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Old 11-15-2012, 01:04 PM   #1
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Tablet reading, Playbook v Galaxy v Nexus?

With some of the great deals on 7" tablets I've been considering buying one. I would mostly use it for reading and internet surfing, maybe movies/music.
My main concern is transferring ebook library [I have everything 'alfed' and on Calibre]. Is transferring music/movies easy too? Also am wondering about length of use/battery drain and how hard it is on the eyes. It's not a great deal if you can't use it for any length of time!
Right now I can buy a Blackberry Playbook for approx. $150 and it's the cheapest vs the other Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and Asus Nexus for around $250. [Canada]

I'm not a very technical person so ease of use/transfer is big concern too.
I'd appreciate your comments and thoughts. Thank you in advance for any help.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:32 PM   #2
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I think you should probably avoid the Playbook, it doesn't have great support for apps, and Android will be easier to side-load media onto.

Between the Galaxy Tab 7.0 and the Nexus 7.

Plus for the Nexus:
  • Faster processor
  • Higher res screen (216 PPI)
  • Stock Android with no skins
  • NFC
  • Fast updates from Google (Sometimes only a couple of days)
  • Better viewing angles (IPS screen)
  • Front Camera

Plus for the Galaxy:
  • Expandable storage
  • Haptic feedback
  • Rear Camera

I've got the Nexus 7 and love it.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Terminator View Post
I think you should probably avoid the Playbook, it doesn't have great support for apps, and Android will be easier to side-load media onto.

Between the Galaxy Tab 7.0 and the Nexus 7.

Plus for the Nexus:
  • Faster processor
  • Higher res screen (216 PPI)
  • Stock Android with no skins
  • NFC
  • Fast updates from Google (Sometimes only a couple of days)
  • Better viewing angles (IPS screen)
  • Front Camera

Plus for the Galaxy:
  • Expandable storage
  • Haptic feedback
  • Rear Camera

I've got the Nexus 7 and love it.
I appreciate your input and will definitely keep it in mind for comparison sake come decision time.

How is the Nexus for simply reading? Battery life?


That's mostly what I want a tablet for, that and occasional surfing and possibly music/video. I'm very concerned about eye strain and even just loading library [epub, mp3, and mp4 video] onto anything I buy.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue2u View Post
With some of the great deals on 7" tablets I've been considering buying one. I would mostly use it for reading and internet surfing, maybe movies/music.
My main concern is transferring ebook library [I have everything 'alfed' and on Calibre]. Is transferring music/movies easy too? Also am wondering about length of use/battery drain and how hard it is on the eyes. It's not a great deal if you can't use it for any length of time!
Right now I can buy a Blackberry Playbook for approx. $150 and it's the cheapest vs the other Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and Asus Nexus for around $250. [Canada]

I'm not a very technical person so ease of use/transfer is big concern too.
I'd appreciate your comments and thoughts. Thank you in advance for any help.
Personal experience with all 3 of them:

BlackBerry PlayBook in my opinion presents itself as a different class of tablet. It wasn't supposed to be a bargain buy. Prices juts dropped by more than 50%, to make up for the missing "cool factor" and such. But if you compare to other $ 200 units, it simply seems more "valuable" and of higher build quality.
The display is great, the speakers are fine.
Re. apps: Lack of apps unfortunately killed it. But you've got the Kobo app out of the boox. And you easily can sideload Android apps, using the official Android emulator on PlayBook. More than adequate for Nook and Kindle for example. And of course there's the phantastic browser. You can use the web versions of Kindle, Nook and Kobo.

Google/Asus Nexus 7, to me is a mixed package. I like it. And it's a steal of course.
But: Mine is highly unstable. Kindle app, due to its 700 Kindle books (officially bought from Amazon, no side loading), frequently crashes and always is painfully slow. Same for lots of others apps with lots of files. Lots of other users report the same. General recommendation: Hard reset. I haven't tried this yet, I want to avoid downloading 1.500 ebooks and 10GB of magazines in Zinio. And I didn't have to do something like that on my other tablets. I always asked myself, whether the low price comes for a price...

