Tablet suggestions?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by JoshT, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    Last year y'all put me onto the perfect solution for a cheap light portable laptop for school work with a Motile M141, hoping that you might be able to do it again.

    Looking for a cheap/budget/throwaway tablet to be used as an eReader for school text books. I have a Kindle Paperwhite now that I use for general reading. I wouldn't have bought it, but it was given to me several years ago and I've come to like it. Size is great, but I need a color screen for the e-textbooks. Also need to be able to install third party apps for access to the books. Although I like the paperwhite I do not want a Kindle tablet. I'll still be carrying the laptop around as well for doing the actual school work, but I've found that I like the tablet and e-reader format better for reading the books. Do not need or want cellular connection, I'll use wi-fi when available and if needed.

    Posting here rather than the phone and tablet forum, because I'm after more of a computer than a phone. Notebook questions below, Tablet question in next post.



    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    $100-$200, less than $100 would be nice

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    a. Ultraportable; 10" - 12" screen
    - or smaller. Smaller than my 14" laptop, bigger than my Samsung Galaxy A50.



    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?
    I'm in the USA, but will be buying online. I'll buy from any country as long as long as they'll ship to USA, website is readable in english, and tablet's system language can be easily set to english.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: Most anything
    b. Dislike: Apple, Samsung
    Don't particularly want Kindle either.


    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Possibly

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    School work, primarily reading e-textbooks and watching assigned videos.


    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Traveling

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    Not Likely

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    Can't say. Enough to be out all day without a recharge would be nice, but I won't exactly be a power user. I have got a few portable power packs and I tend to carry a large one carry anyway, plus plenty of opportunities to charge when at work, home or in the car.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    Be nice, but not necessary.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    Android preferred. Windows would be ok. Never used Chrome OS, but I'll learn it if necessary. No iOS. Also want to avoid Samsung's version of Android, it's UI, and other crap they include.


    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer?
    Low to high resolution. I'll be reading text books mostly. Possibly some assigned videos if I've got a Wi-Fi connection, but most of those are low enough resolution that I could watch them on a potato.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?
    Matte screen prefered, lighting conditions may not be ideal.


    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Not really, but I'm going for a tablet and most of them look about the same to me. Besides I'll probably have a cover on it anyway if one is available.


    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    Probably not a lot for my purposes, but expandable with a micro SD card would be a bonus. I'd say at least as much as the average cellphone.


    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    Soon if it happens at all.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    Until I finish with school. As a part time student taking classes slowly, that could possibly be a few years.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?
    I could go back to using the laptop like I am now, so its not really an issue. It'd be nice if the product was cheap enough to just replace it if it gets broken/damaged.

