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Author Topic: Tablet Discussion - in the market to buy  (Read 6085 times)
Josh
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« on: June 07, 2011, 02:38:38 PM »

To the community,

I seek your guidance, all knowing DoCo community. I am in the market to buy a tablet for my wife. As she is an avid reader, the tablet only makes sense. She has no real need for a full-fledged PC and a tablet will give her the mobility she requires since she loves to sit at a park and read. I do not want to get a dedicated e-reader as she does like small games (diner dash, freecell (yes the classic one), bejeweled, etc). With a tablet, she can do all of this without the need for a full laptop.

That said, I have some basic requirements I want for the tablet. I want it to be android and I want it to be 3.1. It must have a USB port (full sized + mini-usb would be a plus) and hdmi output would be a nice to have.

Now, I have looked at the xoom and I do not see any reason to go with that particular model since it really doesn't offer anything over the lower cost models. Now, I would like some feedback. Some models of tablets are shipping with 3.1 already. I am looking at the thrive and the acer iconia a500, currently.

Does anyone have any experience or info about tablets? I seek any and all information.

Thanks!

Josh (The forum clown)
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Ath
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 02:55:29 PM »

This list is not too awfully outdated, but not yet talking about any details of the 3.1 Ice Cream update.

There's so much buzz about the subject that it's hard to pick usable links from google  huh
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Ath
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2011, 03:01:16 PM »

And there just closed a Computex fair a few days ago, where a lot of new products are launched. This is the Consumer Electronics category listing a lot of tablets
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tsaint
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2011, 05:55:41 PM »

Ive had an iconia A500 (16Gb) about 3 weeks now and am pretty happy with it, but haven't used a tablet before so I've no yardstick for comparison
 Especially like the usb and micro sd card, don't like the short charger cable.
My battery life isn't fantastic - I charge it each night and it gets me through the day. Seems to be a variety of experiences in this department.
I think the display looks just fine, but some reviews have suggested a grid is visible on the screen. I only see that when the tablet is switched off.
 I use it for web browsing (choice of stock, firefox, dolphin, opera browsers), music (poweramp is good), a little bit of video (stored on sd card or external hd), reading using kindle reader, games (tower defense type)
 Re web browsing - no built in proxy support as yet (maybe coming in major june/july update). Firefox mobile has http proxy support tho.
Re video - some people report issues with choppy video (maybe a fix coming), but I havent experienced that.
 Have no problems with wifi range, but haven't tested it in a house with thick stone/brick walls, only in the next froom to where my router is.
 Was very easy to tether it using my desire HD.
Here in Adelaide, Australia, it cost me $400
tony
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Deozaan
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2011, 06:03:50 PM »

A homicidal, pathological lying AI robot posted about this one in IRC: http://thetoshibatablet.com/

EDIT: Check your speakers before clicking the link. Apparently it has loud music.

« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 10:25:55 PM by Deozaan » Logged

Stoic Joker
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 08:47:02 PM »

A homicidal, pathological lying AI robot posted about this one in IRC: http://thetoshibatablet.com/

Loudly blaring Big Band music with no volume control! ...They should be shot, hacked, and then beaten to death in an Alley just for that. I hit the mute button on the page, and it un-muted itself at the end so I got to suffer the last blasted note of the sound track. Their marketing department should be sterilized immediately.
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Josh
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2011, 08:51:57 PM »

Deo, not sure if you realize this, but I am that homicidal, lying robot!
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wraith808
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2011, 09:57:47 PM »

Loudly blaring Big Band music with no volume control! ...They should be shot, hacked, and then beaten to death in an Alley just for that. I hit the mute button on the page, and it un-muted itself at the end so I got to suffer the last blasted note of the sound track. Their marketing department should be sterilized immediately.

This!
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Deozaan
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2011, 10:24:15 PM »

Deo, not sure if you realize this, but I am that homicidal, lying robot!

Yes I knew that. That's why I included the quote and didn't refer to you directly, but to your namesake. smiley

A homicidal, pathological lying AI robot posted about this one in IRC: http://thetoshibatablet.com/

Loudly blaring Big Band music with no volume control! ...They should be shot, hacked, and then beaten to death in an Alley just for that. I hit the mute button on the page, and it un-muted itself at the end so I got to suffer the last blasted note of the sound track. Their marketing department should be sterilized immediately.

Sorry, I didn't know. I had headphones plugged in when I viewed the site, but didn't have the headphones on. So I didn't hear anything.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 10:26:19 PM by Deozaan » Logged

TheQwerty
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2011, 06:26:41 AM »

she loves to sit at a park and read. I do not want to get a dedicated e-reader
This is going to be frustrating with the vast majority of tablets, as there is too much glare to make them great for reading under the sun. When it comes to outdoor reading e-ink is incredible.

