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8 posts

Wannabe Geek

Topic # 182624 23-Oct-2015 13:58
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I'm interested in getting a tablet but could really use some guidance as I've not had one before and some of my requirements are a bit unusual. 

It would be replacing an ageing 10.1" Acer netbook which I use when travelling.  In this capacity it would be used for web browsing and as a music player.  I'd also like to use it at home as a less cumbersome option to my 15.6" laptop, especially for reading online magazines where I guess a touchscreen and portrait mode could be really useful.  The other thing I'd like to do with it is use it for reading musical scores at the piano.  Given these uses I've worked out a few requirements:

- needs to be at least 10" and preferably in an aspect ratio close to A4 paper.  Any smaller than this and music scores become too difficult to read.  I've tried using my 10.1" netbook on its side and have established that this is just big enough.  
- screen needs to display text clearly
- preferably compatible with my Firestone Fireye II usb dac/headphone amplifier or failing that having good headphone output quality
- enough expandable storage to load a decent amount of music - I realise I'm not going to get a huge amount of high quality music on there though.

Things that aren't important:

- unlikely to watch much video on it
- no gaming other than the odd game of chess
- speakers don't matter as I'll always use headphones 
- don't really mind what OS
- don't need a physical keyboard

Some possibilities I've been considering (sorry I can't post links):

Lenovo Yoga 2 $439 at Noel Leeming

Acer Aspire Switch SW3-013-Z3735 Hybrid Notebook $399 at Noel Leeming

Samsung Tab Pro 10.1 refurbished $440 at Laptop Battery

Nextbook 11.6 Tablet $494 at PBTech but was ~$435 the other day.

Thanks for any ideas

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1412875 23-Oct-2015 15:20
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Pixel C is 100% perfect A4 ratio but price will be nzd750 - 900 guess.

Other than that looks like anything with the more common 3:2 ratio is the next best.

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  Reply # 1412881 23-Oct-2015 15:27
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Ipad is pretty much 10 inches. Otherwise the ipad pro. It uses icloud, so has although this isn't local storage, it is expandable. I have owned a number of different tablets, including windows and android, and have gone back to the ipad, as it has a superior screen resolution, and colours from the others I have tried. Otherwise I would suggest a surface table, maybe the surface 3, but they are more chunky and heavier than the ipad. Apple also supports the ipad for quite a long time, eg the ipad 2 still gets iOS updates 4 years later! Many manufacturers stop supporting their devices a couple of years later.

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  Reply # 1412897 23-Oct-2015 16:06
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Surface 3, Pro 3, Pro 4 and Surface Book are 3:2 aspect ratio. Surface 3 starts at $799 and you can get good deals and discount from online Microsoft store most of the time including 10% student discounts. It's also a great note taking device.

Do whatever you want to do man.


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Lifetime subscriber

  Reply # 1412907 23-Oct-2015 16:28
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Red ones work faster.

Mate prefers the little blue ones.


8 posts

Wannabe Geek

Reply # 1412960 23-Oct-2015 18:02
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afe66: Red ones work faster.

Mate prefers the little blue ones.


Thanks but I was hoping not to need the little blue ones for a while yet.

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Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 1415687 28-Oct-2015 19:07
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Thank you for all suggestions which were all very valuable and led to a bit of research over the weekend.  It was interesting to see how much aspect ratio relates to the philosophy of a device.  Anything in the range of 1.33 (iPad) to 1.50 (Surface) would work for me I think.   I take the point about OS support and think I will avoid any Android devices unless they're Google ones.  The iPad appeals because it is optimized as a tablet which is the purpose I want it for whereas almost everything else in the 10"+ range has compromises to make it work as a laptop.  I've never had anything Apple before though and the lack of connections and expandable storage takes a bit of coming to terms with.   Noel Leeming are doing the Surface 3 for $799 bundled with the type cover at the moment and that is pretty tempting too.  

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1417125 30-Oct-2015 16:13
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Sounds like what you need is an ipad size device 9.7 inch. That's in the aspect ratio of paper. 

Being that gaming etc isn't important, you won't need a powerful CPU, lots of RAM or anything like that. 

