What tablet should I buy?
October 13, 2012 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Should I buy an Acer Iconia A200, if I mainly want wireless capability and the ability to watch my .avi and .mp4 (and occasional .mkv) media files? If not, then what should I be looking at?

I think I'm in the market for a tablet.

My highest priority for wanting one is that I want to be able to watch my .avi and .mp4 movie and TV files on a more portable machine than my current Sony Vaio laptop. Wi-fi capability is also important.

I have an iPhone, but I don't necessarily want to stay in the Apple family. I started this search by assuming that the easiest way to watch my media files on a tablet would be to read directly from a USB flash drive or transfer files to the tablet, itself, using the USB, which means that I was able to narrow my search to only those tablets that have USB ports already built in. I know that there are additional cables you can buy that have the USB function, but I'd prefer to not have to buy something extra like that (I also know there are ways of transferring files over wireless, but I do specifically want to focus on tablets that can transfer with USB).

I went to Best Buy today to get a feel for tablets and was playing with the only tablet they had with USB built-in, which was the Acer Iconia A200. I liked it well enough and did a little bit of research where I found that the MX Player will play those types of files I want to be able to play, so I think as far as I'm concerned, that's my player. It was selling for $350 at Best Buy and it looks like I can find it online around the $200 range (which I think is the most I'm willing to pay at this point)

Is the Acer Iconia A200 an acceptable machine for what I want? Should I look into the Acer Iconia A500? Is there a better tablet out there that you would recommend?

Any advice for a first-time tablet buyer? Thanks.
posted by lea724 to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I'm a little unclear what you mean by "USB built in." Do you mean that it has a USB port that you can plug a flash drive into? Because I'd personally find that less convenient than just plugging the tablet into a computer, and every tablet I know of can do that - Apple and Google and otherwise.

All that said, If you're looking to pay $200, I'd definitely lean toward Google's Nexus 7. Best cheap tablet out there, in my book.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:08 PM on October 13, 2012

Response by poster: Do you mean that it has a USB port that you can plug a flash drive into?

Yep, that's what I meant.

Because I'd personally find that less convenient than just plugging the tablet into a computer, and every tablet I know of can do that - Apple and Google and otherwise.

I guess I didn't realize that. In my head, I had been assuming that I had to transfer files either wirelessly or via USB and if the tablet didn't have a USB plug, then I'd have to buy additional cables in order to convert to USB. If that makes sense.
posted by lea724 at 1:14 PM on October 13, 2012

USB isn't that specific. There are five types of USB ports, each with different functions: Type A, Type B, Micro A, Micro B, and Mini B. The type that your computer generally has is Type A (the big kind that you plug a flash drive into). Most Android tablets are going to have a Micro B port. You cannot plug a flash drive into this, it will not fit. But Tomorrowful is right, using a flash drive is a horrible way to move files. You either use a micro USB cable (most devices come with one anyway, but if you want to buy one they're only about 5$ or 6$ online), or you use the wireless which is actually very convenient and almost always the way that I transfer files (because most of the time it takes longer to go find the cable than it does to transfer the file wirelessly).

Here are the things you should be looking at:

Form factor. Would you be happy with a 7" tablet or do you really want a 10" tablet? (The 7" is lighter and more portable, the 10" is obviously bigger.)

Expandable storage. How many movies do you want to store on the tablet at any given time, and how large are the files? You don't necessarily need expandable storage (I'm OK without it) but you need to decide how much space you need before you can decide if you want it or not.
posted by anaelith at 1:37 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you considered streaming your media to the device? Heck of a lot more convenient than using USB and limited onboard storage. With an iPad (or Google/Amazon/etc android tablets) you can run Plex, XBMC, AirVideo, StreamToMe or any other streaming app on your home computer (or server somewhere) and stream video anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access. Unless you're watching movies on airplanes a lot, this is how I do it. Also, Netflix/Amazon streaming are great.
posted by pjaust at 4:12 PM on October 13, 2012

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