Do you have questions as to which tablet platform is best to use the App on?
In this post I will endeavor to address those concerns.
I use the JW App on a Dell Venue Windows 10 Platform as well as a Samsung Galaxy Tab Android Platform. I have asked a user of Apple to write a review of that platform
First to address the many types of Windows 10 tablets. When shopping for a tablet you can use much of the same basic knowledge that you would for a laptop, however do not expect from a tablet what you would from a laptop. Dell no longer produces the Venue, however you can still find them on eBay. Use caution when purchasing a Venue as there are issues with some series. I will write another post about those issues. The 5000 series with Windows 10 has proven stable and I will focus on the 5830.
With each platform I want to apply the same drawback; the "Frequently Used" feature takes too much time to load and with the Toolbox and Favorites is a redundant feature. If the Favorites is set up and with the Toolbox the "Frequently Used" is unneeded. The "Frequently Used" feature will result in crashes if the user does not allow it to finish loading and may crash the App if it has trouble locating the cache.
As I stated I use the Dell Venue 5830 and from Tap-To-Start it takes 32 seconds for the App to load. In real life 32 seconds is fast, in Tech Time 32 seconds is considered a very long time. The start delay is directly due to the "Frequently Used" feature. It does a check to see what was accessed last in the App it restructurers the order of last used before fully loading. If a user were to Tap on one of the icons to the left, in most cases the App would crash if the "Frequently Used" has not finished loading. As to the option of leaving the App open all the time to avoid this lag, that too can cause issues. One issue will be the "pages" will not draw properly on the screen. Each "page" (a Bible or magazine etc) must be "drawn" as it is accessed. If the App is left open for any length of time the last page may not draw or pages may draw incorrectly.
Tapping an icon to the left (Bible; Publications etc) takes about 6 seconds to open, however once a certain publication is open load time increases. If you are a heavy note taker, for example on Matthew Chapter 24, load times for a single chapter can be delayed. On my tablet for Chapter 24 it took 15 seconds for the chapter to load. If you are giving a talk and have several Scriptures from Matthew Chapter 24 it is easy to see how the time to load can eat into your talk time. You can fill it will "information" however the time is still lost.
A huge benefit to using the JW App on a Windows 10 tablet is the fact that you can also install the Watchtower Library. If you are a deep study person you can copy & paste references directly from WTL to the JW App with the Reference. Although you can copy and paste from WOL you can't attach the reference, you have to type it in.
The Backup/Restore feature works exactly as it should and works across all platforms, for example you can backup on a Windows 10 tablet and send that to an Android and restore it. The opposite is also true. However you can't back up the Media Locations and what was downloaded. To explain: When media is downloaded to the App on Windows 10 or Android it goes to a separate folder, in Windows 10 it goes to your music/video folder in a folder called "JWLibrary". If you uninstall the App the folder remains as does the media in the folder. But if you reinstall the App and the App uses the exact same folder for media it does not "See" the media already in the folder. In fact you have to "re-tap" each video or music in the App for the App to "see" it in the folder. This is extremely frustrating and is the same with Android. If there was a means for the App to "see" what is already in the media folders and remove the "cloud" from the Tile that would be incredible.
Highlighting in the App on Windows 10 is easy, you Tap where you want to start and "handles" appear and you drag the handles then choose the color. This allows the user complete control over highlighting and color pick. If you highlight and do not choose one of the 4 colors provided a nice purple is used, the hidden color.
Note taking can be cumbersome since auto scroll is un-reliable on Windows 10, this is not the fault of the App but is due to the "popup" feature of the keyboard in Windows 10, blame for this is on Microsoft.
The addition of "Offline Mode" was a huge benefit. When no Internet connection is available you will want to use this to increase load time. A small part of the delay in load time is when "Online Mode" is on the App is searching for updates. If you turn this off when no Internet is available it will increase load times and load times of publications. This is a huge benefit in the Field Ministry.
My primary use of JW App is on a Windows 10 Platform. Although the load time is the longest, the highlighting works best and allows the user the most control. Also since WTL can be installed it allows total access to everything provided for study. Yes you can use WOL, but it is important to keep in mind, currently only about 2.5 billion people have regular access to the Internet. In countries like America it is often forgotten that Friends in Africa or many Asian countries have to travel to "Internet" locations and in some cases pay to access the service to access WOL. So in many cases it is of the greatest benefit to these Friends to use Windows 10 (It has been reported that WTL can be installed on Apples, but this requires the user to violate the TOS of the device, this article focuses only on what is legal.) I await the day the "Frequently Used" is removed, the feature is the source of loading delays and crashes and has no real benefit with the other features. Playback audio is poor, especially in the Ministry, I bought a speaker plug to increase the ability to hear. Screen brightness is also poor on bright days, but this is true of any backlit device.
