Five tablets

by Volker Weber

ZZ3F4C1998

From left to right:

  1. Surface RT. I love the original Surface RT. There is no Win32 legacy, just Metro apps, plus the oldschool Microsoft Office and the "desktop" which I never use. My favorite app is NextGen Reader. My favorite hardware feature is the stand that folds out on the back. The Surface is the only computer at vowe's magic flying circus that runs around the clock. And that is for one feature: when idle, it displays all my photos on OneDrive. And all smartphones at vowe's magic flying circus upload their photos automatically.
  2. Lumia 2520. Surface RT is a bit slow and does not have full HD resolution. That's where the 2520 comes in. Same great software, but a much better display. What is missing is a stand, and that is why it is not in the photo. I love to hold it in my hand though, because it is rounder and nicer to the touch. Where Surface feels hard, Lumia feels human. The screen is full HD and works great outdoor. It's my best outdoor screen in any large device. And it has LTE, like the (more expensive iPad Air.
  3. Yoga Tab 8. This is my favorite Android device. It's inexpensive, yet still well-built. It runs very long on a single charge, and by that I mean more than 12 hours. Its ingenious design lets you hold the device easily with one hand. And you can prop it up with its included stand. If you are on a tight budget, I recommend this machine.
  4. Yoga Tab 10 HD+. When the Yoga Tab came out last year, the 10 inch version got all the attention and I quickly decided that the 8" version was cheaper and generally better, since both had the same resolution. There was nothing to gain by adding more weight and two more inches. That was changed now with the HD+. It is the superior machine, both in terms of CPU power and screen resolution.
  5. iPad Air. If money is of no concern, get the iPad Air. None of the other machines has the breadth and quality of software. When I am speaking, the iPad runs my presentations. When I am traveling, it often serves as my typewriter. For watching videos, nothing beats the Lumia. For reading, the Lenovo Tab is nicer to hold. There is no photo frame software that matches the Surface RT. But if you can afford it, the iPad should be your choice.

The big 10" iPad before the Air would not have won this so easily. It was heavier than the rest and it felt bulky. It did have the same software advantage, but it somehow felt outdated.

These aren't the only machine that can be used as tablets. I think the 6" Lumia 1520 can make a tablet redundant. One great device instead of two. With a 5" BlackBerry Z30, or a Passport in the near future, you probably don't need one either. What the BlackBerry bring to the table is great HDMI output. You can just run your PPTs from the device. That feature is also in the Surface and Lumia 2520 products. Miracast might be an option, but I find more venues that support AirPlay to an Apple TV than Miracast. For most venues, it's still VGA.

Comments

Thanks, Volker!

Hubert Stettner, 2014-08-10 17:55

I'd be interested in your thoughts on the Surface Pro 3 vs the iPad Air, especially in light of your comment about breadth (& quality?) of software as it's a full Win8 Pro machine. They've made a bunch of improvements since the original RT machine shipped & it would be interesting to see what you thought.

Amy Blumenfield, 2014-08-10 18:44

I have my reservation towards "full" Windows machines. While I like the WinRT stack, I find the legacy Win32 stack is a neverending source of frustration. We tried ThinkPad tablets and found the upkeep the software needs to be unbearable. So I am all for more powerful Surface, but of the RT kind.

If anybody has a Surface 2 to spare, I am all in. And I trade you a BlackBerry Z10, if you want something cool.

Volker Weber, 2014-08-10 19:16

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