and Tablets

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Thad
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and Tablets

Postby Thad » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:03 pm

Could have put this in the phone thread or the computer thread, but dammit, tablets are a different thing and so here we stand.

My Nexus 7 was stolen last August. I'd like to replace it with a 10" tablet. I liked the Nexus 7 but it was too small to read comics on comfortably (and now that I have a Nexus 5 it feels like a 7 would honestly be a bit redundant).

The Nexus 10 has been discontinued; there are persistent rumors that there will be a followup but no hard evidence. Currently the highest-ranked 10" Android tablets are the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 2014, the Asus Transformer Pad T701T, and the Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

The Note's the priciest, but would only be $100 out of pocket for me. (I'm going to claim the tablet as a replacement for my stolen HP laptop, having already claimed my Chromebook as a replacement for the Nexus 7. Insurance said it was fine to go from a budget tablet and a higher-range laptop to the reverse.) I don't really care about the stylus but the tiling looks pretty slick.

The Xperia's got a lower-res screen but reviews suggest that's actually a benefit as it runs a lot faster. It's also ludicrously lightweight and has good reviews for battery life.

The Transformer's got solid reviews too but is bulkier than the others. And if I decide to get a keyboard for it (may or may not; I DO already have a 10" Chromebook running Xubuntu) that's kinda the Transformer's whole deal.

All three vendors are reviewed as having out-of-the-box software that's actually useful, which may give me pause on just blasting the whole thing and installing CM, which is what I usually do with an Android device.

There's also the Kindle Fire at 9", which gets consistently great reviews. That one I WOULD have to look into blasting in favor of CM, though, because damned if I'm going to use an Android tablet that won't let me use the Play Store.

Anyway, that's stuff I've been thinking about. And there may be announcements of new stuff coming over the next few months. I can't wait for the usual holiday rollout period, though; my insurance claim is only good through late August.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Brentai » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:57 pm

The Xperia has really good reviews from what I've seen and is probably all integrated up with Playstation shit but the simple fact that it's a Sony device should probably give you the heebie jeebies about using it for any media ever.

The Asus Transformer has a Tegra 4 in it, a 1600p screen, and a USB 3.0 port, if you care about any of that stuff. It's probably fantastic for a tablet but of course every review out there evaluates it as a crippled laptop, because that's what it tries to sell itself as.

Samsung can go to hell.

I had a Kindle Fire HD (7") as a gift, I never bothered to do much with it but I hear it's surprisingly easy to put in a custom OS. I can verify that it has no problem letting you manually load in .apks all you want, if that's your concern. The Amazon appstore and frontend, though, aren't even that bad! The Appstore is way better organized than the unfiltered mess that is Play (and has a free app every day, so you should have it on a regular Android device anyway), and I think I like Silk a bit better than Chrome. Wish I could try it on a non-Fire device, but that restriction is probably what makes it more stable.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby TA » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:23 pm

Brentai wrote:Samsung can go to hell.


?
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Brentai » Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:40 pm

I've been pooped on by a number of Samsung products, and for mobile devices specifically I think their bloatware is atrocious.

Also, Thad, this is a total left-field pitch, but maybe you can look into grabbing an nVidia Shield to replace the PSP.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Thad » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:28 pm

Brentai wrote:The Xperia has really good reviews from what I've seen and is probably all integrated up with Playstation shit but the simple fact that it's a Sony device should probably give you the heebie jeebies about using it for any media ever.


Good point. Might put CM on it after all. (I don't have a PS3/4/Vita so I wouldn't be missing out in the way of integration with those devices. As for first-party software, I know they're pretty well-regarded for audio but I don't know much else.)

Brentai wrote:The Amazon appstore and frontend, though, aren't even that bad! The Appstore is way better organized than the unfiltered mess that is Play (and has a free app every day, so you should have it on a regular Android device anyway), and I think I like Silk a bit better than Chrome. Wish I could try it on a non-Fire device, but that restriction is probably what makes it more stable.


Huh? Is the basic, downloadable Amazon App Store different from what Kindle Fire users get, then?

Because I use that pretty regularly. I've certainly got nothing against it -- and indeed recommend every Android user download it -- but I wouldn't want it to be my only app store. I use it, Play, and F-Droid (for FOSS) pretty regularly.

Brentai wrote:I've been pooped on by a number of Samsung products, and for mobile devices specifically I think their bloatware is atrocious.


