Recommend a tablet for reading/word processing stuff

I am seriously considering getting a tablet - maybe an iPad 2, for three tasks - one, I like to read while on trains and having access to PDFs will be a boon, second - I think a tablet is a great asset for my table-top rpgs games and lastly, I do a lot of word processing/mail sending.

Which tablet and combination of software will best serve my needs? What are your personal experiences? I’ll love to hear them!

What kind of word processing? A tablet is probably not ideal for stuff that requires a lot of formatting or needs to be cited. But if you are just banging out long texts, they can work.

I have an iPad 3 with a bluetooth keyboard, and it has been serving me well so far. I use it, for example, to take notes in class, compose blog posts, and do simple word processing. Mostly I’ll compose in Pages and then email it to myself for more formatting with Word on my computer.

It’s vastly improved my productivity, as it’s a lot easier to write with while on trains than a laptop, and a lot lighter to carry around.

i don’t have or have much detail.

Asus is coming out with EeePad Memo, 7 inch, 16:9 widescreen tablet includes a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, camera and will ship with Android 4.0. $249 should be available in the first half of 2012.

If you have good vision, you will not be satisfied with anything other than the iPad 3 (or whatever Android tablets come out in a few months with the same resolution). It currently blows away everything else on the market.

If you are using it for reading and writing, this is a big deal. For photos and playing games, not so much.

IMHO, the iPad 2 is the best deal on the market for your intended use. One of the BT keyboard cases is probably a must have for you.

There will doubtless be many new tablets this year, but it remains to be seen how successful they will be. So far there is no tablet ‘market’ outside the iPad. This web analytics company claims that almost 95% of tablet traffic they see is from iPads. They count others as ‘tablets per 100 iPads’.

For things like software and accessory availability and resale value, the iPad is the best choice.

(My family, ages 3 to 93, all use iPads of all 3 versions for a total of 7 iPads. One geeky brother has a Xoom and there is one Kindle Fire used for eBooks)

Not terribly convinced by that “study” as I just visited it with an Asus Transformer and it will have thought I was a desktop. Certainly Apple still has a massive lead in the tablet space, but 95%? Come on.

Perhaps the iPad folks here can elaborate on their bluetooth keyboard experiences, but I’m awfully fond of the Transformer’s keyboard dock w/ trackpad. It is every bit as usable as a decent netbook, with the one caveat that the trackpad isn’t smart enough to reject stray inputs while you’re typing. But there’s a dedicated top row key to toggle it on/off, so that’s not a big deal. Trackpad with proper pointer makes web navigation on non-mobile sites with lots of tiny interface elements a lot easier, too.

For reading pdf’s you’re not going to see any difference outside of the screens. The super hi-res of the iPad 3 is certainly a bonus, though a 10" 1280x800 Android tablet already has higher pixel density than most laptops, and higher res stuff is in the pipeline.

The big downside of Androids is of course breadth of app selection. If you’re like me and do mostly browsing or picture/book/video/etc viewing with your tablet this isn’t anything to fret, but if you want specific apps like those supporting your tabletop rpgs you’d want to check the various app stores first.

I’m confused by this, why is it easier to write with an ipad+keyboard then on a proper laptop?

Ok, if they are failing to identify clients properly (as they seem to have done with your tablet), then I agree, the numbers are suspect.

Here is another fairly neutral report on tablet market share.

It’s not that they’re failing to identify clients properly. It’s that a lot of Android tablet users are going to set their browser’s user agent setting to PC in order to avoid getting served up mobile websites. Because who wants a mobile version of a website when viewing on a 10" 1280x800 screen?

Even if you generously assume that 50% of all Android users are technically savvy enough to do this, that still doesn’t help Android’s numbers all that much.

Not a big fan of ‘mobile’ sites on my ipad, or of using apps instead of websites.

I really enjoy watching movies and TV on the bus, but I gotta watch how much I buy.

In the work cafeteria where I get free wifi, I like watching stuff through the Xfinity app. Kinda nice to sit there and watch Doctor Who, or a cartoon, or whatever. Would be a larger selection if I had HBO or one of the other premium channels. Thinking that will come in handy when I go on vacation later this year.

I’m not going to make any specific recommendation on a tablet. I enjoy the heck out of my iPad (the new version), but I know other people who really like their android tablets. As long as you don’t expect it to be a full blown laptop computer, you’ll do fine.

The “grab and go” nature of the iPad makes it a better fit for use on public transport. It’s small and light. It can be used standing up and sitting down, and it’s easy to just carry it in hand if you are changing trains and the like. With my laptop, it’s always a small little production getting it in and out of it’s bag even if i’m just hopping to a train on the other side of the tracks. The iPad can be carried like a book, and if the next train is full and I have to stand, no biggie. I can just use it as a tablet and catch up on news. If a seat frees up, I just flip the keyboard down and it’s time to write in seconds. It’s just so…seamless. It’s always at hand, always ready to go, never any fuss.

jasg’s second link there gives Apple 68% market share, which is really damn good for Apple but is a long, long way from 95%. The 95% report comes from a website reporting the proportions of tablets that visit it, which tells you nothing beyond what the traffic is at that particular website. Imagine using Slashdot web traffic to estimate the prevalence of Linux. The value of the data so gathered is extremely low.

