Friday, September 2, 2011

Oh, gadgetry.

So, I finally broke down and got a tablet last weekend. I'd been meaning to get one for a while, but kept putting it off because I didn't know which one to get. I was also having a difficult time justifying it because I already own a netbook, an e-reader, and a smartphone.

That, however, changed when I started school and discovered that all of my professors were putting a large quantity of the course reading materials online via Blackboard. While they were .pdf files that could theoretically be uploaded onto my nook, they didn't render right when I attempted it. Copies of copies of scanned in books do not look right in e-ink, even if you use a e-reader-friendly file format like .pdf. I wasn't really a fan of simply printing the readings, either. The printer here at the house is an inkjet, so the black bars on the borders of the pages (from the scanning process) would use ink, not to mention all the paper I'd go through. Using kinko's or the school's printers would be expensive (especially over the course of four semesters) and, in my opinion, wasteful. So, I decided to buy a tablet.

I wound up getting an ASUS eee pad transformer. I decided to skip the optional base (since I already have a netbook) and just got the tablet and a protective cover for it. So far, I'm really liking it. I downloaded adobe reader so I could load up my course readings, and used the MyLibrary app to organize them. Reading them is a breeze since you can use the pinch and pull feature to quickly resize text, and the ability to flip pages with your fingers rather than pushing buttons is pretty awesome. My only quibble is that it can take a few seconds for the screen to render and sharpen, but it's not enough of an issue to warrant me not using it. For future semesters, I intend on buying as many books as I can in e-reader formatting and using the kindle or nook apps to read them.

As far as regular, non-academic use goes, I like the eee pad's functionality. Since it runs on the Android OS, which I already use on my smartphone, I had an easy time getting it set up. Since the app market is synced with my google account, all I had to do was press a few buttons and enter my google login information to get all of my apps on the eee pad, including preferences. While the eee pad apps are generally identical to the phone apps, it is nice to be able to read my twitter feed (and other text-heavy apps) without killing my eyes. Also a plus: the full-sized web browser. No more crappy mobile sites!

I'm still getting used to the weird, pop-up keyboard thing, though.

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