question Which Tablets

sedrosken

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These flagship tablets look absurdly nice in comparison to my lineup. Well, flagship anything is going to look absurdly nice next to my stuff, but that's beside the point and we've already been over that.

It's sad that you can buy a PC (even a laptop) and have it stay somewhat relevant for more than the three or so years it takes for a top of the line mobile device to fall into bargain bin territory. I really want to get ahold of one of the better tablets, even a Tab 3 would be damn good compared to what I'm used to. Windows tablets look pretty good too IMO, but unless you want to get a Surface Pro and void your warranty by dual booting with Android X86 (and installing the ARM translation libraries) they aren't worth trying to integrate the Windows and mobile experience. Having to reboot to switch between OSes sucks too, but no virtualization solution that I know of has any sort of decent 3D acceleration. Unless you have a Titan, in which case just about anything you'd want to do with 3D is doable.
 

sedrosken

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Okay, that's bullcrap. But, it's Microsoft-manufactured, so of course they want to make sure that you can run absolutely nothing other than Microsoft Windows on it.
 

LunarMist

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I picked up the Galactica 8.4 pro. I guess it's not the most current model, but has the 2560 display and was cheap enough.
 

Mercutio

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I'm not as fond of Samsung's tablets as its phones, but for $250, a Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 is a pretty solid compromise device. It has a 2560x1440 IPS screen, 2GB RAM and a 128GB-capable uSD slot. Only 16GB internal storage, but it only weighs 311g. Seems like a pretty solid choice.
 

Clocker

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I have a Tab S 10.5 coming. Looking forward to replacing my Touchpad running KitKat. The Tab Pro would be a better deal but I figured I will keep it for a long time, root it and hopefully have access to some new ROMs that will take advantage of the 3GB RAM. Got a pretty sweet deal on an Open Box on eBay.
 

Buck

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I have been very happy with my Nexus 7 2013. I do not use it for videos or music, mostly for viewing PDF and ePUB documents, and viewing some websites. The size is perfect for me in portrait mode - viewing is easy and the size easily fits in one hand.
 

Will Rickards

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I tried the nexus 7, it was too small for me and I returned it.

The refurbished samsung galaxy note 10 2014 edition I bought has been good.
I did drop it once and then the screen started to go out. backlight issue. I took it to various places and they wouldn't touch it.
Finally I just ordered a tool kit from ifixit and took it apart myself. Was simply a displaced connector.
I'll be looking to replace the battery soon. And maybe get some non conductive tape to place over that connector to keep it in place.
 

Santilli

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I just inherited a Dell Venue 8 Pro.
I don't get the tablet thing.

Seems like my Samsung Mega works a bit better, and without Windows 8.1.

Very small resolution...
Hard to find things, many aren't manageable.

Just don't get the whole tablet things.
 

DrunkenBastard

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I just inherited a Dell Venue 8 Pro.
I don't get the tablet thing.

Seems like my Samsung Mega works a bit better, and without Windows 8.1.

Very small resolution...
Hard to find things, many aren't manageable.

Just don't get the whole tablet things.
Wife uses a Samsung S2 8.9" tablet. Ebay/words with friends etc works much better on 8.9" than on her Note 4. I wouldn't write off all tablets just because you are havng issues with one running Windows - I've found Win tablets do much better in a dockable with keyboard form factor
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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The Venue is just fine for lots and lots of stuff. Pretty much everything that isn't web browsing or gaming, it's pretty good for. It makes a decent E-reader amd music player and I'm about 200% more likely to run Modern-style apps on it than on a laptop or desktop.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Is it just me or has progress on high end tablets just sort of stopped? The Samsung Note Pro 12" tablet is still as far as I can tell the best representative of a state of the art Android device, now two full years after its introduction. Android seems to top out at 3GB RAM, 8 core 1.8 - 2GHz CPUs, 2560xwhatever display and 64GB of non-removable storage + MAYBE a card reader, if you're lucky. I realize that Android is still 32 bit, so adding more RAM isn't really on the table right now, and that Google seems to be discouraging anyone from putting card readers in new devices, but the current offerings for tablets seem to be mostly pretty disappointing.

I bring this up because the display on my Nexus 7 seems to be failing. I use it slightly less than my Kindle HDX, but it's been my go-to device for demonstrating stock Android stuff for the last few years and it's where I most often play mobile games and I really have been using both every day for a couple years.

The Lenovo Tab2 looks relatively appealing for a 10" device. It has a middle of the road CPU, but it has a decent IPS display and the price is about right. The Galaxy Tab S2 has 4:3 display and costs twice as much as the Lenovo. Both of them weigh more than 1lb., which I think makes either of them a bit of a hassle to carry around.

The nVidia Shield K1 seems to be the right size/weight (8" and .75lbs.) and seems to have pretty good specs. Having messed with one in person, I don't think it has the greatest screen in the world, but neither did the Nexus 7.

Tough call.
 

