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12-16-2014, 07:58 PM   #1
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Walmart's $99 Windows Tablet Kinda Rocks!!!!

As some of you all likely saw in the acquisitions thread I got a $99 Win 8.1 tablet for Christmas. After spending the day using it I've actually decided that I like this thing and that I am going to keep it. I was very surprised to find out that I could not just plug it in via the usb cord and have Win 8.1 recognize it as a Win 8.1 device or at least as a USB device. I was like WTH? I've tried every which way, but no go, and I can't find any kind of usb driver for it that might help on their website or via Microsoft either. The Windows tablet OS thing is apparently so new to the people that make it that they don't have usb drivers written for their own product as yet, only for the Android version. Needless to say I was a bit nonplussed. I expected no issues there.

Of course the easy way around all this is just to load things via micro sd card which I did. 2 hours later I am running Classic Menu, Irfan Viewer, Firefox, the Caliber Reader and the VLC media player with no problems whatsoever. Despite the PC-Tablet communications issue I am totally impressed. I have not tried to load a Windows based game or any version of Photoshop as yet but so far as I can tell everything I wanted a tablet to do it can do and other than the fact that it's 8" instead of 10" I'm pretty darned happy with it. When it comes to book readers and organizers I have never found one really that I like as much as I like Caliber. Caliber it can handle any file format. I don't need several different readers to handle epub, mobi, prc, pdf or pdb files. (Yes, I have books in all those formats.) 99% of the time Caliber opens and/or can convert whatever book I want it to open, no problems. I cannot say that about any other reader I've ever tried either for Android or Windows OS. So being able to finally run Caliber on a tablet that's totally worth keeping it.

I'm not totally impressed with the screen. It's not as bad as some of the reviews for this tablet would suggest. But then again I'm not an I-pad owner and all my tablets have had about this same resolution so maybe I'm just easy to please on that score. I think the graphics on my Matricom are just a bit better and it's a tad less shinier, but it's not enough of a difference to make me give this tablet a negative review. It is definitely a usable sceen, comfortable for 8" actually. With Classic Shell installed using this tablet it's almost exactly like using my PC except it obviously can't run as much because it's a tablet and it doesn't have 8GB of RAM and several TB's of storage space.

What I really like though and what will likely make this my tablet of choice for work is that I can use Irfan and do quick slide shows, and even do quick edits or corrections on the fly easily. I've been able to do limited slideshows on my Android tablets but photo editing, even down and dirty quick crops, it just has not really been possible. Being able to do some of that with Irfan? Maybe with PS for tablets or Gimp? That would make this tablet far more versatile than any I've owned to date. This tablet I can use a mouse, an external keyboard. I can hook up a USB drive, even my portable burner apparently so long as I have a usb to micro usb adapter. It's basically the equivalent of a Windows 8.1 Netbook in tablet form. The interface is familiar, so far it can run my favorite programs. Keeping this thing is just a no brainer really. I think with this little tablet I can finally ditch the laptop for traveling and miss NOTHING except the unnecessary weight doing it.

I would have been happier of course with the 10" version. Might go there down the road if this one turns out to be a solid tablet. Feels like it will be. It seems to be made fairly well. It reminds me a lot of my old Blackberry actually, only it's a lot faster and easier to use and runs a lot more stuff apparently. One thing I did not want to be doing with this tablet was investing in a lot of Windows tablet/phone applications. The problem with Android is you're practically enslaved to the Google Play Store. This tablet of course wants me to do the same thing, only via Microsoft, but I'm not going to. I deliberately kept the user account local and I won't be dl anything from the Microsoft store if I can help it. From what I can tell I can easily bypass all that and grab whatever applications I need for this tablet direct.

If you are looking for an 8" or 10" tablet that you can actually work with I think you might do well to look at these. The 8" is a steal I think at $99. I think the 10" is like $200 or maybe a bit less. This one actually came with a year of Office and a TB of cloud space but I'm not signing up for it and I've already deleted Office from my applications to save space. I don't type much on my tablet anyway and when I do I don't use MS Office anyway. 99% of the time I'm reading on it or playing a game. Occasionally I use one to show off my photos. Now and again I expect I'll get on the web to look up something or to check my forums or my travel email account but mostly I use the PC for that kind of thing. I don't like doing anything that could come back to haunt me on a mobile device. I'm not into banking, shopping, or checking my main email on one. None of my regular stuff is on my mobile devices. If someone snatches one they get nothing other than the one email I use just for my tablet. They don't get the more important stuff, the stuff they'd want to hack. No documents, no contacts list, none of that.

