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iPad, Surface, Kindle owners reveal their top gripes

A new report from tech Q&A site FixYa cites the biggest complaints with the latest tablets from Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Got a beef about your iPad, Surface, or Kindle tablet? Join the club.

The new holiday report from Q&A site FixYa sifted through thousands of problems reported by its Web site users to determine the most common grievances. The tablets that faced the firing squad included Apple's iPad Air and Retina Display iPad Mini, Microsoft's Surface 2, and Amazon's Kindle HDX. Let's see how they fared.

Microsoft's Surface 2
The Surface 2 was dinged for its poor app support, speaker quality, and Touch Cover keyboard. Users applauded the Microsoft Office suite that comes free with the tablet but were bummed by the lack of well-rounded apps available through Microsoft, especially when compared with the range and diversity offered by Apple, Google, and Amazon.

The Surface 2's speakers are too quiet and lack a certain crispness, according to the report. The Touch Cover keyboard also received a thumb's down by people who found it difficult to type on. The paucity of apps and speaker quality are mostly in Microsoft's ballpark. But users who don't like the Touch Cover keyboard should consider the Type Cover, which is more expensive but provides a better response.

Apple's iPad Air
The Air was faulted for its crashing browser, screen problems, and keyboard response. Users reported that opening certain Web pages via Safari, especially those using Adobe Flash, caused the browser to go kaboom, bringing them back to the home page.

Some Air owners said that their devices display a yellow tint or faint gray lines across the screen. These defects don't interfere with the use of the tablet but certainly don't add to its visuals. Users also said the onscreen keyboard doesn't respond quickly enough when you tap a key, resulting in keystrokes that fail to register.

To fix the Safari crashes, FixYa suggested the usual solutions, such as clearing your cookies and browser history. The display problems may go away by turning off sleep mode, turning up the screen brightness, and leaving the Air on until the battery drains, FixYa said. If not, then a trip to your local Apple Store may be in order. Finally, reducing the motion of the keyboard through the accessibility option in Settings may help with the keyboard's response time.

Amazon's Kindle HDX 8.9
Owners of the 8.9-inch Kindle HDX listed the Silk browser, limited app support, and battery issues at the top of their hit list. The browser got poor grades for its slow speed, rough performance, and tendency to crash.

Users complained about the selection of apps available through Amazon. Yes, Amazon's Appstore beat Microsoft's Windows Store for the number and range of apps. But Kindle owners still seemed to want more. Some also faulted the battery for taking too long to charge.

To fix the Silk issues, FixYa advised Kindle users to regularly clear their browser settings. The lack of available apps is an issue that rests on Amazon's ability to lure in more third-party developers. And to speed up the battery charge, FixYa recommends that people use only the charging cable that comes with the tablet and make sure it's seated properly.

Apple's Retina iPad Mini
Finally, the new Retina-Display iPad Mini suffered the slings and arrows of screen problems, lack of storage space, and browser crashes.

iPad Mini users complained of ghosts, meaning images that are still slightly visible on the screen right after they switch to a different app or other content. People also were unhappy that the cheapest Retina Mini costs $399 and offers only 16GB of storage. Of course, the same grievance applies to the larger iPad and rival tablets. Among the four tablets in the report, only the Surface 2 offers additional space via a microSD card reader.

And users complained of the same type of browser crashes that plague some iPad Air owners, most notably when trying to surf a Flash-enabled Web site.

Fixes? To get rid of the ghosts, FixYa advised iPad Mini owners to reduce the motion sensitivity and try a hard reset. If the ghosts are still around, a trip to the Apple store would be the next step. Nothing can be done about storage issues. And people can try clearing the settings in Safari to quash browser crashes or simply switch to a different browser for iOS, such as Google Chrome or Opera.

FixYa's results are based on more than 10,000 users who reported the various problems with their tablets.