For Samsung units, it very much seems to be a matter of taste (more so than for most other manufacturers). Personally, I don't like them very much. On most units, their colors are way over-saturated. Some users like it, I find it simply un-natural looking. And I'm not a fan of the design. All their units feels a bit flimsy and "plasticky" to me. But they're highly successful, so obviously they have their fan base. And btw: Personally, I'm not a fan of Asus either, this may explain my reluctance to Nexus 7.

You might consider Kindle Fire HD in that price range as well. Personally, I like it way better than Nexus 7. Out of the box it's a bit "crippled" due to limitations for Amazon content. But you easily can root it and make it a "normal" Android tablet. I didn't do so myself. Kindle for reading is enough, but of course it depends on your main source of books.
I'll get my Nook HD in ca. 10 days from the US. It should be similar to Kindle Fire HD, so should the Kobo Arc.

Last edited by mgmueller; 11-15-2012 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgmueller View Post
Personal experience with all 3 of them:

BlackBerry PlayBook in my opinion presents itself as a different class of tablet. It wasn't supposed to be a bargain buy. Prices juts dropped by more than 50%, to make up for the missing "cool factor" and such. But if you compare to other $ 200 units, it simply seems more "valuable" and of higher build quality.
The display is great, the speakers are fine.
Re. apps: Lack of apps unfortunately killed it. But you've got the Kobo app out of the boox. And you easily can sideload Android apps, using the official Android emulator on PlayBook. More than adequate for Nook and Kindle for example. And of course there's the phantastic browser. You can use the web versions of Kindle, Nook and Kobo.

Google/Asus Nexus 7, to me is a mixed package. I like it. And it's a steal of course.
But: Mine is highly unstable. Kindle app, due to its 700 Kindle books (officially bought from Amazon, no side loading), frequently crashes and always is painfully slow. Same for lots of others apps with lots of files. Lots of other users report the same. General recommendation: Hard reset. I haven't tried this yet, I want to avoid downloading 1.500 ebooks and 10GB of magazines in Zinio. And I didn't have to do something like that on my other tablets. I always asked myself, whether the low price comes for a price...

For Samsung units, it very much seems to be a matter of taste (more so than for most other manufacturers). Personally, I don't like them very much. On most units, their colors are way over-saturated. Some users like it, I find it simply un-natural looking. And I'm not a fan of the design. All their units feels a bit flimsy and "plasticky" to me. But they're highly successful, so obviously they have their fan base. And btw: Personally, I'm not a fan of Asus either, this may explain my reluctance to Nexus 7.

You might consider Kindle Fire HD in that price range as well. Personally, I like it way better than Nexus 7. Out of the box it's a bit "crippled" due to limitations for Amazon content. But you easily can root it and make it a "normal" Android tablet. I didn't do so myself. Kindle for reading is enough, but of course it depends on your main source of books.
I'll get my Nook HD in ca. 10 days from the US. It should be similar to Kindle Fire HD, so should the Kobo Arc.
First off, thank you SO much for your wonderfully detailed reply! I certainly appreciate it, especially considering you've had experience with all of them!

Do you find one better for readability [ie easier on the eyes], and also, what about battery life or are they all pretty similar?

The price on the Playbook and the basic simplicity of what I will use it for is what's motivating me to move in that direction, but if it won't do what I want it do it's not a bargain thus I'm considering $100+ on the Samsung Tab2 or Asus Nexus. I'm not really much of a tech or app person per se. As I said, I just want to be able to read on it [hopefully epub library transfer will be ok as well as basic mp3 or video], and surf internet occasionaly. Would still use my PC for all my library purchase/maintenance etc.

As for Kindle Fire, or any of the ereader/HD, I'm sort of hesitant, not really liking be so tied to that one brand per se.

Decisions, decisions!

Last edited by Blue2u; 11-16-2012 at 12:21 AM. Reason: to ask question
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Blue2u View Post
First off, thank you SO much for your wonderfully detailed reply! I certainly appreciate it, especially considering you've had experience with all of them!

Do you find one better for readability [ie easier on the eyes], and also, what about battery life or are they all pretty similar?

