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09-13-2013, 06:22 AM   #1
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Tablet upgrade help

I am getting frustrated with my tablet and looking at upgrading to a similar device. I know my way around desktop PC's fairly well, but when it comes to laptops and tablets I am pretty much lost.

I currently have a Toshiba Thrive 8GB tablet - here are the basic specs:

10.1-inch multi-touch widescreen display with Adaptive Display Technology, supporting 720p
nVidia Tegra 2 dual-core mobile processor with Android operating system
5.0 MP rear camera with autofocus and 2.0MP front-facing webcam
Internal 8 GB flash and 1 GB DD2 RAM memory
USB, mini-USB, and HDMI ports and full-sized SD card reader, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity

Amazon.com: Toshiba Thrive 10.1-Inch 8 GB Android Tablet AT105-T108: Computers & Accessories

I bought this a couple years ago to use on the road. I am now home all the time and spend a lot of my day in a recliner because of a physical malady. It works OK I guess, but I get increasingly frustrated to the point of throwing it across the room sometimes because of it being slow and laggy when just using the internet. So I am looking for a replacement - either another tablet or a small laptop (preferred). My uses are:

Internet - use it mostly for this. I really don't like the touch screen with my fat arthritic fingers. Also hate the on-screen keyboard.
WiFi - this is the only connection I use - no cell service at all
Kindle - use it a lot for book reading. Who would have thought I would use an electronic device to read books but I love it!
SD card slot - not a deal breaker but important to me to read my cards without climbing upstairs to my PC. Would like to just do light editing like using FastStone.
Light weight - use this extensively on my lap sitting in a chair.
Screen size - the 10" screen is sufficient - wouldn't mind a little bigger. Do need a good sharp bright clear screen.

So with that in mind, I guess I am looking at a small laptop since I am an old man and used to a regular keyboard. Trying to keep the cost under $250. I am not totally giving up on a tablet if I can find one that is responsive. While looking around I came across the Chromebook. This looks like it might be what I am looking for but without knowing much about it kind of scares me. I don't even know if I can run a program like FastStone on it.

Any help to point me in the right direction?

09-13-2013, 07:14 AM   #2
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Maybe you don't have to upgrade? I used to have the 16gb version of that same model. I chose it over other tablets because of the full-size USB port, and full-size SD card slot. It was the only tablet on the market to have those. You say you don't like the onscreen keyboard. Did you know that you can plug any old keyboard in (as long as it's USB), and it just works? I love that!

I also found that the default Android Browser was really laggy. I installed Opera instead, and those problems disappeared.

I sold it not because there was something wrong with it, but because I didn't use it anymore. It was helpful in college, but I just never used it once I got a job. I prefer the desktop at home.
09-13-2013, 07:44 AM   #3
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A couple good points which I had not even considered - USB keyboard and mouse. Going to try them right now - thanks!
09-13-2013, 07:55 AM   #4
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I don't have any experience with that particular tablet, but I do have an Asus Infinity Tablet with the keyboard (and 2nd battery) dock. I love it, but it is not perfect, and cost about $500 new. It does have some issues, and I did root it, unlock it and installed a custom ROM to improve the lag. One other big limitation is the 1 GB Ram, which is just not enough for the android OS. In comparison, my phone has 2GB of Ram! Before upgrading, download a program from Google Playstore called Rebooter. When you starting seeing excessive lag, use that app to kill any background apps and see if that helps. I notice a big slow down when I have less than 300 MB available. Also, just uninstall any apps that you rarely use to help with the memory problem caused by apps running in the background.

The $250 budget will be a limiting factor. You could find a cheap laptop, but you would likely only get 2-4 hours of battery life, so that means plugging it in alot. I've looked at the Chromebooks before, and that may be a good one to look at further. I don't know if it can run FastStone though. If you can run it on Android, it should be able to run on ChromeOS, or at least a similar application should be available.

There are also netbooks that have 10 in screens that you can find around $200-250 that are smaller and lower powered versions of laptops. At least I tihnk they still make them, but I have no experience with them. If you do buy another tablet, stay away from Windows RT tablets. Good luck.

Mike

09-13-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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OK - now I'm getting somewhere - looks like I may just like my tablet a lot more already this morning.

Hooked up a wireless mouse that I have for my wife's laptop - works great! I couldn't believe that a cursor showed up instantly when I plugged in the wireless receiver. The only thing I can't figure out how to fix is the speed of the cursor like you can in Windows - a little too fast in movement for me.

I downloaded Fast Reboot as per your suggestion Brazeal - I just can't believe the difference and if it is really true. I've lost all the lag I had with each touch of the screen. I then took a look at the running apps and there are only a hand full now compared to a long list before. My tablet is actually snappy now!

