The iPad Air just launched and it's another milestone not only for the tablet industry, but also for mobile gaming. In this two part series I'm going to answer the questions that everyone has kept asking me - what's better, Android or Apple? First up, we're going to look at which tablet is superior for MMO gamers, then we'll look at mobile online gaming.
To answer the question with the most truthful honest reply you'll get on the Internet is: it's subjective. Which is superior can fall down to tech specs, bezel size, weight, screen resolution, operating system, etc. but I honestly believe that it falls down to personal preference. Buying a tablet has become the same exercise as buying a car, almost, so much so that major cellular operators are financing the purchases with car purchase like terms.
For an MMO gamer specifically, there are a few needs we have to be aware of when we're looking for a tablet. The first is mobile game apps, like the WoW armory. Which operating system are they available for and which operating system provides the functionality that you need.
The other major needs is as a mobile web browser. Say, for instance, you're in a game of League of Legend and you just ARAM'd a summoner that you've never played before. The tablet will let you examine build information and have it beside you without tasking your computer to run a second monitor or lagging the game and risking a crash with an alt-tab. Likewise, if you're in the middle of a raid, you can look up tactics and watch videos while everyone is preparing so that you know the game.
This is where I put my opinion and make my pitch - I feel that Apple provides a superior product for MMO gamers. The reasoning is simple. The iPad is a simple device, requires no tinkering to get it to work right, and works with most apps for MMOs. Now, here is the issue that Ive always had with Android tablets - the random crashing, the app incompatibility, and the massive amount of forking between different versions. So your tablet might work with one app, but wont work with another, while another tablet may be the direct opposite.
However, your mileage may vary, drastically. Everyone likes a different flavor and I prefer Apple over Jelly Bean, but you may like the opposite. However, if youre on the fence about owning a tablet, I do suggest looking at the new iPad Air. However, if Apple is not your thing, take a look at the Google Nexus 7 or Google Nexus 10. It is much cheaper, straight from the developer of Android so there is no forking, and very inexpensive. Were talking half the price of an iPad air almost.
Now, if neither of those are to taste, there is a different alternative - Microsoft Surface or any number of tablets running Windows 7 (not Windows 7 RT - the full version of Windows). These have the clear advantage that theyre running Windows and you can install applications onto the tablet. Now, the neat thing is that there are tons of MMOs that use 3rd party applications for things like DPS rotations, skill planning, and more. With a Windows 7 tablet you can run those apps while playing your game and not have to alt-tab or interfere with your system.
Tablets as a Second Monitor
Now lets say you have a beefy computer and youre not doing any intensive gaming. You can use a tablet as a second monitor with numerous programs that allow you to essentially have a second monitor on your table without the investment. Second monitors are great for keeping things like Skype, Vent, Teamspeak, etc. open so you can see who is talking or messaging you without the need to alt-tab, another major time saving maneuver.
However you see it, tablets are great for MMO gamers. Whichever you pick is your choice, I like Apple, you might like Android, but at the end of the day it will improve your gaming experience, if nothing else but allowing you to play Angry Birds while you wait in queue.