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Old 06-19-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
PeculiarPooch
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A tablet for reading textbooks.

Hi guys. I'm starting a course soon in which the majority of the textbooks are, in fact, ebooks. However, they're full of diagrams and such, so I'm in the market for a tablet. I was leaning towards a Kindle Fire due to the price, weight and portable size, until I found that it doesn't ship to Australia through Amazon themselves, and the Fire's usage in Australia is a bit limited without rooting it, which I'm not willing to do.

At the moment, the next contender in line is the Toshiba AT100/Thrive. I'd ideally be going for a Samsung Galaxy Tab at this stage, but it's just way too far out of my price range. I'm looking for a tablet below $300, as I'm on a very tight student-oriented budget and I'm using surprise fundage to purchase this tablet.

Ideally, I'd like (but can live without):

- SD card slot / micro SD card slot
- USB port / micro USB port
- Headphones (for podcasts and vodcasts)
- Bluetooth connectivity

I need:

- Wi-fi connectivity
- 10+ hours on a single charge with active use

Thank you very much in advance for any and all suggestions!
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:23 AM   #2
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How about a second hand iPad2? You can get some good quality ones that have no issues, they are just being sold because people upgraded to 3gen. I would definitely recommend a proper tablet as opposed to an e-ink reader. They don't have a USB or micro SD slot, but if you use a cloud based service like Drop Box you will hardly need it.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:23 AM   #3
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The iPad is the clear winner here - it stands out head and shoulders above the rest. I'd second the recommendation for a refurbished or 2nd-hand iPad 2.

You don't need a lot of storage for books. Even the bottom-end 16GB iPad will be more than sufficient.
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:16 AM   #4
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I forgot to mention that the iOS is not compatible with my course. It needs to be linux or Windows.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:23 AM   #5
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At the risk of stating the obvious, the tablets you mentioned all run Android - none run Windows or Linux.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:35 AM   #6
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At the risk of stating the obvious, the tablets you mentioned all run Android - none run Windows or Linux.
You knew what I meant.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:40 AM   #7
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I have to admit that I'm a little puzzled by what you mean. Do you mean that the textbooks are using a custom format which won't run on an iPad? You know that you can load files onto an iPad from a Windows PC?
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:52 AM   #8
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I am also puzzled. And, after trying various alternatives (we have been purchasing for our department - I teach Finance and we all read lots of PDFs with graphs, tables, etc.) I think the iPad is still the clear winner. Clearly, it is a bit outside of the budget, but well worth the extra expense. And you can make do with a first or second gen without 3g and with lower storage - should be able to find one that fits your budget. Get a stylus and iAnnotate and you will be set.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:12 AM   #9
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You knew what I meant.
Clearly not. And clearly, I'm not alone in that; if you can explain in a little more detail what you mean, we may be able to help.

Until then, it's another +1 for a refurbished iPad2.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:31 AM   #10
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What program is it that you need to run to read these textbooks? What file format are they in?

Do you need to run it through a program that runs only on Intel chips? Does that mean you can't use any ARM chip device?
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:38 PM   #11
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The only tablet I'm familiar with is the Kobo Vox and most tablet folk look down their noses at it because it's primarily an e-reader with tablet benefits, not a high power tablet. What format are the textbooks? Epub? Pdf? I've used different reader apps on the Vox and I find Aldiko will read and zoom pdfs and Overdrive will read epubs and zoom the pictures and diagrams.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:01 AM   #12
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If I was just looking for a tablet to read PDFs I would certainly consider the iPad. The 4:3 form factor of the iPad is better for reading than the wide screen of most of the other (Android) tablets. And you really need something close to 10" to read PDFs with diagrams. I went a different route when I bought the Le Pan 9.7" Android tablet. But I bought the Le Pan because I have an Android phone and another 7" Android tablet. To me it's all about software. If all you're going to do is read, get a used iPad. If you're going to use it for other things get what fits the rest of your life. Maybe an iPad, maybe something else.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:49 AM   #13
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JimMcLaren said what I think, just enphasizing with my experience: 7 inches is not good to read, even without diagrams. I gave my Fire because of the bad reading experience.

And, well, I read well in my notebook, with the advantages of clean screen, better navigation (touchpad with scrolling and page up and page down are more precise and less distracting than a screen itself) and larger screen. Can't you consider one?
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:25 PM   #14
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You knew what I meant.
One more for I don't get it...
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:37 AM   #15
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One more for I don't get it...
Android is a version of Linux. It has just split off from the main kernel development cycle. (OS X is kind of a version of Unix.)

I would've thought the iPad was the obvious choice, but it is expensive and stays expensive due to the app ecosystem. (And is apparently ruled out for some technical reason.)

Seems like the best value Android tablet is the Nexus 7. You have to use the cloud if you want extra storage, and it is only 7". It would depend on your tolerance for holding the screen close to your face, I guess! But it would be a more flexible and cheaper option.

Last edited by Mujokan; 07-09-2012 at 11:42 AM.
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