Sunday, January 2, 2011

bModo on vacation

The bModo was a wonderful tool to have with me during my holidays back in the midwest. Here it is being my book while we waited for our 3 hour delayed flight out. Wifi on the planes was free thanks to google, so I was able to browse and play during the flights. Having a lit up keyboard was really nice. I had the chromebook with me also, but found that in the low light of the planes (one of the flights was a red-eye), it was easier to pull out the tablet and use the nicely lit up on screen keyboard rather than lighting up the whole area around me with the reading light on the plane.

The built in 3G was great, as it allowed me to be online and even upload a post on the drive between my parents and my in-laws. The GPS was quick to connect and accurate while in the car, even if it couldn't get a signal at all inside. Considering there is an entire sub-section of the exopc forums devoted to how to add a 3G/GPS card, I think there are plenty of people who would appreciate the built-in-ness of it on the bModo. This is actually the first device I've used with the 3G built in, and I have to say I'm sold. I know one can use a Mifi now and get several devices online at once, or even use tethering from the phone. But in this case, it was as easy as popping the sim card from my phone into the external slot on the bModo, and then I was online without having to worry about another device.

I think my favorite thing about this tablet is the size. It's a big screen with a great resolution. I don't feel at all cramped like I do on the netbooky resolution of 1024x600. The bModo is even usuable in portrait with 768 pixels across. It's a good thing too, as it comes with an accelerometer, making the orientation switch super easy. It's also so thin for having such a large screen. There's something about the thinness combined with the rounded edges and the soft rubberized backing that just makes it feel right. And the capacitive screen is just so responsive and easy to use. My dad, who strictly prohibits fingers from coming within an inch of a laptop screen for fear of leaving a smudge, actually enjoyed using the touch screen on this tablet. He took to it so quickly, that the first thing he did with the chromebook was try to touch the tabs at the top to switch from one to the other. I think that's the mark of a good touch interface - it's so easy and natural to use that it makes you want to touch everything.

Speaking of being easy and natural to touch, photos are great on this tablet. I used to think multi-touch photo manipulation was just a party trick to show off the two finger stuff. Then I took this thing to parents and in-laws and realized that the number one thing families do when they haven't seen each other in a while is show off photos. It was so neat to be able to flip through the slideshow with swipes and zoom in with a pinch. With the higher resolution, the interface doesn't get in the way as much, and more of the screen is devoted to actually looking at the picture.

Of course it does have some drawbacks. The vertical viewing angles aren't the best, so you do have to hold it up, or prop it up, or lean over it on a table. The screen is glossy, so you get reflections and glare. The battery life is just barely 4 hours. It is over 2lbs. The big screen does make the device too big to fit in some of my smaller purses. But it is a full blown computer in an impressively thin package with a very nice touch screen. Overall, I've really enjoyed using it and would definitely recommend it.

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