Anyway I just wanted to give you all some feedback on this one. Sub $100 Win 8.1 tablets are relatively new. Most of what's out there for this OS has up til now been pretty expensive. I think this is a pretty good buy for $99 and if you're looking for you or for a gift for someone else who is a PC person you could do a lot worse I think. In a lot of ways this is definitely a superior machine to any of the Android tablets I've worked with so far. I've long wished for a cheap Windows one, and this one, it was worth the wait. Oh, and nice thing, it came with a decent sized 16GB micro sd card. You don't have to go out and buy one for extra storage if you don't want. It can take one up to 64GB but for me 16GB is fine, though I do have a 32 GB one I used in my other tablet I could swap out for if I need the space. I didn't. Even with 400 books, plenty of music, and a few movies installed I still did not use but 10-12GB most of the time maybe, so 16 works just fine...

This thing, I think it would be darned near perfect if they'd just write some communications software and a darned USB driver for it... :P I would eventually like to see my Windows 8.1 PC communicate directly with my Windows 8.1 tablet. I mean they are in the same family so to speak. They should be able to talk and it's really stupid IMHO that they cannot.

Nextbook 8" Tablet 16GB Windows 8.1 Bonus 16GB Micro SD Card - Walmart.com

12-16-2014, 08:16 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
This thing, I think it would be darned near perfect if they'd just write some communications software and a darned USB driver for it... :P I would eventually like to see my Windows 8.1 PC communicate directly with my Windows 8.1 tablet. I mean they are in the same family so to speak. They should be able to talk and it's really stupid IMHO that they cannot.

Nextbook 8" Tablet 16GB Windows 8.1 Bonus 16GB Micro SD Card - Walmart.com
I think you are expecting too much of a $100 tablet. You're lucky it doesn't come with pre-loaded malware like Walmart's cheap Android tablets...
12-16-2014, 10:08 PM   #3
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Actually it was pretty much free of bloatware. I rather liked that. I could even turn off IE and Bing which made me a very happy camper. There were a few tiles I had no use for, appz for weather, news etc, but those were easily removed too. It was a pretty easy install. Once I had Classic Menu on there it was pretty smooth sailing from there. I'm even playing Puzkend and UK Monopoly on it and that's something I could not do on my Android tablets. So far out of the six favorite casual games I've tried only one won't work properly and that one is a ticky beast even on the big PC. I'm only keeping 3 on for now but I'm rather pleased. It will be nice to finally be able to play them while I'm at the doctor's office or whatever. Being able to read with Caliber that's just sweet though. It's about time! The guy that makes it makes this mini version for Android so you can synch files but I never could get it to work quite right on any of my tablets and there was no book reader in it...
12-16-2014, 10:17 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
As some of you all likely saw in the acquisitions thread I got a $99 Win 8.1 tablet for Christmas. After spending the day using it I've actually decided that I like this thing and that I am going to keep it. I was very surprised to find out that I could not just plug it in via the usb cord and have Win 8.1 recognize it as a Win 8.1 device or at least as a USB device. I was like WTH? I've tried every which way, but no go, and I can't find any kind of usb driver for it that might help on their website or via Microsoft either.
I probably have the same tablet, branded as a Pendo here.

Cheap, works, comes with a year's worth of Office 365 which includes a terabyte of free OneDrive storage (this will eventually become unlimited).

Oh, it's a real Windoze computer running an Intel processor.

You can't join it by USB cable anymore than you can connect any two desktops by USB cable, for example.

Just as you do at home or office, you typically connect them all by Ethernet cables to a switch or by wireless to a router and network them.

As a product, it's nothing like a Surface Pro 3, but it doesn't cost anything like a Surface Pro 3.

For the price, everyone in the family can have one! :-)


Last edited by clackers; 12-16-2014 at 10:23 PM.
12-18-2014, 08:21 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I think you are expecting too much of a $100 tablet. You're lucky it doesn't come with pre-loaded malware like Walmart's cheap Android tablets...
The IPad Retina isn't easy to transfer things on via the USB either. I can't drag and drop back and forth from it and Win 8.1.
12-18-2014, 08:42 AM   #6
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I looked at the various little Win 8.1 tablets. The screen size was just a dead stop for me. If you plan to stay in RT most of the time, no problem. But on the desktop, all the elements were too small for touch. It look me about 5 minutes to pump the scaling level up on my Surface Pro 3 to 200%. At that size, the desktop is very usable with touch -- on a 12" screen. I am totally surprised at how well I like the RT side of things on this tablet. Some things, like the Mail app, are killer, especially if you have multiple email accounts.


For communications, you can use your HomeGroup or OneDrive. If you are using your HomeGroup, you can share the CD drive of your desktop and install software on the tablet using that.


But, dang, I wish I could sync Lightroom catalogs.
12-18-2014, 09:11 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
The IPad Retina isn't easy to transfer things on via the USB either. I can't drag and drop back and forth from it and Win 8.1.
At least with an iPad you know it has to be jailbroken for malware to be installed.

