Monday, February 17, 2014

Shopping For A Tablet

I had some money I wasn't expecting show up, and before something else can wrench it out of my hand, I figured I'd look into Windows Tablets.

The tablet isn't a new concept. Bill Gates was pushing tablets back in the late 90's. Microsoft OneNote was designed for use on tablets. But, it's only been recently that the technology to make them good has been around, and price points are finally getting realistic.

I've had iPads for several years. My dad usually sends me his old one when he gets a new one. I've had the iPad 1, 2, and 3. iPads are cool, but every time I try to do something with it, I hit a brick wall and have to go to my laptop anyway. Lack of Flash support is a huge hindrance. It's a great consumption tablet, for the most part, but I can't get any serious work done with it.

I gave the iPad 1 to my ex-wife and children (she wasn't my ex at that point). I'm letting my girlfriend use the iPad 2. The 3 is OK, but what was my dad thinking when he only got a 16 GB?

I used to want a Mac. They were always way above my price range. I look at them now and can't get into them, even the Macbook Air.

I went out yesterday with my girlfriend to look at tablets. Not much to choose from. First we went to Best Buy. The Surface 2 is really cool, but I'm convinced I want Windows 8.1 Pro, not RT. I could do a lot with RT, but the Windows app ecosystem is still highly immature, so I need "legacy" apps like Google Chrome (Internet Explorer sucks hard. I hate it).  I also need a minimum of 64 GB, since Windows takes up a majority of the 32GB space available on those tablets. The Surface Pro 2 64 GB is $899, and then you need to pay another $80-$130 for the keyboard and they'll want to sell you a warranty.

HP has a convertible at Best Buy for $799, but it's as big as my 15" laptop and that to me defeats the point of a tablet. I'm not looking to replace my laptop right now; but to find a laptop capable portable.

We next went to HH Gregg. The only Windows tablet they had was the 32GB Dell Venue 8 Pro . The 64 GB is a contender, but not the 32 which can be bought in stores.

There is a Microsoft store in the area, but it's more than 50 miles away, near work. Didn't feel like spending my Sunday driving to work.

At least I got to see the size and form factor of the Dell. I'd wondered if an 8" tablet would cut it. I've heard a lot of reports from people that the iPad Mini finally makes the iPad portable. People say they're much easier to carry and still large enough to do what needs to be done. The Dell can be held in one hand and feels very sturdy and durable.

The tablet I'd really like is the Asus Transformer Book T-100. The price point of $399 for 64GB with a keyboard included is very tempting. It's not top of the line by any means, but for that price you get a lot for your money. But it's very hard to get. Amazon appears to have them, but for more than $399.

A final shopping mis-experience involved Staples. When we got home, my girlfriend found the Staples ad in her paper. It clearly shows a T-100 looking tablet with similar specs for $329. I ran back out to Staples. Turns out even though that tablet is in their ad, it's not in their system. They can't order it.

Staples, you fail so hard. Must be a bait and switch like car lots do. At least the employee helping me was very helpful. I hope he goes far.

At least I was able to handle the Dell. If I decide to go that route, I'll just order it from their site. I'm not giving my money to the big box retailers because they can't be bothered to stock anything I want to buy. With Dell, I can bundle a folio case and keyboard with the tablet. I might just go with the Dell.
Post a Comment