Samsung Has Created My iPad Alternative: Samsung TAB S3 (2017)


Good Things Come To Those That Are Patient, Wait & Steward Their Technology

My MacBook Pro running Android OS.

I have been a tech geek for ages now. I am one of those people people who are now considered “seniors” even though I still feel like I am a rambunctious 17 year old, though now it appears I am trapped in the body of a 59 year old! I have loved technology since I was a kid. My parents took their time in purchasing “gadgets” but when they did, they were all in. That did not mean the latest, or the best, but it usually meant finding a gadget or technology that was capable of doing the tasks required, and also user friendly and affordable. Those three criteria have guided my life when it comes to technology and its use.  Some people would argue that I have forsaken useable technology for the latest and best technology, especially when it comes to “all things Apple.”

From ultimate “fanboy” to sober and discerning buyer

My iPad 3 & MacBook Pro

I became the ultimate Apple fanboy.  I got to play with Apple computers in the late 1980’s. By 1990 we had a Mac in our home. Not cheap by any standard. That Mac was worth over $5000 at the time. RAM cost over $1000 per megabyte. Not cheap. The largest hard drive was 40 megabytes. Not exactly large and not too fast either when it came to computing speed. But that was the nature of the computing world back then. Even IBM PC’s and IBM compatibles were in the same range as the Macs. But I was all in, largely due to the robust manufacturing of the Macs, the OS, and the ease of use of the apps on the Mac platform.

PowerBook 5300c

I went from Mac desktop computers to Mac laptops in the early 2000’s.  My initial Apple PowerBook was the 1995 PowerBook 5300C.  The PowerBook 5300c featured a 100 MHz PowerPC 603e processor, 16 MB of RAM, and a 750 MB hard drive in a portable black case with a 10.4″ color active-matrix display. That was when laptops were between 6 and 9 pounds.  The PowerBook 5300c was 6.2 pounds.  Way too heavy. Battery power did not last that long. Memory was small as was RAM and the clock speed of the CPU would make people today cringe in disbelief. I went higher end PowerBook G4 in 2003 and 2005 and by 2009, I had graduated to the MacBook Pro which had replaced the higher end PowerBook G4 when Apple “rebranded” their higher end laptops.

MacBook Pro, mid 2009 model.

My current MacBook Pro is “old” by most people’s standards. But I am not looking to replace it just yet. It does everything I need. I have expanded the hard drive to a 1 TB size, and added 4 Gigs of RAM to the max of 8 Gigs. I have gone through 1 bad Toshiba hard drive, and had to replace my trackpad on this Mac. That is pretty good for an 8 year old MacBook Pro. I do regular backups and maintenance on the machine. It can over heat but I am OK with that for now. But when it comes to iPads and iOS, I do not have the same gratitude or patience or tolerance for how crappy a user experience it is to use an iOS based iPad.

I have learned to be patient and appreciate my hardware and work with it and keep it functioning until I can afford to replace it. I don’t understand how some people can just keep buying the latest Apple product year after year, and keep upgrading their iPhone every year or other year. I have neither the patience nor the cash to do that kind of thing. Besides it is lousy stewardship (taking care of your wealth and resources responsibly and frugally with discretion and wisdom).  So I will wait for the right time, and the right piece of hardware, at the right price, BEFORE I pay out my hard earned cash on an upgrade for my laptop need or mobile tablet.

When Steve Jobs died, innovation & imagination & good products died with him

Some will argue about the success of Apple under Tim Cook and the huge profits the company has made the last five years, but take note.  If you know anything about Steve Jobs, he always had a five year plan. Do  you think it is coincidence that Tim Cook admitted last fall (2016) that it has been five years and it may be time for Tim Cook to hand the reigns over to someone else to take Apple forward? Do you actually think that this is coincidence? I don’t. Tim Cook may be a money making guru, and he has proven himself to be a great CFO but he is no innovative CEO. Tim Cook is actually a liability to Apple and it future. He has made and continues to make really bad decisions when it comes to the direction of Apple in the laptop, mobile and phone markets. He needs to be replaced by the board of Apple. But those board members like the dividends they are making and don’t want to do what is needed. Unless Tim Cook resigns, it looks like he will go down with the ship and sink right along with those declining Apple products and profits (in my opinion).

