Tablets forum


Best tablet for a new Android user?

by lifewontwait1989 / February 16, 2013 7:43 AM PST

So, having recently become more interested in technology and seeing that feature phones are becoming harder to find, I asked my 70 year old father if he might like to try a tablet.

While he was in 'Nawlins for Mardi Gras, he played around with a couple tablets that family members were using and was, apparently, fairly impressed. So, the answer was yes.

My sister thinks she's frugal, but really just buys alot of junk that doesn't work correctly. (Her last tablet purchase lasted a month before she sold it out of frustration.) She insists that we both go in on a $40 knock-off, but I know my dad. If its a struggle to get it to work, he won't use it. In fact it'll probably turn him off to any non-PC platform.

His birthday is in April, so even though I'm a girl of meager means at the moment, I have a while to save for it. I can probably handle $275 or so for the tablet and get the accessories for him, maybe $350 for just the tablet and he could get everything else as he wanted to, but I'd rather just get him set up from the beginning.

He is an engineer. I'm not worried about him figuring out the OS, he'll just have to poke at it for a while but I'm sure he'll get it when he figures out he doesn't have to carry his 21 pound laptop any more.

He's in good mental health, so I'm not worried about his ability to learn to use a new tool. I'd really just like to make fighting the learning curve as painless as possible.

Here are some things to consider:
- His eyesight isn't the best, so a 10 inch is pretty much necessary.
- He's not used to fragile things like high end tablets, so I'm pretty set on getting him one that an Otterbox or similar case is available for.
- He has arthritis in his hands, so even though I'll probably get him a stylus, good tactile response is necessary.
- Flash support is a must.
- Expandable memory is also necessary.

If anyone has questions that might help with recommendations, I'll try to answer them. Thanks!

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All Answers

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At the office we have many models.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 16, 2013 8:51 AM PST

But let's lead with something awful. An android tablet is not a PC. If you know that, you're ready.

At the office we are porting apps so I get to use the Kindle Fire HD 7, Nexus 7, Transform 300 w/keyboard and others. All seen nice and you can find prices on the web.

The one that I bought for home use in the Kindle Fire HD 7 because we plug it into the HDTV for amazon video. Really great at that. It's email and more is nice.

The next ones are nice too. The Nexus 7 with a 20ish buck keyboard/case/stand is pretty nice as a small full fledged computer. The Transformer is vying for a place for those that want a smallish pc like experience.

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by lifewontwait1989 / February 16, 2013 1:49 PM PST

He knows that. In fact, he's been adamant that he didn't want anything but a PC for years. Dunno what's caused this change, but I'm kind of glad he's still confident in his ability to adapt.

So far he's played with a Kindle Fire HD and a Samsung Galaxy Tab (7-inch). He mentioned that he definitely didn't want a "Kindle thing" like his girlfriend has, but seemed pretty impressed with the Samsung, although he felt that the screens on both were a little small for him.

He likes to facebook, check his email, play solitaire, maybe view a PDF or office document here and there or watch a youtube video and surf through sites that we send to him. I'm pretty sure that his old Compaq laptop (bought it used, but it's from 2003 or so) seriously limits what he can do. He loved video games until they all switched from linear, so I'd like him to have something that doesn't have a problem running a good number of games.

He's a hunt-and-peck typist anyway, so I don't think he's going to miss a physical keyboard that much.

Can you let me in on any quirks that these tablets have?

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Quirk as in things folk seem surprised at?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 16, 2013 11:22 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks.

Flash sites may not work out of the box. HEY!!! HOW DO I PRINT??? And how do I run this thing?

It's different and I hope they find a way to better organize apps over time since you tap the apps button and they are all there in alpha order. Pretty archaic.

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by lifewontwait1989 / February 17, 2013 5:11 AM PST

If he has a problem with the UI, I'll probably just put Go Launcher on it and make a theme that's easy for him to understand, so that's no problem. Then all you have to do to sort is put it in a folder.