I have an original nook, a nook Color, and thanks to Google a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The original nook was a bit of a crazy experiment (those dual screens) but the e-ink is great for reading and nothing else.  The new nook looks to be getting some pretty glowing reviews, and it's been rooted, but I haven't read much about the experience beyond books.


I got the nook Color only because of the rooting community, and a bit of jealousy after getting my mother one for Christmas.  She likes it but she's only using it for reading.  I liked it as my first tablet, but since I still wanted to use the stock ROM there were quite a few quirks in using it that way.  If you root it and put Cyanogenmod and the nook app on it, you probably end up with a better experience, but you lose some of the stock features (kids books and until recently magazines).

In either case since you want to get her something that's a bit more of a laptop replacement I cannot suggest any of them; though I would recommended you forget the dream of consolidating the two and get her a dedicated e-book reader.


I was fortunate enough to attend Google IO this year where they gave everyone a special edition Galaxy Tab 10.1.  It's an impressive device and has certainly taken over all my after-work computer duties (something the nook Color couldn't quite achieve).  It's got front and rear cameras, stereo speakers, and Honeycomb 3.0 - the retail version has 3.1 but we haven't see an update yet. The display looks fantastic, the weight is light enough to not be annoying, the 10.1 size makes it a little bigger than I'd like for carrying (the 7" nook Color is more travel-ready) but the extra real estate is welcome when browsing the web.  It works fine for reading inside, but I tend to prefer the nook - both for the e-ink and there's fewer distractions ("One more chapter? Oh look I've got mail... time for some Angry Birds!")

It must have a USB port (full sized + mini-usb would be a plus) and hdmi output would be a nice to have.
Unfortunately, for Samsung to get it as light and thin as they did meant sacrificing all USB/HDMI ports for a non-standard PDMI-like connector and no SD card slots. The fact that Google is touting USB host support in 3.1 and then gave developers a tablet with no USB ports is disappointing to say the least.  That said there are adapters available to go from their connector to USB and HDMI, if you're open to going that route.


A number of other attendees have noted some issues with the screen separating from the device and indeed one of the corners on mine shows a little of this.  It's not bothersome (yet) but hopefully it's something they fixed in the retail version.



Since I got the Galaxy Tab I've kind of stopped paying attention to the horde of Android tablets being released, but one of my co-workers is pretty much sold on the Thrive.  It certainly looks to be a pretty solid device if you aren't after something sleek and sexy. It's also one of the heavier tablets out there, though Engadget's recent hands-on stated that it felt good in their hands and seemed lighter than they expected. The actual pictures of it were much better than Toshiba's mockups as well.

It might also be worth looking at the ASUS Transformer, I know it was released with 3.0, but it's yet another option.



To be perfectly honest though, I think I'd try to hold off on buying any tablet until Fall or 2012 - it's a young market with a ton of competitors so I expect a lot of quick improvements and some price drops in the near future.  Also, Apple is driving this market at the moment, so it might even make sense to see what they do with the iPad 3 since they'll likely be the ones pushing the goal markers for another year (or more) while the Android manufacturers catch up/flood the market.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 07:06:08 AM »

A homicidal, pathological lying AI robot posted about this one in IRC: http://thetoshibatablet.com/

Loudly blaring Big Band music with no volume control! ...They should be shot, hacked, and then beaten to death in an Alley just for that. I hit the mute button on the page, and it un-muted itself at the end so I got to suffer the last blasted note of the sound track. Their marketing department should be sterilized immediately.

Sorry, I didn't know. I had headphones plugged in when I viewed the site, but didn't have the headphones on. So I didn't hear anything.

*Shrug* Hay it's not you fault man, the device is rather interesting. I just think that Toshiba should know better than to dredge up used car commercial tactics from the 80's. It was annoying back then, and it still is. People don't just want to be screamed at no mater how exciting the product allegedly is. Wink
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wraith808
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 07:30:02 AM »

The original nook was a bit of a crazy experiment (those dual screens) but the e-ink is great for reading and nothing else.  The new nook looks to be getting some pretty glowing reviews, and it's been rooted, but I haven't read much about the experience beyond books.

I got the nook Color only because of the rooting community, and a bit of jealousy after getting my mother one for Christmas.  She likes it but she's only using it for reading.  I liked it as my first tablet, but since I still wanted to use the stock ROM there were quite a few quirks in using it that way.  If you root it and put Cyanogenmod and the nook app on it, you probably end up with a better experience, but you lose some of the stock features (kids books and until recently magazines).

I was all over the nook, and planning to get my daughter one (I convinced her that digital didn't *have* to replace dead tree- that she could get both...)