Some of us Apple faithful have taken matters into our own hands

I got myself an iPad 3 in 2012, just in time for my trip to Eastern Europe, where I used my iPad heavily over a three week period, taking photos, recording videos, surfing the web with WIFI, uploading photos to my cloud accounts and to Facebook. I was using it every day. That iPad came with iOS 6 and it worked well. But things changed with the death of Jobs and the advent of Tim Cook and iOS 7. Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs.  I never recovered from what Tim Cook unleashed on the world through iOS 7 and beyond.

Oh how I loathe the iPad, let me count the ways.

iOS 7 & iPhone 4

Not only did I not recover from iOS 7, but I plunged ever deeper into mobile OS purgatory with the release of iOS 8 and iOS 9. I was so frustrated with my iPad, that I virtually stopped using it.  Between 2012 to 2014, I used it for creating and presenting presentations at workshops and seminars.  I had used it for creative writing, blogging, surfing the web and social media.  I barely ever used the book app or the music app on iOS.  I hated both the book and music apps, and hate them even more now. I loathed the excessive use of gestures on the iPad, and the transition of gestures on the Mac OS made it ever worse a user experience for me.

I did not go this far or get an Apple tattoo.

I moved from being a “Mac Addict” to a “reluctant user,” be it for the Apple mobile hardware such as the iPad or the iPhone. In fact I have hated the iPhone from the very beginning and hate it to this very day. I will never ever buy or use an iPhone. In fact if the world somehow was reduced to one phone, that being the iPhone, I would give up the phone entirely. That kind of sums up my dislike of the horrific piece of crap that has seduced consumers the world over. The iPhone is NOT the best phone. It is a cash grab from a company that no longer cares about the creations it promotes to sell to consumers. But I digress.

Back to 2017

My iPad at meal time at Princess Margaret Lodge, Toronto, in February 2016.

I ended up using my iPad more in 2016 than I had used from 2014 to 2016.  In a six week period I was using my iPad every day, pretty well steady, five days a week.  I was dealing with my battle with cancer at the time, and I was staying five days a week in Toronto at the Princess Margaret Lodge. Each day I would take my iPad with me as I went to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre for my radiation treatment, and I would surf on my iPad, read news, send emails or write a blog post. It was a useful gadget for me while I was staying in Toronto. If I went to a coffee shop, a restaurant, and there was WIFI, I would pull out my iPad and off I would be surfing the web.

I ended up only using my iPad for Facetime and Skype to connect with relatives and friends, especially those in other countries. WIFI was our best friend.  At the Lodge I used my MacBook Pro to watch movies, documentaries or write.  I used my iPad and MacBook when I got myself ChromeCast, and streamed video on our TV. We don’t use cable so we stream what we watch, and making it wireless through streaming through our WIFI made using Netflix and other video streaming services much each with ChromeCast.  I love being able to use a phone, Android or iPhone, or a tablet or iPad or MacBook Pro to connect to ChromeCast and watch videos on our 42 inch TV.

Upgrade to iOS 10 sealed the deal for me – I am done with Apple iOS

When Apple announced the latest upgrade to iOS 10 and that the iPad 3 would not be able to be upgraded, I decided to finally part ways with the gadget. The nice thing about spending six weeks in Toronto at the lodge was that I met other people there who used laptops, tables and phones.  I got to help out some folks with their gadget issues since I am a bit of a gadget geek.  I got to use some Android tablets and trouble shoot Acer, Asus and Samsung tablets. It was a good experience for me since I had only really used the iOS iPad.

