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General Discussion => Computers & Gadgets & Tech => Topic started by: Thrifty on January 09, 2013, 08:10:30 AM

Title: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Thrifty on January 09, 2013, 08:10:30 AM
I have two textbooks for school in Kindle format.  Right now I'm just reading them on my laptop.  But the laptop is kind of bulky and its battery life isn't that great (3 hours, but tablets usually have more, don't they?)

So I think I'm gonna grab a tablet PC.  I wanna go cheap, so no Ipad.  I don't think I'll need to go high capacity.  I take public transit a lot, so what I'd like to do is put a few books on there if I can, but also I'd like to get all the county's bus schedules on there too.  The bus schedules are available in PDF format.  So my tablet would have to be able to load and read PDFs.

I'm wavering between a Kindle Fire and a Google Nexus.  Both cost about $200.  Here are the factors that are making it difficult to make up my mind:

Google Play: The Nexus advertises that you can access your Google Play library from a Nexus.  I would assume this is Cloud storage right?  You would need either a Wifi signal (free in most places) or a cellular data plan (would cost extra, and it's an extra $100 to get a cellular enabled Nexus) to get your stuff.  So maybe I wouldn't be using this very often.  The only places where I can access wireless are at home (where my MP3s are all on my desktop anyway), the library, or school (where again I usually have my laptop, but when I'm there I'm studying instead of listening to music anyway so it's a moot point).  So maybe this is a non-issue now that I think about it.  It'd be nice to have the option open, but it's no deal breaker.  What does everyone know about how the Kindle handles MP3s?

Kindle Books: As I said before, I have a few (not many) school textbooks as Kindle Ebooks.  I might get some more in the future, but it's more likely that with my textbooks I'll just go with the cheaper option of renting old fashioned paper books.  There's also a strong possibility that I'll want to procure more I.T. reference books not required for class.  Carrying all these around in one small device in lieu of a bulky stack of books sounds like a real winner.  So my big question here: Can a Google Nexus read Kindle Ebooks in any way, shape, or form?

Data Access: I touched upon this in my section about Google Play.  How does data access work?  If you download a Kindle EBook, is that firmly on the hard drive of your tablet?  Could I then read this anywhere?  Like if I were in a cave 20 miles below the surface of the Earth where no wireless, cellular, sattelite etc., signal could penetrate, would I be able to read the Ebook?  Also..  I guess if I wanted to access my data from an area where there was cellular service (most places in the United States) but no wireless, I would need both a wireless data plan (with a resulting monthly fee and usage limit) and spend more for a cellular enabled tablet.  Is this right?

Storage Space: Assuming that all Ebooks are stored on the tablet's internal hard drive,approximately how many books could fit on a 16 Gb tablet?

Any answers the community could provide would be great.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: BiteMe316 on January 09, 2013, 09:31:56 AM
I don't think this will help you any, but I googled "Kindle Fire reviews" and "Google Nexus reviews" since I have 0 experience with either device (can't afford them) and I've never owned a tablet PC or anything with a certain piece of fruit on the back of the device  ;).

http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Fire-Amazon-Tablet/product-reviews/B0051VVOB2

http://www.techradar.com/us/reviews/pc-mac/tablets/google-nexus-10-1109003/review

Other than that, I wish I could help more.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: MartyS (Gromit) on January 09, 2013, 10:02:47 AM
 I've got an original Kindle fire and a Samsung Galaxy Express smartphone so can compare them now.  The smartphone can do everything the tablet can do, just has a smaller screen.

 There are 2 main differences: on the fire you can access Amazon streaming video, on the tablet it's not that easy (amazon doesn't have a streaming app for android yet).  On the tablet you can access the google play store, on the fire you are limited to what amazon has put on their android app store (no access to the google play store).

 If you can afford a tablet with an AMOLED screen those use way less power, so battery life is much longer.

 For your questions:

Google play is an app store, games or other apps you buy are downloaded to the device to run.  If you run out of memory you have to delete apps before you install new ones.  Once you buy one in the store it seems like you can install it as many times as you want, so you can uninstall it from your tablet and then install it again later, so if you get a tablet with less memory it's just less convenient to use a lot of apps since you'd have to do a lot of uninstalling.   But I think the largest file for a game I've seen was 8MB, so even 8 gig of ram is enough for a lot of games.

To read Kindle books on the Nexus you just need the Kindle app, it's free in the google play store.  I'm assuming you have the Kindle for PC program on your laptop, the android app works the same.