Chewy509

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Better spec tablets

Is it just me or has progress on high end tablets just sort of stopped?
I've noticed this as well... I suspect it's a number of factors:
  1. Entry level $99 devices are sold a lot more than high-end devices.
  2. BOM cost when you get above a certain point doesn't make sense. OEMs would have sell a certain number of tablets to be viable and justify the support costs associated. How many are going to pay $2K for a tablet that is only 5% better than the next model down that's half the price.
  3. Battery tech hasn't improved much, so are seeing limits on CPU performance (TDP increases expontentially with GHz increase), number of components (the more components equals more W).
  4. Size constraints. People want thinner/lighter, counter to using higher performance parts.
As for the 3GB RAM limit, don't know why manner are sticking to that limit, as Android has been 64bit enabled since 5.0 and some devices are already shipping with 64bit versions. (eg Tablets with Intel Atoms, Sony Z4 Tablet, etc).
 

mubs

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I realize that Android is still 32 bit, so adding more RAM isn't really on the table right now.
Android has been 64bit enabled since 5.0 and some devices are already shipping with 64bit versions. (eg Tablets with Intel Atoms, Sony Z4 Tablet, etc).
I thought Android was 64-bit enabled from 4.2 or thereabouts??
 

Mercutio

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I feel like we've generally hit a point in the Moore's law cycle where things are getting cheaper and not "faster"
I think what I'd really like to see is a Shield Tablet with a Tegra X1 SoC. Supposedly there's one in the works, including indicators that working versions have been demonstrated and benchmarked, but nothing to indicate when if ever such a device might actually ship. The Shield Tablet K1 is already on the very high end of Android hardware but that doesn't mean I wouldn't mind getting better display or Maxwell GPU.

I believe my FireHDX is at the point where it's probably not getting another major Android revision from Amazon. I'm not sure WHY; the HDX is still its flagship device, but the damned thing is still running KitKat under the hood while the cheapie FireHDs have moved on to Android L at least.

I'm thinking about this today mostly because my Nexus 7's screen apparently turned on for the last time last night. I might be able to fix it but since it's one of those devices that's held together with glue rather than screws I'm not sure why I'd bother. I have about a 50% success rate in dealing with those. There ought to be a law against building stuff that way. :(
 

Tea

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Now that we have had the Lenovo Tab 2 Merc mentioned for a few weeks, I'm in a position to start mentally constructing the ideal tablet. (Ideal as in "the one I'd like.)


Screen: this one is excellent in evety way except size. 10 inches isn't enough. 12" would be much nicer. Wouldn't mind 14 inch. A proper 4 x 3 ratio would be even better. Oh and more effective anti-glare would be handy.
CPU: don't really care. Whatever this one is is just fine.

Storage: don't care much. Wouldn't hurt to have a bit, but not if it costs real money.


OS: Android is crippleware. Apple is out of the question, of course. Have to be Windows, I guess. The Metro-only Win RT is dead now isn't it? So Win 8 or 10 it has to be. (Naturally, I'd flex the Metro front end first thing.)


Connectivity: a real USB port would be nice (not this tiny toy connector) and more than one of them.


Weight: don't care. Battery life - anything that goes 24 hours would be OK assuming standard use - i.e., putting itsdlf to sleep between bouts of use.


Price: I wouldn't pay more thsn $500 US tops.

I don't suppose there is such a thing, and if there is I have no real need for it - we only just got this one - so I doubt Mr Grumpuy would spring for it anytime this year. Still, it would be nice to know..
 

Mercutio

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Surface (not-Pro) tablets are 12" and have decent-ish Atom CPUs. They run around 10 hours before they have to be plugged in, which will get you through a working day.

Windows as a mobile OS has some issues, mostly because typing is a hassle, though Microsoft just bought Swype, which should help, but also because its touch ecosystem doesn't particularly talk to Google, Amazon or Apple and Microsoft's own offerings in that space aren't terribly compelling (consider the Photos app for Windows 8 vs. Google Photos or Windows Mail vs. Gmail).

I own a few Surface devices and a Dell Venue. Most of the time, when I need a tablet, I'd rather have Android unless what I need is MSOffice or access to printers. Truth be told, I can always remote in to Windows from Android if I need to, and Android is going to be easier to interact with most of the time.
 
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As usual Merc nails it. I'd either go Android or full-blown Win10 with an MS Surface Book. For your budget forget that second option.

The Surface Book is awfully nice, typing on it now and have been photo editing all morning on Photoshop. Because most of the brains are behind the screen the keyboard stays nice and cool.
 

Tannin

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The stanard Android keyboard is lousy, byt Hackers Heyboard is perfectly usable. I'd certainly want something similar to that. Mostly we'd just like something that, for example, has a hosts file you can edit and various of the other facilities a real OS has.I wouldn't go near Metro without a gas mask, of course.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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The stanard Android keyboard is lousy, byt Hackers Heyboard is perfectly usable. I'd certainly want something similar to that. Mostly we'd just like something that, for example, has a hosts file you can edit and various of the other facilities a real OS has.I wouldn't go near Metro without a gas mask, of course.
Rooted Android is still a bit odd since most software is written with the assumption that you can't manage the system yourself, but you can certainly find applications that do enable those capabilities.
At the moment, there's no way to change the Windows on-screen keyboard to something else. This is one of my biggest knocks against Windows on tablets generally. The handwriting and voice recognition features work like ass and the damned thing won't operate is a swipe-style interface.

