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Choosing a tablet for Grad School


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Initial post: Jan 14, 2013 3:27:26 PM PST
Meera Khan says:
I'm currently trying to do my research on which tablet to purchase and I'd appreciate any input.
I'd be looking to: access gmail and university email accounts, read pdfs and .doc files, access web content for classes and purchase/read ebooks, and view charts/graphs/raw data files.

In reference to pdf and .doc: gmail currently has a feature where you may view any recognizable file extension through its own doc system. Will a tablet still allow this ability, because then the need to have hard copy files is minimized to just pdf.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2013 5:26:41 PM PST
B. Marks says:
If you get a Windows tablet you can use it pretty much like a PC. I don't recommend getting a Windows 8 RT tablet since there's not much software for them yet and it's not really known yet if there will be. But a full Windows 8 tablet will do everything you want just fine.

If you get an Android tablet or an Ipad you can get office type apps for them that can handle .doc files end excel files just fine. They don't have all the features of Microsoft office but they have the everyday features. These typically cost $15 to $25. Versions that can read but not edit these files are usually free.

PDF is a little more problematic because they're not a perfect page fit for the screen size but there are apps that handle this in various ways and you you can try a few and see what works for you.

I think the stuff you want to do is pretty basic and you can do it on pretty much any tablet. You probably want to look at other considerations to help make your choice. Do you want a 10" tablet, easier to use for many of the things you describe but heavier, bulkier and not as portable, or a 7" tablet that's more portable and easier to carry with you and lighter to hold up to read from for extended periods, but not as easy to use for some of the things you've mentioned. Not hard to use, just not as graceful. Although for some things a 7" tablet is easier; reading a book, for example.

I suggest getting a name brand. Off brands are cheaper but they're problematic and you never know what problem you'll have with each individual tablet; quality control being poor. And support is usually non-existent. Good brands to look at are Asus, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony and Acer for Android tablets. Of course Apple for Ipads and for Windows tablets the same brands plus Lenovo. Lenovo has some Android tablets as well but those haven't been the same quality as their Windows products.

Another consideration is whether you want an HD screen. Those are getting easier to find now but they're more expensive. They tend to be on the premium tablets. Or a more normal display, which, last year was considered pretty high def. :)

And of course price. A decent 7" tablet is about $200 and up. A good 10" tablet is about $350 and up. In the 10" tablets the $450 ones are definitely worth the difference if you can afford it but the $350 ones are fine.

For full Windows tablets expect to pay $600 and up. You can get a few for $500 but they don't have enough storage to be that useful.

If you get an Ipad I'd avoid the 16 gig because the high def display on the Ipad has caused the apps to be much larger and you'll soon run out of room.

Barry

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 6:16:41 AM PST
Krash says:
I've had an iPad2 for ages (as an adult undergrad student) just got a mini (in my second year of grad school), and I love it for reading + the ability to do the extras you mention. If you want a laptop replacement, I'd suggest maybe one of the windows convertible laptops or one of the MS Surface Pro's when they come out. Also, depends on your workflow, not having office is no big deal to me as I don't do any of my research work in any "office" apps, I use typesetting software, and software like Evernote for notes. GoodReader / GoodNotes are both fabulous apps for reading PDF's as well. I have heard a lot of great things about the Nexus line from Google as well, but I'm just not a big Android fan (I don't really care about being able to twiddle with the settings / software on my device, I just want it to work).

I highly suggest finding people that have the various tablets your'e interested in and trying them out first hand to see how you'd like them, especially for something like reading, where a few ounces, or a goofy bezel can make or break a tablet.

-- G

Posted on Jan 16, 2013 5:18:32 AM PST
Android tablets also have expandable memory via SD card something Ipads do not have.

Posted on Jan 16, 2013 11:25:03 AM PST
Hi, go to this site www.seveninchtablets.com to see multiple reviews, comparisons and much more.

It may seem like Im promoting them, but I found that site a couple of months ago and that site helped me make my decision faster because of the various videos they have on multiple tablets.

Just my two cents. Peace fellow amazoners

Posted on Jan 17, 2013 1:41:09 AM PST
Meera Khan says:
Thanks guys this really provides me with factors to consider. It's one thing to read tablet descriptions and functionality but another to really ask users.

For example: Kindle Fire promotes compatibility with spreadsheets, pdfs and word docs. But to what extent and how well?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2013 4:54:41 AM PST
B. Marks says:
It's not a tablet that's compatible with those things, it's the app you use on the tablet. Most productivity apps are available for most tablets.

The office-style apps tend to support the major features of Office pretty nicely. Each has it's own subset of the lesser features as well. So you can try out their free versions to see what you like and then get it's pro version when you've made up your mind.

Barry

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 7:31:58 AM PST
RichG NYC says:
First a tablet offers flexibility you won't find in a laptop. Not only is my current tablet (Motorola Xoom) small & light, it's been very useful in class & presentations because I easily snap photos of the slides or board while I'm note taking & the images are included with my notes.

The challenge I've found with these devices is the on-screen keyboard. It it slow & error prone for note taking. You'll want to be paying attention to the class not your device. For that reason I'm considering switching to the Samsung Note 10.1. It allows you to take notes naturally with a pen an even includes the ability to have texbooks on the tablet that you can annotate and draw on so your notes are right in your book. So far this seems to be a unique feature in the tablet space.

Double check the list of text books before buying though, some people have said that not all textbooks are available.

I've used the Microsoft pen based tablets for the past 15 years (Windows CE, Pocket PCs, Windows Mobile) and found them to be far more functional than the newer Android & Apple devices we have to work with our fingers. While I don't own it yet myself, I have tested the the Note 10.1 and it is highly responsive, has a great screen, and it's handwriting recognition is excellent. It also uses a professional quality artist's pen so if you like to draw or sketch in your notes, the touch sesitivity of the pen gives you extraordinary control over your drawing.

Good luck & have fun with your search for the perfect device.

PS: I've also found these devices are very easy to sell on line, both here on Amazon & other places, so don't sweat your decision too much. At worst it will cost you the difference between the new & used price & that's far less than the cost of a single text book.

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 10:01:02 AM PST
jsbecasen says:
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Posted on Nov 16, 2013 3:47:57 PM PST
I've been researching the same thing! I think I've narrowed it down to the Galaxy Note 8 and the Kindle Fire HDX. However, the Kindle may be out of the question for you because it's not too google friendly (correct me if I'm wrong) and works on a limited platform.

But check out the Note 8 and Note 10.1. According to the Samsung rep I spoke to, they convert large PDFs with ease and you can use a split screen to do multiple things like take notes with a stylus and watch a video at the same time. It also has "reading mode" which changes the tone of the page to be less stressful on your eyes. It also allows for note taking and clipping of parts of books and PDFs so you can save them to review later. The galaxy also has expandable memory so you don't have to worry about buying the right size.

Haha! I think I just sold myself on the Galaxy. :)

I really wanted to go with iPad because I admit it-- I'm an apple snob, but honestly the reviews for the iPads (even with retinal displays) don't seem to stack up to these less expensive tablets.
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Discussion in:  Tablet forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  10
Initial post:  Jan 14, 2013
Latest post:  Nov 16, 2013

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