The price on the Playbook and the basic simplicity of what I will use it for is what's motivating me to move in that direction, but if it won't do what I want it do it's not a bargain thus I'm considering $100+ on the Samsung Tab2 or Asus Nexus. I'm not really much of a tech or app person per se. As I said, I just want to be able to read on it [hopefully epub library transfer will be ok as well as basic mp3 or video], and surf internet occasionaly. Would still use my PC for all my library purchase/maintenance etc.

As for Kindle Fire, or any of the ereader/HD, I'm sort of hesitant, not really liking be so tied to that one brand per se.

Decisions, decisions!
Re. display, I personally find BlackBerry PlayBook the best.
But this comes for a price: Battery duration.
I can make an entire day with it. But in standby the battery seems to drain faster than on most tablets.

Re. surfing the web: The browser on BlackBerry PlayBook is phantastic. Maybe the best I've seen on any of my tablets.

For some time, PlayBook had been my main reader. I've used the Kobo app intensively, plus the Zinio app. Zinio seems to have put some effort in this version. It's the online one I've found, that allows for bulk downloading. I've been able to download my hundreds of magazines within a few hours, which takes forever on other versions of Zinio.
I've even read Kindle and Nook books in their respective web versions.

In addition, I always found the OS of PlayBook spectacular.

But unfortunately, I'm using it less and less.
The lack of apps simply is frustrating. I'm a collector and enjoy the vast libraries in iOS and Android. You hardly can count the new apps, every single day. On PlayBook, days go by without a single new app. One could solve this by sideloading Android apps. This works flawlessly. But why sideload Android app? If I want to have Android, I can buy Nexus 7 for example.

Meaning: If you're fine with PlayBook "out of the box", I strongly can recommend it. But if you miss some apps, I wouldn't rely on getting them later.
From what you've mentioned so far, all of this shouldn't be a problem on PlayBook though.

P.S.: Re. transferring books from public libraries: I haven't checked intensively. But I don't think, you'll find a native app for that on PlayBook. But of course you can sideload any Android app, such as OverDrive for example.

And re. the sideloading of Android apps on PlayBook: Don't worry. It's extremely simple. You can download most Android apps on the PC. Then drag and drop with a simple PC program. You don't have to be an IT-specialist, to do so.

Last edited by mgmueller; 11-16-2012 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:23 PM   #7
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Re. display, I personally find BlackBerry PlayBook the best.
But this comes for a price: Battery duration.
I can make an entire day with it. But in standby the battery seems to drain faster than on most tablets.

Re. surfing the web: The browser on BlackBerry PlayBook is phantastic. Maybe the best I've seen on any of my tablets.

For some time, PlayBook had been my main reader. I've used the Kobo app intensively, plus the Zinio app. Zinio seems to have put some effort in this version. It's the online one I've found, that allows for bulk downloading. I've been able to download my hundreds of magazines within a few hours, which takes forever on other versions of Zinio.
I've even read Kindle and Nook books in their respective web versions.

In addition, I always found the OS of PlayBook spectacular.

But unfortunately, I'm using it less and less.
The lack of apps simply is frustrating. I'm a collector and enjoy the vast libraries in iOS and Android. You hardly can count the new apps, every single day. On PlayBook, days go by without a single new app. One could solve this by sideloading Android apps. This works flawlessly. But why sideload Android app? If I want to have Android, I can buy Nexus 7 for example.

Meaning: If you're fine with PlayBook "out of the box", I strongly can recommend it. But if you miss some apps, I wouldn't rely on getting them later.
From what you've mentioned so far, all of this shouldn't be a problem on PlayBook though.

P.S.: Re. transferring books from public libraries: I haven't checked intensively. But I don't think, you'll find a native app for that on PlayBook. But of course you can sideload any Android app, such as OverDrive for example.

And re. the sideloading of Android apps on PlayBook: Don't worry. It's extremely simple. You can download most Android apps on the PC. Then drag and drop with a simple PC program. You don't have to be an IT-specialist, to do so.
OMGosh, thank you again so much for your detailed reply!