I might also point out that Windows 8+ has a nasty habit of ignoring the Hosts file for some things, in violation of fundamental understanding of IP networking.

Modern style apps are not always terrible and in fact sometimes they're perfectly useful to have on a touch screen. It's a lot easier to use a modern-style file management app on an 8" Dell Venue than try to work with File Explorer in Windows 10.

I'm sure someone is working on a touch-friendly *nix GUI for tablets and I wouldn't mind messing with whatever that is, as long as it winds up being something other than Unity. :hurl:
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I realized I had $60 in Amazon credit, so I went ahead and got a Shield K1. It's just small enough that I can put it in my back pocket if I want. Battery life is not fantastic, which I suppose is to be expected, and X-Com: Enemy Within is marked as incompatible with that device, which is a real shame since it's one of the best AAA games (and a good demo for a big-boy GPU) on Android. On the up side, complex PDF rendering on this thing is butter-smooth. Handy, I remember you mentioned that you were kind of disappointed about that on some previous Android device, but the Shield lets me scroll through .CBR files and 400MB PDFs as if I were using a desktop.

I stuck a 128GB card in it and for the first time I went ahead and told Marshmallow to adopt the storage. This appears to disable access to the internal disk, or at least render it entirely inaccessible without root (I haven't gotten that far yet).

It's also surprisingly close to stock Android.

It's probably a bargain if you like the idea of the 8" form factor and don't mind charging every 6 or 8 hours.
 

Handruin

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I realized I had $60 in Amazon credit, so I went ahead and got a Shield K1. It's just small enough that I can put it in my back pocket if I want. Battery life is not fantastic, which I suppose is to be expected, and X-Com: Enemy Within is marked as incompatible with that device, which is a real shame since it's one of the best AAA games (and a good demo for a big-boy GPU) on Android. On the up side, complex PDF rendering on this thing is butter-smooth. Handy, I remember you mentioned that you were kind of disappointed about that on some previous Android device, but the Shield lets me scroll through .CBR files and 400MB PDFs as if I were using a desktop.

I stuck a 128GB card in it and for the first time I went ahead and told Marshmallow to adopt the storage. This appears to disable access to the internal disk, or at least render it entirely inaccessible without root (I haven't gotten that far yet).

It's also surprisingly close to stock Android.

It's probably a bargain if you like the idea of the 8" form factor and don't mind charging every 6 or 8 hours.

That's good feedback. Yes, I was having issues on my Nexus 7 (2013) with reading the Pathfinder core rulebook in pdf format. The Nexus 7 has still been good to me so I haven't looked into any other tablets. I've gotten around the PDF file issue by using the web page versions of the rulebook. I end up having a chrome browser open with dozens of tabs to each page that I need. It's a pain but it works.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Another helpful hint: Root the stupid thing before you add your adopted storage card. Rooting resets the crypto signature of the tablet, so the tablet can't read its former card.

My now-rooted Shield will now play X-Com, but only because I'm running a tool that reports and reprocesses the ARB functions from something the game supports to my actual hardware.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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My Shield tablet can also kinda-sorta stream PC games, but the only game I own that it supports is Fallout 3. I tested it, and the game actually does display on the PC's primary local monitor while sound is redirected to the tablet. It ran acceptably to a non-local network, but I think it's designed to be used with a bluetooth controller, something a grown-up probably wouldn't carry around; the only thing I really did in the game was turn around in circles. I think it's primarily meant to be a Steam box, but I don't have that to test and none of my GoG games are detected, though the software does at least look in the directory where GoG's installer puts things.
I didn't buy it for that function but hey, it works and it's kinda cool. I could definitely see a case for having such a thing for a boring work trip or even just playing an extra round of something right before bed.

Battery life on the Shield is probably around 6 hours when used as an eReader or web client. It's more like 3 hours if you're doing anything that runs the GPU. That's less than any other Android tablet I've used, but not out of line with my Fire HDX or Nexus 7, which saw similar reductions in battery life when I play Sentinels of the Multiverse or binge on some Youtubes.
 

Stereodude

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Looks like the Lenovo Tab3 8" might fit the bill nicely for Kodi remote duty. It runs Marshmallow instead of running KitKat like many of the cheap tablets. There's don't seem to be (m)any reviews of it though.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Looks like the Lenovo Tab3 8" might fit the bill nicely for Kodi remote duty. It runs Marshmallow instead of running KitKat like many of the cheap tablets. There's don't seem to be (m)any reviews of it though.
Asus ZenPads are decent low-cost options. You could also look at the Fire Tablet line since you mostly care about this product's ability to run one or two trivial bits of software. These guys are all going to fall in the $120 or less category.
 
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