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My tablet addiction is cured…for now.

July 30, 2012

In 2004 I saw my first Tablet PC, the HP Compaq TC1100. I wanted one more than life itself but refrained from buying one as…

(a) it was the size of a small car.

(b) it had a rubbish (Pentium-M) processor.

(c) it cost twice as much as a laptop that could easily outperform it.

(d) it ran an O.S. that was useless for a tablet (Windows XP).

Many years later Apple “invented” the tablet PC but I didn’t get one of those because it was made by Apple and I refuse to have anything made by them in my house.

So for many years I have existed in “tablet limbo” understanding the format but without a product on the market I was prepared to pay for.

Then along came the lure of the cheap Chinese tablet.  They promised to do everthing my Galaxy S2 phone could do plus more and on a bigger screen to boot.  My chosen screen size was 8inch standard 4:3 aspect ratio, not widescreen (which I hate on all computer devices with a passion, give it to me on a TV yes but nothing else!). 

So I took the plunge.  My first cheap Chinese tablet was a Jexaa Jextab 812HD.  I read a nice review of if on PC Pro which you can still read here…

The device was reasonable. ..the screen was bright, the sound was ok, it wasn’t bad at all with video.  It wouldn’t connect to my wireless but I forgave it because everything else was ok.  Then after a few months the screen stopped responding rendering it useless. I took it to bits to have a look and saw that on the inside it was quite literally held together with Sellotape. I thought about returning it then re-read the review and the comments at the bottom, not worth the hassle I decided.

Sadly by this point I had become an “addict” and needed to get another fix.  I had a new job to start, with a commute and I cannot stand to be idle on a train.  So I spent hours pondering my next purchase…

A Ployer Momo perhaps or a Tabtronics Teclast?

Another 8″ tablet for sure, with the same AllWinner A10 processor (the processor of choice for the cheap Chinese tablet).  I plumped for the Tabtronics P85 hoping it would be better quality than the Jexaa.

It wasn’t.

I forget the exact ammount of time it lasted but I can tell you that it was certainly less than one full week.  I put it in my bag to take on my commute to my new job and by the time I was sat on the train and switched it on it was in an endless boot sequence.  Nothing I have tried with it since has managed to get it going.

So will I be hoping for “third time lucky”, and maybe give that Ployer Momo a try?

No I won’t.

I have decided to spend a little more that the £100 you need for a “disposable” cheap Chinese tablet.  I decided to get something with bullet proof build quality. Something with the same 4:3 screen ratio but a screen a little bigger than the 8 inches I have used in the past (I have found an 8 inch screen to be a little too small for reading tech books, even in portrait mode).

So what did I go for?

I’m ashamed to say it’s an iPad.  An iPad 2 to be exact as it is currently reduced in price, does everything I need and I heard that on the new one text can look a bit blurry because of the super high-res Retina display.

As a peice of hardware I love it.  The operating system though is absolutetly infuriating.  You also seem to have to pay for all the decent apps.  But for reading PDF books, watching training vidoes, reading magazines and watching podcasts I really do think it cannot be beaten.

I couldn’t be happier.  I have stopped reading PC Pro as it is written by idiots (did you know the MD of Jexaa used to be an estate agent..I mean really, you couldn’t make it up). I also “rediscovered” my subscription to “Windows IT Pro” which is a “proper” IT magazine that I stopped reading some time ago as they ditched print in terms of a downloadable PDF version (this was a hassle, but they have an Ipad app which puts the magazine in your hand at the press of an icon).

And if you are reading this wondering whether to take the plunge on one of those cheap Chinese tablets my advice is save your money, they really aren’t worth the hassle.

Incidently when I started my new job I met a collegue with a similar tale of woe, and a pile of Chinese tablet boxes under his desk.  He owns an iPad now as well.


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