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Android Tablet thoughts...

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Djarum, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    I've been in the market for a tablet, preferably android tablets. When I did some shopping months ago, I looked at a few, such as the ASUS transformer tablet and the Acer Iconia tablet. At the time, the tablets were running Honeycomb 3.0. After playing with them in the stores, I decided that Honeycomb just wasn't as polished as it could be. Fast forward a few months, and 3.1 has been released for all the major tabs, and some of the new one's ship with 3.1. So after spending 3 hours between two stores playing with the tabs, thought I'd give some impressions.

    First, I think I need to mention what I am looking for and want to use it for. Basically, I want to use it for browsing and watching a video here and there, but I also want one so that while I'm on vacation I can pop my pictures in and view them.

    Acer Iconia a500:

    One of the first on the market, after the Xoom. The build quility is pretty good. Pricing is pretty agressive too right now. In comparison to all the other tablets, the screen quality is the worst. It has a screen door effect. It does get reasonably bright and colors are good, but off-angle viewing is not good at all. Heavier and thicker than an ipad, I didn't it, especially for my larger hands. It has a full USB and microSD.

    Moto XOOM:

    One of the first on the market, it seems dated already. the screen is as bad as the Iconia, however it is a tad thinner and smaller. It has microSD expansion, but no USB. From what I have read, a USB OTG device can be plugged into the microUSB slot for a USB host to use for thumbdrives, and it does work with 3.1. As far as price goes, it is comperable to the rest of the tabs since it has been reduced by 100 bucks in stores.

    ASUS Transformer:

    This tab is about as thick and heavy as the rest of them, but the build quality is not up to the first two mentoned. It has a plastic dimpled back which does help for holding it, but there seems to be a sharp edge on the side where the plastic meets the metal bevel. The screen is really nice compared to the first previous two. It is an IPS screen so there is no screen door effect. Its brighter and better off-angle axis than the previous two. Even with running 3.1 I find that swiping between screens seemed a bit laggier than other tabs. It has the ability to have a dock for a keyboard, which at first glance seems cool. I don't need a fully laptop replacement, and since it does not have a USB port on the tab itself, I wouldn't be able to easily pop in pictures to view. ASUS has mentioned a dongle in the works that would go from their proprietary pin-out to USB host. It is not available at the moment though.

    Toshiba thrive:

    This is one of the newer tablets. It has a very different approach design wise. It is the thickest and heaviest of the tablets. However, the back has a nice rubberized texture to it. Also, the back can come off to replace the battery. Currently, all the Android tabs require service to replace the battery. There are also different colored backs which can be put on the tab as well. As far as holding it in the hand, it is a bit heavy. However, since it has a larger bezel to it, it has more room to grip the tab without actually touching the screen. The tab has a full sized HDMI, SD(not micro), and USB ports. The screen gets pretty bright, and has no screen door effect. The off angle viewing is better than the Xoom and Iconia, but its not up to the level of the Transformer Tab. I think it has a more natural look than the Transformer tab, however. The tab does not have gorilla glass like most of the other tabs, but it seems pretty durable. The other nice thing is that Toshiba has added a full file manager to work with the SD cards and USB ports.

    Samsung Galaxy 10.1

    This is the thinnest of the Android tabs. Its as thin and light as an Ipad 2. The screen is quite bright but overly saturated. It has the best off angle viewing of any of the tabs. The one big drawback is that it does not have SD expansion. This is one of the reasons I was not a big fan of the Ipad 2. In the hand, it feels light, but for my larger hands, the thinnest means I don't have a good grip. As far as build quality, it feels probably the best from the feel point of view, but I think the Toshiba would actually hold up better. The two big drawbacks is that the flash memory can't be expanded nor does it have a USB port. Samsung has made an accesory to go from the proprietary pin-out to a USB host.


    Considering all the tabs mentioned have similar specs, in use, with 3.1, they all felt similar in performance. I think its about features and design that set the tabs apart.

    If I was looking for more of just an e-reader or just something to browse the web while sittin in a coffee shop, the Samsung is the best bet, other than price. I think someone wanting, like me, more of a laptop replacement, I feel the Toshiba would be the best, regardless of the weight and size differences. The ASUS offers alot too, but it isn't for me until they make a USB dongle for it.
     
  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    All all these look good to me, but I love my Xoom and use it every day. No complaints about the screen or anything else.

    Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk
     
  3. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Amin,

    One nice thing about the xoom is that motorola seems to be the quickest to get updates out.

    Have you tried hooking up a usb otg for a full usb host up to the xoom.
     
