Archive for the ‘tablet’ Category

Surface 3 is an excellent tablet

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Update 7/30/15 – The Surface 3 is an excellent tablet with Windows 8.1. The Surface 3 is even better with the Windows 10 upgrade.

Original Post Follows:

The Surface 3 is an overall excellent tablet, and a top notch media device. I did acquire a 4GB memory, 128 GB storage model along with the associated optional type keyboard.

The full HD screen is sharp, bright, and crisp with pleasing color rendition. Both media, and text are well rendered on the 10.8 inch, 3:2 aspect ratio screen. No over-saturation of colors with this screen. Netflix, Hulu etal rendered sharp, crisp pictures along with flawless performance. The sound quality / volume from the speakers allows enjoyable media watching without headphones. I did hear stereo separation with no noticeable distortion.

Since the new Cherry Trail Atom x7 processor is x86 based, I have installed some of my favorite x86 based programs; all have run without problems. The Cherry Trail Atom processor is peppy with no performance lag noticed so far. I do like the totally quiet environment with this fanless processor. Just remember, you are not driving a quad core i7 with 16GB memory, and you should be fine.

The Windows Store certainly does not have the depth of apps available with other platforms. Since the browser supports full Flash, some of the apps you utilize with other platforms are not necessary. I have experienced no problems performing my desired tasks using either Windows Store apps, legacy x86 programs, or the fully Flash enabled browser.

I enjoy using the optional keyboard for longer typing tasks. I also prefer using the arrow / page down keys on the keyboard for scrolling webpages. The touchscreen on the Surface 3 is excellent, but constant scrolling while reading gets old quickly on any platform. With the optional keyboard you have a much easier method (arrow / page down) with the added benefits of not clicking links inadvertently while scrolling. When using as a tablet, the optional keyboard folds around 180 degrees, and is shut off. I keep the keyboard attached 98% of the time.

The kickstand is a very handy feature that should be included with any tablet / phablet with a > 5″ screen. Kudos to Microsoft for including a kickstand with all Surface tablets.

The Surface 3 continues my pleasant experiences with my prior Surface models, the original Surface, and Surface 2. Those previous models were ARM based with no x86 support. I knew when I purchased the previous models that they did not support x86 apps, so not a problem. The Surface 3 has the same excellent build quality as the prior models with a faster (still fanless) processor, twice the memory, full Windows 8.1 (not RT), an optional pressure sensitive pen, and a nice screen ratio compromise for both media consumption, and web / document browsing.

If you are in the market for a top of the line tablet, add the Surface 3 to your short list.

Click here for Microsoft product page with pictures, specs, features etc

The Samsung Tab S 8.4 is a nice enhancement to the already excellent Tab Pro 8.4

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

If you read my post about the Samsung Tab Pro 8.4, you know I was impressed with the Tab Pro 8.4. The Tab S 8.4 improves on an already impressive tablet. As much as I liked the Pro’s screen, the change to a SuperAMOLED screen with the Tab S is a dazzling improvement.  The colors jump out at you, and text is super crisp.  I have always been a fan of SuperAMOLED screens.

The Tab Pro S is thin, light, fast, well built, and dare I say, elegant.  Watching videos, viewing picture albums, web surfing, eBook reading, and every other task I have tried is a joy on this device.  Even updating my HanDBase databases is an enhanced experience with the SuperAMOLED screen. Battery life has exceeded the range I need for daily activity.  I have not tested “the absolute drain to death” time since I charge all my devices nightly.

You see many reviews which criticize Samsung’s additions to the interface.  I respect their opinions, and do use a “pure Android” Nexus as well;  however, I like the TouchWiz enhancements.  I frequently use Multi-window.

If you are in the market for a premium tablet in the 8 inch screen size space, the Samsung Tab S 8.4  is an excellent choice.  I like the WiFi version so much, I may order the 4G version as well when it is released.

Samsung Tab Pro 8.4 is definitely one of the best available on any platform.

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The Samsung Tab Pro 8.4 is fantastic.  Phenomenal screen, light, very fast, no lag experienced, easy to hold, videos look super sharp.  This version does not have an S-Pen.  Even minus the S-Pen, the Tab Pro 8.4 is an elite, top tier tablet, definitely one of the best available on any platform. Add in an S-Pen along with LTE; this tablet would be unbeatable.

SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive is excellent for sharing files between PC’s, and Android devices.

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

If you regularly use a Flash Drive to transfer files between a PC, and a USB To Go enabled Android device, the SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive is an excellent accessory.  This Flash Drive incorporates both standard, and micro-USB connectors eliminating the need for the easily misplaced / broken USB To Go cable.  Using a 64GB Ultra Dual USB Drive with excellent results on both PC’s, and Android devices.

Nokia 1520 Windows Phone is excellent, but cannot be my daily driver

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

The Nokia 1520 6″ Windows Phone / phablet is excellent yet too restrictive to be my daily driver. I have found the Windows Phone interface to be silky smooth, even a bit smoother than iOS, or the latest Android versions.

The Nokia 1520 has an excellent, bright screen, top build quality, and like all WP, the silky smooth UI. Videos, and the web look fantastic on that nice screen. Even with its 6″ screen, I have found the 1520 easy to handle, and not bulky although I do carry it in a belt case.