(This review will focus only on the Samsung line of tablets; all other Android tablets have in one way or another proved deficient in running the JW App well enough to justify a review.)
This review will focus on the Samsung Tab-E 8" SM-T377 Running 7.1.1.
A Samsung Roundup from Bad to Best:
1) All Samsung Lite Series (Not recommended to use the JW App)
2) The Samsung E class series all sizes is by far the worst series to run the JW App on.
3) The Samsung A series is mid-line and has very good performance.
4) The Samsung S series, by far the best in every way if you can afford them. The S Series can easily out cost even the best Apple Tablet.
For a detailed breakdown read > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Galaxy_Tab_series <
Opening the JW App on a Samsung Tab E took 25 minutes and that was with a freeze. On the Tab E the App freezes a lot and crashes a lot. I do mean a lot, this is true on the Tab A as well. When downloading media and publications it is best to download 1 at a time to avoid crashes and freezes. It took an additional 9 seconds to load Matthew chapter 24, remember I have detailed notes and complete WT Articles from 2013 in the note pane. Reviewing the App on Samsung Android is difficult because it is an either or case. In other words each time you open the App it will either function excellent or it will not. It is a roll of the dice. If the App functions well it will load fast, work fast, respond fast. If on that load it decides to misbehave it will cause you to want to pull your hair out. However when it runs as it should I do enjoy using the App on Samsung. As to highlighting on Android I do not like it, long tap, drag and last color used is color it will use. If you are highlighting a sub point you have to re-tap and choose a different color. This adds extra steps and is cumbersome to use, although once a user is used to it it is done without thought. The same issues that exist with Windows exist with the restoring of media folder content after a reinstall, the App can't "See" it. The App on Android makes use of both back buttons but each back button has a different feature. The Back button on the Tablet is what is used to return to the Article last used, the Back button within the App will take you to the last used publication, not within the meeting section but the last publication. This can be frustrating and confusing at times. It is easier to make use of the slid from left feature or history feature in the Android Platform then using the back buttons. The back button built into Windows does indeed return you to your last screen, unlike the back button on Android. So on Android if the 2 different back buttons options are confusing it may be easier to use the history feature or slid left feature. Overall if the App crashed less or froze less often on Android, Android would be the better option. However between Android and Windows aside from load time the App performs better on Windows. Playback audio is better on the Tab E than on the Dell Venue, so in the ministry I am using my Tab E.
So between Windows 10 tablets and Samsung it bottoms out at cost. A Windows Dell Venue on eBay can be as low as $100 but you will need some level of skill to set up a Dell Venue as they were made for Windows 8 and not Windows 10. Upgrading to Windows 10 can be done, but there are issues with drivers. I did not discuss the Microsoft Surface by choice, the price is too high for most of the Friends.
Samsung is by far a lower priced option. Again avoid the Lite versions. The "Branded" versions such as Verizon, AT&T, etc work just as well as the non-branded versions, you just get the SIM nag at startup. Other than that no difference. For the price the Tab E may be the only option for some of the Friends. The Tab E can be purchased for as low as $80 new. Although the App freezes and crashes on the E it does on the A as well and most can't afford the S series.
An even lower priced option that I did not review is the LG line of Cell Phones. Walmart carries a great 5.5" LG Android AT&T GOPhone for $45 and you DO NOT have to activate them. Once you purchase it and get it home remove the pre-installed SIM and then charge it. Turn it on and ignore the SIM nag and use it just like a tablet. Being Android it will freeze at times running the App but it is a great low priced option.
There are hundreds of low and lower priced Android options and unfortunately some have bought them and after using for a few days handed them to me and asked me to get it to work like a "Samsung". Can't do it. The RCA tablet is horrible, it will work, with tears and blood and lots of wine, both types, but they should be avoided. A 10" RCA can be bought for as low as $80 an 8" at $49, but it will come with what I said above, whereas a 5.5 LG phone performs much better. So choose this battle carefully.
I will not review the large number of other Android phones as I have used many of them, the 5.5" Samsung AT&T phone is $100 and since the 8" Samsung Tab E can be bought cheaper that is the reason I did not suggest the Samsung phone. Outside of the lower priced LG phone, I am not reviewing the others as you will have issues.
So the Bottom line:
Windows 10 (Dell Venue) is the best choice for you Study buck. They can be bought for under $100 on eBay and offers the most online and offline options for total Study abilities.
Samsung Tab E can be bought for under $80 and since its performance is similar to a Tab A is a lower priced option. If you are an Android fan and have the money then the S Series is the way to go.
LG AT&T GoPhone is the lowest of all price points, under $50 and still performs well.
The above is for the price and performance.
I do hope to get a review of the Apple Tablet. I do not own one or understand how the naming series works with them. So I have asked an Apple expert to write a review for me.