FixYa reports on common problems with 7-inch tablets

FixYa reports on common problems with 7-inch tablets

Summary: FixYa, the problem-solving website, has just published a report on buyers' most common complaints about four of the most popular 7-inch tablets from Apple, Google, Amazon and Barnes & Noble

TOPICS: Tablets, Hardware

No 7-inch tablet is perfect, but users of different models have different complaints, according to a report from FixYa, the problem-solving website. Google Nexus 7 owners complain about system update issues, for example, whereas for Nook HD owners, poor touchscreen response is the main problem.

FixYa tablets

Sometimes the main complaint is inherent, rather than (say) a design fault or manufacturing error. For example, Amazon Kindle HD buyers don't like adverts on the lock screen, while Apple iPad Mini owners say the 4:3 screen ratio is a drawback for watching movies.

While the results are not statistically significant — the site is most likely to attract users who have problems with their machines — they do highlight areas that potential buyers should consider.

The main complaint about the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD — the adverts — is easily solved: the 30 percent who object can go to Amazon's website and pay a small fee to turn them off. Other complaints include slow multi-tasking (25 percent), typing difficulties with the on-screen keyboard (15 percent), and the slow release of apps (15 percent).

The Kindle Fire HD uses a forked version of Android so users do not have access to the Google-controlled Android marketplace, now called Play. Again, this is a well-known issue, and the Kindle Fire HD is aggressively priced on the basis that users will be more likely to buy things from Amazon.

Google's Nexus 7 tablet, made by Asus, received favourable reviews when it appeared, but some users have run into problems, as shown by the 30 percent FixYa says are complaining about system update issues. FixYa says: "After rolling through the majority of 2012 with a very solid user experience, an Android 4.2 system update from Google began to cause a lot of issues for users. These issues include but are not limited to laggy response times when opening applications, decreased performance when multitasking, a worse typing experience, the tablet’s screen not registering commands, web browsing taking longer to load, random reboots, and other problems."

Other Nexus 7 complaints include screen issues (30 percent) such as backlight bleeding and erratic touch detection, lack of storage space (20 percent) and poor microphone quality (10 percent).

Fixya-Nook-HD-cropped (200 x 118)

Barnes & Noble's Nook HD attracted a variety of complaints including poor tocuhscreen response (30 percent), poor multi-tasking (20 percent), slow performance (20 percent) and speaker quality (20 percent). FixYa users report that the speakers are too quiet and some complain of "mild crackling", which may be significant when the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD's speakers are well above average quality, for a tablet, and go loud.

FixYa's report says: "The Nook HD also has a number of significant issues with its touchscreen and overall performance. Consumers report a large amount of issues in this regard— whether that’s laggy response times, trouble multitasking across web browsing and apps, opening applications, switching between applications, selecting items on your screen. Essentially, the Nook HD runs into a lot of problems with basic usability. For a tablet, that’s an issue and one that unfortunately seems to overshadow all of the good things about the beautiful HD screen."

Apart from the 4:3 aspect ratio, the main complaints about Apple's iPad Mini are the easily-scratched back, the screen quality, and the amount of storage space: all three attract 20 percent of complaints. However, the easily-scratched back is the only problem that Apple could deal with. All the others are deliberate design decisions that buyers should have been and probably were aware of before they bought their device.

FixYa comments: "while Apple has a segment of their user base that would prefer them to make different decisions, the fact that there was a limited amount of usability issues makes this a device that works well in the way that it was intended."

You can read the FixYa 7-inch Tablet Report online or download it in PDF format.

Bar charts of problems with 7in tablets


Topics: Tablets, Hardware

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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  • Nexus 7 sleep mode issue

    It's probably related to the recent Android 4.2 upgrade. Sometimes when the tablet is in sleep where simply touching the power button wakes it (or opening the case if you have one, nice feature, the tablet wakes up when a case is opened), sometimes as I was saying it does not want to wake up, press the button the screen stays off and then suddenly after a while it wakes up, no reboot needed. It usually helps to get it to wake up by connecting it to a power source even when the battery level is high.
  • Just got a Nexus 7

    I just got a Nexus 7 a few days ago. It's been great so far. Love everything about it. Of course, I made sure to update the tablet before I started installing applications. I know it's a PITA, but I might suggest a factory reset to those who are experiencing issues then reinstall your apps.
  • Had a Nexus 7 and iPad Mini

    Had a Nexus 7 16 Gig, only sold it to get more storage... Ended up with a Nexus 10.

    Had an iPad Mini, got rid of it because the screen is horrible for reading and I know some on here claim theirs do not have this issue but, every Mini I have seen is just as bad. The Nexus 7, iPad 3, and Nexus 10 might have spoiled me but, that screen is ugly!
  • Great statement

    "The fact that the majority of issues are unable to be fixed is both a positive and a negative"

    Because we all know designing problems into your products is seen as a positive by reviewers. Unless it's anyone else.
    Little Old Man
  • I Don't Have Any of Those Problems

    With my BlackBerry PlayBook 2.1
  • Dont use any of these 7 inch tablets

    I have the Samsung 7 inch tablets and bought the old nook color for $35 then popped in a boot from sd cm mod so boots to normal android and it works great. No issues with the samsung tablets other then Tmobile never offered any updates to thier version so do not buy tmobile units ever.
  • Blackberry playbook

    I certainly do not experience any of the problems that are stated in the article. If I want to see a larger view of anything, say, BBC iplayer all I need do is to connect my device to my TV via HDMI cable. Any update issue is not an issue with Blackberry. Updates are very well provided and free.
  • performance lag fix - to nexus 7 performance issues

    I too faced the performance lag issues. After getting the tablet, the update came up so i installed. I noticed the performance lag from the day i started using the tablet. I have installed 3 users and could see lag in switching apps and loading pdf.

    After searching the forums I found this app has fixed the issue - Forever Gone.

    I installed the app and after running the app found performance lag was not there and the tablet is running smooth.

    Whoever is facing the performance lag on the N7 please try this app.