The pros and cons of: Getting an iPad or Android-based tablet

The S Pen takes centre stage on the Note 10.1 with well thought out features

(Originally published on http://globalnews.ca/)

We knew the holiday season was upon us when, in an over-zealous act of eagerness, the Hallowe’en signage was taken down at your local drug store and Michael Buble’s “Christmas with Friends” was put on on repeat.  So what does this really mean? Aside from eating that extra sweet, driving that extra kilometre to the cousin’s house that you don’t talk to all year, or finding that ‘perfect’ ugly sweater for holiday party number umpteen, it also means gift buying. Lots and lots of gift buying.

Speaking of gift buying, you’d be lying if you were reading this and trying to tell me that you don’t have at least one tablet request on your list. You’d also be misleading me (and yourself) if you claimed that, during research, not a single question popped up and you weren’t having any issues deciphering between the options. Don’t worry, I get it, and am here to help. That’s why for this week’s pros and cons we are going to take a look at the two most popular tablet options (Apple and Android) available and give a few reasons why each may or may not be the right choice for you.

Apple’s iPad Air:

Arguably one of the hottest gift ideas for 2013 is Apple’s fifth-generation tablet, the iPad Air. The sleek, brushed aluminum, light-as-a-feather tablet, with a gorgeous 9.7-inch retina display launched about a month ago starting at $519 (16GB).

Pros:

  • 20 per cent thinner than the iPad 4
  • Extra long battery life (up to 10 hours)
  • The great Apple customer experience
  • Speaks naturally with all your other Apple products (iPhone, MacBook, Apple TV, etc.)
  • Improved FaceTime video calling
  • Available in WiFi and LTE-ready models

Cons:

  • Apple products are notoriously expensive
  • Memory is not expandable
  • Doesn’t support more than one user at a time
  • Chances are you’re going to need to replace all your cables & chargers

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition):

One of the best assets of Android is also its downfall: its openness. Essentially, anyone with big pockets can license the Android platform from Google and install it on their hardware. So why is this a downfall? The more Android tablets there are available to buy (and trust me, there are a lot), the harder it becomes to decipher which is the best. That being said, I chose to highlight the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 for two very specific reasons: Samsung is a household name in terms of popularity and the Galaxy Note 10.1 is currently the best Android tablet on the market starting at $549.99 (16GB).

Pros:

  • Gorgeous 10-inch screen
  • Great for multi-tasking (ability for split screen mode and picture in picture)
  • Handy stylus for note taking
  • Supports multiple users
  • Great battery life

Cons:

  • Plastic integration cheapens feel
  • High price tag: even higher than the iPad Air
  • Limited tablet-ready app selection
  • Low-resolution video calling
  • Can only connect online over WiFi, no Canadian carrier support

After using both tablets, I lean more towards the Galaxy Note 10.1 solely because of the ability to customize everything about it to fit my preferences. This kind of customization is so important to me, I can accept not having access to every single app like my iPad-using friends.

What tablet do you use and why? Sound off below!

The pros and cons of Nike’s Fuelband or FitBit’s Force fitness watch

Stay on track of your fitness with the Nike Fuelband. $149.00 at Nike stores across Canada.

(Originally published on http://globalnews.ca/)

Connected watches are the latest in must-have electronics and everyone (phone makers) wants their own piece of the action. What most consumers don’t realize, however, is that the idea of ‘connected watches’ evolved from an idea more scaled back and focused: fitness watches. Pioneered by athletic brand Nike and their popular Nike Fuel Band, the original idea stemmed from the notion that every move the body makes should be tracked and monitored so that its users can set health-oriented goals. Of course, this concept then opened the flood gates to other brands coming to market with their own unique take on fitness tracking watches, one of the more notable being FitBit’s Force watch.

So what’s a consumer to do? How can a potential buyer narrow down and decide, easily, on the right fitness watch for their needs? Let’s break it down and look at a few pros and cons of buying each fitness watch.

Nike’s Fuel bandSE

Pros:

  • Light and easy to wear
  • Water resistant for showering and running in the rain, not prolonged periods of submersion (swimming).
  • Synchronizes effortlessly with your iPhone or computer (via free downloadable application)
  • Tracks steps, body movement, and other ‘in-place’ physical activities (think yoga)

Cons:

  • No Android, Windows or other mobile platform support. App is only available on iOS
  • Matte plastic finish shows all dirt and oil picked up along the way
  • Price point at $149 is higher than others in its class
  • Does not track floors climbed or cycling

FitBit Force

Pros:

  • Cross-platform support, works on Android and iOS
  • Lower price-point of $129 than Nike’s FuelBand SE
  • Tracks steps, calories,  your sleep cycle and floors climbed

Cons:

  • Wristband design not as secure as FuelBand
  • Syncs to computer via separate USB dongle
  • Too many parts: requires specific charging plug

Overall, I am leaning towards the Nike Fuelband as my fitness watch of choice for its convenience and usability. I can ignore its lack of Android support because I can plug it directly into my computer for charging and  synchronization.

Have you decided on the right fitness watch for your needs? Let me know which one and why below!