Help me, obi-wan techie, you're my only hope! (To pick the right tablet)
August 28, 2022 10:17 PM   Subscribe

Help this dyslexic buy the right tablet! I'm overwhelmed and flummoxed because there are so many letter and number combinations in the titles, I just can't parse. I can't. Requirements within..

Seriously, thank you in advance for any recommendations -- I spent the last 8 hours on Amazon and I'm still nowhere near figuring it out!

My Needs:

*NOT a fire tablet! Not an iPad. FULL STOP.

*Expandable Memory - it HAS to have a memory card slot. I have a lot of data files I need to access on the go.

*WIFI only is fine.

*Preferably Sub $400 but I definitely have wiggle room for the right tablet

*Fast Charge/decent battery life

*over 8" would be great, but not a deal breaker - I'll take what I can get.

THANK YOU for any advice!
posted by crayon to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was like, "hmm, I bet a big box store will have a good search feature for this" and so I tried Target and told it your size and brand requirements* and 2/5 of the options it spit out have expandable storage. The only differences that I can tell is that the gold-colored one is in stock and costs more than the out of stock silver-colored option.

I highly recommend Craigslist or other local used classifieds. Because it limits your options.
posted by aniola at 10:52 PM on August 28, 2022

Best answer: One trick for making a decision is that you don't need to consider every option. You know your requirements. Find the first 3 tablets that meet all your requirements, and then stop. Choose from among them.

* I didn't check for battery life because, as a person who buys used, I assume that all new tablets have decent battery life.
posted by aniola at 10:55 PM on August 28, 2022

Best answer: Consider a Surface Go. It meets your not-iPad, not-Fire options, will read microSD and external USB drives, and the OS will be current and see updates.

The low end Android tablet situation these days is grim, just about all white-label junk running whatever shovelware the vendor happens to love this month. All of it ships out of date versions of Android, and none of it will ever see a software update. You are better off avoiding that whole ecosystem if you can.
posted by mhoye at 11:19 PM on August 28, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Some advice:

- Don't search on Amazon, it's going to be full of generic tablets with unknown build quality, zero support, and from companies that won't exist tomorrow.

- Consider a Chromebook, as many can operate as an Android tablet (but heavy), have large screens, and expandable memory - but I don't know what you need to do with your tablet.

- Apple has the high-to-mid end of the tablet market, and Amazon has the low end, so you're kinda making your life really hard by eliminating the most obvious picks.

- I like Android Police as a resource, pulled up their list of best Android tablets, and there are two options that meet your requirements, one from Samsung and another from Nokia. Keep in mind that the "cons" for each are compared to $1000 options.
posted by meowzilla at 11:29 PM on August 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you don't want a Fire, and don't want an iPad, you're pretty much left with two major choices: Lenovo and Samsung. Both make a range of tablets of various sizes and power levels.

(If a large Fire, like a Fire 8 HD Plus, or a Fire 10 latest gen is still worth considering... )

Galaxy Tab S8 is huge at 11 inches, practically a laptop screen, and if you want larger, they actually have 12.4 and 14.6 models as well (the S8+ and S8 Ultra). The regular Tab S8 starts at $250, and is WiFi only. And according to specs on Samsung site, will take up to 1TB microSD card, and its USB-C port seems to accept PD so you can charge it at as fast as it'll accept.
posted by kschang at 11:42 PM on August 28, 2022

Response by poster: Ya'll are AMAZING and I am so grateful. I have it sorted based on the wonderful advice here. After all the anguish yesterday, the relief is immeasurable. You've saved me hours of frustration, doubt, tears and likely disappointment.

I went with the Surface Pro 2 which is the perfect choice. Everything, I need, less than $300, on an operating system I'm familiar with. ::swoon::

Yahoo! I only wish I'd asked here sooner.

THANK YOU to everyone for taking the time to respond.
posted by crayon at 6:14 AM on August 29, 2022 [3 favorites]

I am glad you found one! For anyone searching in the future do not, I repeat do not, buy a Samsung Galaxy A8. I just returned one to Costco after 24 hours of frustration and rage. Among other issues - it was really heavy, very clunky and slow - it would not stay connected to wifi and every time it dropped off I had to not only restart it, but persuade it to forget the network, then rejoin it and then cajole it past rejecting the correct password. After the fifth time that happened I was completely fed up and back to the store it went.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:52 PM on August 29, 2022 [1 favorite]

Thanks for that advice mygothlaundry. That was one tablet I was looking at to replace my current Galaxy Tab A.
posted by kathrynm at 3:56 PM on August 29, 2022

It depends on the luck. the Wifi thing may be a broken or damaged internal antenna. I had a refurb Fire tablet like that. Streams video fine, then right in the middle, drops wifi, only to reconnect a second later and resumes.

I was later messing with it THEN felt a part in the back was quite a bit warmer than other spots. The tablet wasn't doing that when it was cold. So... YMMV. If it does flake out on Wifi, it may just be the machine have defects, not a "built-in feature".
posted by kschang at 9:31 AM on August 30, 2022

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