They actually seem to generally get pretty high marks for the pack-in software, but my sensibilities are probably closer to yours than a typical reviewer's. I think the Nexus line comes with too much shit, and that's about as barebones an Android experience as you're going to get out-of-the-box.

Course, it's not like uninstallers are hard to come by; I can always rip out anything I don't like and still keep the stuff I do (again, the tiling looks like a pretty good idea).

Brentai wrote:Also, Thad, this is a total left-field pitch, but maybe you can look into grabbing an nVidia Shield to replace the PSP.


The thought's crossed my mind but the Shield looks like one of those things that tries to be two things and doesn't do a very good job at either one. I'm sure it's a better emulation device than the PSP, but it's also bigger and bulkier, and it doesn't look like it'd be much fun to use as a tablet. I think I'd be better off just getting one of those Bluetooth controllers for my phone.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Brentai » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:14 am

It's dumb but I kind of want to get a Shield and upgrade my GeForce just so I can be like "Hey guys wanna see the mobile port of Skyrim?"

(Already kind of doing that with the Vita/PS4/Ground Zeroes.)

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Thad » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:05 pm

Happened to be near a Best Buy with some time to kill last night, so I checked out some tablets. Unfortunately they didn't have the Sony OR the Asus I was looking for; I fucked around with some Sony and Asus Win8 tablets but it wasn't really the same.

Tried out the Galaxy Notes and the higher-end Pro line.

The Note was really slow, particularly at the presumably simple task of resizing tiles. However, these are display models so they're probably not an accurate reflection of how a fully patched system behaves.

The 12" models seemed pretty cool but wildly impractical. Wasn't planning to get one of those and I'm still not, but they were neat to play with.

I'd still really like to try out the Sony and the Asus. Maybe Fry's will have display models.

Leaning slightly Sony just at the moment if only for the Samsung's sluggish behavior being a reminder that 2560x14401600 sounds great until you try to run OpenGL video on it with a tablet chip.

Oh, they had a Kindle Fire there too. It seemed pretty neat. Haven't seen much about being able to run CM on it, though, and I'm not so sure I'd want to keep Amazon's interface. (And you know where I stand on ebook DRM. And video DRM. Amazon can pretty much chalk that loss-leader up as just plain "loss" if I buy one.)

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Brentai » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:42 pm

Thad wrote:Leaning slightly Sony just at the moment if only for the Samsung's sluggish behavior being a reminder that 2560x1440 sounds great until you try to run OpenGL video on it with a tablet chip.


I suspect nVidia's latest-gen mobile chip to perform a lot better than Samsung's experimental toe-dip, but I haven't seen the Asus in action either so you might be right about that.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby TA » Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:26 pm

You really can't judge much by the display models for those things, they're always cluttered with nonsense.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Thad » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:20 pm

Yeah, and, as I noted, they're not patched.

As it turns out, Fry's DID have an Xperia on display. It really was amazingly light, but it was just as sluggish as the Note I tried yesterday. I know it had never been patched, because it didn't even have a fucking wireless connection, because LOL Fry's.

Still haven't tried the Asus. They had a MeMo. Which wasn't bad, but, as much as I loved and miss my Nexus 7, I want a little bit more in a 10" tablet than just a bigger Nexus 7.

Anyway, holding the things in my hands is useful for gauging weight but probably not much else. Guess I can keep reading reviews.


EDIT: Poked about NewEgg a bit; they've currently got a refurb 32GB Note for $455 (about $100 off the full price) and a new Xperia for $410. (EDIT: NM, I thought that was the 32GB. It's the 16GB, so $409 is actually the same price as Amazon.) Wonder how long stock will hold on that first one and price will hold on the other one -- they appear to have sold out of the TF701T at $394.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:24 am

...and apparently the Nexus 10 is for sale again. I thought it had been discontinued.

Not really a consideration, though, at $500 for the 32GB edition.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Bongo Bill » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:19 am

I picked up a keyboard stand that fits generic tablets. It's a full-size keyboard, so my Nexus 7 looks hilariously tiny on it, but if you like keys, I can vouch for that particular model.
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Re: and Tablets

Postby Lottel » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:46 am

I'm currently typing on my Asus Transformer. I went the windows route instead of the android route but my good friend did the opposite. We are both happy with our purchases. I don't use a whole hell of a lot of programs or anything though and she barely uses it other than tumblr and chrome so we might not be the best in-depth users to give you an idea on how you'd like it. This thing is REALLY nice to read comics on though, let me tell you. Everything loads so nicely and the pages flip so smoothly.

