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A medical user asks – which tablet?

Posted Nov 03 2012 5:02pm

I am trying to decide between an iPad mini and the Kindle, but as a 60 year old radiologist, my needs are not as wide as a younger person. This would otherwise be the primary argument for the iPad, because of these medical apps, most of which I will not use or do not need.

My uses are primarily journal articles in PDF format, but there are of course, many images, and one reason I am getting this is because it needs to be portable but with a bigger screen than the smartphone (currently HTC Evo 4G). Comparing the hardware and to a less extent the software capabilities seems to favor the Kindle, but then the return rate seems to be high. I am concerned that the Apple OS does not run Flash, but do not know how to properly assess this.

I am looking at this for the next few years, recognizing that things are always changing. I realize that it is going to take a while before HTML 5 is widespread. One blogger said the following about the Kindle: “A browser which can support flash content and renders popular medical sites properly makes the need for apps less critical unlike the case of the iPad.
As it is basically Android I suspect it will be a matter of time before someone fixes the lack of marketplace accessibility.”

Would you mind giving me your opinion as to which one would be better for me? Thanks!

Tom Clayton, MD
Houston, Texas

Hi Tom. Good questions and there are no straightforward answers but if portability is important then personally I think a mid-sized tablet is better than going for 10 inch one. In that case, I would think the choice is between the Google Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini. While the Kindle Fire HD is well priced it has lower hardware specs and you lose the true Android experience.

As an Android user, getting an Android based tablet would have the advantage that you are already in the same ecosystem so that would save cost in terms of apps purchased.
I agree that while a flash capable browser makes native apps less a necessity, apps do have their value – the ability to run without an Internet connection, local data, design and user experience etc.
Getting an iPad mini in this respect is also not a bad idea. It gives you the best of both worlds – an Android phone and an iOS tablet. While Android is catching up, there are still more iOS tablet apps than Android, including medical ones. So you have the option of running an iOS medical app if there is none for the Android market and that to me is a big plus. You can get an idea if you compare the free medical iOS apps versus the free medical Android app listing.

If you intend to use the device mainly for reading e.g. journal PDFs and ebooks then one consideration is battery life – here the iPad Mini wins over the Google Nexus 7 (12 hrs vs just under 10 in the Engadget review). Would the lack of the retina display matter? I don’t think my eyes can tell that much of a difference, not especially for ebooks. The iPad mini has also a slightly larger display so it might make a difference. You wouldn’t miss the Kindle experience much especially since you can run the Kindle app in both the iPad Mini and the Nexus 7. If a higher resolution is important for you (I don’t know how much of a difference it would make for radiology images on a mid-sized tablet for instance) then you might have to consider a higher res Android mid-range table e.g. one of the Samsung offerings.

Lastly before you get a mid-range tablet, do consider the type of Internet connectivity you will need. If you already have a phone with a data plan, perhaps a Wifi only tablet will suffice but you will have to make that decision, based on your needs and what deals your provider can give you.
You sent your feedback from so I presume you will be running some of my medical web apps. Both the Nexus 7 and the iPad mini should run the html5 web apps without any problem.

Here are some reviews to help you make your choice Google Nexus 7 review (Tech Radar)
iPad mini (Engadget)
iPad mini vs Nexus 7 (PC advisor)

Good luck in making your choice – honestly it’s a tough one. If you ask me which I would get, at this point in time it is the iPad mini as truly, it will give you the option of having the best of both worlds and a quality Apple product.

from the Palmdoc Chronicles

A medical user asks – which tablet?

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