Author Topic: Tablets?  (Read 10764 times)

jrhampt

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Tablets?
« on: April 03, 2013, 07:02:29 PM »
I'd like to get a tablet for under $200 to use with wireless network at home.  Preferably with HDMI connectivity, but not essential; may want the option to use with a detachable keyboard.  I recently saw a groupon deal for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 for $169 and free shipping, which is in my price range.  Since I've never had a tablet, these don't come with a contract, correct?  You can use them with the wireless network at home just like a laptop, yes?  I ask only because I've seen a review for this tablet titled "with Verizon", and I'm not sure what a cell phone network provider has to do with anything.  Any other tablet recommendations?

Rural

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 07:38:12 PM »
I don't know about the tablet you mentioned, but I bought a Google Nexus 7 for $199 in November, and I love it. No contract, wireless only.

arebelspy

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 07:57:09 PM »
The ones with a 3G chip, if bought without a contract, work fine on WiFi.  You can enable the cell connectivity by signing up with the appropriate company, but don't need to.  No monthly fee if you do not.
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Daley

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2013, 08:09:04 PM »
I recently saw a groupon deal for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 for $169 and free shipping, which is in my price range.  Since I've never had a tablet, these don't come with a contract, correct?

Correct, so long as it doesn't have a 3G/4G LTE modem and doesn't have a contract attached from a major wireless carrier. You only want the WiFi capable models, but if you want the option of tossing in a GSM SIM card, models can be purchased with a wireless modem with or without carrier subsidy. So long as it's without a subsidy and contract, there's no mandatory monthly bill.

You can use them with the wireless network at home just like a laptop, yes?

Again, correct.

Any other tablet recommendations?

I'd second the Nexus 7 if you really want to get an Android tablet. Samsung, amongst a litany of other manufacturers, does incredibly terrible things to their builds of Android sometimes with crapware and proprietary apps. People who like the Android platform generally regard official Google released and supported hardware as providing the best experience you could ever hope for, and always first in line for OS updates if the hardware supports it. If it has Nexus as part of the name, it'll be as good an experience as you could hope for without resorting to third-party firmware like Cyanogenmod.

That said, given you brought up HDMI ports as being of interest, have another strike against the Galaxy Tab 2. The HDMI port doesn't actually work.

If you want a sub-$200 Android tablet with HDMI out, your only real option is a Kindle Fire HD, which comes with its own caveats.

Unfortunately, good tablets are still so new to the marketplace, there's really not much selection yet new or used in the price point you're after... but this post pretty well tags all of the major players outside of the Archos 70b and the cheap Chinese junk off Alibaba.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 08:10:47 PM by I.P. Daley »

jrhampt

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2013, 08:17:40 PM »
Good info, thanks.  Good to know about the HDMI issue with the Samsung Tablet, too.  I had read some good reviews on the Nexus, so I suppose that is an option too.  Maybe I will hold out for a while longer until there are more options, though.  I go back and forth on this...

clutchy

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2013, 09:15:32 PM »
I don't know about the tablet you mentioned, but I bought a Google Nexus 7 for $199 in November, and I love it. No contract, wireless only.

I also really enjoy my N7

bogart

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 11:03:45 PM »
Another N7 fan here.

I agonized for some time over buying a tablet, knowing (a) that if I waited 2 years, they would get much better and much cheaper and (b) that (a) would always be true.  I eventually circumvented the agony by talking my employer into buying one for me. 

I bought a small bluetooth keyboard for the N7 for about $28, and can almost touch-type on it (the issue is the small size of the keyboard, not my typing skillz).  I have a remote desktop app on it and can access my work computer and all that machine's software, using the N7 and the app.  OTOH it is small enough (screen, keyboard) that while I can work on it, doing so for a long time isn't really feasible.  Still, it's pretty cool. 

Rural

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 03:57:01 AM »
I'll second the keyboard, but it really depends on the person there. I am small enough to touch-type on the keyboard without trouble (for that matter, I touch-type on the native virtual keyboard on my work-supplied iPad, too).

cwang27

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 08:07:50 AM »
I too own a Nexus 7. I agree with all the above posters. It might be helpful to mention that one of the most useful features of the N7 is its ability to function as a GPS. You do not need wireless connectivity for your Nexus to know your location. So you can download offline maps via gmaps or another app use it as a GPS. It's pretty nifty for road trips, long bike trips, and even when we were on foot in downtown SanFran on vacation.

