Seriously, stop giggling.
I had to undergo a bit of a transition recently. You all may remember I was the proud papa of one of the rarest devices in mobile technology. And I gave it a good run. Got some apps, got some games. Really put that little guy through its paces. This tablet served as my daily driver tablet for several weeks, and even accompanied me on a nice road trip across the country.
It was a sweet thing. It really did the job for what I’m looking for in a tablet – reading books, web surfing, a little email, some offline movie watching. Well, soon my tiny TouchPad time came to an end, and I had to pass it along to a proud new owner, and I returned to my full-sized TouchPad. The first time I powered that bad boy back on, only one thought popped into my brain.
Dang! This freakin’ thing is a monster!
Junk in the trunk
I was taken aback as to how much bigger an extra three inches is when it comes to screen size. I mentioned in my review that the TouchPad Go was roughly half the size of the full sized older brother. That’s double the size, double the weight (not really, but not far off), double the distance traveled to turn the volume up or the screen on. In short, this thing was huge.
Not that I didn’t like it. It was nice to be able to read on the Kindle app without my reading glasses for a change. Larger screen also means larger images though both sport the same resolution so there wasn’t any savings on screen “real estate” as the saying goes. The keyboard on the TouchPad is much easier to type on than the TouchPad Go. But it was very striking to see basically the exact same form factor in a ten inch size as opposed to seven inches.
Despite all that though, I decided then and there that going forward, seven inches is going to be the way to go for me. The size, the weight, the pocketability and portablility are all major factors to me. Our own Michael Fisher often refers to the term “gorilla arming” when it comes to navigating tablets. The gorilla arming is very prevalent on the TouchPad because of its girth.
Mind you, I’m basing this editorial on two year old and never-released technology respectively. But, to be fair, I do own and use a Kindle Fire with some regularity, so I’m not completely in the dark in terms of modern UI’s. There is also room to argue that with updated operating systems, maybe gorilla arming isn’t as much of a factor. But, the seven inch form factor does have one compelling thing going for it.
Ok, so it’s a made-up word. For the purposes of this article, “thumbability” is a term that describes how easily a tablet, or phone for that matter, can be navigated with one’s thumbs. On a ten inch form factor, a thumb just ain’t gonna cut it. As a matter of fact a ten inch form factor pretty much requires everything from your shoulder down to navigate, depending on the tablet’s positioning. That’s using about one fifth of your body just to pull down a Words With Friends challenge.
But on a seven inch form factor, you will find that just your thumbs can cover a large portion of the screen. In some cases, not all of it, but enough to keep you from overly taxing launch of Google Now. Typing in particular becomes a lot more versatile in this capacity. If you’re rocking a ten inch tablet, your options are pretty much bluetooth ketyboard, two-hand typing while doing your best contortionist routine, or hunting and pecking, Dr. Rodney McKay style.
Bring on the Nexus
Of course this comes up along with the release of the new Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 is a really good looking piece of hardware continuing the grand Nexus tradition. It’s interesting to note that Google’s event last week did not include a Nexus 10 refresh. I’m not trying to draw any parallels here – Google probably does not hate ten inch tablets. But it’s interesting nonetheless.
At the end of the day, it really all does come down to personal preference. To me, seven inches is more than enough to adequately display everything I need displayed. This is ironically coming from a guy who recently said I preferred girth and battery life over a slim phone. So I’m complicated. Chicks dig complicated.
How about you? Are you a seven inch lover or a ten inch heavyweight? Sound off below and give me your reasoning. I might just give future ten inch tablet thing another shot some day.