For kindle books they are downloaded to the device, so you don't need a live internet connection to read them.  To save battery life I usually have the wireless turned off while reading.

I don't think the nexus 10 has 3G or 4G, so no worries about getting a data plan.  If you get a tablet with 3G or 4G then yes you do need to sign up with a plan of some type to get internet through the cell phone network.  Depending on your ISP you may have access to free wi-fi hotspots, I know I can access all the comcast ones and the ATT ones since my phone is with them.  But hotspots are very localized, so good if sitting at a coffee shop but not while traveling (unless the train or plane has wi-fi installed).

You can fit a crapload of ebooks on 16GB, more than you could keep track of.  Even a long novel is compressed down to a few hundred kilobytes, books with lots of pictures will be a few MB, high res PDFs will be a little larger. 




Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Variety of Cells on January 09, 2013, 10:06:03 AM
Might not be exactly what you're looking for, but I absolutely love my Kindle Paperwhite.  It does all of the things you would need it to do.  You can read and store all of your kindle books and PDFs, highlight text, and make notes on sections of text.  It wouldn't be able to do fancy things like play videos, but it can do the necessities.

Though the things that it can do, it does better than a tablet.  Reading on a kindle is much easier on the eyes.  The battery lasts forever, you never have to worry about it, even with the light all the way up on the Paperwhite.  3G service is free, you never have to pay a subscription fee, though the 3G models are a little more.  And it's small and light, very easy to take with you.  I use mine all the time.  They are also decently priced.  A bare bones kindle without 3G (just wifi) will put you back about $70 bucks, where the Paperwhite (has a backlight) will set you back about $180. 

It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that a tablet has, but it excels in all the important areas you mentioned. 
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: MartyS (Gromit) on January 09, 2013, 10:40:44 AM

I agree reading on eInk is way easier on the eyes, on a tablet I can go max a few hours, reading eInk I've gone 6 to 8.

Only caveat would be for text books you might need color.  Probably not for programing texts but for other courses that have lots of graphs and charts color might be needed.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Thrifty on January 09, 2013, 10:43:13 AM
The streaming video and streaming audio I would assume you need an active Internet connection (either WiFi or cellular), correct?  You don't download video and audio to the tablet themselves?  Files like that take up a lot of space (video in particular, but my entire audio collection takes up about 36 Gb without counting the hundreds of hours of podcasts).
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: MartyS (Gromit) on January 09, 2013, 11:21:44 AM
 Well, yeah, streaming anything requires a live internet connection.

  You can load video onto the tablet and play it, video files sized and compressed properly for a small screen take up way less room than ones for larger screens.  I've got a half dozen or so rifftrax shorts on the microSD card in my phone along with about 6GB of music and I still have 20GB free on the card.

  If you think you'll be wanting to store a lot of stuff on the device then look for one with a memory card slot.  They charge hundreds to add 32GB extra to the device but if it has a microSD slot you can get 32GB cards for $25.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: goflyblind on January 09, 2013, 01:42:24 PM
newton mp2100.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Thrifty on January 09, 2013, 02:37:37 PM
Okay I think I'm settled on the Google Nexus 7.  It just seems to have more flexibility than the Kindle.  It's not likely that I'll listen to a lot of music and video or play a lot of games, but I'd like that ability.  I think it was this paragraph by Gromit that really settled it and set me against the Kindle:

Quote
There are 2 main differences: on the fire you can access Amazon streaming video, on the tablet it's not that easy (amazon doesn't have a streaming app for android yet).  On the tablet you can access the google play store, on the fire you are limited to what amazon has put on their android app store (no access to the google play store).

What I want most of all is something I can store books on and something I can store bus schedules on.   Since the Kindle and Nexus are equivalent in that regard, I'll concede that the selection of Nexus apps is superior.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Thrifty on January 09, 2013, 02:38:12 PM
newton mp2100.
That thing's a piece of junk.  I never remembered when it was time to beat up Martin.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: goflyblind on January 09, 2013, 02:50:34 PM
but you did eat up martha, right?
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: MartyS (Gromit) on January 09, 2013, 03:13:20 PM
Okay I think I'm settled on the Google Nexus 7.

Just looked up the specs on that, that should do nicely.   If the battery life claims are true that's pretty impressive, 9 hours continuous video, 10 hours continuous web surfing or reading.  Eink still blows that away but for a tablet 10 hours is pretty good.