I dabbled with the beta of iOS 10 and discovered just how ugly and useless iOS has become. When you compare iOS to Android there is frankly NO comparison. The user friendly nature of Android is what Apple used to pride itself on. The interface of iOS really is a pain to deal with. With the Apple Kool-Aid mindset and their addiction to their “mantra” of the “Apple ecosystem” it has rendered iOS and largely the Mac OS as a really bloated, cumbersome, obstructive software OS glut that just does not work well, whether you use iOS or Mac OS for home, for play, creativity, or for work, there is not much pleasure left in using either of these, never mind finding something productive that doesn’t irritate.

Moto G 3rd Generation

My exposure to Android phones and tablets made me aware that the gadget planet is full of alternative choices for everyone and that you need not let yourself be hoodwinked or manipulated by fancy advertising or the coercion of family and friends who think they know better than you. You know what you need, and what you can afford, and you might increase the investment if it can be worth your while to do so. With the Internet literally at your finger tips, you can do your own research, you can Google it, look for products and their specs, and demos and reviews, you can watch the product reviews right on Youtube. You can become your own expert by just investing the time and hard work to find out exactly what you want and what you are willing to pay for it.

That is exactly how I approach the purchase of anything I buy nowadays. I research it online, and I look for product reviews and critiques, especially on YouTube. Then, after I am at peace with the options, I make my choice and investment in the new product. And so should you.

The supposed advances of Apple is done at the expense of users and users’ preferences

I want choice. The technology today is such that you don’t have to have all your hardware and software in the same ecosystem. This is a myth. This is a legend. This myth though is as powerful as the myth of evolution.  Everyone believes the myth but there is no proof of its veracity. The same can be said of all the technology ecosystems out there. There are those visionary companies though that see the benefits of creating bridges, and creative work flows that encourages, compliments and assists users in being in multiple ecosystems and platforms at the same time. Such is my own situation.

iPhone 5S & Moto G 3rd Generation

In October of 2015, my wife and I finally jumped in and bought cell phones. By this time I was really done with iOS. I hated it and there was no way I was going to buy an iPhone. My wife however likes the comfort of having everything in the same ecosystem. I won’t fault her on that score. There are millions in the world who feel the same way, just as there are millions who feel the opposite. I guess the myth of opposites attract is not a myth. My wife bought an iPhone, and I bought myself an Android (Moto G). I love my Droid phone. It is a joy to use and so easy to connect it to my MacBook Pro and add my music, ebooks, docs, and transfer a photos and videos.

My wife had issues with her iPhone 5S, from a malfunctioning battery that I got replaced under warranty, to complications with iOS 9 and iOS 10 as well as some functions just driving my wife crazy. Neither of us like Apple Music. I believe Steve Jobs would roll in his grave over Apple Music. It was so contrary to his ideology and belief that users should own their music and not rent it through a streaming service. Tim Cook just created it for the money grab that it is. But I digress.

My wife and I communicated over the last year while I was away through the use of our phones, using Skype and using our iPads.  But iOS 10 was the last straw.  I decided to bid farewell to my iPad 3 and there was no way I was upgrading to another iPad as part of my problem is iOS operating system. So why buy a new iPad when you hate the operating system?

So I sold my iPad last fall and I looked around for an Android alternative

While I miss not having a tablet, I have been waiting patiently for an Android alternative.  I checked out quite a few options, and it always came back to the main factors that I have for a tablet. These are:

  1. Hardware that can use the latest version of Android OS. That OS is Android 7, or Nougat.
  2. Hardware that is the latest in CPU speed & RAM & decent Memory (base 32 Gig with Mini SD card for expansion)
  3. Good for work projects (MS Office), presentations, stylus, streaming video/audio
  4. Keyboard & cover
  5. Enough ports to make it diverse and useable in various environments, on the road, in the car, on the train or plane, on away on work trip or holiday. You can easily connect to printers, WIFI, other hardware like TVs, printers and networks.
  6. Good price
  7. Manufacturer with a good extended warranty and support

