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June 19th 2014 12:36 pm

Tablet Suggestions

I'm choosing which tablet to buy (my first), and would like some suggestions.

In general, I'm an early-adopter. I'm on at least my 10th smartphone, I've built half a dozen high-end gaming PCs over the past 15 years, own numerous gaming consoles, etc, but I've never been able to justify the cost of a tablet.

When I'm at home, I have my PC and TV setup so that I can see all 3 screens at once, and usually have a casual game (some facebook game or whatever) up while I'm watching TV or a movie, or a show/movie paused while I'm playing a real game. So it's HIGHLY unlikely I'll become one these people who say "my tablet changed my life, I never use my PC anymore."

When I'm commuting to work (train), I'm playing games on my phone, or on my 3DS, or reading a physical book. A tablet would be nice to have here, but I don't need a e-reader since I'll be sticking with physical books. There are any number of games that don't work on a phone-sized device, and/or don't work well.

About 4 years ago, I bought a 17" Alienware laptop for traveling. This was not a wise purchase - when I'm traveling, I'm usually visiting friends or going to a specific event, so I spend practically no time gaming, and at ~15 lbs fully packed, the bag is HEAVY. This is probably where I'd benefit most from a tablet - I want a larger screen to read my RSS feeds and watch videos on, and generally keep up with the stuff I'd usually be doing on a desktop PC.

So that brings me to where I am now - picking a tablet out of the HUGE pool of contenders.

- No Apple. Period.
- Wifi only; I don't need and won't pay for another data plan.
- 8-9" or larger; anything smaller isn't that much bigger than my Galaxy S5 and not worth it.
- A reasonable amount (32 GB+) of internal storage and/or an SD slot would be nice, but not a must-have

My first thought was a Surface Pro. Something with an x86 processor running a full version of Windows would be ideal as a laptop replacement; I could install Office, it'd run some older games, the keyboard is apparently decent. But they're very expensive, and I don't travel enough to really justify it.

I'm strongly considering a Note, Tab, or Tab Pro, but the Kindle Fire HDX and Nexus tablets also seem quite good. The stylus with the Note is somewhat appealing, as I'd like to learn to draw, but a reasonably priced Wacom tablet and some decent software seem like a better long term solution.

I don't necessarily need the newest or priciest tablet for the sake of having it, but buying something with a lower resolution screen or lesser processing power seems counterproductive, as it'd need upgrading sooner.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

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5 replies

I'm having a tough time identifying your needs for a tablet. You mention RSS feeds, 32GB, etc but then you go into wanting an x86 to do office+gaming but also show interest in Samsung's line up. Is the full-os a definite, or are you ok to get by with just using Android? Additionally there is a significant price difference between a Pro and a Note.
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I'm having a hard time with that too :)

I think I'd be ok with just Android. Office would be nice to have, as would the ability to play a limited selection of older x86 games like the Surface Pro could, but I don't think either justify the cost - I don't NEED Office because I won't be doing any sort of real work on a tablet, and as long as I have adequate games to play while away from home, it doesn't really matter what platform they're native to.

Having done some additional research after typing my original post, I'm leaning towards preordering a Galaxy Tab S 10.5.
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Sometimes the best thing is to just go try them out and see. Obviously with a Surface you'll have more access to games with the native OS, and you can pick up the pen. However, it's also far more expensive than the Tab.
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Dell Venue 8/11 Pro. Baytrail CPUs, Windows 8.1, etc. Refurbished costs are comparable to mid/high-end Android tablets.
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I would strongly recommend you to wait for the upcoming Nexus 8 smartphone which will be available in 1 to 2 months time :)

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