Fixya users' complaints reveal the flaws in the top tablets

Fixya users' complaints reveal the flaws in the top tablets

Summary: Fixya has just published a report on owners' most common complaints about four leading tablets: Microsoft Surface 2, iPad Air, Amazon Kindle HDX, and the iPad Mini

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TOPICS: Tablets, Hardware
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Fixya, the problem-solving website, has analyzed more than 10,000 complaints about four leading tablets: Microsoft's Surface 2, Apple's iPad Air, Amazon's Kindle HDX, and the iPad Mini. Fixya's founder, Yaniv Bensadon, says: "We want to give the public a fair understanding of what previous device owners are seeing as the most common problems, while also providing some easy fixes for current owners.”

Some problems you will know about already, but others are worth checking -- particularly the screen problems with Apple iPads.

Fixya says "the Microsoft Surface 2 is a great option for the businessman or woman -- its full range of Microsoft Office features really appeals to professionals who are on the go." The obvious drawback is the shortage of apps, and this was the main complaint from Fixya users (25 percent). Other problems included the loudspeaker quality (20 percent), the Touch Cover keyboard, and "Compatibility with other Microsoft Products" (15 percent each).

The report says "the speakers are quiet, lack crispness in sound quality, and don't do enough to warrant using them when showing a friend a video or using it to play music." The Touch Cover keyboard "is difficult to type on" and "hampers the performance of the Surface 2 as a true business option".

Insofar as there's a fix for the lack of apps, it's to use websites instead. Apps became popular because browsing was poor on smartphones, but it's excellent on the Surface 2. As for typing, some people like -- or dislike -- the Touch Cover more than others. I find it very uncomfortable for touch-typing, and agree with Fixya that "the comfort that comes with the Type Cover is well worth the price."

Fixya doesn't mention it but the fix for (lack of) "Compatibility with other Microsoft Products" is to buy a Windows tablet that uses an Intel x86-compatible processor, not the ARM chip in the Surface 2. The Dell Venue Pro, for example.

The most complained-about problem with the iPad Air is Safari browser crashes (30 percent), followed by "screen issues" (25 percent), then keyboard responsiveness and Wi-Fi connectivity (15 percent each).

Fixya says the browser crashes on certain websites (possibly ones that use Flash?) and when opening multiple tabs. It adds: "Upon rebooting, the browser is typically unable to recover the web pages the user was on, making an extended browsing session frustrating." The possible fix is to clear cookies and browser history data regularly, or use a different browser.

Some iPad Air users complain of screens with a yellow tint over half the screen, or faint grey lines across the screen. "It's purely an aesthetic issue, but one that users should pay attention to before purchasing the device," says Fixya.

ZDNet--kindleHDX8.9
Source: Fixya Tablet Report

The Kindle HDX with its 8.9in screen is integrated with Amazon's online store, and provides live help via its Mayday program. The main complaint is the "somewhat unreliable" Silk browser (30 percent), followed by lack of app support, battery life, and device freezes (20 percent each).

Fixya users complained about the browser's "choppy performance" and tendency to lock up, and some thought the Kindle HDX took too long to charge. The advice for the latter is: "make sure you're using the Amazon cable … plugged into a wall socket".

Lack of app support comes from the fact that it uses a forked version of Google Android. The obvious "fix": if apps are important to you, buy an Android tablet (with access to Google Play) or Apple iPad instead.

Sadly, the popular iPad Mini with Retina display also has "screen issues" (30 percent). The other main complaints are storage space and browser crashes (20 percent each), then keyboard responsiveness (15 percent).

While the Retina screen provides an increase in clarity and readability (removing gripes about the original model), some users complained about ghosting when flipping between apps or otherwise changing the screen display. See the online report for possible fixes.

On storage, "users complain that the storage size … is too small at its lowest price point", but Fixya points out that it has the same amount (16GB) as the Kindle HDX and entry-level iPad Air. Problems with Safari crashing and with the on-screen keyboard's variable responsiveness are the same as the iPad Air

The full (but short) report is available online.

 

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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28 comments
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  • Was the Nexus 7 not included because..

    it had no flaws or was it not considered one of the top tablets?
    FrankInKy
    • Because Microsoft Surface is at the top of the complaint list

      When you look at these new problems...

      -Shortage of apps
      -Poor loudspeaker
      -Bad touch cover
      -Poor compatibility

      And add them to the long list of Surface problems already reported on ZDNet here:
      http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-pulls-faulty-surface-pro-2-firmware-update-7000024477/

      ...then you can see why the Surface has surfaced at the top of the complaint list. Considering its poor sales, then there must be a large percentage of complaints.
      Vbitrate
      • Or it may be something of which you had not considered

        That the Surface is being viewed now by many as a serious threat to the iPad ecosystem?
        With many of the chronic Microsoft complainers, it has always been 'Surface, Surface, Surface', to which one has to wonder why it is on the mind of those people constantly?