If you like the 1520 so much, why can it not be your daily driver? Flash support, user accessible file system, USB To Go native support, and a HanDBase database client are essential for my daily driver. Unfortunately, the 1520, like all Windows Phones, does not support these essential (for me) features. If these essential features were available in the Nokia 1520, it would be my daily driver for sure.

Like Windows 8 Atom based tablets, but disappointed with video playback performance

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Windows 8 Atom based tablets have the potential to be one of the best tablet platforms.  Nice screen, full x86 compatability, full Flash support, full user file access, and very good battery life.  Unfortunately, video playback does not seem as smooth as the playback on laptops, Surface 2, or Android tablets.  In addition, the video pauses too frequently for a second or so for no apparent reason.  The same videos on Android, laptops, and Surface 2 play flawlessly over the same network.

Overall, I enjoy Windows 8 based Atom powered tablets, but am very disappointed with the video playback issue.  If Microsoft, and manufacturers can solve the video problems, Windows 8 Atom tablets would be a top tier tablet, maybe even the best.

Surface 2 is excellent – huge improvement

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Surface 2 is excellent – fast, great screen, Flash supported, light, Office included, use split screen frequently. Big improvement.

HTC Flyer (7″) and Jetstream (10.1″) are still excellent tablets.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Using the HTC Flyer, and Jetstream again.  Both tablets were ahead of their time, and the tech sites never appreciated them.

I am a gadget enthusiast, and have many tablets / smartphones. I do respect other opinions, but IMO, the HTC Flyer / EVO view / Jetstream are definitely still some of the best tablets I own including the Nexus 7 /10 even though they are now several generations old. In order to be successful with non-tech consumers, you need extensive mainstream advertising which I do not recall HTC doing any for the Flyer / Jetstream at least compared to the extensive iPad, Kindle Fire, and Nexus 7 mainstream advertising.

In many ways the Flyer was ahead of its time including, but not limited to:

  • First tablet I used with sufficient volume to hear without earbuds.
  • Supplied browser had wordwrap (text flow) included so you did not have to read single column / forum pages with a tiny, uncomfortable font size, or horizontally scroll.
  • Text selection was the most aesthetically pleasing, most accurate, and easiest I ever used in any mobile OS, still is today.
  • The Gallery app included streaming from server for videos / photos at a time when streaming apps were next to non-existent in the Android Market.
  • Printing is included / enabled for most applications. Set-up is easy, works fine, found my HP WiFi printer on first try, and natively prints from more apps than many of the print solutions I have purchased for my non-HTC devices.
  • The pen, although not essential for me, is fun to use.

The tablets are built like a tank, still look as nice as the day I bought them.

In addition to no / minimal mainstream advertising, the general tech review sites did not give the Flyer, or Jetstream proper reviews. I never saw any of the enhancements mentioned, but the reviews never failed to mention they were not pure Android. Of course, the Flyer, and Jetstream had two strikes against them due to the lack of a fruit logo on the back. The reviews concentrated on the price, lack of pure Android, and the fact they were a few grams heavier / a few mm thicker than the popular, considerably less competent tablets of the era. It is disappointing that many sites, including dedicated Android sites, concentrate on whether a reviewed device is pure Android, how thin the device is, and whether the device sometimes lags for a nano-second without mentioning, or glossing over the plethora of enhancements HTC, Samsung, etal include over “pure Android”. The Flyer, and Jetstream were worth the price for me – well built, innovative, great screen, super audio, and nice integrated printing.

If you used a HTC Flyer , or Jetstream extensively, and did not like them, I respect your differing opinion. If you did not have the opportunity, and are basing negative opinions on quick on-line reviews, you are doing fine, top notch devices a major disservice.

Welcome a Windows 8 Tablet in 8″ form factor

Monday, May 6th, 2013

I welcome a Windows 8 tablet in a 8″ form factor.  Since iOS never supported Flash, and Android will not support future versions of Flash, Windows 8 will soon be the only way to view the full web on a tablet.  I realize it is fashionable to hate Flash, but without Flash support, you only view a large subset of the web, not the full web.  On my tablets, I want the full web experience, not just a large subset.  As for HTML 5 / native apps relegating Flash to dodo bird status, do you really believe there is, or will be an app, or alternate video format for every Flash based page, or Flash video on the web?  If you do, maybe you are interested in purchasing a well known bridge for a good price.

I hope the 8″ tablet is x86 based (fortunately it is), I’ll take the battery hit.  As for small controls on classic desktop apps, every version of Windows I can remember included settings to change the size of the close box, menu items, etc. to a size comfortable for your finger girth, not the one size fits all we are all familiar with.  Been using finger navigation with Microsoft Windows since adjusting the control settings on an XP convertible many years ago.

Being the gadget addict I am, I did purchase the Windows 8 Acer W3 x86 based 8 inch tablet.  I am quite pleased with the W3, it has met, or exceeded all expectations.  After my usual 4 adjustments using Windows built in settings, the classic desktop is very finger friendly as well on this 8 inch tablet.

Hope an 8 inch Windows 8 tablet is in the works

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Hope the rumors of an 8 inch Windows 8 tablet are true.  If the 8″ model is x86, not RT, could be the best 8″ tablet available.