View Full Version : Cheap tablet + keyboard as primary computer?

12-2-13, 6:52pm
There are a lot of inexpensive Android tablets out there. I was looking at this one:
Polaroid Dual Core 7-Inch Tablet and Keyboard (http://www.meijer.com/s/polaroid-dual-core-7-inch-tablet-and-keyboard/_/R-297505)

Does anyone have something like this?
Would it be suitable as a primary computer for someone who mostly does email, social networking, posting photos?
I'm assuming there is some rudimentary word processing available as well, either installed or as an app.

I'd love to hear your experience - thanks!

12-3-13, 2:34am
Word processing pretty much kills the idea. Posting photo's, depends.

Let me start with, there are many tablets, from the lower end, like your looking at, to the higher end. Dad has a Polaroid one, that is an older generation (bought to learn Android programming), and it has poor battery life, low memory and storage and feels like your operating a Pentium II (mid to late 90's computer).
Models vary, but are you looking to use a larger monitor for typing? (make sure the tablet can do that, something like HDMI out) Want to hook to a printer, well good luck. (some printers can be sent to wirelessly, but there still are not lots of drivers out there, to do that). More storage, then you will need one that has an SDHC or better card reader (not many can use USB and again, driver issues). If no SDHC, how are you going to get your photo's on it? (low memory could have problems viewing them, low storage, means you will quickly fill up)
If your not concerned about privacy (printing might still be an issue), look at a Chromebook. Another option, in a similar price range, is a Surface tablet (Microsoft, not sure if office is on it or an online version).
A third option is an older netbook, off of Craigslist and put a Linux distribution on it. (Lubuntu, Mint, Bohdi are just some lightweight suggestions). I've been using a netbook/notebook (first one was technically a notebook, but netbook specs), with Linux for at least five years now, as my primary computer. I am actually wanting to upgrade back to a desktop.
For printing purposes, just make sure the printers you look at, are not winprinters, but printers that actually have their own brains.

12-3-13, 10:37am
It can depend somewhat on what kind of networking you have at home. If you have a cable modem with 4 ethernet ports you can get a networked hard drive for storage and a networked printer that plug into the modem and the tablet would be connected wirelessly. I have that setup at home, somewhat. Printer drivers would be somewhat of an issue, though. I don't know if modern printers have android drivers yet. If you mostly use it as an interface to the internet, then something like this would work. If you have an older pc already, you can use it to run the separate hard drive and connect the printer to it. Android is not a PC-type computer. It is more of a communications interface. There are some word processing and spreadsheet programs for it, but they are not hardcore. I have a tablet, as well as 4 laptop/netbooks and a desktop pc. I use the desktop because it is just more comfortable. If I was traveling more, I'd use the tablet more. In fact, I keep wondering why I don't use the tablet more anyway. If I figure it out, I'll let you know.

12-3-13, 12:37pm
I should have said, this is for my 14yo dd, not myself. She is always asking to use her dad's iPad or iTouch, and spends a lot of time on Deviant art (uploading art and connecting with other artists) while listening to music on YouTube and keeping a Google chat window open.
Speed would definitely be an issue. We have high speed DSL but it is nothing like as fast as the T1 line I have at work.

We do have a wireless printer/scanner.

I didn't realize that these don't even have a USB connection - however - photos from a phone can be emailed or saved to something like Picasa. But she uses Photoshop on dh's iMac when she's really into it.

And word processing, I'm thinking something like Evernote...something a step up from Google Drive, which seems pretty flaky. She is just starting in college, not taking a lot of academics, but enjoys creative writing.

More devices! Aaaagh.

12-5-13, 2:59pm
I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab and I don't like it because there is no USB port and it does not take regular sized SD cards.

I really do not see the attraction of tablets and rarely even use mine.

12-5-13, 6:02pm
There are a lot of inexpensive Android tablets out there. I was looking at this one:
Polaroid Dual Core 7-Inch Tablet and Keyboard (http://www.meijer.com/s/polaroid-dual-core-7-inch-tablet-and-keyboard/_/R-297505)

Does anyone have something like this?
Would it be suitable as a primary computer for someone who mostly does email, social networking, posting photos?
I'm assuming there is some rudimentary word processing available as well, either installed or as an app.

I'd love to hear your experience - thanks!I have the Polaroid 7 inch tablet without the keyboard and hate it. I mean really, really hate it. It has almost met it's end by being flung against a wall in rage and frustration many a night in a motel room. I actually finally broke down and pried open the wallet to buy a new 17 inch laptop I just couldn't stand the Polaroid so much. However, I am the most computer-illiterate person on the planet and trying to make everything work via touch-screen was just such a pain. Trying to figure out how to make things work was even difficult. But I'm sure with a keyboard it is much easier. I did like carrying it on trips to take photos with and just e-mail them (when I could actually get a Wi-Fi connection that is since it seemed I had to be right on top of a hot spot practically rather than just close by). But trying to post photos elsewhere - say at this site for instance - seemed impossible. But again, someone with more computer/tablet savy than me (which is pretty much everyone) may love it.

12-5-13, 10:29pm
Thanks for the review Spartana! Extremely helpful!

12-6-13, 12:31pm
My husband got a Samsung Galaxy 10 last winter. I still cannot enjoy using it, although he, very computer illiterate seems to like it a lot. I like my desktop...I need a real keyboard and a mouse. But, I do a lot of word processing and spreadsheets so that makes a difference. For a 14 year old, it would probably be perfect as they are way better at small, fast , touch screen things.

12-6-13, 5:51pm
Spartana raises a very good point: just as there is cheap fiberboard furniture and good well-built wood furniture, and just as there is "processed cheese food product" and real cheeses, there are cheap tablets and expensive tablets -- and you pretty much get what you pay for.

Telling statistic: Apple sells one iPad for every two Android tablets sold. Yet Web traffic from tablets is more than 80% iPad. Which suggests to me that lots of cheap tablets get purchased and then shoved in drawers somewhere. I'm not shilling for Apple (though I think they make a fine product); just pointing out that lots of Android tablets apparently never get used much. Nothing frugal in saving lots of money if the thing you bought just isn't used.

12-6-13, 11:09pm
Interested statistic, Steve. I bought myself an early Xmas present of a Kindle fireHDX, and it won't recognize my home wi-fi. Of course my internet provider said it's not them, especially since I can use my smartphone internet okay at home. So it's back to Amazon, and their FAQ/troubleshooting pages are useless. Not to mention no phone number or actual human being to help you. Oy vey.

12-7-13, 10:06am
I agree with Steve, (as I type this on my work supplied iPad...). I was given this thing because we have an ipad app that I need to demo for people as part of my job. I quickly discovered that it could do much of what I had been doing on my work laptop while traveling, a lot of it more efficiently since this thing doesn't have to boot up and connect to the corporate VPN. I even bought an output thing that enables me to do presentations on projectors. No, it doesn't have word or excel, but if I needed that functionality, and didn't need to share the docs corporately, I could use something like google docs. I'm planning to get a Bluetooth keyboard for it after spending 7 hours yesterday in the Portland airport inputting the week's call reports into salesforce using the onscreen keyboard.

12-7-13, 12:13pm
Samsung3 and Note, Amazon Fire HD, and Apple Ipad all get pretty much the same reviews (and lots of them, so you can do your research). They all have their strengths and weaknesses. The Amazon Fire is (naturally) media focused, the Note lets you sketch and scribble entries, and the iPad has lots of apps. I'm not sure the iPad is $500-700 better than the competition; it may be that much better than the lower-rated units. It depends on what you want to do.