Left

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2013, 08:55:02 AM »
I have a toshiba thrive, full sized USB and hdmi ports, and sd card slot, and gps. Only thing that bothers me is that it's long... not "big" but long. The ratio for it is like a wide screen tablet, instead of more square. I've able to hook it up to TV with hdmi and remote into computer to play movies from computer onto TV, or use the usb port for movies/pictures

the toshiba excite (newer model) seems good too, has same pros/cons

bo_knows

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 02:01:45 PM »
I've been considering dropping my smartphone plan for a dumbphone and buying a cheaper tablet for home use.  This thread has got me itching to do more research...

sol

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2013, 09:03:50 PM »
My wife and I rocked a totally nonmustachian nexus10 as a joint Christmas present last year and I probably do at least half of my home computing on it.  I have nothing bad to say about it, and I use it every day.

jrhampt

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2013, 06:41:46 AM »
It might be helpful to mention that one of the most useful features of the N7 is its ability to function as a GPS. You do not need wireless connectivity for your Nexus to know your location. So you can download offline maps via gmaps or another app use it as a GPS. It's pretty nifty for road trips, long bike trips, and even when we were on foot in downtown SanFran on vacation.

That is pretty cool!  I just assumed that for gps functionality you'd need some sort of a cell phone contract, but good to know that is not the case.

Cecil

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2013, 11:07:35 AM »
Another vote here for the Nexus 7. It's the best tablet on the market right now. It nails the price / capability sweet spot.

StarryC

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2013, 11:53:55 AM »
Depending on what you want to do, an old version Kindle fire might work for you.  I have the original 7 inch non HD, which I bought refurbed for $139. 

All the android Apps I use were available on the Amazon App store.  I don't remember exactly how, but somehow I got the Nook App on it too.  So, I can read books, watch Hulu/ Amazon Prime, web surfing.  I really prefer a keyboard for any typing, so I knew I didn't need heavy e-mail or office type applications.  Wifi at work and Wifi at home means I don't need 3g.

Obviously it is not as powerful as these full on tablets, but it seems fine to me.  I have thought about getting the FreedomPop 3g wifi thing for trips without wifi.  I really want it, but every time I go someplace I find there is Wifi there, so I don't need to buy it.  (Clearly, I am not over my "Do I want it, would it be convenient?" syndrome.) 

MtnGal

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2013, 03:41:59 PM »
I got a Kindle Fire HD for signing up for a free checking account (which I was planning to do anyway). It's great for games, music, Netflix and I use it for recipes in the kitchen. I check email on it and sometimes surf the internet, but I rarely type more than a sentence or two on it. I'd rather have a full keyboard.

I only use it on the wireless.


bogart

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2013, 07:57:58 PM »
(for that matter, I touch-type on the native virtual keyboard on my work-supplied iPad, too).

Erm -- what do you mean when you say touch-type?  Because what I mean is that I sat an put my hands on the keyboard of my (full-sized) laptop without looking at the keyboard itself (my eyes are closed as I'm typing this) and typed this sentence purely by touch.  I don't see how such is possible on a virtual keyboard (and I struggle with it on the little one that fits the Nexus 7 thhough I can approximate it...).

You'll notice 2 typos in the above, but it was typed (as noted) with my eyes shut.  So -- my touch-typing (even on a full-sized keyboard):  not perfect.  But feasible (and very, very useful to be able to do in my experience).  Unless you know something I don't, it's not even close to possible on a virtual keyboard because one can't feel, and thus can't find, the keys. 

JamesAt15

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2013, 08:43:28 PM »
I wouldn't be so quick to discount "touch-typing" on an iPad virtual keyboard. I gave the virtual keyboard on mine a good try when I first got it and while I did need to look at the keyboard when placing my hands down on it, after that I found I could type pretty darn well without looking at it further. I bet with a bit of practice (as Rural seems to have done) you could pretty quickly get to a point where it wasn't particularly slower or more difficult to type on the iPad than on a physical keyboard.

bogart

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2013, 09:12:49 PM »
I wouldn't be so quick to discount "touch-typing" on an iPad virtual keyboard. I gave the virtual keyboard on mine a good try when I first got it and while I did need to look at the keyboard when placing my hands down on it, after that I found I could type pretty darn well without looking at it further. I bet with a bit of practice (as Rural seems to have done) you could pretty quickly get to a point where it wasn't particularly slower or more difficult to type on the iPad than on a physical keyboard.

