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Help me decide on a tablet -- Never thought this would be so difficult!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
So I'm starting a new job in a week. In my new job I will be doing technical consulting (mainly around Splunk, but also working with Linux and Puppet). I will be traveling around the country to different enterprise customers, and most engagements will only be 1-3 weeks in length. Ergo, I will be out of town and living in a hotel room up to 3 weeks per month (home on weekends), along with flying often.

My new employer is providing me a new 15" MacBook Pro (which I will actually be running Crunchbang on, instead of OSX), but I'm also wanting to get a tablet to supplement the laptop. A tablet would be used in meetings/briefings for notes, multimedia while traveling, light gaming to pass time (lay overs/connecting flights, bored in a hotel room), etc. Phone wise, I am getting an Xperia Z3 in like two weeks (as soon as TMo starts shipping them). Tablet wise, I am considering a Surface 2 (RT, not Pro -- with keyboard cover), Nexus 9 (with keyboard cover), Nvidia Sheild, or the Xperia X3 Tablet Compact.

The Surface is 10", Nexus is 9", the Shield and Xperia tab is 8", so a decent difference. However, I'm having trouble deciding which one I want. I guess it really comes down to OS (Windows RT vs Android), but am hoping to get some opinions. HDMI/MHL is important so I can connect to a TV in a hotel room to watch videos (Netflix, Hulu, etc), and a decent battery life is also important.

Can anyone share input that will sway my decision?
post #2 of 18
The Surface 2 RT is a great tablet especially with the type cover. I bought one for my daughter for university. She also has a macbook pro. The Mac is gathering dust in her dorm... The Surface is light, the keyboard is great, it's pretty snappy in terms of performance and the battery life is incredible.

The Nexus 9" is not out yet and there is a lot of misinformation about its final stats (other than it will be 4:3).

The Nvidia Shield is aimed at gaming, if that's going to be the bulk of your use, then its a good choice. The Sony is also a decent tablet.

What makes the difference here is that no aftermarket keyboard comes close to the MS Surface type cover. I've tried various bluetooth keyboards and there is no comparison.

Plus the Surface far and away has the best battery life of all the tablets you selected.
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post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robilar View Post

The Surface 2 RT is a great tablet especially with the type cover. I bought one for my daughter for university. She also has a macbook pro. The Mac is gathering dust in her dorm... The Surface is light, the keyboard is great, it's pretty snappy in terms of performance and the battery life is incredible.

The Nexus 9" is not out yet and there is a lot of misinformation about its final stats (other than it will be 4:3).

The Nvidia Shield is aimed at gaming, if that's going to be the bulk of your use, then its a good choice. The Sony is also a decent tablet.

What makes the difference here is that no aftermarket keyboard comes close to the MS Surface type cover. I've tried various bluetooth keyboards and there is no comparison.

Plus the Surface far and away has the best battery life of all the tablets you selected.

Thanks for the feedback. I've pretty well eliminated the Shield, and believe I will have to decide between the Surface 2 RT and the Nexus 9. I know the N9 isn't out yet, but it will be a couple weeks before I'm ready to order anyway, but I'm quite curious how the N9 with it's keyboard cover will compare to the Surface 2 RT with the Type Cover. That's probably going to be the decider for me.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tycoonbob View Post

Thanks for the feedback. I've pretty well eliminated the Shield, and believe I will have to decide between the Surface 2 RT and the Nexus 9. I know the N9 isn't out yet, but it will be a couple weeks before I'm ready to order anyway, but I'm quite curious how the N9 with it's keyboard cover will compare to the Surface 2 RT with the Type Cover. That's probably going to be the decider for me.

I vote for Surface 2.
You should grab a Power Cover for it because it will make your tablet last much longer.
Meaning if you are watching a movie at 50% brightness with a Power Cover, it will last you at least 20 hours.
Only downside for Power Cover is that it doesn't have backlit.

You can learn more if you watch Sean Ong from YouTube.
Beside you have a full fledge Microsoft Office for free.
     
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post #5 of 18
I agree with what everyone has said so far, however I would NEVER buy an RT tablet. Couple months ago I was looking to buy a tablet for my mom to replace her broken laptop and I thought the surface was the perfect fit for her. Since the budget was around $350 the surface pro was out of the question.

Long story short, I ended up getting her a full Windows 8 tablet and since it didn't come with a lot of storage I told her she could use the Win8 apps instead of installing the full desktop versions. Now here is where windows 8 fails.

The app store is a mess and the collection of apps is a joke. The app store is missing lots of popular android/ios apps and even when you do find an app, it's usually really bad compared to the android/ios version. Even the email app is terrible as she kept asking me why she cannot open links and such.