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?
    No I'm not willing to pay significantly extra for anything warranty related. Sending it back is fine, or tossing it and replacing it if that makes more sense given price. Also not afraid of trying to fix myself, have repaired a few cellphones and more than a few computers in the past.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
  2. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    General
    1. What kind of device are you looking for (phone/tablet/both)? Tablet Only
    2. What country are you in? USA, but willing to buy online and don't need or want a carrier and data plan so...
    3. What carrier(s) are you interested in (or will you pick the carrier based on your choice of phone)? None, tablet only. If necessary then Verizon/Straight Talk, but must be able to operate without carrier and Sim card.
    4. What mobile OS is acceptable (Android, iOS, other)? Android
      For Android phones, what release do you consider acceptable as a minimum? Recent, no preference.
    5. How long do you intend to keep your device?
      A few years until I finish with school, then as long as it lasts.
    6. Are there any brands you particularly like? No
      Dislike? Apple, Samsung
    7. Will you consider a refurb/used device? If The Price is Right
    8. Do you intend to play games and if so, what? No
    9. Do you expect to watch video extensively? No
    Basic Device Characteristics
    1. What size screen are you looking for? You can be specific or general. Bigger than my Galaxy A50, smaller than my 14" laptop.
    2. What are you looking for in battery life/capacity?
      Decent, want to be able to use it most of the day, but I can carry a portable power pack as well.
    3. Do you want a replaceable battery? Not necessary, but always a plus.
    4. Do you want the ability to use a microSD card to expand storage? That would be nice
    5. Do you have a preference between a USB-C and traditional USB micro-B connector? I can use either
    6. Do you want a 3.5" headphone jack? Can use bluetooth, but it would be nice to have as a backup.
    7. Do you want wireless charging? Not necessary
    8. Do you want fast charging? Don't care
    Aesthetics
    1. Do you have color preference:
      Prefer? Black, silver, traditional colors
      Avoid? pink, rose gold, etc.
    2. Phones: prefer wraparound screen or bezel? Not a phone, but bezel
    3. Buttons: prefer soft or mechanical? Mechanical I guess, no real preference.
    4. Other aesthetic preferences? none
    Camera and Screen
    1. Do you care about the device's camera? Don't even care if it has one.
    2. Minimum megapixel requirement (front/rear), if applicable? see above
    3. Do you require 4K video? no
    4. Other desired camera features? see above
    5. Minimum screen resolution? 720, see previous post.
    6. Do you require AMOLED or similar screen technology? Don't think so?!
    Other
    1. Are there any other features you particularly want in a device? Not necessary, but USB OTG capability.
    2. Are there any particular features you do not want? not really
    3. Do you anticipate rooting your device (if you don't know what that means, the answer is "no")?
      I do know what it means, I don't plan to do it while I'm using it for school. That said, I wouldn't rule it out.
      If so, any particular ROM you're interested in? No
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
  3. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Samsung is the only relevant manufacturer of Android tablets. Take your pick.
     
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  4. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    I see the like button, is there a dislike button?

    I've yet to see any Samsung that I'd put on the list for more reasons than just price, but all are more than I'm willing to pay for this. I would bump my price up to the $100-$200 range, but if I can get below $100 that's be great. I'm thinking more along the line of the ONN brand products Wal-mart sells, but don't know much about them and figure there have got to be similar products that are as good or better online. I'm even willing to buy from AliExpress, Banggood, or the like, but not without product referrals from people that have actually used them.

    Wasn't even considering Samsung products when I answered the questions above, but now that I'm thinking about it, they would be (and will be as soon as I edit it) put in the disliked brands category. I've got their A50, it was my first Samsung phone and it'll be my last. I do not like their user interface and the extra Samsung crap they put on the phone that can't be readily removed and is constantly annoying me. Not going to buy something else that's the same and I'll probably be returning to Motorola for future phones.
     
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  5. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    I think I'm looking for something more along the lines of these, but don't know anything about them or what else is out there similar.

    Lenovo Tab M10 ~$150 on Lenovo website + probably eligible for student discount

    Dragon Touch Max10 ~$150 on Amazon

    Dragon Touch Notepad 102 ~$140 on Amazon

    Vankyo MatrixPad S30 ~140 on Amazon
     
  6. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    Well, I have a galaxy tab a8. It's awesome. My ipad stays on the charger on my desk now and I use my galaxy. You can change the interface with whatever you like with launchers. I have a launcher now that makes it look and act like a windows 10 device. I also have microsoft launcher on it as well. It's solidly built, has LTE, a gps sensor and it's a great size at 8 inches. I understand you are looking for a nice 10 size and I would get a 10 inch version of this tablet if I was using it as your case use.

    I would not count samsung out.
     
  7. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    Maybe a crazy suggestion, but I have thought about picking up a used good condition Google Pixel C. Sadly the latest official android image is 8.1, but 11 AOSP can be installed from what I have read. I equally kind of don't like the landscape of Android tablets currently being sold.

    On the other hand I also have the base model 10 inch iPad to test mobile apps at work with, which does a pretty good job for book reading as well.
     
