Author Topic: Help me pick a new device  (Read 2961 times)

polly_mer

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Help me pick a new device
« on: May 30, 2019, 06:02:05 AM »
The time has come to replace a 10-year-old laptop and upgrade from a 7 inch Fire tablet.  I'm paying for this out of pocket so money is a factor, but price will not be the overriding factor.

I would like something at least the size of a hard-cover book since my eyes are going and the tiny screen is too hard to use with enlarged-enough font.  I mostly use the tablet while I'm sitting on my couch so erring on the side of bigger is better, but huge is too much.  I use the tablet mostly to surf the internet and possibly I will be converting to reading ebooks.  I do have concerns regarding proprietary ebook formats since I have literal tons of paper books that I probably won't be replacing electronically at this time (or possibly ever until I'm forced by retirement or actually go blind); I'd rather be reading PDFs or whatever I can check out from the local public library.

I would like the option of a keyboard since this is partially replacing a laptop.  However, I have a work laptop so the keyboard will be secondary to other concerns.

What are good options that others have found?
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downer

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2019, 06:14:19 AM »
I find my 10" Kindle Fire good for PDFs. Much better than a 7".

For a couple of months I tried a Chromebook that could double as a tablet. I didn't use it as much I thought I would, but it was a few years ago. Now there's more compatibility between Chromebooks and other devices, and certainly you can use more apps than the Kindle allows. I find that I use my Chromebook laptop quite a lot these days.

I might try an Android tablet rather than a Kindle, because of the ability to use more apps, read non-Kindle ebooks, and I also am annoyed by the impossibility of removing Alexa from Kindle Fires. I have no interest in talking to Alexa. Of course, it is possible to just not use Alexa, but periodically Amazon pushes you to do so.
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spork

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2019, 02:50:32 AM »
For the last few years I have been using an ASUS C302 chromebook as a travel device. It has a 12" touchscreen that can be flipped around so that it becomes a tablet. Compared to my work-issued HP laptop, it's half the weight, more compact (especially when considering the tiny charger brick), and has noticeably more clarity in the screen. I still am not a complete master of Google Fu when it comes to document editing when offline, but I can easily teach online with it (my employer uses the Canvas LMS and I set up my courses so that I never have to download students' work). The device came in particularly handy on a trip last year for reading Kindle and Play editions of travel guides. I'd read up on destinations in the morning while lounging on the couch and then use my phone to refresh myself on details when on site.
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cc_alan

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2019, 09:34:10 AM »
I'm going to toss in a non-one-size-fits-all suggestion.

I don't use our home desktop too often although my spouse and kids do. I have a laptop I use to do the "heavy" lifting I need. I have an iPad Mini I use for a lot of work-related jobs that I can do without my work desktop. I also have an iPhone that's a few years old (it's new and was much cheaper than a brand new new one!) and a Kindle Paperwhite. The iPhone I also use for a lot of personal stuff, bike and other fitness stuff, and browsing that doesn't annoy me on the smaller device.

So I'm going to toss out the suggestion for a Kindle Paperwhite. I love the screen and the size is just right for me. It's light and easy to hold even with a cover on it. The battery lasts for days and days and days. And the newer version will do audiobooks.

Getting library books for it is so dang easy and cool. I log into the library's website, find a book, check it out, and it's autodelivered to my Kindle. You can upload ebooks and pdf docs to your Amazon account so you can then download it to the Kindle. I use Calibre to convert my "normal" ebooks to Kindle/Moble format and then upload them. You can sideload docs onto your Kindle via the USB cable but I prefer to go through my Amazon account for backup reasons.

I have some personal docs I've created using Word that have footnotes. I had been using paper docs and writing the notes all over it. Then I tried a basic Word doc with the typed notes but it got all crowded and hard to read. Now I use the footnotes/endnotes in Word and pop them up when I need them on the Kindle.

The Kindle is light enough that I can toss it and my phone in a bag and go.

I love paper books. I love holding them. Turning the pages. Hell, even the smell. But I love my Kindle.

Kron3007

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2019, 11:25:35 AM »
I recently got a microsoft surface and it is pretty awesome so far.  Not a cheap option, but a great choice if you want to have a tablet that can also serve as a laptop in a pinch.  One consideration is that it uses windows, so it is not compatible with some android apps etc., but this makes it much better for other purposes.

I picked it up primarily for something very portable that will serve as a computer while travelling.  Specifically, something that I can use for powerpoint, word processing etc., so a keyboard was essential and the Surface keyboard is very nice (also not cheap).  I also really like the pen, not that I have any real "need" for it...

downer

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2019, 03:02:40 PM »
Do you have to use anti-virus and anti-spyware and anti-malware with a Surface? It seems that Windows 10 has it already built in, which makes it more attractive. Having to run anti-virus on a regular basis is very annoying, and is one of the reasons I have been moving towards Chromebooks.
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polly_mer

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2019, 07:32:09 AM »
I might try an Android tablet rather than a Kindle, because of the ability to use more apps, read non-Kindle ebooks, and I also am annoyed by the impossibility of removing Alexa from Kindle Fires. I have no interest in talking to Alexa. Of course, it is possible to just not use Alexa, but periodically Amazon pushes you to do so.

What are you thinking for that Android tablet?  Almost all my other devices are Mac, but I've been OK with the Fire and the Nabi that Blocky received as gifts.

