We’ve written several articles comparing tablets running different operating systems. But what happens when you test two tablets both running the same version of Android (4.2.2)? When we first looked into doing a K-12 tablet study of Android devices, I admit I was skeptical that we’d see major differences. But I quickly learned that that there’s more to a tablet than the base OS. Each manufacturer has its own way of presenting the desktop and interacting with apps. Even more important is what’s under the hood. Some processors are much more capable of handling demanding tasks, like processing video.
Those differences really matter in the classroom. A fast, feature-rich tablet with a functional design is fun for kids to use, and gives teachers new ways to explore lesson plans and engage students. But a slow tablet that doesn’t reliably support expected features or functionality can waste time and create confusion. Teachers might be tempted to ditch the tablet for chalk and crayons.
We decided to take a closer look at how different devices running Android respond to some real-world tests using apps common to K-12 education. We took two popular 10-inch Android models: the ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C, powered by an Intel processor, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1, powered by an ARM processor, and tested several classroom scenarios to see which Android tablet offered the best performance with the least frustration.
Which Android tablet makes the grade in the K-12 classroom?
The winner was clear: The ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C provided better performance and functionality for teachers and students than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. The ASUS tablet won out thanks to its powerful Intel processor, greater compatibility with Android app features, and more robust, functional design. Some of the highlights:
Collaboration is important in the classroom. Students and teachers share files, and groups of students tag-team on editing images, documents, and presentation files. Those tasks were much easier on the ASUS Transformer Pad because students could access Google Drive files directly within apps. All of the tested apps running on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 are unable to directly access Google Drive files, which forces users to spend extra time and effort downloading the files to their local devices before those files can be accessed. After editing files, students have to upload them back to Google Drive. Not only does that workflow eat up time, it causes considerable confusion and frustration.
Full Android app functionality
Despite running the same operating systems, several features that worked reliably on the ASUS Transformer Pad were missing or unreliable on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. For example, video conferencing worked inconsistently on the Samsung device. More than 80 percent of the time, the student connecting from the Galaxy Tab 4 was unable to see herself—only the remote participant. This video issue is not just inconvenient, it’s confusing, because the local student with the video issue doesn’t know if the remote participant is able to see anything. The ASUS Transformer Pad was able to show both participants on both sides of the connection every time.
For teachers trying to control 30 students in a classroom, every second spent watching a spinning cursor is an opportunity for lost attention. The ASUS Transformer Pad showed consistently faster performance for several key tasks, as shown in the following table:
Performance gains alone added up to several minutes per student for the tested workflows. That lost time has a big impact on a typical 55-minute class, but still doesn’t tell the whole story. For every missing or incomplete feature, students and teachers waste time looking for workarounds to complete their work. That was never an issue for the ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C, because it integrates better with Google Drive and delivers greater overall functionality for all tested apps. Those differences translate to greater ease of use, less frustration, and higher overall productivity.
Built-in Convenience and Robustness
The ASUS Transformer Pad is available in a competitively priced bundle that includes a detachable keyboard. The keyboard makes it easier to type longer text blocks with fewer errors. When closed, the keyboard becomes a solid protective cover. It’s possible to buy a third-party keyboard for the Samsung tablet, but teachers or IT admins will need to pair each keyboard and tablet by using Bluetooth, and then somehow keep the two components together during both use and storage. Finally, without a protective cover for the tablet or the keyboard, both pieces are more likely to be damaged over time.
The ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C Moves to the Head of the Class
With greater performance and full functionality, the ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C helps keep students focused with fewer distractions. For the full story, read our white paper at: http://www.prowesscorp.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Prowess_Tablet_Android_Education_Paper.pdf