Another "which tablet should I buy?" question
May 15, 2015 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Main uses: Reading (& some marking up of) pdfs. Reading books. Presenting power-point slides on a projector. Taking notes. Web browsing. Potential other uses: word processing, sketching, and maybe even laptop replacement for light work. Additional info: I'm a very content user of Android on my smartphone, but I do most of my work in Windows. I was leaning towards an Android tablet or 2-in-1, but now I'm wondering about a Windows 8.1 one.
posted by neutralmojo to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think Surface 3 would check most of those boxes really well... except reading books, and I would get an e-ink reader for that anyway. I've got an nvidia shield tablet (which is Wirecutter's recommendation for android tablet), and I'm seriously considering selling it and getting a Surface, mostly because of the really, really poor battery life.
posted by Huck500 at 12:05 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was on the same quest last year, and ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, which I'm very happy with. I mainly use it for marking up PDFs, and couldn't be happier with how the pen works. The handwriting recognition is pretty good at translating my crappy handwriting to typed text, though I don't really use that feature much.

Of course, something better and/or cheaper has likely come out in the past year. Regardless, if you go with an Android tablet you'll want to pick up the Papyrus app for marking PDFs. I've tried a bunch of different apps for that purpose, and while it isn't perfect, Papyrus is the best of them.
posted by nixxon at 2:17 PM on May 15, 2015

The Surface 3 is a laptop replacement with the keyboard cover. An android tablet will be much less so, but it will be much lighter, yet a very capable reading and browsing device.

The more active you are in terms of content creation, the more I'd lean to the Surface. The more comfortable with portable usage and lighter interaction, the more I'd be inclined to the Android tablet.

I have both, the Surface at work and an Android tablet at home for personal use. I like and use both daily. But I wouldn't trade roles. The Surface is too heavy to hold one-handed for long periods (it really wants to be on a flat surface propped up with its kickstand) and the Android isn't fast enough or capable enough for significant work (even with a keyboard, and yes, mouse).
posted by bonehead at 2:49 PM on May 15, 2015

If you go Surface, do make certain to buy one of the intel processor ones (all of the 3 types are). The older ones with non-intel processors (Win RT) aren't worth the hassle and aren't well supported.
posted by bonehead at 2:54 PM on May 15, 2015

My sister has a Surface Pro 3, and I'm rather jealous. It's very cool. With that said, the thing that makes me happiest about the Surface is that it's forced all the other Windows tablet makers to step up their game.

I have a Dell Venue 8 Pro. It's not as amazing as the Surface, but it's smaller, lighter, several times cheaper, and an honest-to-goodness Windows PC that happens to have the form factor of a tablet. I've been quite happy with it. (Mostly I use it for web browsing, watching movies, and reading comics; occasionally for other applications. Sometimes I use a Bluetooth keyboard and/or mouse, but usually I just use the touchscreen.)

There are also options in between, in size, specs, and price.
posted by Shmuel510 at 3:22 PM on May 15, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great advice and suggestions.
posted by neutralmojo at 3:32 PM on May 15, 2015

I've got an HP Stream 7, which is a 7" Windows 8.1 tablet that runs ~$80 complete with a full copy of Office. It's only got 1GB of RAM and 32GB of flash (24GB usable), but it's surprisingly capable for the price. I use it for viewing PDFs and running D&D character sheets in Excel, and with a bluetooth keyboard it works just fine. If a netbook would work for you, this will be about the same.
posted by chaosys at 3:36 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

+1 for steam 7. I think it's fun and I used it to mount on my wall at home.
posted by bbqturtle at 8:48 PM on May 15, 2015

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