<thinking aloud so people can help>

I was much more enthusiastic about Alan's suggestion of the Paperwhite because he's a Mac guy and we've had similar tastes over the years, but the online reviews on the drawbacks of the Paperwhite's limited functionality give me pause.

I should mention for the purposes of this thread that I only carry a Trac flip phone when I travel and otherwise I don't carry a cell phone.  I have a laptop for travel, but I hook it up to the big monitor and keyboard when I'm home.

Hmm,  I'm really looking for a bigger screen to surf the web and read ebooks.  I so seldom use the 10-year-old laptop that I probably don't need to replace it since it does still work, but can't be upgraded any farther.
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Liquidambar

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2019, 10:22:24 AM »
Since you don't use a smart phone, I'd recommend getting something that can run all the standard apps that everyone seems to run (i.e., not a Kindle).  I have a Kindle and a dumb phone, and I keep encountering apps that would be useful to run but can't on my devices.
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polly_mer

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2019, 10:41:11 AM »
I'd recommend getting something that can run all the standard apps that everyone seems to run (i.e., not a Kindle).

Could you give examples?  I don't run into need for standard apps so far.  I can't carry a cellphone into work, but I have great computers at work.  I have a good laptop for travel.  The only time I use my cellphone on travel is to call home to avoid the long-distance charges on the hotel phone.  I still live off paper maps and anything I can print before I leave on a trip.

What am I missing?
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Liquidambar

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2019, 08:48:34 PM »
Off the top of my head, here are the apps I haven't been able to run this year:  1) Uber/Lyft.  (As far as I know you can't order one from a web browser, and I was dismayed to find that a taxi was far more expensive.  I could have ordered Uber using hotel wifi if I had an Android instead of a Kindle.)  2) My gym's class schedule app.  3) Weight Watchers app.  The latter two aren't a big deal since I can use their websites, but the apps have somewhat greater functionality.
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downer

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2019, 06:04:57 AM »
Uber/Lyft.
My bank app for depositing checks.
WhatsApp.
Scrabble.
Apps for tickets to shows. Increasingly paper tickets are not an option.
Audio book app. Kindle versions are bad.
GPS apps for hiking.

Some of these only work with a smart phone. Others work with Wi-Fi.


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polly_mer

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2019, 07:13:37 AM »
Thanks for the list of apps.  I don't see any of them as being particularly useful to me on this sitting-on-the-couch-and-reading device, but I could be wrong.

What are recommendations for a particular Android device?
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Liquidambar

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2019, 11:11:20 AM »
It's not so much that the apps are useful while sitting on the couch and reading, rather that I simply don't own a device that can run them.  I forgot about banking apps, as downer mentioned.  Liquidspouse has to deposit all my checks because he can do it much more quickly with the app than I could by driving to the bank.

Unfortunately I don't have specific recommendations for Android tablets.
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cc_alan

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2019, 11:38:47 AM »
What about upgrading your phone?

I used to have a pos flip phone until a couple of years ago. Then I upgraded to a cheap Android phone. And then that phone got stupidly annoying months ago. I couldn't read most text messages unless I had cellular data on and even then it didn't work reliably. Possibly something about group texts. I don't know. There were serious app issues, too. One of our kids texts a lot and the groups they are in for school often use text messaging so I figured it was time to get a better phone and I started looking again at inexpensive Androids because I figured there was no way I could afford an iPhone. Plus I don't even like talking on a phone! So a cheap pos Android was in my future.

The four of us are on a pay-as-you-go plan and we spend about $80 every three months to keep our plans active. Occasionally someone will next add texts or data but it doesn't go above $100 for the three months. The kids had far nicer Android phones until us parentals upgraded.

I looked into "grown-up" cell plans but $100 a *month*? Not for the kind of use us two use. And then I discovered that we didn't have to lose our cheap pay plans even if we went with nicer phones. So one month we were in a good place $$-wise and we spent a little extra on two iPhone 6s Plus for my spouse and I. Certainly not crazy-a$$ expensive but also more than the pos phone I was considering.

The nice thing for us about staying in the Apple ecosystem is we already had quite a few compatible apps because of the iPads we use. That along with the calendars we already shared and some other things made them good choices. I still don't talk on the phone (much) but they were good choices. I can actually text on this thing!

For me multiple devices works well. When we go somewhere and I suspect I'll need to hang and wait, I either bring a paper book or my Kindle and my iPhone. The phone for phone stuff and the camera. The Kindle for reading. Oh, another reason for multiple devices that I like is having easy access to the book *and* something else without have to switch apps. Its like when I have multiple books spread out around me when I'm working on teaching ideas.

spork

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Re: Help me pick a new device
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2019, 01:32:04 PM »
Regarding apps, phones, convenience, etc. . . . I am a slow adopter of gizmo technology, use few apps, and rarely connect to the internet via 4G LTE with my Android phone. But I have found the phone's ability to show me where I am using only GPS to be very very handy when traveling. And occasionally I do switch on data for something like Lyft. Like I said before, I have both a smartphone and a chromebook. The chromebook does not have cellular LTE. Many of them do have it now. If I was sticking with a flip phone when traveling, I'd get a tablet or something with a keyboard (I can't stand typing on glass, as with an iPad, and the remote keyboards that go with the iPad are too tiny for me) that could connect to cell networks.
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