Need tablet buying advice

hegulator

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 27, 2005
Messages
302
So my other half has decided she wants a tablet, yet I am woefully uneducated about these mythical beasts. I need some help. Here's what I think we're looking for, listed in order of priorities:
-802.11bgn (probably standard on everything now?)
-1080p video playback without any performance issues
-HDMI port (not sure if I need full, mini may be okay)
-Keyboard dock
-USB/mini-usb
-SD card slot (full sized)

What I think we'd use it most for is casual surfing, recipe lookups and things of that nature. We'd also want to be able to hook it up to the TV via HDMI to stream movies and other content. I'm imagining it will also get some e-mail duty, also. Basically, she wants it as a laptop replacement but with the portability or her kindle.

As far as budget goes, I think something in the 300 dollar range would be nice. We may be convinced to go up around 400 if necessary. Any thoughts?
 

hegulator

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 27, 2005
Messages
302
The latitude 10 seems a bit pricey - i'm not sure if I really need windows 8 for what we want to do with it. Also, while the "productivity dock" has USB ports for a keyboard, I'd rather have just a keyboard dock. The XPS 10 almost seems more suited for what we want, but I have no idea what windows RT is and if it will let me do what I want.

I'm also not sure about the Atom processor vs. the Tegra processors with respect to their capabilities.
 

CEpeep

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Messages
6,061
The iPad and the higher-end x86 tablets are still the only ones that make a viable laptop replacement. The Atom x86 tablets are crippled by a terrible GPU (at least as far as DirectX is concerned) and Android still doesn't have enough high quality tablet-focused productivity apps (as she may already know from having a Kindle). If you are going to be using it primarily with a keyboard (based on your desire for a bulky dock and not just a BT keyboard) it might be worth looking at some of the Windows 8 laptops with touch screens. The other thing you might consider if you have the relevant experience is getting an Android tablet and installing Linux on it and using KDE Plasma as your desktop environment, which will essentially give you a full Linux PC in tablet form. This is definitely the best price vs performance option, but also the one that requires the most work and most careful device selection.

Your best option though is probably to wait until later this year as Haswell and new Atom processors come out. Later this year you can expect Core i3-based tablets without active cooling and Atom-based tablets with HD2000+ quality GPU. Then you will have real laptop-replacement hardware in a thin, quiet tablet form factor.
 

hegulator

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 27, 2005
Messages
302
The iPad and the higher-end x86 tablets are still the only ones that make a viable laptop replacement. The Atom x86 tablets are crippled by a terrible GPU (at least as far as DirectX is concerned) and Android still doesn't have enough high quality tablet-focused productivity apps (as she may already know from having a Kindle). If you are going to be using it primarily with a keyboard (based on your desire for a bulky dock and not just a BT keyboard) it might be worth looking at some of the Windows 8 laptops with touch screens. The other thing you might consider if you have the relevant experience is getting an Android tablet and installing Linux on it and using KDE Plasma as your desktop environment, which will essentially give you a full Linux PC in tablet form. This is definitely the best price vs performance option, but also the one that requires the most work and most careful device selection.

Your best option though is probably to wait until later this year as Haswell and new Atom processors come out. Later this year you can expect Core i3-based tablets without active cooling and Atom-based tablets with HD2000+ quality GPU. Then you will have real laptop-replacement hardware in a thin, quiet tablet form factor.

Thanks for the detailed reply. Given that information, I think we can probably compromise a lot of the laptop functionality as long as we have something that can stream 1080p content to the TV. Is that do-able with current gen tablets at a reasonable price point? I suppose a BT keyboard would be okay instead of a dock - I honestly hadn't given that option too much thought.
 

CEpeep

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Messages
6,061
Thanks for the detailed reply. Given that information, I think we can probably compromise a lot of the laptop functionality as long as we have something that can stream 1080p content to the TV. Is that do-able with current gen tablets at a reasonable price point? I suppose a BT keyboard would be okay instead of a dock - I honestly hadn't given that option too much thought.

Pretty much any device with HDMI output can do that without difficulty, including phones. The Blackberry Playbook and the iPad can stream an exact mirror of whatever is on the screen over HDMI, good for playing games, browsing the web or looking at photos. Some Android tablets have full mirroring functionality, but most only support video output from certain apps or video players. Any Windows 8 (and I assume RT) tablet can mirror the screen as well, but the Atom-powered ones can get choppy when driving an external 1080p display. iPads also support mirroring over AirPlay if you get an AppleTV, so no need for an HDMI cable. The iPad 4 and the Mini don't support 1080p currently, and they max out at 1600x900 stretched to 1080p but the iPad 2 and 3 have full 1080p support.

Something else to consider might just be upgrading her Kindle to one of the newer ones that runs faster and has HDMI output so she can keep using all her apps. They seem to have everything you're looking for minus the SD slot.
 
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