Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My most used computer is a tablet

I didn't warm to my little Asus Android Tablet right away, it seemed less handy than my laptop and it struck me as feeling like an overgrown phone that couldn't make phone calls. But after the initial awkward phase wore off, I found myself using the tablet more and more and now it's by far my most used computer.

My friends Gary and Patti are currently bike touring the world, using Android tablets and little keyboards to update a wonderful blog that you can follow at

In this post, Gary describes the hardware (Nexus tablets) they are using. It was Gary's post that prompted me to look seriously at and ultimately decide to buy an Android tablet and a small keyboard/case.

The tablet I chose, I now strongly recommend after having used for darn near all my computing for the past few months. It's a 16 GB Asus MeMO Pad and I've been very impressed with how fast, reliable and handy this little gadget is. I know there are fancier, more expensive tablets out there, but I've never felt short-changed by this tablet, for  which I paid right around $100. (Amazon prices fluctuate and it's a bit more at the momen.) While the built-in camera is lousy, I knew that going in and I have a real camera for taking pictures and then I load photos into the tablet via its micro SD slot. Editing photos on the Android tablet actually works better than messing with them on my laptop.

For email, twitter, updating this blog, buying stuff from Amazon, web browsing and all that, the tablet is great. I don't watch much video, but YouTube and all that works just fine. Music plays great as well. I find my old Kindle more comfortable for reading, but it isn't backlit so I use the Android kindle software on the tablet for reading at night so I don't disturb Christine when she's trying to sleep. The Amazon Kindle software is super good at keeping your place in a book across devices so I can be reading the same book on my Kindle, my tablet and my phone.

The keyboard/case I got is frankly pretty chintzy, but for $13 it does the job. I use the free Kingsoft Office software synced up to my Google Docs for all my word processing and spreadsheet stuff.

The screen keyboard and voice recognition stuff is pretty good on Android, so I'm finding myself only using the physical keyboard for writing longer stuff.

The tablet was the computing device I took with me on our recent Minnesota trip and I no longer see any reason for bringing a laptop with me when I travel. In fact, at home I now go for days at a time without booting up any of my larger computers.

I guess I've gone from being a tablet skeptic to being a tablet fan. Simple, solid, inexpensive and it works.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah, WA USA


Gary B. said...

Hi Kent! Thanks for the comment and link to our blog. Overall, we're pretty happy with the Nexus tablets and I agree with your comments. Occasionally we become frustrated with it though. The WordPress Android App leaves a lot to be desired, also making reservations on buses, changing passwords, etc. can sometimes be impossible. We ended up leaving the little keyboards at home and have been using the SwiftKey app. I'm liking it but I wish we had one of the keyboards some of the time. If I were going solo and light I think I'd just use a 4" phone.

Unknown said...

I ended up giving my Nexus 7 to my daughter, who broke hers. It's her primary computer, and she loves it.

Though I have couple laptops and a powerful desktop with a huge screen, I was surprised how much I used the little tablet. I could probably carry one as my one-and-only device if it has 4G connectivity.

Bought a Chromebook the other day. I can tell I'll be liking the simplicity of this thing, too (and it would be great for updating a WordPress site).

Velomann said...

This year I have had the opportunity to test pilot, extensively, iPads, an iPad mini, and a nexus 7. I like all for various reasons, but the nexus 7 really rocks it. Only drawback is no rear camera, so you can pretty much only take pictures of your own face looking at the screen. Paired with a wireless Bluetooth keyboard, it's all the computer I need 99% of the time.

Bike Hermit said...

Got the Nexus 7 to take on my ride across Nevada last month. I'm happy with it but the keyboard (supposedly for Nexus 7) I bought doesn't fit the tablet. Must be different versions?

Unknown said...

"and I've been very impressed with how fast, reliable and handy this little gadget is." - I think we are on the same page here. I also have one and it is definitely a keeper. To tell you the truth, my laptop is now harboring a serious grudge over my tablet since I use the latter more often now. - Betty