), which makes it really useful for creative tasks like sketching, taking notes and, of course, editing videos.
But the tablet I’ve loved the most so far is the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13, which was fantastic as an entertainment device thanks to its great-looking screen, built-in kickstand and wonderful speakers.
Maybe when the Android 13 update and LumaFusion launch are here, there will be more great Android tablets on the market to steal my heart, or maybe the next Apple iPad Pro will have a killer feature to win me back. All I know is that Apple isn’t a shoe-in for my next tablet, like it would have been in previous years.