Looks like I just needed a few tweaks. I am typing this with the on screen keyboard and don't even kind it now as it is very receptive to each touch now without any delay.

Thanks folks - you've helped save me some serious money. Also I really like the form factor of the tablet for using the Kindle app for reading my books.

Any other suggestions for helping my tablet to run any better?
09-13-2013, 09:28 AM   #6
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I don't know your feelings on Apple products but I have been totally satisfied with my Retina iPad. I was laid up myself for 3 months after foot surgery this spring and my iPad became my constant daily companion. The screen is stunning and sound is surprisingly good for watching video, movies, etc. I don't have TV at home but stream Netflix and Amazon Prime through our DSL service. I use it regularly for watching baseball games with the MLB app. I can do all my basic internet with it and the keyboard entry works better than any tablet I have seen and for me, better than a keyboard. I have a 64 GB model. I can load hundreds of RAW photos for viewing on the road and still have room for movies and other content. My laptop gathers dust. I use my desktop now only when I want the big screen monitor. Downsides are that you have to deal with the iTunes app or other apps (Amazon for me) for media where Android can plug into you PC and drag and drop, treating your tablet like an jump drive. Also, the price. I dropped $800 on mine. I have the Verizon LTE and you can save over $100 by getting a Wi-Fi only model. A lot of people will tell you that you don't need much memory, just use the cloud and stream. To me, that's BS. It works at home with Wi-Fi but on the road, I rarely get signals good enough to stream reliably with LTE so that 64GB comes in very handy.
09-13-2013, 09:40 AM   #7
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I've never had an Apple product but they must be very popular since they sell so many. The screen resolution is important to me as my eyes are getting weaker. But there is no way I could drop $800 for something like this.

You know what I am talking about when you were laid up for 3 months - I never thought I would use my tablet as much as I do - constant companion is a good way to put it.

With what I've done so far today has helped quite a bit. I guess the next time I do a grocery run I might have to stop in Staples to see what the different screens look like - don't know if they carry Apple products or not.
09-13-2013, 09:59 AM   #8
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I bought the newest iPad version. Back in April, the iPad 3's with the Retina screen were still available and discounted. Since the tablet world is changing at such a rapid pace, I thought getting the newest and latest would keep me current a little longer. My 2 year old Android phone is just about useless. The new Galaxy tablet looks pretty good and the newer versions of Android are much better. The 10 inch Galaxy (32GB) with a screen similar to Retina was $599 at the time (wi-fi only) and only about $50 cheaper than the 32GB iPad. A cellular option adds $100 or more to any tablet plus the monthly data plan. 7 inch tablets are much cheaper, in the $300 range, even the Apple, but my eyesight wanted the bigger screen. My wife has a 7in Kindle HD so I could make the comparison. The Kindle is great for reading but so so for watching movies.

09-13-2013, 03:06 PM   #9
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I have RA, fibro and and a boat load of other auto-immune and musculo-skeletal chronic conditions and the best thing I ever bought was an iPad. I stood (liar - I sat on my walker) inline the day the iPad2 was released and I can say without a doubt it was the best money I have ever spent! It is used daily - somedays all day. for everything from surfing the net, tracking my finances, posting and editing photos, playing silly and some not so silly games, posting in forums and in online communities, watching movies, TV shows, listening to the radio and music, tracking the sorry state of my health with an app that tracks it all including medical charts and images. When I dropped it (and it was a beauty of a drop) there was no question I had to have it replaced and it was done within an hour of dropping it. Everything was reloaded like it never happened. (Except my bank account suffered a hit). Until that purchase I was a PC person, been using PCs since I was 12 in the 70s (when most folks didn't know they existed). What you might not want to know is I now have an iPhone, and a 27"iMac. But I really do enjoy my iPad even with the iMac, the iPad still gets lots of use.
09-13-2013, 05:20 PM   #10
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I have a similar condition Big Ted, and that is the reason I am chair bound most of the day and depend on my tablet to keep me busy. I will have to see if Staples carries the iPad the next time I go to town to see what it is all about.
08-02-2014, 07:10 AM   #11
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Wow - looked up my thread here and can't believe it is almost 11 months old!

Well I finally did it - @reeftool and @bigted - your recommendations of the ipad have been in the back of my mind all this time. I did get the old Thrive working well enough over the winter thanks to the recommendation above using the Fast Reboot app and keeping the tablet clean. I also recently relocated my router to get a better WiFi signal in my sitting room. It has still been a little frustrating browsing on-line with a bit of lag. I've used it mostly with the Kindle app for reading.

Reading has become my only savior giving me the needed distraction for the RA symptoms - I've had to give up all my other hobbies. Lately I started getting a headache after reading for 1/2 hour and that kind of scared me - I've never had much of a headache all my life. I then realized my eyeglasses were over 2 years old so made an appointment with the eye doc coming up next week. Then doing more research - way too much time on my hands - I ended up buying a Kindle Paperwhite as it is said to be the ultimate reading experience. Going to try it out over the weekend - pretty excited about that!

