Sunday, January 24, 2016

Oops, I bought another tablet

Actually, I bought 2, so double oops. But probably not what you'd think based on my holiday posting spree.

I admit I've been spending way too much time reading tablet pc forums again, but the long thread about the surface book at has played a big role in keeping me away from trying one. Forums tend to turn into echo chambers of problems, but reading about what was going wrong was enough to keep me grounded in the fact that it wouldn't really fit my needs anyway. But someone else mentioned picking up an older tablet on ebay for cheap to get a good ink experience (Wacom EMR, which you don't see on anything new except Samsung's note line anymore) until the kinks get ironed out of all this new hardware/Windows 10. I was intrigued and headed over to ebay. Oops.

So, what did I get?

First tablets first: I found an hp 2760p with the core i7 on ebay for a stupidly low price, then I made a low ball offer, and it was accepted. I had a 2730p once upon a time and really liked it. The 2760p was the last update made on the 27xxp platform. It's a second gen core i7, but some benchmarks are faster than the core m I use regularly now. I'll be interested to see how that plays out.

These machines are coming off corporate lease, so there are actually a ton of them out there now for cheap, but many have had their vitals pulled for security. The one I got has no AC adapter, hard drive, or hard drive caddy, but the AC adapter and caddy were easy to come by and inexpensive. I have a 1TB drive sitting around that should work, and I can upgrade to an SSD if I end up really liking it. It only has 2GB of RAM, but that's also easy enough to upgrade. It supports up to 16GB. The important thing is that it's got the core i7 in it, as that can't be upgraded.

It's a fun project more than anything. It'll scratch that itch. If I like it, I've gotten a great deal on a good machine. And if not, I can put it right back on ebay, but as a ready-to-go machine with a hard drive and AC adapter, I'd likely profit. So it's a win either way.

But then.....I don't even remember how I found the next one. It apparently came out just about a year ago, when I was drowning in infant/toddler/lawsuit/PPD so I didn't really pay attention to it. Also, it was expensive and ran Android. At the time, I wasn't interested if it wasn't Windows, but now that OneNote on Android supports ink and I know I can work comfortably in Xodo docs, which is cross platform, I'm more interested in Android based tablets.

And it's got a giant 12.3" 4:3 screen with an active pen!

Meet the HP Pro Slate 12

Or at least, we'll meet it next week when it gets here. Again, I need to keep off ebay. The asking price of the tablet new is not completely unreasonable at $569. It's still a good deal better than the iPad Pro. But I'm cheap. And I found a refurb outlet on ebay that had a few left. In fact, they've got just one more if you're interested. (Disclaimer, mine hasn't even shipped yet since I bought it on Friday afternoon, so I have no idea if this seller is any good.)

It uses Qualcomm's ultrasonic pen technology, which they showed off at CES in 2014, but hasn't really shown up in consumer hardware much. The pen emits an ultrasonic pulse that is tracked by microphones in the tablet. It looks good enough in reviews for handwritten notes and annotating PDFs, although it's not liked for art applications. The neat thing is, the microphones can track the pen outside of the tablet's screen, so you can write on a pad of paper next to the tablet (using the ink side of the reversible nib in the stylus) and have it digitized as you go. Not that I'm likely to use that feature, but, neat!

Details are sparse as it's marketed as a business tablet, so it hasn't seen many reviews and there aren't 200+ page threads about it on forums. But techradar has an interesting review and Lisa Gade of mobiltechreview has a nice long video with the tablet.

But I've been enjoying playing with OneNote and Xodo docs with the active stylus on a Samsung Note 8 and I'm very interested to see how it works with the Qualcomm pen on this much larger screen. And at just under $300 (even with stupid CA sales tax), it's the kind of tablet I can haul around to any gig and not have to worry about. I haven't had a 12" 4:3 screen since I got to test a Motion LE1600 forever ago. This should be the perfect size.

Now I just wait. Both tablets should arrive late this week.

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