13 April 2015

other geeky decisions

For the past year I've been enjoying the use of an Asus HD7 tablet.  Asus made the original Nexus7 for Google, then 'downgraded' it and sold it themselves as the HD7.  The downgrade is not the screen which can do basic 720HD, nor is it the battery life which is quite similarly long.  It probably has a slower processor and has an earlier Android system onboard, I cannot say.  What it does have is a microSD slot which Google did not want to include on their Nexus.  I found mine refurbished, in a flourescent pea-green color, for a very nice price.  Simple stuff works really well (though it pays to buy into the Google virtual ecosystem for tying in mail/calendar/etc, which some won't like) and we watched the Super Bowl on it with only a few hiccups slowing it down .. not bad since the wifi base was at the opposite end of the house!  Games are easy to pull from the Store, and listening to radio, podcasts and music sounds good.  I've enjoyed using the HD7 (or is it 7HD?) quite a bit.

And yet, here I sit with a new 10" Win8.1 tablet.

The Transformer is also an Asus product, can manage 1080HD, includes an HDMI port and still has very good battery life, rated at over eight hours.

After a comfortable life in the Android world, why do such a thing?  Here's what caused the tentative switch:
  • The Transformer was on clearance for just over $200 (was $329) and it includes a dedicated keyboard.  Click the tablet in place and get typing - and it folds up laptop-style in this setup!  Very handy, and no Bluetooth to fuss with (yes, for some reason it was fussy on the tablet).  If I do sell the Android tablet the net cost of the Transformer is really low.
  • Spreadsheets.  I test-drove several Android office-type products, and purchased the full copy of the best-rated one.  Using Google Drive (what else?) as a source I created several workbooks that could be shared by tablet and desktop, where MSOffice still rules.  Unfortunately, nearly every time I did this the workbook was corrupted between the two systems.  I could not trust the programs to work together, and even in retirement I find spreadsheets to be a very convenient way to keep my life organized.
  • Convenience?  Well that's hard to say.  The screen on the Transformer is really nice, the on-tablet virtual keyboard is almost full size, and the latger text is nice so I need not squint at my work.  On the other hand, the 10-inch size is not entirely safe to hold with one hand.
That's all I have really, just a few points - but important ones.  I have already pulled a MS 'app' from their shop for aurora forecasts, that works as well as Google Play -- but where is Weather Underground?!?

I have two weeks to decide if Win8.1 and the larger screen are worth the bargain price by jumping aboard now.  As always, WeShallSee!