Android on tablets has made significant strides in recent years, and I must admit that I’ve developed a strong affinity for it. Surprisingly, I now find it to be superior to Android on phones after using the Pixel Tablet. Android as a whole feels more refined on larger screens, not just compared to a few years ago but also in terms of the modern Android phone experience. This statement may be controversial considering Android’s troubled history with tablets, but hear me out. The larger screen factor plays a role, but it’s also how Android has adapted to it that makes it better on tablets.
Let’s take a look at what users think of Android on tablets:
It’s shaping up nicely (but needs more third-party apps).
It’s fine for what it is.
The OS still needs a lot of refinement for tablets.
I haven’t used Android on tablets recently.
Google apps look and work better on large screens
It took Google over a decade to allocate development resources to larger screens, but the company now offers a decent collection of first-party apps specifically designed for tablets and foldable phones. Using these apps is a delight.
An excellent example is Chrome, which displays open tabs in a single row, similar to how it appears on desktops. Switching to another tab is a one-tap action, without the need to access the grid. This small change significantly improves the user experience, saving time and effort. While I would love to see the complete desktop Chrome experience on tablets, this improvement alone is commendable.
Google Photos also received a significant upgrade on tablets. The experience is much more efficient and productive, particularly in terms of photo editing. The larger screen provides more room to display editing tools simultaneously, eliminating the need to switch between different screens to make adjustments. This improvement is incomparable and makes a noticeable difference.
Many third-party apps have improved as well
Not all Android apps have optimized their interfaces for tablets, but some developers have put in the effort to make their apps suitable for larger screens. While some apps were lazily scaled up, others took the time to adapt their interfaces effectively.
Apps like Todoist, Adobe Lightroom, WhatsApp, and Spotify have made significant improvements for tablet users. They have implemented features such as side panels, rearranging controls, and keeping essential information visible. These optimizations make a substantial difference in usability and enhance the overall user experience.
Multiwindow is more practical on larger displays
Multi-window support has always been a part of Android, but I rarely used it on my phones. On tablets, however, it becomes a powerful and indispensable feature. The larger screen size makes multi-window functionality much more practical, offering a whole new level of productivity.
With the Pixel Tablet, I found myself using multi-window at least a few times a week. It allows me to perform various tasks simultaneously, such as browsing with Chrome while checking out a restaurant on Google Maps or using Slack and Asana side by side. The feature’s ease of use, compatibility with landscape and portrait modes, and the ability to launch multiple instances of certain apps enhance productivity significantly.
Moreover, the app dock on tablets offers a productivity hack by providing quick access to frequently used apps. Placing app folders in the dock streamlines actions and saves time, making it a valuable feature for multitasking.
Landscape mode enhances the tablet experience
Auto-rotate is one of the first settings I disable on phones due to its lack of practicality, especially with today’s narrow and tall phone displays. However, landscape mode on tablets is an entirely different story. The larger screen offers enough space to display an app’s header, a decent amount of content, and a usable keyboard, making landscape mode worthwhile on tablets.
Android on large screens has evolved into an exceptional operating system. It provides an excellent user experience, especially when running Android 13. The ability to view quick settings toggles and notifications with a single swipe is just one of the many improvements. The larger screen estate makes the entire operating system shine and amplifies features that are less useful on phones.
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Deepak Sen is a tech enthusiast who covers the latest technological innovations, from AI to consumer gadgets. His articles provide readers with a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of technology.