I'm definitely leaning towards the PB now. Question, how do you get apps on it? By downloading to PC and then loading them to PB? If so, that's fine, as long as it's easy and it works?! LOL So sounds like setup would be pretty basic for me, charge, likely update firmware, then download ebook reader app [seems like 'most' people recommend "BookReader"[?]. Besides reading and surfing [occasional mp3 or video], anything else for me would be gravy really.

Again I thank you so much for detailed advice!
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:52 PM   #8
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OMGosh, thank you again so much for your detailed reply!

I'm definitely leaning towards the PB now. Question, how do you get apps on it? By downloading to PC and then loading them to PB? If so, that's fine, as long as it's easy and it works?! LOL So sounds like setup would be pretty basic for me, charge, likely update firmware, then download ebook reader app [seems like 'most' people recommend "BookReader"[?]. Besides reading and surfing [occasional mp3 or video], anything else for me would be gravy really.

Again I thank you so much for detailed advice!
Remember that the PlayBook and the Galaxy have lower res screens than the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. The Playbook has a PPI of 169 and the Nexus has a PPI of 216, this can make a huge difference in the sharpness of text and watching movies (If you will be doing that) but you will notice the pixel density while reading.

If you want smooth the Tegra-3 1.4GHZ proccessor will get a lot more done than the Playbooks 1GHZ dual core; this will help multi tasking greatly. Even though the Playbook was originally sold at $499 doesn't mean that it took that much to build, it is estimated that the build cost is about $170 about a year and a half ago. And IPS screen gives you a better viewing angle than the TFT of Playbook. And the Nexus is 340G weight, the Playbook is 425, lighter means it will be easier to read with in bed or with one hand.

{Kindle Fire opinion}And I take you don't live in the U.S? If so I wouldn't recommend the Kindle Fire, it is very closely tied to Amazon, the Android version that it runs is very heavily modified and optimized for consuming of Amazon's products (Movies, books, magazines) and unlike mgmueller said, they are not easily hack-able. {/Kindle Fire opinion}

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Old 11-16-2012, 01:43 PM   #9
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OMGosh, thank you again so much for your detailed reply!

I'm definitely leaning towards the PB now. Question, how do you get apps on it? By downloading to PC and then loading them to PB? If so, that's fine, as long as it's easy and it works?! LOL So sounds like setup would be pretty basic for me, charge, likely update firmware, then download ebook reader app [seems like 'most' people recommend "BookReader"[?]. Besides reading and surfing [occasional mp3 or video], anything else for me would be gravy really.

Again I thank you so much for detailed advice!
Sideloading Android apps into PlayBook: http://forums.crackberry.com/android...-2-0-a-701348/

Basically:
- Downloading the prepared files. Legally, there's a "grey" area. You even can download paid apps - for free...
- Downloading kind of an Explorer app.
- Dropping the downloaded Android files onto the Explorer app (on your PC).
- Sending the Android app via USB to your PlayBook.

You won't find all Android apps, but certainly 75%. That's thousands of apps.
And the Emulator in PlayBook, original product from BlackBerry, works surprisingly well.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:47 PM   #10
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Remember that the PlayBook and the Galaxy have lower res screens than the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. The Playbook has a PPI of 169 and the Nexus has a PPI of 216, this can make a huge difference in the sharpness of text and watching movies (If you will be doing that) but you will notice the pixel density while reading.

If you want smooth the Tegra-3 1.4GHZ proccessor will get a lot more done than the Playbooks 1GHZ dual core; this will help multi tasking greatly. Even though the Playbook was originally sold at $499 doesn't mean that it took that much to build, it is estimated that the build cost is about $170 about a year and a half ago. And IPS screen gives you a better viewing angle than the TFT of Playbook. And the Nexus is 340G weight, the Playbook is 425, lighter means it will be easier to read with in bed or with one hand.

{Kindle Fire opinion}And I take you don't live in the U.S? If so I wouldn't recommend the Kindle Fire, it is very closely tied to Amazon, the Android version that it runs is very heavily modified and optimized for consuming of Amazon's products (Movies, books, magazines) and unlike mgmueller said, they are not easily hack-able. {/Kindle Fire opinion}
Rooting Kindle Fire HD: http://www.groovypost.com/howto/root-kindle-fire-hd/

Basically:
Download the root kit, extract it to your PC and start a batch file.

