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Mio P550 Digiwalker
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Recode DVD's to H.264 with AAC 5.1

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Tablets: Android or Windows 8 and what screen size?

Tablets: Android or Windows 8 and what screen size?

The Tablet market as far as Android is concerned is constantly evolving and with a plethora of devices form factors and Android versions how does anyone make a decision on what tablet is best suited to purchase. With Windows 8 around the corner we need to factor in the possible changes this will bring to the market. I have obviously not included the iPad simply because what's the point if you want one of those you have no options buy the newest version and you're done!

Android Versions
Android versions are named after deserts and Simply put Ice Cream Sandwich or if you prefer Android 4.0 is the best version to use by far, it offers refinements everywhere, it's stable fast smooth and glitch free. Previous versions work fine but once you've used a newer version you will have a hard time going back. A simple comparison to Windows would work like this, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is like Windows 7, Android 3.2 Honeycomb is like Windows Vista and any previous versions are like using Windows XP.

Tablets a plenty which options are best?
I struggled with this question myself as I managed to go through the following list of Android devices, some were mine others borrowed but I spent a minimum of a month with each device.

I have rooted many of these devices and have installed many custom Roms as well as stock versions of Android 4.0 whenever possible. I rarely had any game or application that would run poorly on any of the device except the Nook but it's due to the slower CPU.

CPU speed does make a difference as well as Single, Dual and Quad core variations but the latter only when actually multi-tasking on the device in most cases the GPU makes more of a difference, but mostly when running games, currently Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 are examples of this situation. I rarely found a single core device to be slower than it's dual core equivalent at the same clock speed.

Battery life on most devices is around 7-8 hours with two exceptions the Nexus S but it's a phone not a tablet so the battery is much smaller and so is run time and the Eee Slate due to the i5 CPU and large screen size.

Screen resolution is mostly irrelevant?
The density of the pixels, viewing angles and type of panel are vastly more important than the base screen size or resolution. Take Apples new Retina display with it's 2048x1536 resolution compared to the older 1024x768 resolution, when compared side by side to people on the street when asked which is better choose the older 1024x768 display. Why simply because unless you look really closely at the display will you not notice the difference, color saturation and brightness are what we look at first. Every device I have seen uses a good enough resolution that I doubt anyone will complain on that basis. Of the devices I have used Samsung has the best screens followed by Asus and resolution is sufficiently good enough that I can't notice the individual pixels on any of the devices I've used.

Now screen size overall is a matter of the device and what your intended use is for, most of us want the largest screen we can get which makes sense when viewing webpages or magazines but it comes at the price of weight, a larger screen needs a larger battery and so the weight is affected. I find that most 10" tablets for short periods of surfing and such are fine but any extended sessions with one will cause discomfort due to the weight of the tablet. I admit I primarily use my Android device for gaming and I prefer a 7" tablet due to it's lower weight and screen size. You often are required to hold the tablet with both hands when gaming as both thumbs are used to play the games and a 10" tablet gets heavy rather quickly. Another issue currently with many Android applications and games is that they were designed to be used on phones with lower screen resolutions when these are expanded to fill the larger screen resolutions of 10" tablets they often look very bad compared to the same screen on the phone. This is an area where 7" tablets work well as they are closer in resolution to the phone version. Admittedly I have seen HD versions of some games specifically to address these issues but it still remains to be the exception rather than the rule.

Windows 8 Metro interface
I have read a lot of reviews on the new Metro interface and most reviewers don't see the point as it won't help desktop users and they are correct a desktop user will not see any benefit from the new interface. So why bother why don't they just make a windows version for tablets and forget irritating the desktop users. I think what everyone is failing to see is the big picture. When Apple announced the first iPad me and many others felt it was going to be a utter failure! We were all wrong, why? because we didn't understand the point of a enlarged iPhone. The ability to have a large screen to surf the web comfortably from your couch with a long battery life was the reason and after my first tablet I soon realized the potential of tablets.

The larger picture with Windows 8 Metro is the future, manufacturers are already planning versions of new ultrabooks and notebooks with touch screens that will ship with the new OS and since Windows 8 will support ARM Cpu's we will see many tablets from the current manufacturers producing Android tablets. Microsoft's new OS will be the same interface for tablet users and desktop users which means we will start to see software made to use the new interface and given time coupled with the amount of new devices sold with the new OS eventually all of the applications you want and need for the desktop will be available and run on your tablet. If this happens (and I think it will) Microsoft will have something no one else does, a seamless integration between desktop and tablet. Apple is slowly trying to accomplish the same thing while Microsoft has taken an "All in" approach. Current desktop users will not want to upgrade but I suspect touch enabled monitors will soon be the norm, with the proliferation of touch based devices that will follow it will only be a matter of time before we wonder how we ever used a mouse. Android for all of it's positives will not be able to bridge the desktop tablet gap. If Microsoft is able to introduce a phone using the same version of the OS then they might even have a chance to topple Android as the OS of choice for smartphones, it all hinges on how fast the new tablets and devices start hitting the market. I know I would love to be able to use all of my programs and applications across all of my devices.

I plan to add more info about the Asus 12.1" Eee Slate Tablet and my experiences with Windows 8 and I'll even include some hardware upgrades I made to the unit but for now that's it.......

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