Now, most people who are pro iOS, who have an iPhone or an iPad would say that the iPad offers all that and more. What withholds my endorsement of Apple and the iPad are:

  1. No mini SD slot to expand the memory storage of the iPad. This is a good enough reason to NOT buy an iPad. Apple scams people and coerces them to upgrade and buy a whole new iPad. They do not want owners to buy SD cards and add memory. They want to gouge and screw owners. I will not be one of those owners. I am a former iPad owner. I will remain a “former iPad user.”
  2. iOS is just an inferior OS and is not user friendly. I have already vented more than I need to on that score.
  3. Apple security is not the only secure OS. Android has more than levelled the selling point of a secure OS, and many third party companies provide additional security patches and software for both iOS and Android devices.

2016 became a turning point for tablets

Microsoft Surface vs iPad Pro

The last four years Apple dominated the tablet market. It’s only rivals were Microsoft Surface with the Windows OS and Surface has made inroads with major enterprise companies.  There has been a stiff competition for mobile computing with businesses between Microsoft and Apple.  Microsoft has upgraded their Surface tablet and made inroads in sports leagues like the NFL where their tablets are used by coaches of all the NFL franchises.  If you watched the 2016 season, you will recall coach Belichick of the Patriots throwing a tizzy fit and destroying a Microsoft Surface tablet on the side line during an NFL game on national TV. It caused a major uproar after the game.

MacBook Pro & iPad Pro

Apple’s response to the Microsoft Surface was the iPad Pro.  More than just a challenge to the entry of Surface to enterprise, Apple is deliberately trying to revamp the iPad line by making the argument that the iPad can be that mid range all encompassing computer to do what everyone basically needs, and is looking to see those iPads replace the average MacBook.  The MacBook Pro seems to be targeted to the heavier user that needs more memory and more power and more robust CPU speed to do heavy duty tasks, from video, audio creation, graphics, or design or heavy number crunching. But for the not so heavy duty work, Apple is trying to coerce consumers to buy the iPad, and preferably an iPad Pro with a stylus and keyboard/cover, so that this will become the new mobile “home computer.”

Me, as a consumer, I want choice, and I want a laptop to be a laptop and a tablet to be a tablet

This is my mindset when I look at my gadget needs. As I have now written off iOS and Apple for my tablet needs, I am left with one of two choices. I can choose Microsoft Surface and Windows, or I can choose an Android tablet.

I was holding out for Google to create a hybrid OS that includes the best of what Chrome Books have to offer, but it doesn’t look like much is coming down the pike with that.  There was talk of a new OS called Andromeda that would feature the best of Chrome OS along with the best of Android.

Google Pixel & Andromeda

Google Andromeda was supposed to challenge Apple for a higher end hardware software challenge for enterprise clients. But so far it is all but dead in the water. As such, I holding out until there is a new MacBook Pro that is not the deplorable and laughable worst Apple laptop in the last 15 years, the now infamous MacBook Pro 2016 model with that hideous menu bar that replaced the function keys.

MacBook Pro 2016 & the infamous touch bar

I was so angry when that came out. Steve Jobs would never have allowed a piece of crap like that to have the Apple brand on it. I still cringe when I see it.  Like many professionals, I echo their sentiments, that if there was an actual rival to Apple and its former MacBook Pro successful laptops, I would switch in a heart beat.  The rival won’t be Microsoft Surface, or Google Chrome OS.  It will have to be a whole other OS, and the only company that seems to have the cash, the vision and innovation to do what is needed is Google.

Google Pixel C

The success of the Google Pixel C laptop encourages me as does the Google Pixel Phone. Google is setting up its own hardware division and is wanting to create its own brand, supply chain and new products, much the same way that Steve Jobs revitalized Apple on his return in the late 1990’s.  I am waiting for Google to arise on the scene with a new OS and new hardcore laptop in design, functionality that will challenge and threaten Apple and the other competition. I will have to wait and see. I am hoping though. Maybe something happens by US Thanksgiving 2017. Stay tuned.