If price is a concern, there are some genuinely solid chinese tablets in that billing, such as the teclast Air 3g, for example. All those models match the ipad spec in terms of screen etc (it has an LG retina screen, is sharp, has good colours) - and these chinese models are more like to have HDMI, microSD expansion unlike say the ipad, or a lot of samsung devices. The speakers are okay, though not amasing quality (no bass), so for music, you might like a bluetooth speaker or headphones, although you said you would anyway. Although they are clear speakers, no hiss and the jack quality is perfect.

There is also a 64gb internal storage option, which is nice enough. Up that by another 64 if you like via microSD. 

Or if you want something with no 3g, the teclast air iii is new and super cheap (2gb/32gb), comes with lollipop (I'll have some of these in my store soon). Also has HDMI, not that you need it. It can be expanded by 128. And its got a nice price tag. 

I think the air range of teclast is all pretty solid. There's also the teclast x98 pro, and plus, both very new, both using cherry trail processors, 4gb of ram, 64gb emmc, IGZO retina screens - and I'll likely have some of one or the other of these two. Bit pricer for the chinese market, but still cheaper than ipad or surface. And both of these are dual boot (windows and android)

Most of those, like most tablets, will require a powered USB hub, OTG cable, powered charging micro USB hub etc, to use USB 2.0 from the device - and the later if you want to charge at the same time. There are some 9.7 core-ms, like the cube i7 stylus and teclast x1 pro that have USB 3.0 ports or usb-c and higher ram, SSD, bigger screen (larger than 10.1). Those models both rate well and have high end specs, but are pricier, closer to conventional tablets prices. I guess they are more like the surface although the surface costs more. 

Otherwise I would also recommend the surface, even though its form factor is kind of awkward to me, and its price is hefty, its a very quality device. It has the advantage of more ports for you (and higher specs, although you don't really need them). But I think the size and shape is awkward compared to other options, myself. 

The ipad, is certainly very self contained as a touch experience, and has solid hardware, but its the priciest for the lower power of the device, and limited on expansion options like network sharing, microSD, and so on. If you can live without the later, and have loads of dosh, it might be a good pick. 

I tend to favour windows these days, but android or ios would probably also serve your needs.

I think the 4:3 aspect ratio you want, tends to be more in 9.7, 8, or 8.9 inch form factors. Because you don't need games, so long as you have decent specs, and reasonable speaker and screen quality it shouldn't matter much.  

For that reason, I actually think either the "amazon fire" tablets, or the quality but year old release chinese ones would be a better match versus ipad or surface, for which you are paying a fair bit more for options you don't seem to need.

Anything with 2gbs of ram, baytrail processor, decent retina screen, audible speakers, and an OTG option for USB would seemingly be good enough, in the right form factor. And in that, you have a range of good quality, but much cheaper devices. And your pick of windows, or android, or both too (or amazons android based system)

Tap That - Great cheap tablets and tablet accessories. Windows and Android, NZ based

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1417128 30-Oct-2015 16:17
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I'd also mention that for me anyway, size makes a big difference both ways - for reading, and for ease of use. I find a great but uncommon size is 8.9 inches - still small enough to weild in one hand, or carry in a shoulder bag. 

You have to use 9.7 or bigger in two hands much of the time, and the bigger it is, the more unweildy. Which is where larger than 10 inch models seem like a sacrifice to me - better suited to use as a laptop. 10 is okay though.

If your looking for an option over your unweildly laptop, I'd suggest also considering smaller than 10. 8.9 is a brilliant size, and amazon and chinese market both have cheaper, decent options in that size. 8 is also highly convenient, whilst being _just_ big enough to be decent for reading and browsing (especially with a bright high resolution screen). 

Tap That - Great cheap tablets and tablet accessories. Windows and Android, NZ based

8 posts

Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 1428444 15-Nov-2015 20:06
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Thanks for the detailed advice Dreal.  I was actually thinking along the lines of what you suggest.  My intended uses are not demanding so I shouldn't need anything too highly specced.  I would like to get something less expensive if possible rather than going as far as an iPad or Surface. On the other hand I want something that's reasonably pleasant to use.  I don't need 3g so something like the Teclast Air III might be worth a try.  If the sound out of the headphone jack is decent then the inability to work easily with the usb dac wouldn't matter. 

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