Hopefully Adobe will get their head out of their ass and start supporting android again, not having flash is a pain for a lot of websites.  Flash support was a selling point for android vs. the iPad, not any more.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Thrifty on January 10, 2013, 10:33:52 AM
Went to the Gamestop today to get a Nexus.  While playing with the display model, I mistakenly linked it to my Google account, thinking that I could just sign out.  Guy at the store tells me that he's gotta reformat the thing to de-link me.  I was pretty embarrassed about that.  Then I went to buy a tablet, but they told me they only sell the $250 32 Gb model there.  I didn't want to spend an extra $50 for storage space I won't use, so I declined.  Went to two other stores, none of them had the 16 Gb model either.

Brick and mortar shopping sucks.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: MartyS (Gromit) on January 10, 2013, 10:46:09 AM
Brick and mortar shopping sucks.

Yup, hard to go back to driving around after you can get whatever you want online...

For stuff I want to get locally now I only use stores that have their inventory online, so I can check if it's in the store before driving there.  Once when getting new tires the computer at the store said they were out, showed the guy the printout of the webpage saying they were supposed to have 4 left, he went in the back and found them.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: RoninFox on January 15, 2013, 09:58:45 PM
We had a Samsung Galaxy Tab for a little over a month before we decided that it wasn't what we really wanted and returned it for a Chromebook.  Even as powerful as they are now compared to where they were, they still seem like toys on the edge of the computer aisle.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Thrifty on January 16, 2013, 05:20:59 AM
I still haven't pulled the trigger on this.  I'm really cheap and reluctant to spend money.  I didn't just choose this screen name because I like the letters.  I'm thinking I'm gonna head up to some of the local electronics stores today or tomorrow and check some models out in person.  I think I saw an 8 Gb tablet with micro SD card slot.

I don't need a big and fancy tablet.  I really just want something compact that can read Kindle books and store PDFs.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Thrifty on January 16, 2013, 07:08:35 PM
We had a Samsung Galaxy Tab for a little over a month before we decided that it wasn't what we really wanted and returned it for a Chromebook.  Even as powerful as they are now compared to where they were, they still seem like toys on the edge of the computer aisle.

This is actually what I finally settled on.  It's cute and colorful, and I love it.  Although I can't figure out how to get rid of all the bloatware on the apps page.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: wihogfan on July 12, 2019, 06:38:27 PM
Picked up a reconditioned Amazon Fire 10" tablet for $79.99, paid the extra $15 to have the "Special Offers" (i.e., thousands and thousands of annoying Amazon ads) removed, and $35 bucks for a 256GB micro SD card. Sideloaded the Google Play store (have to install Google services first) and replaced the annoying Amazon specific launcher with Nova to make it look and function like a much more typical Android tablet (didn't root it, as that sometimes messes up some apps like Netflix and the work arounds are a pian). Planning to use it mostly as a streaming device for working out on my treadmill. Been a few years since I've bought an Android tablet and despite this reconditioned tablet being a 7th generation from 2017 (the latest release for the 10" fire), I gotta say I'm pretty impressed with it. Probably would struggle with gaming, but that wasn't my intent with getting it and it streams Netflix, Hulu, Amazon video, Pluto TV, MLB, etc. really well. If I didn't know it was reconditioned, I would have sworn it was new.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Variety of Cells on November 07, 2019, 09:20:19 PM
I’m going to be DMing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign soon, and I wanted to pick up something that I can have at the table to pull up different references, and keep track of stats and stuff. Wanted something that could multi task with a keyboard, but also function as a tablet i can draw on if I wanted to.

Thought about an iPad Pro, but it felt too limited. Wanted something more flexible. So I bought a Microsoft surface 7.  Hopefully that wasn’t a mistake. I’ll report back once it arrives.
Title: Re: Thinking of getting a Tablet PC. Help me decide!
Post by: Variety of Cells on January 13, 2020, 11:39:07 AM
I’m going to be DMing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign soon, and I wanted to pick up something that I can have at the table to pull up different references, and keep track of stats and stuff. Wanted something that could multi task with a keyboard, but also function as a tablet i can draw on if I wanted to.

Thought about an iPad Pro, but it felt too limited. Wanted something more flexible. So I bought a Microsoft surface 7.  Hopefully that wasn’t a mistake. I’ll report back once it arrives.

It’s great, by the way. I love it. Can do most things my normal computer can do. Can even run a bunch of games. I’m a big fan.