My choices for an Android table came down to three

Lenovo Yoga Book

My first choice was the Lenovo Yoga Book that was announced in the fall of 2016 and that began to arrive after Christmas and early 2017.  The cost in Canada for the Android (there is a Wind0ws 10 version) tablet with keyboard and stylus/pen is around $550 dollars. It is a ten inch screen. It folds like a tablet or you can use it with the keyboard, and it is great device for video and streaming. So it seemed to fit the bill for me. This was within budget and it was innovative. When I saw it and used it, I liked the feel and what it offered. Android OS on it is 6.0.1.  Lenovo has plans for its Yoga Book line so we will have to see where this goes.  It has placed itself right in the middle of the renewed tablet market.

My second choice was the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 which is a couple of years old, and the 9.7 size rather than the 8 inch size.  The design is beautiful, and the Samsung Android OS works smoothly and gives the user a lot to like. When it came out it was the only real challenger to the iPad, and it was this device that really pushed Apple back into developing and upgrading their entire iPad line, from the iPad Mini to the regular iPad 9.7 as well as the iPad Pro. This device is a top seller, and it was a close second for me in considering my next gadget for my iPad replacement.

Galaxy Tab S3

Then Samsung announced their new produce that can be pre-ordered on 17 March and can be picked up at retailers at the end of March. It is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.  This is my 3rd choice. But from what I have learned about it, it has jumped ahead of the line for me, ahead of the Lenovo Yoga Book and the Samsung Galaxy S2.

 

My nod goes for the new Samsung Tab S3

All Canadian pre-orders will also receive a complimentary Samsung book cover, which is valued at $89.99.

  • Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Display 9.7-inch Super AMOLED, 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution
  • Processor Snapdragon 820
  • Quad Core 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz
  • Storage 32GB
  • Expandable microSD card
  • RAM 4GB
  • Rear Camera 13MP, Auto-focus, Flash
  • Front Camera 5MP
  • Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, USB Type-C 3.1, GPS
  • LTE (optional)
  • Charging USB-C
  • Battery 6000mAh
  • Fast charging
  • Security One-touch fingerprint sensor
  • Dimensions 237.3mm x 169mm x 6mm
  • Weight 429g (Wi-Fi)
  • 434g (LTE)
  • Colors Silver, black

My journey to this decision has been longer than I imagined, but it will be worth the wait

When you are looking for a new gadget, you need to be practical, economical, and make a choice that will limit your financial investment to the most effective return. You need a gadget that you will find useful, practical, and one that will last you more than a couple of years.  The average upgrade to different hardware is usually every two to three years on the average. My iPad 3 was used for four years. It will be five years ago this June that I bought my iPad for my trip to Eastern Europe.  Now seems to be the time for me to upgrade to a new tablet, and that tablet will be an Android tablet. My tablet of choice if the new Samsung Tab S3.

Don’t be blindsided by Apple marketing and their propaganda. Invest your time and energy through doing your own investigation into what you need, and then spend the time money wisely on a product that you will use and enjoy. 

Grace & Peace.

~ Samuel M. Buick

LINKS:

MWC 2017: Hands On With The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 and Windows 10 powered Galaxy Book

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Hands On

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Pricing For US, UK, and Canada Revealed

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Hands On

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Everything You Need To Know

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About Sam Buick

A lover and disciple of Jesus Christ. Married to my best friend, Lori-Anne. Father to 3 incredible daughters, Carragh, Caitlin and Erinn, and sons-in-law Alex, and Stephen Davis. An avid reader, a Droid user, a Mac addict, a lover of footy ball and football (there is a difference), and hockey. Once a soldier. Once a youth worker. Once an ordained minister. Once a claims adjuster. Once a charismatic, now a cessationist. Once a just war advocate, now a pacifist. A disciple of Christ, 5 point classical Calvinist. There is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ alone.
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