Overall, I am so happy that I decided on a full Windows 8 tablet since now she doesn't have to deal with the unusable apps. Now she never uses apps and just uses the regular desktop.

Windows 8 could be awesome if the apps didn't suck. I would never recommend getting RT unless you have worked with WIndows 8 apps before and they work for you.

just in case you're curious, this is the tablet I got my mom:

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msca/en_CA/pdp/Acer-Aspire-Switch-64GB-Signature-Edition-2-in-1-PC/productID.300079300

she is quite pleased with it. performance is decent. it only has 2 flaws that she has told me about so far: 1) every now and then it needs to be reset because it acts up weird(not often) and 2) the charging plug is not secure enough in the port so it often falls off if you're using the tablet while charging

anyway, just my 2cents on windows rt

good luck finding a good tablet smile.gif
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post #6 of 18
I would advise that you research into Windows RT and the Windows App Store since Windows RT doesn't run standard Windows programs Sure, you get the full Windows Office program on it, but that's about it. For everything else you have to rely on the Windows App Store. Make sure that it has what you want/need (and that they are decent quality) before you get it.
 
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post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by krz94 View Post

I agree with what everyone has said so far, however I would NEVER buy an RT tablet. Couple months ago I was looking to buy a tablet for my mom to replace her broken laptop and I thought the surface was the perfect fit for her. Since the budget was around $350 the surface pro was out of the question.

Long story short, I ended up getting her a full Windows 8 tablet and since it didn't come with a lot of storage I told her she could use the Win8 apps instead of installing the full desktop versions. Now here is where windows 8 fails.

The app store is a mess and the collection of apps is a joke. The app store is missing lots of popular android/ios apps and even when you do find an app, it's usually really bad compared to the android/ios version. Even the email app is terrible as she kept asking me why she cannot open links and such.

Overall, I am so happy that I decided on a full Windows 8 tablet since now she doesn't have to deal with the unusable apps. Now she never uses apps and just uses the regular desktop.

Windows 8 could be awesome if the apps didn't suck. I would never recommend getting RT unless you have worked with WIndows 8 apps before and they work for you.

just in case you're curious, this is the tablet I got my mom:

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msca/en_CA/pdp/Acer-Aspire-Switch-64GB-Signature-Edition-2-in-1-PC/productID.300079300

she is quite pleased with it. performance is decent. it only has 2 flaws that she has told me about so far: 1) every now and then it needs to be reset because it acts up weird(not often) and 2) the charging plug is not secure enough in the port so it often falls off if you're using the tablet while charging

anyway, just my 2cents on windows rt

good luck finding a good tablet smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inelastic View Post

I would advise that you research into Windows RT and the Windows App Store since Windows RT doesn't run standard Windows programs Sure, you get the full Windows Office program on it, but that's about it. For everything else you have to rely on the Windows App Store. Make sure that it has what you want/need (and that they are decent quality) before you get it.

A tablet would be used in meetings/briefings for notes, multimedia while traveling, light gaming to pass time (lay overs/connecting flights, bored in a hotel room), etc." and
"HDMI/MHL is important so I can connect to a TV in a hotel room to watch videos (Netflix, Hulu, etc), and a decent battery life is also important."


Pretty much Surface 2 can cover it.
It has full Microsoft Office, so he can use it to take brief notes.
Windows Store's games are slowly getting popular, but it still takes a while.
As for HDMI/MHL, I believe it is possible, or he can use Miracast which Sean Ong has demonstrate it on his Surface RT.

But I would agree with you, he has to relied everything on the Windows App store

When was the last time you check the App store?
He only need a tablet for several things.
He will be getting a Macbook Pro 15, Xperia smartphone and need a tablet for several things.

True, Windows App store lack a lot if apps, but it has improve and has the popular apps that are available on both Android and iOS.

Windows 8 tablet is good, but they are bad with battery life.

Windows RT or Surface RT improves it a lot.
Power Cover which is like Type Cover except it has battery inside it, and it can make his Surface 2 last at least 20 hours while watching a movie or videos non stopping and at 50% brightness. It is pretty amazing.

It isn't like he'll be using it replace his laptop just for fun time.
     
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post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryou-kun View Post


A tablet would be used in meetings/briefings for notes, multimedia while traveling, light gaming to pass time (lay overs/connecting flights, bored in a hotel room), etc." and
"HDMI/MHL is important so I can connect to a TV in a hotel room to watch videos (Netflix, Hulu, etc), and a decent battery life is also important."


Pretty much Surface 2 can cover it.
It has full Microsoft Office, so he can use it to take brief notes.
Windows Store's games are slowly getting popular, but it still takes a while.
As for HDMI/MHL, I believe it is possible, or he can use Miracast which Sean Ong has demonstrate it on his Surface RT.