Anyways, the only point relevant to the OP is that Android tablets aren’t some backwater devoid of all life and usability. Samsung isn’t going to abandon the tablet space, because they are trying their damnedest to usurp Apple. Asus isn’t going to abandon the tablet space, because it is replacing the netbook space for them. Acer similarly.

iPads certainly have some pros over Android tablets, and those might be valuable to the OP. But Android devices have some pros over iPads as well, and in particular the Asus Transformer series has an advantage in the “using the tablet for text input” area with their keyboard docks. Since the OP mentioned text input specifically, I thought it worth mentioning.

Can I do a mini-hijack and ask what people are using for a word processor on their iPads? I installed Dropbox (thanks to another recent Dope thread), so now I can access all my files of the iPad, but I can’t edit them.

Could you expand on this? I’m looking for a tablet+keyboard as a portable laptop substitute (current laptop is way too heavy to be portable), and for a couple reasons (don’t care about apps, heard the ASUS word processor is brilliant) am considering the Transformer Prime over the new iPad. Any advice for/against?

The Asus transformer was designed specifically to go with a dock keyboard (manufactured by Asus as well). The dock keyboard has usb ports, an sd card reader and an extended battery

I spent 5 minutes on amazon looking at this.

If weight is your main issue, i’d like to note that the Asus Transformer prime+ dock weighs 2.48lbs (1.29lb for tablet+ 1.19lb for dock keyboard) and costs $570+$130 = $700 The comparable Ipad + logitech keyboard case(no extended battery) = 2.17 lbs and costs $599 + tax + $80 = ~$740.

Modern Ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13 ultrabook weighs 2.99 lbs and cost $999.

Evensven has a point. tablets are superior for a ‘grab n go’ experience. But if weight is your main issue, I vote for a ultrabook. It’s only marginally more expensive, and in my opinion negligibly heavier and you get alot more functionality out of a proper laptop.

I quite like my Touchpad. But you can’t get the deal I did, so…

Call me another vote for the new and quite cheap Transformer TF300.

It’ll be under $400, I believe. Yep, $399 + sub200 for the keyboard.

As far as word processing goes, my experience is that tablets are second best to laptops/netbooks.

That said, the key for this activity will be getting a good bluetooth keyboard. My coworkers have logitech keyboards, which they feel are okay, but the raised edgest are kind of annoying to them.

FWIW, I have a iPad 1 and 2 and find both great for reading and watching videos. Magazines optimized for the iPad are particularly impressive.

That’s the TF201. There’s a new model out now, the TF300, which is only $400, Plus $140 for the dock. The main difference is that the TF300 has an IPS display (comparable to the iPad-2), while the TF201 has a “Super IPS” display which is even brighter and supposed to be daylight-visible. I have the TF300 and it’s perfectly adequate, and plenty bright for indoor use.

But with an Ultrabook, you’re always stuck carrying the whole weight, whereas with a Transformer you can just take the tablet if you want to. And when you’re just reading a book or document, you can just hold the tablet like a book, in whichever orientation you want. Can you imagine reading things on an Ultrabook while standing on a train? It’s quite possible (and comfortable) with a 10" tablet.

By the way, the reason the keyboard dock is so heavy (1.19 lb) is because it contains a secondary battery. (Also if it were any lighter, the keyboard+tablet combination would tip over backwards.) Together with the main battery in the tablet, you get a total of 15 hours battery life.

I haven’t spent much time with Polaris Office (which is what came on my Original Recipe Transformer - I can tell you that it’s not anything like a full PC office suite, but ) and have no experience at all with iOS office apps, so I can’t really address how those compare, but I can tell you about the dock functionality.

The docks for all Transformer models include the keyboard, a trackpad, extended battery, a full USB 2.0 host port (2 in the case of the TF101, I think the TF201 and TF300 just have one but not sure), and a full size SD card slot. The big deal wrt laptop quasi-replacement here IMO is the USB host port. I’m sure there are plenty of USB devices that won’t work in it for lack of drivers, but it works fine with mass storage devices (so, thumbdrives, external hard drives, card readers, cameras, etc) and mice and presumably other pointer input devices.

The trackpad is theoretically multi-touch, but it’s kinda small for gestures and it’s way easier to do your pinch to zoom or whatever on the screen. But for accurate cursor placement, it’s entirely adequate. It does, however, tend to pick up your palms when typing. There’s a dedicated function key to shut it off if this is an issue for you. If you’re doing really serious typing in a location amenable to it, you could turn off the trackpad permanently and use a USB mouse. The thing to remember about the mouse, though, is that it’s still Android. So, no right-click for context menu, and double-click puts you in selection mode and you drag the beginning and end arrows, etc. But the document scrolls vertically with the scroll wheel and such.

Whether this can replace a laptop really depends on what you do on your laptop. Simple documents should be fine, but big documents with complex formatting are probably going to have you wishing for a real office suite. Browsing, email, and media consumption? No problems.

Most of that is probably true of iPads, too, though, just you’ll need bluetooth for the keyboard and mouse, and you won’t ever get to plug a USB thumbdrive or SD card into one without that extra adapter (and you won’t be using a file manager to copy to/from your external storage, but I’m apparently old-fashioned for caring about that :p). So, everything in a sleek package that turns the tablet into a netbookish form factor, or two detached bluetooth input devices, some sort of holder/case to hold the iPad up, and the camera connect kit to connect to storage. If you plan on using it in a laptop form regularly, the integrated nature of the Transformer’s dock would be a significant plus.