To print, all he has to do email it to the network printer's address, which he already does from his laptop.

By quirks I mean things that it should do, but doesn't do well. Wifi range, issues reconnecting automatically when in range, issues with the physical charging port, screen rotation on the homescreen, loading videos, viewing certain filetypes and incompatibility with particular popular apps are all common problems I've seen with various devices. A clue about battery life and charging times would also be nice.

I'm pretty savvy myself and we live in the same house. If he has any questions about how to do something, all he has to do is ask. I'm more concerned about anything that's an issue because of the OS or hardware just not wanting to work the way it should.

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How about the app quirks?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 17, 2013 5:34 AM PST
In reply to: Like...
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by lifewontwait1989 / February 17, 2013 12:28 PM PST

Thanks for the broad generalizations, but they're not helping with my search. I can't say I've had the same problem with any of the versions Youtube app I've used, at least not since 2009 or so. If there have been, I guess they were fixed before I had time to notice. If what you say is true it would have more to do with the dev and not the app anyhow.

I'd really just like information on some different tablets and issues people have had with specific ones.

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What would you like to know?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 17, 2013 1:16 PM PST
In reply to: Well...

At the office we are porting to Android so we have a lot of models. Maybe the problem is that I have too many to look at and am seeing the quirks and more.

If you see one I listed I can be more specific. The least quirky of the bunch is, as expected, the Nexus.

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Some suggestions
by Call_Me / February 22, 2013 3:03 PM PST

Hi lifeowntwait: what a nice daughter you are, to be so thoughtful toward your father and his upcoming birthday! To anyone NOT 70 years old, it sounds ancient. However, close to half of my friend's are 70 and older and are as vibrant and lively (if not more so) than people 30 years younger! I have complete faith that your dad will master whatever you get him.

Okay, here's my thing: I own a 7" Samsung Galaxy (LOVE IT!!!) and a Kindle Fire 7" HD. For my hands, they are the perfect size. But, of my 70+ year old friends, they ALL own at least a 8.9" or 10" tablet, for ease and they like holding it with two hands. I know that you said your dad didn't want that "Kindle thingy", but was he talking about the HD line or the e-ink line? Kindle has an 8.9" Fire, at $299, so he might like that.

If he loves to annotate by hand or draw, then the Samsung Galaxy 10.1" Note would be ideal, especially since he's an engineer. Most of my friends own two tablets: XYZ brand and a Kindle, for sure. Most of the Kindle's are the e-Ink variety because they do a lot of reading outside and most tablets are too shiny to read well outdoors.

Of the larger tablets, the two most popular are the Toshiba Thrive (the original one) and the 1st Gen of the iPad. None of my friend's are very interested in upgrading like a 20 something does; they're quite happy with what they own and the tablet's all still function well. There is an amazing review on amazon by Kaio, regarding the Thrive; it became so popular it had it's own little community.

I don't know anyone who owns a Nook or Nexus and I'd sure stay clear of those cheap tablets. Just go to amazon and read the reviews: they usually only have 3 stars or less.

Good luck with your search and update us as to what you find for your father's birthday.

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Thank you!
by lifewontwait1989 / February 23, 2013 9:07 AM PST
In reply to: Some suggestions

I'm a little concerned that he might have some trouble hitting the right spot on a 7" tablet or so. This man has the biggest fingers I've ever seen. My cousin (who went with him) has the Samsung Galaxy 7" and he seemed impressed. He just wants something larger.

I have a Nook 1st Edition (e-ink) and his girlfriend has a Kindle Fire HD and an e-ink Kindle. He doesn't seem interested in any of them, and he probably won't be doing much reading as far as books are concerned anyway. He's more interested in Facebook and maybe a PDF here and there and a device of his own to watch old movies on Netflix.

The Thrive looks right up his alley, but unfortunately way out of my price range at the moment. If I can find a reliable used dealer then I'll look into it. He's also had an undying prejudice against Apple since the 80's, so the iPad is out as well.

Thank you for the advice!

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