Tablet Travails

I recently purchased an Asus VivioTab 8.

It replaces the Microsoft Surface 2 that I have been using for the past several years. That device was traded in on a Surface 3 for June to use.

So why didn’t I go for a Surface 3? Several reasons:

  • I want a smaller device for in the field. The 8 inch form factor looks good for that.
  • I want an inexpensive device for in the field. Crashing a $150 device is easier to take than $500.
  • I’m not ready to commit to a more expensive device when I expect there will be more advanced laptops available next year. A 7D Mk II ranks higher than another computer.

So why not stay with the Surface 2? Well…

  • Because it never took off as a mainstream product.
  • Because nobody was developing apps for it.
  • Because Microsoft has chosen to dead end the product (see previous point)
  • Because there are some apps even an 8 inch Atom tablet can run that it won’t.

Why the Asus VivoTab 8?

There are a number of low cost Windows tablets on the market today. The HP Stream 7 can be had for about $60. At $150 there are a bunch of devices. The HP Stream 8 comes with a T-Mobile cell connection built in. The deciding factor was the Asus has a slightly better processor and 2GB of RAM and a GPS receiver. That’s double the RAM of the other devices in its class.

So what’s the plan?

These devices only come with 32GB of storage, most of which is used by the operating system. But they do have a micro SD card slot which will allow a 64GB card. They have a USB port. The port presents a challenge because it is like the charging port on your phone – micro USB. This can be overcome with an adapter cable so I will be able to:

  • Connect my Photo Safe. The Photo Safe is a 500GB hard drive with built in card readers.
  • Install lightweight tools like Breeze System’s Downloader Pro. I have had a license for this $30 product for some time. It allows me to set the initial IPTC notes into my images as they are copied from the camera card to disk.
  • Install the Canon EOS utility which will allow remote control of my camera. The EOS utility provides remote viewing and triggering functionality. It can act as an intervalometer allowing me to play with time lapse photography, or exposures longer than 30 seconds. Not as full featured as a CamRanger, but it is half the price, and the utility software comes with the camera.

But wait, there’s more…

I bought the tablet from Microsoft. It is ‘Signature Edition’ branded which means there is no crapware hogging what little disk space there is. It also comes with Office 365 Personal Edition. This is the $70 subscription to the Office suite. I don’t plan to install the suite as the pre installed OneNote will be good enough on this device. But, it does extend my subscription to the O365 Home Edition by 9 months