I Hope The Third Time’s The Charm – Another Android Tablet

I was really liking my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″. I loved the size of it and how light it was. I could pull it out of my purse and it didn’t seem like some large, unruly thing. I even forgave that the wifi version had inferior hardware to the 3G versions; once I replaced the packaged launcher with LauncherPro, it rarely lagged on the home screen.

The gTablet, my first tablet, had a USB port. I could have bought a USB keyboard, but I thought ahead to any other gadgets I might use with it and bought bluetooth. The keyboard was working with the gTablet, some of the time; there were some quirks. I had avoided buying the Verizon version of the Galaxy Tab, having seen clearly that Verizon disabled the bluetooth keyboard support. Surely, if everyone was blaming Verizon, Samsung wouldn’t do that to their wifi version, right? Wrong. After trying to connect the keyboard, I found the answer online that it had been disabled.

And back to the store it went.

About the same time, I read of another 7″ tablet. I really liked that size tablet, so I wanted to check it out. I knew it wasn’t at the store, but they had the 10″ and the very little research I did suggested similar hardware. Arriving at the store, the Asus Transformer and the Acer Iconia were on display next to each other. Before doing almost anything else, I pulled out the keyboard from my back pocket and turned on the bluetooth in each tablet. The Asus found the keyboard and paired up beautifully. Next, the Acer did the same thing. OK, so what was the difference between these two? I really like having an Android now, so I didn’t really want to go home without one. (It seemed my idea of another 7″ was gone already, but it was the Acer that I was looking at for that.)

I compared and contrasted, and a saleswoman helped. We each took one tablet and looked it up online. For the most part, they were almost identical. The Acer had a better forward facing camera and a flash on the back one, and a real USB port. The Asus has a pricey keyboard attachment that just about doubles the battery life, has 2 USB ports, and an SD card reader. I messed with both, finding other very small differences. In the end, the saleswoman went for the “expert”, who happened to be the same salesman from two weeks before who told me the Asus over the Acer, which he reiterated. His biggest reason was the wifi, that the Asus had better hardware and the Acer had wifi troubles more than anything. (I had seen complaints in reviews about it already.)

I would have liked the USB port, but I went with the Asus. Then, after all that decision making time, they were out of stock. The store in Murray had it, where I drove directly and bought it. I had already checked online and it wasn’t much cheaper, so I sprung for the slightly higher price to avoid the wait for shipping.

Magically, Android Market started downloading my apps as soon as I set up my gmail account. It only missed one that I noticed, but it was easy to download again. I quickly went through the Amazon market and got the good ones out of that too, tried out some of them, and plugged it in to finish charging.

The screen feels much bigger than the gTablet, though both are about 10″. The whole unit is bigger. From what I remember, the resolution of the Asus is higher than the gTablet. I have a newer version of Android OS now, made especially for tablets. So far, my usual apps are working. I’ve only found one that didn’t run, but it was replaceable; another crashes, but only if I try to access it from the notifications link. The Asus came with a picture frame widget so I was able to put some family photos on the “genealogy” home page.

Visiting the FHL with it, I was pleased again with its use. The 7″ felt easier to walk around with, but the 10″ doubles as a tray to carry the films on.

My next Android? I still wanted something smaller and was shopping for a phone at a cheap price, though not to use as a phone. And then today woot had something brand new, which I just ordered.

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