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Be my Techie? Tablet Edition
March 1, 2014 7:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm an HR manager in a company and am looking to buy a PERSONAL tablet to use in meetings for taking notes, keeping to-do lists and storing/viewing notes. I'd love to be able to handwrite into the notes, but that's not a deal-breaker as long as the tablet is functional. I have some flexibility on price, but would really like to stay under $400. Bonus points for internet functionality without wifi.

I'd love to be able to handwrite into the notes, but that's not a deal-breaker as long as the tablet onscreen keyboard is large enough.
I'd like the keyboard to be big enough that I am not constantly fat-fingering the other keys.
I'd like the screen to be bigger than say an Iphone or Galaxy S4, something with some size to it.
I'd like to be able to take notes on this tablet and email them to my work email
I have some flexibility on price, but would really like to stay under $400.
Bonus points for internet functionality without wifi.

In particular, I'd really love to hear from some of you that use a tablet in this capacity. I now have 25 direct reports and would like to go as paperless as possible.

Thanks in advance!
posted by Draccy to Technology (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Microsoft surface checks all your boxes but the no-wifi internet. You can get the regular one (a LA an iPad) or the pro which is just a tablet sgapped laptop. The pen is truly awesome and works flawlessly with the free microsoft onenote and skitch. Right now gen 1 pro models are heavily discounted (as they released a pro2 with updates stuff)

I live on mine. Cannot recommend it enough.
posted by chasles at 8:01 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


My wife has the first generation Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and really likes it. It has a Wacom digitizer so you can use the included pen (that slides into the tablet body to store) and take handwritten notes. It has a large onscreen keyboard and the battery lasts for ages (certainly a LOT longer than my phone battery).

It looks like they replaced it with a new edition with a higher resolution screen, but you can probably find the first gen model still (maybe refurbed) for a lower price than what I linked to. The current gen model is closer to 500 right now. Unfortunately the digitizer just makes it more expensive.

The Microsoft alternative, the Surface Pro, runs Windows but is even more expensive. (note I don't think the non-pro surface has a pen digitizer).

EDIT: In terms of 4G, you can get a model with a SIM slot but it costs more. Everything costs more, doesn't it? :)
posted by selfnoise at 8:02 AM on March 1


Microsoft surface checks all your boxes but the no-wifi internet. You can get the regular one (a LA an iPad) or the pro which is just a tablet sgapped laptop. The pen is truly awesome and works flawlessly with the free microsoft onenote and skitch. Right now gen 1 pro models are heavily discounted (as they released a pro2 with updates stuff)

I live on mine. Cannot recommend it enough.
This device looks really good, but I'm seeing them around $1k. Might be too rich for my blood!
Can you tether it through a phone for 'internet' access?
posted by Draccy at 8:08 AM on March 1


My wife has the first generation Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and really likes it. It has a Wacom digitizer so you can use the included pen (that slides into the tablet body to store) and take handwritten notes. It has a large onscreen keyboard and the battery lasts for ages (certainly a LOT longer than my phone battery).

It looks like they replaced it with a new edition with a higher resolution screen, but you can probably find the first gen model still (maybe refurbed) for a lower price than what I linked to. The current gen model is closer to 500 right now. Unfortunately the digitizer just makes it more expensive.
Not a requirement, but a question. Does it convert handwriting to print-text? So far it sounds like this might be my device. I have the galaxy S4 and like the device, just can't use the screen to take any notes or todo. Use Swype, but my gnarled fingers are so hard for the device to register.

Thank you!
posted by Draccy at 8:11 AM on March 1


Yes, the samsung note does convert to print text. I recently test drove a samsung windows tablet that retails for about $500, including Bluetooth keyboard case and pen. It also converts to text. Pretty nice feature. I'm not sure exactly why you said no wifi internet. Are you really wanting to plug a cable into a tablet? Or did you mean a tablet without a data plan? Pretty much any tablet will run off the available wif, and almost all tablets have a non g3 model that does wifi only instead of phone data.

If your cell phone already has the option of creating a wifi network for people to tether to, then you can get internet on your tablet through that.
posted by Happydaz at 8:27 AM on March 1


Good point, I used incorrect terminology. I'm looking for one that functions on a cellular network rather than only connecting to the internet via WIFI. In case I use a web-only application like workflowy.
posted by Draccy at 8:35 AM on March 1


What mobile provider do you currently use?

I see the following Android tablets on T-Mobile which may work for your price range (given that you mentioned Swype):

Google Nexus 7 - http://www.t-mobile.com/internet-devices/google-nexus-7.html - $384 full retail price
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 - http://www.t-mobile.com/internet-devices/samsung-galaxy-tab-3.html - $312 full retail price
posted by Tsukushi at 8:57 AM on March 1


I use Verizon! Thank you for asking!
posted by Draccy at 9:01 AM on March 1


Here's the Note tablet I mentioned on Verizon's site. Kind of expensive off-contract but if you want a 2-year it's the same as the non-SIM card version.

What the Note does is that it has an input mode where you write in longhand and it converts it directly into text (rather than doing the OCR after you write the note). Not sure it makes any difference but that's how it works. The advantage is that it should work in any app.
posted by selfnoise at 9:36 AM on March 1


Would an IPAD have the ability to recognize handwriting and change it to typed text?

Thanks to everyone for helping me!
posted by Draccy at 9:55 AM on March 1


re iPad: a particular app might have that capability, but the iPad itself does not. Apple seems to have learned its lesson decades ago with the Newton, and has opted for voice-dictation instead (which *is* system wide and can be used for input anywhere you'd use the keyboard).
posted by Wild_Eep at 11:32 AM on March 1


Yeah, basically for the really decent pen writing the tablet needs a digitizer inside. Only a few do and Apple doesn't use them.
posted by selfnoise at 2:36 PM on March 1


If the Surface Pro is too rich for you but you like the idea of using Windows, you might take a look at the Dell Venue 8 Pro (about $299, might want to search for sales though; I've seen it go lower), which you can get an active stylus ($35) for.
posted by Aleyn at 5:16 PM on March 1


Thank you everyone! I ended up going with the Note 10.1. The hell with having the ability to sync my calendar and email. I'll use a web login to do that!
posted by Draccy at 9:20 PM on March 1


Just about any Android device should be able to sync calendar and email over whatever protocol you might be using for that, including Exchange ActiveSync. So you don't necessarily have to give that up.
posted by Aleyn at 10:25 PM on March 1


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