But I would agree with you, he has to relied everything on the Windows App store

When was the last time you check the App store?
He only need a tablet for several things.
He will be getting a Macbook Pro 15, Xperia smartphone and need a tablet for several things.

True, Windows App store lack a lot if apps, but it has improve and has the popular apps that are available on both Android and iOS.

Windows 8 tablet is good, but they are bad with battery life.

Windows RT or Surface RT improves it a lot.
Power Cover which is like Type Cover except it has battery inside it, and it can make his Surface 2 last at least 20 hours while watching a movie or videos non stopping and at 50% brightness. It is pretty amazing.

It isn't like he'll be using it replace his laptop just for fun time.

if it is indeed more for fun stuff then I wouldn't recommend a windows tablet at all in the first place. from my experience with windows 8 apps, I had nothing but a lot of frustration. The app store has very little of the popular apps on android/ios especially games and such(for example candy crush which has been topping the charts for more than a year?).

like I said, I am only sharing my experience and warning him to make sure that Win8 RT has all that he needs. In my opinion, based on his needs, the only thing an android tablet lacks is the support for a proper keyboard. On the other hand, win RT has the keyboard but lacks in everything else compared to android(excluding microsoft office since he has a laptop anyway).
Edited by krz94 - 10/19/14 at 5:32pm
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post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by krz94 View Post

if it is indeed more for fun stuff then I wouldn't recommend a windows tablet at all in the first place. from my experience with windows 8 apps, I had nothing but a lot of frustration. The app store has very little of the popular apps on android/ios especially games and such(for example candy crush which has been topping the charts for more than a year?).

like I said, I am only sharing my experience and warning him to make sure that Win8 RT has all that he needs. In my opinion, based on his needs, the only thing an android tablet lacks is the support for a proper keyboard. On the other hand, win RT has the keyboard but lacks in everything else compared to android(excluding microsoft office since he has a laptop anyway).

True. Then again, the OP has to figure out if the Windows Store has everything he needs.
If it does, then why not? tongue.gif

Or he can buy Surface Pro 1 from Amazon between $400-$500 dollarish and throw in a Power Cover that will extend Surface Pro 1 battery life. I mean Surface Pro 1 battery life sucks, but if he has a Power Cover. He can make the tablet last long probably same as Surface 2 without a Power Cover.
     
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post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryou-kun View Post

It has full Microsoft Office, so he can use it to take brief notes.
Windows Store's games are slowly getting popular, but it still takes a while.

But I would agree with you, he has to relied everything on the Windows App store

True, Windows App store lack a lot if apps, but it has improve and has the popular apps that are available on both Android and iOS.

.

That's why I'm advising for him to do research. There's no doubt that having a full-fledge office program is nice. But, isn't it only a year free then you have to pay? If he decides that he doesn't want to pay, how are the free productivity apps for RT? Also, a comparable version of Office is on the iPad now. I can also say that Google's productivity apps are nice, not as good as Office, but decent for something that's free. There are also plenty of high quality note taking apps on the Play Store.

Personally, I haven't been on the Windows App Store in a while. I have a Windows 8 laptop and the last time I went on was over a year ago and it was pretty bad. I'm assuming things have gotten better since then, but I'm sure it's not as good as Android or Apple. krz94 said it was bad from his experience at a couple of months ago. tycoonbob mentioned he wanted to use it for light gaming and you did say the games are slowly getting popular. That's something to take into consideration.

On a positive note, Windows 10 RT was announced as well as a RT version of the Surface 3, so they aren't dropping support for it, and the whole "unified os" thing they are doing is going to make writing apps all that much easier since devs will only have to write it once for all Windows devices. But, the launch of it won't be until sometime next year, then however long it takes for the apps to start rolling in.

I'm not making an argument to steer clear of the Surface tablet (or any particular tablet), I'm just saying that he should consider what apps the Windows store before making his decision on getting a Windows RT tablet.
 
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I7-7700K Asus Rog Strix Z270G EVGA GTX 1070 FTW GSkill TridentZ RGB 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 WD Passport External USB Asus Blue Ray Drive Monsoon Series 2 Reservoir 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
EK Supremacy Evo Alphacool ST30 Alphacool ST30 Alphacool UT60 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
Primochill Advanced LRT Swiftech MCP655-PWM Windows 10 Pro Samsung KS498500 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Razer Blackwindow Chroma Stealth Corsair AX1200 Corsair 350D Razer Naga Chroma 
Mouse PadAudio
Razer Firefly Creative Soundblaster Z 
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