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Which tablet is the best (little) bang for the buck?
September 17, 2012 10:43 AM   Subscribe

My beloved netbook is dying and I want to replace it with a tablet. But which one?

I use my netbook primarily for web browsing (IMDB from the couch, recipes in the kitchen, IMing friends), with some light casual gaming and music playing. I used to play videos on it as well, until it started blue-screening. I need a tablet to replace the netbook, but there are so many options, and I don't really know what's best.

Important things:
-Size isn't a huge deal to me, but I'd love to keep the cost below $300, which rules out all the 10-inch tablets.
-Expandable memory would be awesome. If I understand correctly, this eliminates the Nexus 7 (which was otherwise a frontrunner).
-I don't need 3G.
-I already have a keyboard Kindle, which I love for reading books, so I don't need to have great e-reading capabilities. But I'd be willing to root a Nook Color or Kindle Fire if either of those are good options.
posted by specialagentwebb to Technology (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you root a Nexus 7, you can plug flash drives into it with a USB OTG (on-the-go) cable. Only catch is that apps won't read directly from the flash drive – you have to copy the file you want onto the onboard memory, and then you can access it. That may be too clunky for your purposes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:50 AM on September 17, 2012


The Nexus Media Importer app enables expandable USB storage for the (excellent) 7
posted by brilliantmistake at 10:50 AM on September 17, 2012


Well, that shows how well I've been keeping up with the state of the art.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:51 AM on September 17, 2012


Play videos like streaming stuff--Youtube/Netflix/etc? If it isn't your audio player and you aren't generally downloading big chunks of video to it--like, trying to bring enough for an international flight or something--then honestly, the 16gb Nexus 7 is probably as much as you'll need for quite awhile. I have a lot of apps on my 8gb iPhone, some of them quite large, plus a selection of music (I keep most of it on my laptop because I hate sorting through giant playlists when I'm only in the mood for one thing) and a ton of podcasts and I've still got a couple gig free on it. So, that before you even get to the needing-additional-storage bit.
posted by gracedissolved at 10:53 AM on September 17, 2012


If you're not in a rush, the Microsoft Surface is expected to be launched in October. It apparently will start around $300 for a 10-inch display.
posted by kickingtheground at 11:00 AM on September 17, 2012


You can get used 10" tablets for $300 or under. I picked up a used ASUS Transformer Prime 10" for a little under that last week.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:00 AM on September 17, 2012


My husband has a rooted Nook Colour which he loves, though it is a lot slower and less reactive than my Nexus 7, but he wanted the expandable slot and the cheap price so went that way.

I have my Nexus rooted for flashdrive use, though that App that brillantmistake linked to looks so much easier, and the rooting wasn't that hard to do, so that is an option, if you would be confident rooting a nook colour it's the same sort of thing.. Having said that I have loaded up a pile of songs and Apps (so many I don't have room for all the icons on my home screens) and I only have and 8G and I still haven't filled it.

My MIL recently got an ASUS on sale for a little over your price range, I can't remember the model but it comes with a keyboard you can dock it into to make it like a little a laptop, you don't have to buy that part and it comes in a little over your budget, but you have a larger tablet and it works fantastically and looks amazing.
posted by wwax at 11:31 AM on September 17, 2012


Yeah, you can pick up a used ASUS transformer 10' tablet for less than $300, easily. I've seen the original model (tf101) go for $180. I have a refurb, and it is fantastic. They are really excellent at overall stuff, playing videos is very smooth and web browsing is great, and they have microSD card slot for expandable storage. I have a 32gb in mine. I also use it for netflix streaming and comics.

It also has a keyboard dock, which is great for anything with typing and extra battery life. It does cost about $100 though I've seen it for $80 on ebay. Last I checked tigerdirect was clearing out some there. Though it's not totally necessary, the on-screen keyboard + a swype-style keyboard works really well if you want to go that route.
posted by Aliera at 12:34 PM on September 17, 2012


As someone who owns both a rooted Nook color and a new Nexus 7, I vote for Nexus 7 plus Dropbox/Sugarsync, which for me has been a fine storage solution. Though I haven't even come close to filling the onboard, and I only have the 8Gb, not 16. Honestly, I'm not sure what you'd need the storage for - video and audio can be streamed easily.

The Nook is, as wwax says, a lot slower than the Nexus. The difference was amazing.
posted by timepiece at 12:44 PM on September 17, 2012


I have the Galaxy Tab 2, and love it. It's the 7" model (wifi only), which works perfectly for me. Plus, it was only $250.
posted by Telpethoron at 10:57 PM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the HECK out of my Google Nexus 7.
It's the first Android device I've owned, and I have been squarely in the mac camp for years now. I can't imagine going back to an iPad (I had the first gen, and found it too heavy and cumbersome) or the Kindle Fire (too tied to amazon's infrastructure). I sold the above two devices and got the Nexus 7.
Great decision.
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:31 PM on September 18, 2012


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