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The Tablet Trail

After the netbook craze started a few years ago, I began looking for one. After thinking about what I would actually use it for, I came to realize that what I really wanted was a slate PC. I wouldn’t be typing. I would spend 90% of my time web  surfing and watching videos. The problem is that slate PC’s were well over $1000, which was unacceptable. I settled on the Eee PC 1000HE (original post).

As netbooks go, it was extremely good. There were 3 main drawbacks. The native resolution was 1024×600. 600 is too small. It’s possible to change it to 768, but you have to scroll. Canon’s DPP software also requires 768. Second, it was on the slow side. And finally, it was too bulk to be truly portable (3.2 pounds, 1.5 inches).

When the iPad was announced, I debated getting one. I held off because I wanted an Android tablet and I wanted support for a compact flash card reader and USB storage. In retrospect, this was a bad idea. It would be another year before decent Android tablets arrived and they are still version 1.0. Another problem is the lack of native tablet apps. Both these issues will be fixed within a year. In fact, the Asus Transformer about to be released is very close to what I want. I very much miss not having an ultraportable device over the past year.

When the iPad 2 was released, the iPad 1 went on sale. I tried a couple of times to get one, but waited too long.

I tried the Motorola Xoom at Best Buy. With it in one hand and the iPad 2 in the other, there is a noticeable weight difference between them, with iPad of course being lighter. All the upcoming Android tablets were too heavy, except the Samsung Galaxy, and I wasn’t willing to wait. Weight, in fact, became my deciding factor and when I saw that Best Buy was scheduled to have a shipment, I went that Sunday at opening.

If you read the comments in the link you’ll see that I, and everyone else in the country, discovered that there was not ONE iPad 2 in stock at any Best Buy. I also drove by the Apple store in the Domain, and at least 20 people were waiting in line. Amazing.

Since I was at Best Buy, I went ahead and reserved one, figuring it would be at least 2-3 weeks. Thankfully, I was proved wrong. I received a call the next day saying their shipment had arrived. I think what happened is their shipment arrived one day later than expected, rather than them trying to trick everyone. Their weekly ads are printed well in advance of the publication date.

So iPad 2 in had, I really enjoy it. The netbook has been relegated to the closet. It does have a fair amount of backlight bleeding, which really surprised me, but it’s not noticeable in daily use. I do highly recommend the Atomic web browser to replace Safari. The form factor is great, but not perfect. It needs to be lighter. I would prefer a narrower body, as the current one is too difficult for me to do thumb-typing. The Xoom was perfect for this. The glossy screen has got to go. Way too much reflection. The screen is very bright; so bright, that I keep it at the minimum almost all the time. One speaker? Come on. And of course, iTunes sucks. Aside from their mobile devices, Apple software is actually pretty bad from user interface standpoint, if you judge by iTunes and Quicktime.

With only 10 GB currently free, this will not do as an all-in-one device. There’s simply not enough room to backup vacation photos on a major trip. However it’s perfect for shorter trips. I will revisit this in a few months because I will need *something* for our next vacation.

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