        I found people do not constantly complain about something of no consequence to them, therefor there must be a reason as to why the same people seek out Surface every time any mention of tablets is made.

        Your closing paragraph holds no weight, as you are assuming that Surface is having poor sales, when comments in the media are starting to say otherwise, while lists of complaints are on par with that of other high end tablets on the market in may categories.
        John Zern
        • hmm

          I dunno abt but when I ask ordinary ppl abt surface they will scrath their head. When I tell them it's MS tablet, they will ask me is it like an ipad !
          ThinkFairer8
          • Right, because nobody's ever seen any of the commercials

            they've only see the Apple and Google ones, and they've never see one at stores. Got it.

            So why do people ask me about the Surface and other Windows 8 tablets and convertibles?
            William.Farrel
      • No new news.

        The "gripes" about the Surface aren't new. They're the same ones people had about the Surface RT from day one. Nothing new there.
        Stdikelord
      • Well MS has hardware / software fragmentation

        Cannot update my HP Envy X2 to Windows 8.1 and neither MS or Hp will support it. Chalk it up to fragmentation. Surface included. Windows has a lot of different devices to support, including Microsoft's own. I'll hold off on surface till it is ready.
        flyguy29
    • Yeah, interesting...

      Wonder why the only Android listed was the Fire HDX when there are powerful Android options available... Hmm...

      I do know that my Fire HDX locked up until the update that came after I filed for an RMA but, before I sent it back.

      I also know that comparing the HDX and the Mini Retina side by side and the displays weren't even close, the Kindle out right smoked the Mini Retina so, I returned the Mini Retina within 2 weeks.
      slickjim
    • Google Nexus 7

      I have a Nexus 7 2013...for the $, there's no better tablet.
      Bob77021
    • Not included

      This was about the top complaints, whether they are truly "problems" or not. I am sure. Nexus may have a list of "complaints" but those were not revealed in this report. Every device has level of "imperfection, but they don't necessarily amount to being a huge detriment to the product.
      flyguy29
  • Likely

    not considered one of the top tablets.
    William.Farrel
    • ?

      What's the market share fraction for Surface 2s again?
      dilettante
      • IDK- Whats the market share fraction for the Nexus 7?

        since we're asking
        William.Farrel
        • I never cease to be amazed at the lengths that you go to

          to protect MS.

          Any comment that is even only slightly critical of MS and there you are making a derogatory comment about some other product or OS. Seriously what the Hell is wrong with you that your life is based around making yourself feel better by protecting MS and denigrating other products? Are you really so incredibly incapable of accepting that MS is not perfect? You are not clever; rather, I suspect that you suffer from some type of mental illness.
          1,2,3
          • It never cease to be amazed at the lengths that you go to

            to degenerate MS.

            Any comment that is even only slightly in praise of MS and there you are making a derogatory comment about some other product or associate of MS.

            Seriously what the Hell is wrong with you that your life is based around making yourself feel better by degenerating MS and protecting other products?

            Are you really so incredibly incapable of accepting that MS is not the devil incarnate? You are not clever; rather, I suspect that you suffer from some type of mental illness.

            I've ask this to you on many occasions "one left foot", under the many different names you've posted on, with no answer from you ever offered.

            What is most disturbing is that you trolls honestly feel you should have free reign to post whatever nonsense, lies, half truths, without he fear of rebuttal. You get downright testy should someone call out your company of choice for doing exactly that which you attack other companies on, or offer a different points of view or actual assessment of some product you want to criticize. Anything But Microsoft is your battle cry.

            If you haven't noticed by now, I don't toy with the products, just the trolls who troll with them.

            BTW: As I mentioned before, We also buy Apple products in this house, just in case you want to call me an Apple shill, too. We wouldn't want to cramp your style in any way.
            William.Farrel
          • funny

            It's funny u accused others of trolling when u urself r the biggest MS troll !
            ThinkFairer8
  • Relax

    We all know goggles poop doesn't stick or stink : )
    iacl1
  • Ironic...

    The Surface 2's problem stems from a lack of apps, whereas the iPad Air's comes from a bad browser.

    Windows RT has one of the best web browser, whereas iOS holds the largest ecosystem.

    Funny, if you ask me.
    ForeverCookie
    • Different strengths and weaknesses

      Great choices! You can crash a lot of apps on iPad or you can use a boring unbreakable app on Surface.
      paul2011
  • Special interests...

    People need to keep in mind that this company has an interest in exaggerating and playing up the 'flaws' in any and all products they review.
    saoir