From my understanding you can load Android up on the Windows version fairly easily, so if that sounds like a fun time you could check into that.



Oh and this is my third one since December. First one didn't actually have an OS installed out of the box and my second one's battery blew. That might have been a problem with the wiring in my house, actually, but still something to think about.
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Re: and Tablets

Postby Thad » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:21 pm

The Z2's out and getting pretty solid reviews. Crazy overpriced on Amazon at the moment, presumably because it's new and stocks are low.

I've got 'til August; no rush.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Z%rø » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:37 am

With the announcement of the Surface 3 confirming that it is something I don't want (They upgraded the resolution, and the processor, but not the GPU and side-graded the touch screen.) I finally got a Surface Pro 2 (Had to buy used) grabbed the 256gb model for the 8GB ram and also got a fancy Wacom Bamboo stylus for drawing. It came with a type cover 2.

It is exactly what I wanted - it's just a tablet PC. This is what I always felt was missing from the android tablet experience. It's not exactly as snappy, but it's windows, so I don't really mind? The amount of raw functionality I'm getting out of the fact all my apps are compatible (and the processing power is insane for a tablet) is something I can't really replace.

Touch Civ 5 is pretty cool. I wish FTL had a touch mode enabled for windows. Steam streaming works.. decently? Needs more extensive testing. Diablo works great. In general, gaming on it is pretty okay.

I haven't had a lot of time to test the battery life of it, and reports seem to vary wildly.

Problems:

Getting the wacom pen to have perfect accuracy every time you bring it to the screen can be tedious. I have to recalibrate more often than I like, but when I am actually using it to take notes or sketch it performs just fine. Programs for drawing seem relatively hit or miss, but I may just end up buying Manga Studio 5 instead of using Sai (which has known problems)

All in all I'm happy with my purchase as a replacement for my aging Gen 1 asus transformer.
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Re: and Tablets

Postby Brentai » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:20 am

My experience with using a Wacom pen is "Had to install Ubuntu just to get an app to recognize the pressure sensitivity", but I guess your mileage may vary.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Thad » Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:59 pm

New Samsung tablets look to be pretty competitive with the Z2 in terms of size, weight, and price, and higher res. (EDIT: And, per Engadget, you can see the screen in natural light, which has been one of the major knocks against the Z2.) I'll have to wait for reviews but that could end up being the way I go.

Waiting for the I/O conference before I decide, though; we could still get a new Nexus 10 at the end of the month.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby beatbandito » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:17 pm

beatbandito wrote:Sooooo it seems like the Surface Pro 3 is exactly the same device as the Surface Pro 2 except with a better screen and worse battery. Also the 32gb version sucks harder than the 32gb SP2.

Am I missing something?


Ziiro I guess says the same thing except the processor might be a little better, but if they're both same gen i5 I can't imagine it's a huge boost.
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Re: and Tablets

Postby Caithness » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:29 am

I've heard that the surface pro 3 uses a no-name digitizer instead of Wacom. Not sure how much that matters to you, but it might be something to keep in mind.

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Re: and Tablets

Postby Thad » Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:42 pm

Reading suggests that Samsung's Exynos line has really poor custom ROM support because Samsung has been terrible about releasing its source code. Basically it's the same problem I ran into when I bought a Samsung Chromebook; I managed to run Xubuntu on it but couldn't get graphics acceleration running.

While the reviews are saying this is the least offensive version of TouchWiz yet, and you can still root it and remove the crapware, it IS pretty alarming not being able to flash it.

It doesn't look like there are any AOSP releases for the Xperia Z2 yet either, but the original-model Z has some so that bodes well for the future. Plus, by most accounts Sony's factory ROM isn't as obnoxious as Samsung's.

But Samsung unquestionably has the better screen -- every Tab S review says the screen is the highlight, and every Z2 review says the screen is the worst part (not that it's a bad screen per se but it's illegible in direct sunlight).

Clock's ticking and at some point here I need to make a decision. I think I'll probably go with the Samsung and deal with whatever crap software I have to to get the better screen.

And maybe the thing will get popular enough that somebody will reverse engineer a decent ROM for it. But I'm not going to hold my breath.

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