I tried an iPad (with a virtual keyboard) briefly and at least in that iteration (and this is true, too, of my Nexus) it was necessary to go back and forth from one keyboard to another to access numbers (and (most) related symbols?  I forget), which then pretty much rules that out, no?  I mean I suppose one could learn both systems, but it's well worth it to me to buy the small non-virtual keyboard.

arebelspy

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2013, 09:30:49 PM »
It depends on how much typing you do. I use my tablet more for content consumption than content creation.  Almost all of my posts on this forum are typed on an iPad, but beyond that and some emails, I just don't type that much.

I suppose if you were typing 20 page reports a keyboard would be worthwhile (or a laptop at that point).  It really depends on your use scenario.
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Rural

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2013, 12:38:51 AM »
I touch type on the iPad keyboard primarily when taking notes in meetings. The numbers are annoying; I generally just write them out in that environment. The thing that bugs me the most is the apostrophe, which is also on the other screen.

But it can indeed be done, and in my case much faster than handwritten notes. I do look to see where I'm placing my hands to begin with, as Jamesat15 suggests.

Editing to add that all twenty-page reports get a real keyboard, definitely. But I type roughly 30 wpm on the iPad, and then my notes are electronic and easy to read (and find when i need them, which could easily be a year later) without my having to haul a laptop around.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 12:44:10 AM by Rural »

madgeylou

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2013, 04:40:23 AM »
I touch type on the iPad keyboard primarily when taking notes in meetings. The numbers are annoying; I generally just write them out in that environment. The thing that bugs me the most is the apostrophe, which is also on the other screen.

Fun trick -- swipe upwards on the comma key, and you get an apostrophe without having to go to the other screen!

Rural

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2013, 07:19:10 PM »
Ooh! I'll have to try that. Thanks!

bogart

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2013, 07:31:28 PM »
OK, so out of curiosity, I tried.  Touch-typing on a regular keyboard whether working off an oral transcript (though I definitely cannot keep up, verbatim), or a written text, I'm in the 70 WPM range with some typos (say 5 typos, about 140 words, 2 minutes).  So certainly not perfect, but pretty good, and definitely functional for note-taking and such.  I then tried touch-typing on the virtual keyboard on my N7 and:  ha!  Of course it is smaller than the conventional iPad, but I had so many typos it wasn't even funny, to the point of not being able to tell what word I had written (it was so inaccurate I did not even bother timing myself).  Plus I would do things like hit the "minimize" button when I meant to hit the space bar.  So, definitely a no go for me.  OTOH I did notice the system's auto-fill and it's possible that were I dedicated to learning to use the thing to create content in that manner, I could get to where through auto-fill and typing I could work up to a reasonable speed.  Also, the N7 has a microphone voice-to-text function that actually when I tried it briefly, it worked a lot better than I expected it to (based on my experience with Google voice transcription, which is good, no, great for a laugh...).  But since I do often like to use the thing to take notes in meetings and/or to e.g. reply to short emails while stuck watching a powerpoint (i.e. I cannot talk into it without disturbing others), I haven't made much use of that functionality. 

Overall the inexpensive add-on keyboard is definitely worthwhile to/for me, but certainly I can see that depending on how one uses it, that might vary.  And definitely overall they remain better for consumption than creation, but still, they are moving to where creation is at least possible.

Oh ... the N7 virtual keyboard does appear at least to have an apostrophe on the main alphabet keyboard.  So there's that!  OTOH neither it nor the add-on keyboard I bought have the tilde ~, which can be downright frustrating for some functions (when I needed one, I had to go to a website, copy and paste it).

arebelspy

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2013, 07:45:09 PM »
Yeah, 7" tablets may be too small for it, I touch-type on my iPad which is quite a bit larger.
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Left

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2013, 12:57:06 AM »
I'm almost looking into the surface tablets because of the keyboard covers. The hard one lifts the keys out so they have distinct tactile feel.

Now if someone can install android on it >.>

bogart

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Re: Tablets?
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2013, 10:59:34 AM »
Yeah, 7" tablets may be too small for it, I touch-type on my iPad which is quite a bit larger.

Yeah, that's why I didn't even bother trying to time myself.  I think this is one of those times when size does matter.

I'm almost looking into the surface tablets because of the keyboard covers. The hard one lifts the keys out so they have distinct tactile feel.

Now if someone can install android on it >.>

Unless I'm misunderstanding the feature you're describing, the add-on keyboard I bought for about $25 for my N7 at Newegg (and presumably there are similar ones for the N10) does exactly this.  It has real, physical keys that move when I type on them, snaps around the screen of the N7 for transport (a cover), and has bluetooth connectivity and a small groove that the tablet drops into when I'm using it.