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  8. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    Kojack, it's more than just the UI that I dislike about the Samsung, there's other stuff and apps baked into the software that I don't like, but I might try a launcher on the phone to see if it's an improvement there. An older samsung 10" tablet is already at the top of my price range, if I'm going to spend that much I want an up to date OS, newer processors, etc. Getting all of that in a Samsung is more than I'm willing to pay for this. What ever I get, it is highly unlikely to be a Sumsung.

    win32asmguy I have not looked at the pixels at all. I'll check those out and see what they've got. Appreciate the suggestions but I will not own Apple products. Even if someone gave me an apple device, it would be gone ASAP. I don't like Samsung at this point, but I hate Apple products.

    That said if they don't stop updating chrome with crap I don't want and no way to change it back (tabs and tab groups this time) I might not get anything Android at all. As much as I hate Windows for a mobile OS, it's feeling mighty tempting right now. I know I just need to pick a better browser.
     
  9. JoshT

    JoshT Notebook Enthusiast

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    So I looked up the Pixel C, I don't think it's really what I want. Older hardware and only officially supports up to Android 8.0. Also quickly looking at price puts it ~$200 and up for a used device. It would probably do the job, but I think there are better options and values out there for the same price or less.

    Looking and looking, I keep coming back to either a Lenovo or the Vankyo:

    Lenovo Tab M10 HD for about $141 after discounts from Lenovo site.
    • Processor: MediaTek® P22T (4 x 2.3 GHz + 4 x 1.8 GHz)
    • Operating System: Android™ 10
    • Display Type: 10.1" HD (1280 x 800) IPS, touchscreen, 400 nits
    • Memory: 4 GB LPDDR4X (Soldered)
    • Hard Drive: 64 GB eMMC
    • Warranty: One Year Mail-in
    • Battery: Li-Polymer 5000 mAh
    • Bluetooth: Bluetooth® 5.0
    • Camera: Rear: 8 MP auto-focus
      Front: 5 MP fixed-focus
    • Wireless: 802.11AC (1 x 1)

    Lenovo Tab M10 Plus about 154 after discount from Lenovo site

    • Processor: MediaTek® P22 Tab, Octa Core 4 x 2.3 GHz + 4 x 1.6GHz (GSM Arena says same processor as above?)
    • Operating System: Android™ 9.0 Pie
    • Display Type: 10.3" FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, TDDI, touchscreen, 220 PPI, 330 nits
    • Memory: 4 GB LPDDR4 (Soldered)
    • Hard Drive: 64 GB eMMC
    • Warranty: One Year Mail-in
    • Battery: Li-Polymer 5000 mAh (7000 mAh according to GSM Arena)
    • Bluetooth: Bluetooth® 5.0
    • Camera: Rear: 8 MP auto-focus
      Front: 5 MP fixed-focus
    • Wireless: 802.11AC (1 x 1)

    Vankyo MatrixPad S30 for about $119 after discount from their site.
    • Processor: SC9863A Octa-Core Cortex A55 (appears to be 4 x 1.6 GHz + 4 x 1.6 GHz)
    • Operating System: Android™ 9 Pie (but I've read its compatible with 10 and may ship with it now)
    • Display Type: 10.1" Full HD 1920 x 1200 IPS
    • Memory: 4 GB
    • Hard Drive: 32 GB
    • Battery: 6000 mAh
    • Bluetooth: Bluetooth® 5.0
    • Camera: Rear: 13.0 MP
      Front: 8.0 MP
    • Wireless: 802.11b/g/n/ac

    I think the Vankyo would do everything I need and definitely closest to the price point I was hunting for. I don't think I'd be disappointed in either of the Lenovo tablets either, but I'd certainly like to put that 30-40 bucks towards a cover or school supplies I didn't know I needed.
     
  10. Rokobo

    Rokobo Notebook Enthusiast

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    You want too much for too little
     
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