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Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
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  #1  
Old 23 Jan 2013
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Kindle fire HD

Thinking about replacing the faithful Asus netbook with a tablet. Partly for weight saving but also for the usb charging aspect - I want to be able to charge all my devices from the bike via a usb adaptor. Never had a tablet but the Kindle fire is tempting me. The price is good, the size is good, the weight is good and it appears capable of doing everything I need. Which is internet, email, skype, usual sort of stuff. No heavy duty photo or video editing although I would like to view pics and save them to a stick.

Anyone got one..? Any good..? Other makes better for similar money..?
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Old 24 Jan 2013
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There's one big reason to avoid the Kindle Fire HD like the plague - it's locked into Amazon. This means you will have no access to the Google Play store so your access to free and paid for apps is limited to those that Amazon have chosen to list on their own Amazon app store. You can get a Kindle Fire unlocked to let you have full access to all of the Android features, but you have to pay Amazon for the privilege.

Fear not though because the introduction of the Kindle Fire HD has led to a but of a price war amongst 7" Android tablets, which means the Google Nexus 7 and the 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 are available at the same price point.

Both of these have much the same spec as the Kindle Fire HD and give you full access to all the Android features, including all the downloads at Google Play, and you can still download Amazon's Kindle app if you want full access to Amazon's range of e-books.

Personally I favour the Samsung Galaxy Tab, I like the built in Swype keyboard where you just slide your finger from one key to the next and it somehow works out what word you were aiming for (mostly), also if you buy yourself a cheap capacitive stylus it has a good, mostly accurate handwriting recognition. Finally buy the right lead and you can connect the Samsung directly to an external hard drive, a multi-card reader, a digital camera or an HDMI compatible TV. You might not use this much, but if it doesn't cost anymore to have it why not have it just in case?

Ultimately it comes down to which you like best, they're both very capable machines, very similar in specification just with slightly different user interfaces.

A word of warning though, whichever you get you'll probably find your computer gathering dust as you use it so rarely.
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Old 24 Jan 2013
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You can always "root" it, or there is this method to install apps without rooting: Running Google Apps on Kindle Fire Without Root

Failing point with the "Google" offerings is the lack of SD card slot.

I got a Galaxy Note 10.1

John
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Old 24 Jan 2013
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I've been using an Archos G9 10.1 the last few months - which I bought primarily as something to take on my US trip this summer. Decent processor/memory, full access to Google Play, micro SD slot, the usual micro-USB port on the side, plus a full-size USB port in the back - it's meant to take the optional 3G stick (which is about £40 sim-free and works in any other computer as well), but you can plug anything into it.

I paid about £165 for mine, although I think they're more like £200 at the moment. The design/casing isn't quite as slim/flash as the better known brands, but it's a decent spec for the money. I wanted a 10" as I find the 7-8" ones a bit too small - but £300+ is a bit much for me on a travelling (ie going to get abused) device.

My last travel machine was an Eee 701 (the original model) which I bought for £120 when they discontinued them. That was perfect for internet/email, but a bit slow for photos and utterly incapable of playing video.

Mrs Dash likes my Archos so much she's got the 8" version on order because she doesn't want to be without one while I'm away
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Old 24 Jan 2013
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I've fiddled on a Kindle Fire (non-HD) for a couple of days thought it was OK. In this case I was debating between a Kindle Fire and regular Kindle ebook reader. We bought two of the latter -- battery life is ridiculously long (weeks) on a Kindle but only really good for, well, reading ebooks. Reading outside, on the beach, etc -- no problem. Something to consider if you like reading.

Later on I kicked myself for not buying the Fire as well and about the same time ran into some TV commercial who's story was about how a family bought a couple Kindle e-book readers and a Fire for the price of a single tablet by that well known fruity vendor. But I digress...

Last summer I bought a Google Nexus 7. I have mixed reviews about the build quality -- screen a little loose, bad pixels and sent two back. The customer service utterly blew in that I waited days for support tickets to be answered and had to open new ones, on and on. That said, for the price, I *loved* the device when I final got one I was happy with. It was a perfect bridge between a smartphone and laptop -- not to big, not too small -- I'm an IT guy so one of the last things I want to do when I get home is sit in front of a computer -- but the tablet experience was a little different. *Lots* more HUBB and ADVrider reading than ever before...on and on...

You might notice that I am speaking in past tense. Well, regrettable the other day, my Nexus 7 screen shattered. I had been using a fairly hefty rubber bumper case for general protection around the house -- so it won't slide off of surfaces, a little bounce protection, etc. I put it in my big internal parka pocket, walk some 40 feet out of my building to the public transit, sat down with my courier bag next to me. I suspect that I applied a little pressure on the device when I sat down and maybe slightly sat on it, but nothing seemingly serious. Well..the screen looks like a dropped a hard object on it. To be honest I can't really place for sure what might have happened. Perhaps it was to minus 10 celsius weather.

Otherwise, this device has been babied. And I have even taken on several small bike trips this summer packed deep in a duffel amongst soft items.

Long story short...keep in mind that these tablets are not bullet proof. I loved mine and if I can somehow get a new screen/digitizer for it which doesn't cost almost as much as a new device I will -- but I am also going to try to get some sort of cover which protects the screen and which is otherwise torsionally more rigid. My Android phone has taken much, much, MUCH more of a beating over several years of daily use than the tablet and is mostly fine. Perhaps it comes down to rigidity of the given devices -- screen similar thickness and thus more breakable when you make it twice the size.

FWIW, I also has an ASUS Transformer Prime tablet/detachable keyboard device for a couple of weeks. It got returned to the store based on poor wifi but that was an interesting device as well but $$$. As a matter of *personal* preference, I determined that I prefer a 7" tablet over the large 10" size -- something to consider as well -- more portable and easier to operate with one hand.

Hope this helps, and hope that I haven't scared you off -- JUST GET A GOOD CASE -- less tears

My CDN$0.02.

Adam
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Old 25 Jan 2013
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7 inch tablet

I bought my daughter a lenovo ideatab 7 inch tablet it runs android ics and comes with twin sim slots and an sd slot for extra storage and has wifi . The built in 3g is a big plus point as there's no fiddling about or extra gizmos. You can buy it on amazon for £150
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Old 27 Jan 2013
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Thanks all,

Very much appreciate the extensive replies. I've certainly gone cool on the Kindle fire now, err, no pun intended..! The Samsung is looking good to me, I have a Galaxy Ace phone which I like. I didn't realise the prices had leveled out so much. Is it true the Samsung has built in Gps..? Or is it assisted and hence requires a data connection. No biggie, just wondering. Clearly a decent case is required, whichever brand I end up with.

Thanks again
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