But recently, I started to look at prices- and Barnes & Noble might price themselves out of this if they aren't careful.  At first, I was buying because that was the format I already had- but now, comparing to Amazon, it seems that in *every* case, the price at B&N is quite a bit higher than the price at Amazon for the digital formats- even approaching hardcopy prices.  So I'm having a bit of a crisis in e-reading right now. Sad
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Josh
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 07:48:00 AM »

TheQwerty

Thanks for the in depth reply. I realized that the droid tablet would have some issues with reading in the sun. However, with certain screen protectors, I can alleviate most of the glare issues for her. Other than that, I think this will serve very well as a laptop replacement since she can take it anywhere. She doesn't use any proprietary apps that require Windows right now. The only thing we use like that is Quicken and that can go on my daughters desktop under a separate login.

The USB connectivity is something I want her to have. While the PDMI is OK, I do not like having to buy custom cables to do basic things.

The only reason I might hold off is for the quad core tablets coming out shortly. But, I am likely going to bite the bullet and buy her one as her laptop screen is just about shot.

Thanks for the great reply!
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 08:29:44 AM »

At first, I was buying because that was the format I already had- but now, comparing to Amazon, it seems that in *every* case, the price at B&N is quite a bit higher than the price at Amazon for the digital formats- even approaching hardcopy prices.  So I'm having a bit of a crisis in e-reading right now. Sad
For the books I've been buying recently the prices between the two are in parity, though admittedly I have noticed that in many other cases B&N prices tend to be a little more.  And often reference books are moronically priced (on both stores) - for a while I didn't believe anyone at Wrox had a brain because their e-books were only available at prices higher than the dead tree versions' list-prices and came with stupid restrictions on number of downloads and devices.

Personally, the difference has always been acceptable to me since B&N are selling me a less restrictive, but still stupid, DRM format.  My problem with the Kindle has always been their proprietary format platform lock-in.

That said, I find the B&N situation extremely frustrating since it should mean they are in competition with the Sony and Google bookstores which use the same format, and I think that should drive prices down.  Though, I imagine part of the problem is their contracts all ensure they get the lowest price and Amazon can afford to take a bigger loss.




However, with certain screen protectors, I can alleviate most of the glare issues for her.
I've yet to find a solution that I like, which is why if outdoor reading were a requirement I couldn't recommend anything other than e-ink.

While the PDMI is OK, I do not like having to buy custom cables to do basic things.
I'm not sure I'd have bought the Galaxy Tab myself because of this exact reason. There were a lot of people at IO that were disappointed to discover nothing but the PDMI.

I like that it means a thinner and lighter device but feel the least they could have done was thrown in the USB adapter. Note that they do include a USB male-A to PDMI cable for charging/syncing - I wonder if it would at all be possible to create a USB crossover cable?

The only reason I might hold off is for the quad core tablets coming out shortly. But, I am likely going to bite the bullet and buy her one as her laptop screen is just about shot.
Completely understandable, I suffer from technolust so I doubt I could have taken my own advice and made it through this summer.
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2011, 08:42:17 AM »

Recent Nook vs. Kindle blog: http://kindleworld.blogsp...e-features-also-free.html
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2011, 08:45:41 AM »

she loves to sit at a park and read. I do not want to get a dedicated e-reader
This is going to be frustrating with the vast majority of tablets, as there is too much glare to make them great for reading under the sun.

+1. And it's not just the sun that's a problem.

Josh, I think you are kidding yourself if you think a screen protector will solve glare problems. And glare isn't the only problem. Screens with backlighting are just hard on the eyes, there's no way around that. Try reading a novel for a couple of hours on a tablet and you'll see what I mean. I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab, and I love it. It has the best screen of any tablet I've tried. But I would never use it as a reader. For that, I have a Kindle. I carry both all the time.

If the main purpose of the device is as a reader, do your wife a big favour and buy a dedicated e-reader. Her eyes will be very grateful.
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wraith808
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2011, 03:36:09 PM »

For the books I've been buying recently the prices between the two are in parity, though admittedly I have noticed that in many other cases B&N prices tend to be a little more.  And often reference books are moronically priced (on both stores) - for a while I didn't believe anyone at Wrox had a brain because their e-books were only available at prices higher than the dead tree versions' list-prices and came with stupid restrictions on number of downloads and devices.

Personally, the difference has always been acceptable to me since B&N are selling me a less restrictive, but still stupid, DRM format.  My problem with the Kindle has always been their proprietary format platform lock-in.

That said, I find the B&N situation extremely frustrating since it should mean they are in competition with the Sony and Google bookstores which use the same format, and I think that should drive prices down.  Though, I imagine part of the problem is their contracts all ensure they get the lowest price and Amazon can afford to take a bigger loss.