  4. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Sticking with my iPad1 with no 3G. I just use it for games and web cruising when I am on the couch. Never take it out with me anymore, and I find it too big and heavy for reading. I have a sony ereader now and use that in the daytime, and my iphone at night (for reading, that is). I never felt tempted to get an android tablet at all, I looked them over, and I have an HTC Desire phone which I never use... its all about google again... just can't get past how far google has insinuated itself into every single part of the net. I use google (although more recently have been preferring yahoo or bing) for search, and I have email at google, but I really am not sure for how much longer. Its just starting to bother me a lot, probably more since the advent of google+ which I have all but bailed out of. (Cannot see a way to delete accounts yet, but I'll find it)

    So..Android tablet? Not for me... not when you can't get apps for it without having a google email address, and cant effectively use it without google knowing your whereabouts at all times. Too much, I rckon.

    /paranoia
     
  5. deirdre

    deirdre SC Top Veteran

    652
    Sep 26, 2010
    Really? I just read a book on my iPad, have read dozens. Love it for reading and carry it with me everywhere. In fact, just took it with me to the movies so I could read before the movie started.
     
  6. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland SC Regular

    48
    Apr 22, 2011
    Quite like the look of the Xoom and I've fancied trying a tablet for a while, I've got a "travel" 13" Acer laptop at the moment for when I'm travelling with work but frankly carrying that and my (what feels like a tonne) Dell work laptop is just a hassle going through airports.

    Whats the iPad like for Photography apps?
     
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    That's one of the reasons I bought it - because it's plain vanilla Android and therefore no waiting for Sense, Blur, etc.

    I haven't tried anything USB related.

     
  8. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Amin,

    That seems like the one nice thing about the Android tablets so far is that most of the companies have stayed pretty clear of trying to dress up honeycomb.
     
  9. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    When I first got my android phone, I was a bit skeptical about having a "Gmail" account. So I set one up. I never check it or do anything with it. My inner geek likes the open platform and likes the different options that the various manufactures have for Android phones.
     
  10. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Remember the story of the trojan horse...
     
  11. I personally have the Archos A70 and love it.
    [​IMG]
    ARCHOS

    I know it is not running the Honeycomb, which I wish it would, but it does everything I need it for and only cost me $175.00.

    I prefer the 7 inch size to the 10 inch plus tablets, just fits my life style and hands better.
     
  12. Really IPAd does Not?

    How Evil is Apple’s Secret Tracking Software on the iPhone 4? [Poll] | Cult of Mac

    The big news today is all about how Apple has apparently been busy secretly squirreling away data about your movements on your iPhone 4 or GPS-equipped iPad, and storing it in a file on your computer via syncing. Is this a big deal, or business as usual, just a giant tech company doing its thing?
     
  13. deirdre

    deirdre SC Top Veteran

    652
    Sep 26, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
  14. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Yep. I got ahold of the app that let you see what was being stored and all it showed was the tower data. In some cases I was nowhere near any of the towers that registered.. I'm not concerned at all, and was not, once I got to see exactly what was there.
     
  15. flash

    flash SC Veteran

    372
    May 6, 2011
    Gordon
    Any decent photo apps on Android? I have a galaxy tab, which is a great form factor but frustrating to use. And I can't seem to find any decent handwriting apps or photo apps for it. The iPad certainly wins there.

    Gordon
     
  16. I don't really use either so don't know?

    Not sure what you are looking to do but a quick search shows over 1000 under the search term photo.
    https://market.android.com/search?q=photo&so=1&c=apps

    Here is Photoshop Express
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.adobe.psmobile&feature=search_result

    Also Pro Paint Camera
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.popularcrowd.propaintcamera&feature=search_result

    For handwritting you have 1700 when searching under "Handwritting"

    Genial Writing
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zenpie.genialwriting&feature=search_result
     
  17. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Archos is supposedly, in September, coming out with two Honeycomb tabs. One is an 8 incher, the other a 10. The 10 is going to have a 1.5ghz dual core. If it's priced right, it might be my next tab if it has the ports I need.
     
  18. Keeping my eye on these, although there is nothing wrong with my current one.
     
  19. flash

    flash SC Veteran

    372
    May 6, 2011
    Gordon
    Photoshop express and proaint are poor compared to snapseed and photogenie. And genial writing is very very poor. What android needs is a port of penultimate or Noteshelf, plus the Nik apps for the iPad. I would love either some decent apps for my galaxy tab or a 7" iPad.

    Gordon