Apple has chosen to restrict USB access in iOS to iTunes. I can live with that, Dropbox works really well.

12-18-2014, 09:24 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Just as you do at home or office, you typically connect them all by Ethernet cables to a switch or by wireless to a router and network them.
Eh, too much work, grin. I got what I wanted onto it via micro sd card. I managed to install everything I needed actually, and it all worked except for the one ticky game I mentioned. So far except for the fact that it's a bit smaller of a screen for reading than I'd like I'm pretty happy with it. I have to bump the text up quite a bit in the reader, wear my reading glasses, but that's me, not the tablet. My eyes are getting old, sigh....
12-18-2014, 12:01 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
If you are looking for an 8" or 10" tablet that you can actually work with I think you might do well to look at these.
Mag...look at this for me and tell me what you think? I'm thinking Mrs Rupert might use this, it runs Office 365 which she uses often and it is portable enough for her to take to her Deaf Sunday School class. Any drawbacks you see...I'm not up much on computer stuff.
Nextbook 10.1" Intel Quad Core 2-In-1 Detachable Windows 8.1 Tablet - Walmart.com

Regards!
12-18-2014, 02:12 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
So far except for the fact that it's a bit smaller of a screen for reading than I'd like I'm pretty happy with it. I have to bump the text up quite a bit in the reader, wear my reading glasses, but that's me, not the tablet. My eyes are getting old, sigh....


Right click on desktop
Select "Screen Resolution"
There's a small link that says "Make text and other items larger or smaller." Click that.
Under "Change the size of all items," there's a slider bar from smaller to larger. If it's on "smaller," play with the other settings and see if that helps with the sizing of everything overall.


How many options you have depends on your screen resolution. If you want something in between, check the box "Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays," then click the little link to "Custom sizing options."


The other setting to play with is "Change only the text size." This one lets you tweak things like menu sizes.


Both settings are helpful for old eyes!
12-20-2014, 12:35 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rupert Quote
Mag...look at this for me and tell me what you think? I'm thinking Mrs Rupert might use this, it runs Office 365 which she uses often and it is portable enough for her to take to her Deaf Sunday School class. Any drawbacks you see...I'm not up much on computer stuff.
No one came back and commented on this, so what the heck, I just went out and bought it. It was the last one around here and they told me they had been selling fast. I charged it up and it looks pretty neat! It is solid and well built, nothing about it is flimsy or cheap feeling. The screen is very nice and the keyboard is big enough for easy operation. I think Mrs Rupert will like it, the ability to use it as a tablet or notebook at her choosing will make it handy for her teaching classes. I see I can also run my Vizio 47" TV off of it too...that may be fun? I'm not much into the latest technology, so this may be a learning experience for me too.
Got her a nice case for it too......and a Micro 32G SD card, that I doubt she will ever need.

Regards!
12-20-2014, 01:27 PM   #12
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Sorry, I started to add my 2 cents but since you posted to Mag I refrained. Glad you like it and I hope it works out for her!
12-20-2014, 05:18 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicoleC Quote
Sorry, I started to add my 2 cents but since you posted to Mag I refrained.
I should have left it open for help.....my fault! Mag has so many new toys to play with for Christmas she probably never saw this!

It is a neat little "transformer" tablet. I might like to have one myself.....heck, with my record for stealing Mrs Rupert's cars and cameras, this one may end up as mine!

Regards!
12-20-2014, 07:00 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rupert Quote
Mag...look at this for me and tell me what you think? I'm thinking Mrs Rupert might use this, it runs Office 365 which she uses often and it is portable enough for her to take to her Deaf Sunday School class. Any drawbacks you see...I'm not up much on computer stuff.
Nextbook 10.1" Intel Quad Core 2-In-1 Detachable Windows 8.1 Tablet - Walmart.com

Regards!
Sorry, I was busy offline and I didn't even see this till now. You did good. That's the one I wish they had gotten and I would get it if I didn't already have this one. The only thing so far that I don't like about mine is how long it takes to charge. It takes a wee bit longer than my Android one did. But otherwise I'm liking mine a lot.
12-20-2014, 10:59 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
Sorry, I was busy offline and I didn't even see this till now. You did good.
I figured you were very busy....everyone is at this time of year. I gave it to Mrs Rupert tonight and she is thrilled! Wow! It does lots of stuff and has a great keyboard and even a micro USB port and micro SD slot. She is also excited about the Office 360 that comes with it and Bluetooth for a mini mouse or other devices that can be operated with it. Took about 10 minutes to set up and it quickly picked up my WIFI and went online. Operations are fast and the touch screen is neat too. I think this was a real bargain!

Best Regards!
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