Then back to the tablet. While assessing my condition and the future it brings, I look at my tablet as my main source of entertainment and distraction. For something I use a lot I usually want the best I can get just like my camera gear. But financially the past 2 years have been a grind of just keeping up with the bills. I got into a mood to do some spring cleaning of sorts and sold some old gear and gadgets and saved up some money. Of course this money was then burning a hold in my pocket, but I wanted to be absolutely sure I was using it toward something I really need and use a lot. Replacing my tablet seemed like a good idea. This thread came to the front of my mind as I started researching tablets.

Well I finally did it - came across a special yesterday for the latest generation ipad air and it's on the way. I am like a kid with a new toy coming. I haven't treated myself to anything at all the past 2 years except for a nice little Lumix LX5 so that I could still take pics without the weight of my Pentax gear. Thanks to you guys for your recommendation - I feel I bought the best of the best and really looking forward to using it and learning what it can do.
08-02-2014, 08:57 AM   #12
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I hope you're as happy with your new iPad as I am with mine. It never left my side while I recovered from foot surgery last year. I still use it often. Netflix mostly and I also have been reading a lot with the Kindle app. I do spend a lot of time on my desktop but the iPad gets used daily. I have my Lightroom and Photoshop books on the iPad and I find it quite handy to reference things that way over a print version. I have a card reader and load my photos to it while on the road. It's not a perfect product but it's for the most part been trouble free. It's screen is awesome for viewing photos. Since I calibrate my monitor screen for print brightness, I check many of my edited shots on the iPad to make sure they aren't too dark or light for online viewing.
The photo apps get better all the time. You can now sync Lightroom to the iPad. I have downloaded Lightroom mobile but haven't used it yet as I've been taking advantage of the summer weather. Does your Lumix have Wi-Fi? If it does, the iPad plays nicely with the Panasonic image app. You can download directly or even tether your camera to the IPad.
08-02-2014, 09:45 AM   #13
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No, the Lumix doesn't have WiFi.

I've been doing some reading about photo apps for the ipad. I shoot all raw and process on my desktop now. From what I have gleamed so far, it looks like I may want to shoot raw+ and try a couple of the apps in the Apple store using jpegs. I also watched a couple of Julian Costs's videos on Adobe CC and the integration it gives you for Lightroom and the ipad and desktop. Looks like an awesome setup but maybe geared more toward pros. All I would like to do to start with is be able to view and light editing and also view and upload to Flickr since I just started using their service. I see there is an app for Flickr so I will see how that works. Not at all sure what photo app comes pre-installed on the ipad.

Been reading up on it as I always do before receiving a device so I can be a little familiar with it when I first get it. It will be fun to try some of the different apps and see what works best for me. It's all a bit overwhelming seeing the myriad of apps available. I'm making a list of what I now use on my Thrive which isn't much be will give me a starting point.

Also un-boxed the Kindle Paperwhite and is charging now. First quick impression is the screen is just absolutely amazing - really hard to describe. Looking forward to reading some this weekend to give it a test run.
08-02-2014, 10:02 AM   #14
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Enjoy your new toys! I know I do a lot more reading with my e-reader than I did with real books.
08-02-2014, 02:10 PM   #15
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iPhoto is a free app and it directly recognizes DNG Raw files from Pentax cameras. It also loads the RAW files from my LF 1. It may well read and load PEF also but since I edit with Adobe products, DNG makes more sense. I also have another app called Leonardo. It's decent and offers layers. I only directly load RAW files when I'm on the road and want to see what I've been shooting. I still do my editing on my desktop at home in Lightroom and CC. I usually delete my RAW files from the iPad. After I edit my keepers, I export downsized JPEGS and those albums I load on the iPad so they're handy to show people. The only hassle is you have to move your photo albums on and off the iPad through iTunes when you sync with your PC. You can't just drag and drop files like you can do with Android. I've just got used to doing it so it doesn't bother me. I also have an iPhone and iPods so I'm quite used to syncing everything. iPads have limited memory, that's why I delete my RAW files. I have the 64GB version. That's quite a bit of memory but I nearly filled it up at a motorcycle rally last summer. I would load up my shots and run a slideshow during mealtimes so folks could see the photos. I had something like 1400 RAW files from my K5 along with the albums I had loaded. Add to that a couple of movies, my music collection and 64 GB isn't very much.

My wife has a Kindle HD and I use the Kindle app on my iPad. The print quality is about the same. The paperwhite is better than either for reading outdoors. The iPad can get a little heavy and the Kindle is smaller and lighter. I'm assuming you are getting the new iPad Air model?
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