What's the best Tablet for editing/reviewing documents?
July 7, 2011 5:52 AM   Subscribe

Tablet Advice: I read/review/edit manuscripts all the time - Which tablet should I get to facilitate this on the go?

I am looking for a tablet that will let me read PDFs and Word documents. Although I don't need to edit those documents very much, I would like to be able to highlight potential problems/questions for review on my work computer.

I commute and travel a good deal and it occurs to me that a Tablet may be a good "intermediary" device to allow me to do this without having to lug around a laptop to inconvenient places, especially on the train or in the airport.

I am a PC user who mainly operates out of the cloud (mainly google-docs), but sometimes I just edit/read Word docs stored in dropBox. I'm concerned that doing this on the iPad may result in some formatting changes.

I have an Android with a data-plan already, so I can tether the device without any problem. Also, I already have a Nook -- but as it doesn't allow for editing (and doesn't do a good job adjusting fonts or showing special characters), it isn't enough.

Anyway, I was looking at the Dell Streak (simple enough, and cheap!) or the iPad (I like how the backlight shuts off when you're reading an ebook, that's an excellent feature which I think would be worth paying for if any other device has it).

Does anyone have any advice?
posted by mateuslee to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
An iPad with the Notetaker HD app and a stylus (I like the Boxwave stylus) would fit all of your criteria. I use this combo to read and annotate text books, mark up PDFs of journal articles, and much more. As far as word documents, the Pages app will do that as well, and I find it to be a very full-featured word processing app.
posted by honeybee413 at 6:17 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I use a Nook Color (rooted) with CM7 and ezPDF Reader which can annotate PDFs, and Documents To Go to annotate Word docs.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 8:19 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I like how the backlight shuts off when you're reading an ebook

Are you sure about that? I have an iPad 2, and I read books in iBooks, and I've not had this happen. The iPad doesn't really even have a backlight; the screen is LED rather than the E Ink technology of devices like the Nook and the Kindle.

That said, I absolutely love my iPad. I think it's great for reading. I don't like reading on my iPhone because the screen is so small that it gives me a headache, but reading's very comfortable on the iPad for me.

I follow tablet reviews, so whilst I can't advise you specifically on the best tablet for editing, I can give you a general run-down on the market if it would help.

:: iOS (Apple)
iOS is the most mature tablet OS. The soon-to-be-released iOS 5 addresses a lot of the last lingering concerns about it, like the poor notification system. If you're considering using your tablet for other purposes, iOS also has by far the most apps (over 100,000 optimised for iPad alone) and built-in music, movies and tv shows via iTunes.

On the downside, Google services like Google Maps and Gmail aren't as good as on Android (unsurprisingly). There's also no Flash.

:: Android (Google)
Android 3.0, aka Honeycomb, is the first tablet-specific version of Android. It's still quite new and a bit rough around the edges. It definitely has its fans, though, and as an Android user it would be largely familiar to you. Android is the only other platform with a decent-sized app store, though there's still only a couple of hundred apps optimised for Honeycomb.

The best-reviewed Honeycomb tablet seems to be the Motorola Xoom.

The Dell Streak only runs the phone version of Android. (I believe it comes with 2.1.) It's also sized half way between a phone and a tablet with its 5" screen, so it may be a bit small for reading/editing.

:: webOS (HP)
The HP TouchPad is one to watch. It was released a couple of weeks ago to gently positive reviews, but it's considered very much a 1.0 release. If HP stays active in updating it, though, it could be a real contender. webOS has several nice-looking features that iOS doesn't, like the 'cards' for running apps. It's also the only tablet with stereo sound.

:: BlackBerry Tablet OS
The BlackBerry PlayBook... runs Flash. That seems to be about the only thing going for it.

So I think it probably comes down to the iPad vs the Xoom for you, unless you decide the Streak is big enough. Maybe you could visit a store and have a play with each?
posted by Georgina at 9:07 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the info Georgina. That's an excellent summary and I really appreciate your overview.
posted by mateuslee at 9:23 AM on July 7, 2011

Disclaimer: Android fanboy here.

Do you have a Nook Color? If so, root it! I have a rooted Nook Color that runs android (CM7) and it can do everything you want.

Otherwise, your current Google Docs usage suggests the Xoom - an Android app for Google Docs is scheduled to be released shortly. The Xoom can definitely do everything you want, and you'll have more control over the device than with an iPad.
posted by nokry56 at 10:42 AM on July 7, 2011

The best-reviewed Honeycomb tablet seems to be the Motorola Xoom.

I actually haven't heard anything good about the Xoom- it seemed to disappoint most people (but I hang around with nerds both online and offline). The best 10 inch Android tablet is either the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer (keyboard dock optional) or the new Galaxy Pad 10.1. While internally they're very similar, they do have their differences.
posted by eunoia at 11:53 AM on July 7, 2011

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