Tag Archives: tablet

Acer Iconia 8 Tablet (A1-840) – Review

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Welcome to my review of the Acer Iconia 8 Tablet. This comes with a 8 inch screen and 16gb storage/1gb ram all wrapped in a aluminium body. The build quality is one of the first things that you notice about this tablet. Just look at the photos.

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Due to its size and slight curves, the tablet fits nicely in your hand. For times when you need a camera, it comes equipped with dual cameras and microSD™ card slot, dual speakers, producing a good sound experience. The Intel® Atom™ processor with 7.5 hours of battery life has allowed me to use this all day and with a reasonable nippy response when jumping from app to app.

Key Specifications –

– Android™ 4.4.4
– Intel Atom Z3735G Quad-core 1.33 GHz
– DDR3L SDRAM
– Micro SD card support
– 20.3 cm (8″) WXGA (1280 x 800), Active Matrix TFT Colour LCD
– Wi-Fi
– 1 GB ram, 16 GB Flash Memory
– Connectivity – GPS, WiFi, LAN, IEEE 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Microphone
– Battery – 4,600maH, Video playback 7.5 hours
– 2MP Front camera, 8MP rear camera
– HDMI (mini) port

The screen is only WXGA and I can notice the lack of resolution compared to some far more expensive tablets that have 1080p and above screens, but then again those tablets costs a lot more money. For many people the WXGA won’t matter. It does mean however, that there are less pixels to push so the tablet generally runs fairly fast in use. Rather unusual is a separate connection for a mini hdmi port as shown in the photos.

The Acer Iconia 8 is based on a near stock experience, but it does have some software tricks for turning on the device. Laying all 5 fingers on the screen allows you to turn on device or turn on with a selected app of your choice. You can do the same thing using 2 thumbs. Both these features can be turned off too. The tablet also features a split screen mode which is so simple to use. Say your using Chrome, tap the split screen icon bottom and the you can choose from a number of apps which support this mode. There were a decent selection of apps supported too from Chrome, Play Store, all Acer apps, accuweather, Amazon, audible, Amazon app store, astro file manager, calculator, eBay, email, Gmail, Evernote, maps, people, play books, officesuite, play movies, play music and youtube. Another neat option is Acer Intellispin. This makes rotation smarter. When you rotate the tablet the screen image can automatically rotate to match the new orientation, even if the tablet is lying flat. In addition you can add users which each have their own profile.

Acer installs many apps as standard. All those mentioned above and Acer cloud apps for docs, files, music, photos, and videos. By installing the same apps on your home computer you can access everything via the cloud on the tablet. Acer assessories, Acer portal, Acer suggests, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Local, Amazon Music, barcode scanner, booking.com hotels, Wild Tangent games portal, istorytime, Skype, top HD games, Tunein Radio and Zinio are also installed. Apart from that it is a near stock experience. The keyboard is Google Keyboard. You can uninstall several of the apps and or disable them if you want.

It is also preloaded with far too much extra software in my opinion. Some of it is useful, but perhaps Acer would have been better to include optional download links. The 16 storage model have just under 9gb free to the user. The loudspeaker goes fairly loud. Sound through the headphones is reasonable too. The camera takes ok photos in good light but does have many options from picture collage, various capture modes (normal, HDR, continuous, panoramic, presentation capturing), scenes (barcode, fireworks, landscape, night, night portrait, sports), white balance, timer, EV, ISO (auto, 100-800), metering, scale, resolution, Touch shutter, camcorder settings include time lapse, mute, 1080p, 720p & 480, storage, location, grid and a tutorial. In fact there are so many options in the camera that you should be able to photograph many scenarios.

The Acer Iconia 8 is available from Amazon currently for £139.58, Acer Iconia Tab 8 deal at Amazon UK which makes it fairly good value.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 – review

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Welcome to my review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet. This review will focus on how I use this tablet versus the default setup from Samsung. Also this is not a loan device from Samsung PR, this is my preferred tablet of choice. The key specs of this tablet are –

– Android OS 4.4.2 (KitKat) – Lollipop is due in summer 2015
– 10.5in Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 2560 x 1600 pixels, 288 ppi
– Exynos Octa-core processor
– microSD, up to 128 GB
– 16/32 GB internal storage
– 3 GB RAM
– 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, dual-band, DLNA
– Bluetooth 4.0 LE with A2DP
– Infra Red Blaster
– Fingerprint scanner
– microUSB v2.0 (MHL 2.1)
– stereo speakers
– 3.5mm jack
– 8 Mp, 3264 x 2448 pixels, 1080p@30fps
– 2.1 Mp front camera
– Non-removable Li-Po 7900 mAh battery
– 247 x 177 x 6.6 mm
– 465 g

The Tab S is a high specification device with a number of USP’s. It is fast and powerful with a fabulous screen. All day battery life of around 10 plus hours. Storage is expandable with a micro sd card for music, photos and documents. The rear camera has a flash unit. It has a fingerprint scanner for a securer mode and an infra red blaster.

Touchwiz comes as the default launcher and that also has a magazine UI layout too. It all looks fancy but it slows down the speed of the tablet, so now I use Apex Launcher as you can probably see from the photo above. My setup with Apex Launcher includes Google Now widget, infra red button widgets, and my favourite apps on the single home screen. I have also replaced the Samsung keyboard with Swiftkey which works really well with this tablet.

The Tab S is protected by the Samsung cover that also has a typing position and movie viewing too. What is unusual about the cover is that it has 2 studs that push into the back of the tablet, and then when pushed in, click and lock. It is not the easiest of cases to connect, but at least it won’t detach now.

The tablet is typical Samsung, with all the bells and whistles included. But what I like is the micro sd card slot for storing all my photos and music, the infra red blaster than I use everyday and the good stereo speakers that also have a decent volume. The audio quality via the headphone socket is excellent. USB Audio is supported too. The 8mp camera comes with the all singing Samsung camera app. Flash is included too. Options include metering modes, touch to capture, ISO from 100 to 800, Night mode, face detection, Full HD Video recording (1080p), Video Stabilisation, effects, timer and location tagging. Shooting modes include Auto, Beauty Face, Shot & More, Panorama, HDR, Dual Camera, Sports, and there are other modes you can download. Camera quality is ok but in anything but good light, noise is present in photos captured.

As I have a Samsung Note 4, I use the Samsung Side Sync mode/app. This enables full control of my Note 4 from the Tab S. Pretty cool stuff. I use Wi-Fi Direct a lot between my Note 4 and Samsung Tab S, mainly to transfer photos taken on my Note 4, that are then edited on the Tab S.

The Tab S screen is really fantastic and makes all viewing really pleasurable. The Tab S also has Ultra Power Saving mode, 4 different screen display modes (adaptive, amoled cinema, amoled photo and basic), a reading mode, Toolbox shortcuts, motion controls for mute/pause and palm swipe to capture, blocking mode, private mode, finger scanner, users and profiles (you and setup more than one person to use the Tab S with their own profile), lock screen shortcuts and screen cards.

When it comes to multitasking, the Tab S also possesses multi window, allowing 2 apps to be on the screen at the same time.

I have had the Tab S about 3 months now and really enjoy using it. It is a powerful tablet that gets loads of use by myself and I cannot see myself changing it anytime soon.