Poor battery life, a paucity of apps, browser crashes and more are just some of the problems plaguing users of four of the most popular tablets now on sale. We know this because FixYa, a popular Q&A site, collected and analyzed more than 10,000 user reports.
Featured in the survey Apple’s iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina, Amazon’s Kindle DHX and Microsoft’s Surface 2.
With exception of the Surface 2, users reported that all of the tablets suffered from browser crashes — a surprising issue since using the Web is probably the most important feature of any tablet. (It’s important to note that when FixYa reports, for example, that 30 percent of the users said the iPad Air browser crashed too frequently, that doesn’t mean 30 percent of the iPad Airs have this problem. Got that?)
I’m going to summarize the results of the survey; you can read the full report and also learn how to solve some of these problems.
Take a look at your smartphone or tablet if you already have one and notice how many apps fill the home screen and how much you rely on them for work and fun. Unfortunately, the new Microsoft Surface offers relatively few beyond the Microsoft Office suite that comes with the tablet. That was the most common complain of users in the surface, accounting for 25 percent of the complaints. Speaker quality (20 percent) and issue with the touch cover keyboard and a lack of compatibility with other Microsoft products followed at 15 percent eaxh.
Apple’s iPad Air has gotten excellent reviews, but it does have some problems. Most common, at 30 percent, is a tendency for browsers, especially Safari, to crash. Fixya users say that opening Web pages that use Flash and opening multiple tables can crash the browser. Particularly annoying is the tendency for the browser to lose open tabs after a reboot. The next most common issue (25 percent) is surprising: Screen issues. Although the Retina screen is beautiful, users report that half of their screens have either a yellow tint overall or faint gray lines cutting across it. That’s kind of a bummer for people who bought the iPad Air for its screen, because it’s considered one of the tablet’s best features. FixYa does suggest a fix for the problem — so if it’s an issue for you, check out the full report.
Kindle DHX 8.9 inches
Like the iPad Air, browser issue are the top complaint of Amazon’s Kindle DXH users at 25 percent. The pre-installed Silk browser has a variety of issues, most notably choppy performance and a tendency to crash when opening a new tab or navigating to a new page. It’s also slow, some users say. Like the Surface, there are simply too few apps (20 percent). There were about the same number of complaints about battery life. Especially annoying, users say, is slow recharge time, a real problem when you’re traveling and not always near a socket.
iPad Mini with Retina
Like its larger sibling, Apple’s iPad Mini garners complaints (30 percent) about screen quality, though the specifics of the problem are different. Uses say that, when flipping between apps or interacting with any part of the screen that causes the display image to change, the previous image with be lightly visible for a bit. Ghosting, as the issue is called, doesn’t actually affect the functions of the table — but since the beauty of the screen is a big selling point, it’s quite disappointing for users who notice it. Lack of storage space and browser crashes, both at 20 percent, are the next most common problem reported.
San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in CIO.com and the publications of Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.