Definitely agree on the last point.  And to give an example of what I'm talking about in lack of parity- four books that I just bought:
1. Effective C# - Kindle $17.59, Nook $38.39
2. WPF - Kindle $31.18, Nook $43.99
3. Business Practices for Photographers - Kindle $18.58, Nook $19.24
4. C# 2010 for Programmers - Kindle $26.39, Nook $38.39

And I definitely do agree that Wrox is out of their mind in regards to hardcopy vs. electronic prices.
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« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2011, 02:28:39 AM »

Don't know how you get those kindle edition prices. When I click those links I get shown considerably higher prices than the ones you list here, all of them higher than their respective paperback versions even. Do kindle book prices depend on the region you're ordering them from? (and I don't mean the 2$ for international delivery, if they still apply).
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Deozaan
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« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2011, 04:56:53 AM »

Don't know how you get those kindle edition prices. When I click those links I get shown considerably higher prices than the ones you list here, all of them higher than their respective paperback versions even

The price I see is also much higher. But then I realized that the BIG price on the page is for the paper edition. I look a little lower and it shows the lower priced Kindle edition. I'm in the USA, btw.


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« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2011, 05:04:08 AM »

And that's what I get:


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« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2011, 06:48:51 AM »

Definitely agree on the last point.  And to give an example of what I'm talking about in lack of parity- four books that I just bought:
Ah, yes those are ridiculous.  I tend to buy all my technical books from O'Reilly, since they've shown an understanding and commitment to the digital formats - trying to offer everything in multiple DRM-free formats and with updates.  And really I just watch their Deal of the Day feed and wait for the books I want.

My hopes have increased for Wrox since they've recently started selling through O'Reilly; for instance, that WPF Programmer's Reference would be a much better deal from them at $35.99 than B&N.


My dream is that one day Safari Books will add a 3 or 5-slot bookshelf subscription level at no more than $10 per month (a little less than half the 10-slot level).  Combine that with some improvements to their mobile and offline support and I wouldn't hesitate to subscribe.

It's not that the 10-slot level isn't a good deal, but it's wasteful for my needs - like always ordering a foot-long sub but never eating more than 6".
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Deozaan
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« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2011, 06:53:38 AM »

And that's what I get:
 (see attachment in previous post)

Wow. Crazy!
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wraith808
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« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2011, 10:46:06 AM »



Definitely crazy.  Here's what I see:


I wonder if Amazon Prime makes a difference in Kindle prices...

My dream is that one day Safari Books will add a 3 or 5-slot bookshelf subscription level at no more than $10 per month (a little less than half the 10-slot level).  Combine that with some improvements to their mobile and offline support and I wouldn't hesitate to subscribe.

It's not that the 10-slot level isn't a good deal, but it's wasteful for my needs - like always ordering a foot-long sub but never eating more than 6".

I have a free offer for Safari for a 45 day trial with Effective C#... how is it?  I've always brushed it off because I can't see renting books.  But looking at it closer, I guess it would make sense.  I have so many outdated books because of the rate of technology changing, so maybe I need to change my view of things.  Can you only see them on the website?  So can you use them if you're offline?

And yes, I use a variety of outlets for getting books these days. O'Reilly and Manning are my two go-to's for this kind of stuff.
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« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2011, 12:20:51 PM »

I have a free offer for Safari for a 45 day trial with Effective C#... how is it?  I've always brushed it off because I can't see renting books.  But looking at it closer, I guess it would make sense.  I have so many outdated books because of the rate of technology changing, so maybe I need to change my view of things.  Can you only see them on the website?  So can you use them if you're offline?
I only used it briefly and it was through membership in the IEEE Computer society that gave limited access.  I don't recall it having the download tokens or any way to do offline at that time, not sure how much of the books got cached.  Also, I never did get to try the mobile site, so I only used it through Firefox, where it worked pretty well.  The selection of books was a subset of the full library which made finding the books I wanted hit or miss, and oddly they didn't show the books that were in the library but not available in my plan.

The way it works can be a bit confusing for an individual:
1) You get 10 slots.
2) You can preview parts of a book but to access the full content you have to place it in a slot.
3) You cannot remove the book from that slot until 30 days have passed.
So it seems more conducive to people that will read the book cover to cover, and less so for someone using it as an actual reference library.

Given all that it was good for how little I used it, and I can recommend giving it a try.  tongue

I haven't renewed my IEEE membership and Safari is the only thing I miss, but I don't feel I'd ever use my money's worth with the 10-slot plan.  I'd be willing to pay $120/year for a 3-5 slot plan, even if it meant losing the Video content, and I think that would meet my usage better.

What would be truly amazing is if they adopted an à la carte model where you pay a small monthly subscription for 1-slot and can at any time add/remove more slots for an additional fee, or pay more to add the Video/Rough Cuts/etc. offerings.  Seems I'm doing a lot of dreaming today.  embarassed
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« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2011, 12:48:08 PM »

What country are  you in/from?

Thank-you...

Ummm... Yes. Your price is ready now. Please spread your butt cheeks.
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