Google Play Market on Kindle Fire HD: http://www.groovypost.com/howto/inst...indle-fire-hd/
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:52 PM   #11
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{Kindle Fire opinion}And I take you don't live in the U.S? If so I wouldn't recommend the Kindle Fire, it is very closely tied to Amazon, the Android version that it runs is very heavily modified and optimized for consuming of Amazon's products (Movies, books, magazines) and unlike mgmueller said, they are not easily hack-able. {/Kindle Fire opinion}
Not living in the US is not a problem.
Actually, it's one of the main selling points of Amazon.
Since the introduction of the international version of Kindle, ca. 3 years ago, you can use Kindle globally.
Personally, I'm frequently switching between the US and the German Kindle store.
Yes: Kindle Fire HD is closely tied to Amazon. In my point of view, it's mainly a consumption platform for Amazon content, not primarily a tablet.
But if the goal mainly is surfing and reading, it's more than adequate.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Terminator View Post
Remember that the PlayBook and the Galaxy have lower res screens than the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. The Playbook has a PPI of 169 and the Nexus has a PPI of 216, this can make a huge difference in the sharpness of text and watching movies (If you will be doing that) but you will notice the pixel density while reading.
Maybe it's my eyesight...
Microsoft Surface RT has been bashed for using a low resolution of 1366 x 768.
I've compared the very same MP4 movie: iPad 3 vs. Surface RT.
Honestly, I don't see much of a difference.
Colors are brighter on iPad 3.
But resolution-wise, it's not much of a difference.
A 720p movie is astonishing enough. If you hold your tablet 30cm from you, it looks perfect. On either tablet.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:43 PM   #13
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The Terminator and mgmueller, you guys are a wealth of information and I'm so grateful you are taking the time to share your expertise.

I'm afraid I'm getting in way over my head! I was reading about a few of things each of you have recently posted. So if this is jumbled, I apologize.

-sideloading android apps, sounds a bit beyond my technical expertise, doesn't mean I'm not willing to learn if it all works when it's done. But read a bit more and for my limited purposes sounds like I could simply download required apps right to PB, is that correct?

-re:KindleFire, yes, I'm in Canada. From the bit I've read it sounds like there are definite work-arounds to this, but not sure for the $ it would be best for me and might be easiest to go with different tablet if PB isn't the direction I go with. And frankly, rooting scares the heck out of me.

-I am concerned about clarity while reading so maybe I should read a bit more about pixel density. I love my SonyT1 and am hesitant as it is to go with lit screen. The prices of these darn tablets is too appealing, and as it seems most e-readers are going this direction anyway is what led me to start doing some reading about tablets. Vicious technology circle! I think my best bet would try to take a look at these in person side by side if possible.

-as to processing speeds, not sure this would be a huge deal breaker for me as long it's not something unbearable. I'm guessing the biggest place I would notice this is watching movies? Or will it be noticeable enough in web-browsing too?

Thank you both again for all your help.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:46 PM   #14
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Not living in the US is not a problem.
Actually, it's one of the main selling points of Amazon.
Since the introduction of the international version of Kindle, ca. 3 years ago, you can use Kindle globally.
Personally, I'm frequently switching between the US and the German Kindle store.
Yes: Kindle Fire HD is closely tied to Amazon. In my point of view, it's mainly a consumption platform for Amazon content, not primarily a tablet.
But if the goal mainly is surfing and reading, it's more than adequate.
Well, it's not officially sold in Canada so support is limited, I don't think you can get AIV in Canada.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Rooting Kindle Fire HD: http://www.groovypost.com/howto/root-kindle-fire-hd/

Basically:
Download the root kit, extract it to your PC and start a batch file.

Google Play Market on Kindle Fire HD: http://www.groovypost.com/howto/inst...indle-fire-hd/
I'm not saying it's impossible but OP has said that he's not into doing stuff that advanced.
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