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1 day ago

Amazon Fire 7 vs Fire HD 8: Which should you buy?

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Amazon Fire 7 vs Fire HD 8: Which should you buy?

Amazon Fire 7
Fire 7
Fire 8
Fire 7

Amazon Fire 7

In the battle of Amazon's small tablets, which is the right one for you?

Amazon's most popular tablets continue to be the 7- and 8-inch offerings, in no small part because they offer a compelling package at exceptional value.

And better still, while the hardware gets a little bit better over time, the price stays the same. So, once again Amazon has two affordable tablets that are actually worth buying. But which should you go for?

1 day ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 rumors: Release date, specs, price, and features!

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 rumors: Release date, specs, price, and features!

This will probably be the Android tablet to buy in 2018.

Android tablets are pretty much MIA in 2018. Huawei's got a few different models to check out and Amazon's still pushing its Fire lineup, but that's about it.

Within the next couple of months or so, however, Samsung will once again throw its hat in this ring with the Galaxy Tab S4 — a successor to last year's Galaxy Tab S3. Here's what we know about the device so far!

The latest Galaxy Tab S4 news

July 17, 2018 — Snapdragon 835, 10.5-inch 16:10 display, and more revealed in full spec leak

If you've been waiting for a huge Galaxy Tab S4 spec dump, today's your lucky day.

The folks at SamMobile recently got their hands on a full specification lowdown for the tablet, and as we were expecting, this will be one of the most powerful Android tablets you can buy in 2018.

Starting first with the display, the Tab S4 will have a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio and 2560 x 1600 resolution. Under the hood is the Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 7,300 mAh battery.

Other specs include Bluetooth 5.0, 13MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, Samsung DeX support, and Android 8.1 Oreo.

July 11, 2018 — Galaxy Tab S4 shown off in white w/ keyboard and pen accessories

A little over a week since that first render was released, Evan Blass how now taken to Twitter to share two more pictures of the Tab S4.

The first of the two photos (the one at the very top of this article) shows the Tab S4 in what's likely a first-party keyboard cover next to an official pen/stylus.

The other render gives us another look at the back of the tablet, this time showing it in a white paint job.

July 2, 2018 — First render reveals the Tab S4's design

Thanks to the renders sent into AndroidHeadlines, we now have our very first look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.

To not much surprise, this looks a lot like a modernized version of the Tab S3. There's a single camera on the back, large display up front, and what appears to be a metal or glass design.

Although nothing's radically different, one of the biggest changes compared to last year can be seen with the shrunken bezels. The Tab S4 appears to make even better use of its screen, and while it's not entirely bezel-less, this is still a big step in the right direction.

Also different is the absence of a physical home button. The Tab S3's button doubled as a fingerprint sensor, so when it comes to biometric authentication, we're probably looking at Samsung's iris scanning rather than an in-display fingerprint sensor.

All the big details

What specs are we anticipating?

Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablets typically come equipped with top-of-the-line specifications, and with the tab S4, that's no different.

The below specs are what we're anticipating thanks to the rumor mill, and while Samsung has confirmed none of them, we're reasonably sure this is what we'll be seeing when the Tab S4 is announced.

Spec Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Specs Operating system Android 8.1 Oreo Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Screen 10.5-inch 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED panel
16:10 aspect ratio RAM 4GB LPDDR4X Storage 64GB Cameras 13MP rear
8MP front Battery 7,300 mAh Connectivity USB 3.1
3.5mm headphone jack
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac Security Iris scanning

When will the Galaxy Tab S4 be released?

Similar to the upcoming Galaxy Watch, there are two possibilities as to when we'll get our first official look at the Galaxy Tab S4.

Samsung's holding an event on August 9 to announce the Note 9, and while there's a chance we could see the Tab S4 here, I bet that Samsung will keep this event exclusive for Note 9 talk.

Instead, I think it's more likely that the Tab S4 will be unveiled during IFA. This is also where Samsung will probably announce the Galaxy Watch and the trade show's scheduled to take place between August 31 and September 5.

How much will it cost?

As great of a tablet as the Tab S3 was, we were never fans of its $599 asking price.

Samsung was clearly trying to compete with the iPad Pro with that pricing, but in 2018, I can't imagine anyone willing to hand over $600+ for an Android tablet.

Since the specs for the Tab S4 are still up in the air, it's difficult to say what the price tag will look like. If Samsung's once again trying to target the iPad Pro market, we could be looking at something between $600 and $650. If it wants to instead go for the regular iPad, it'll likely be priced around $350 or so.

Updated July 17, 2018: Added a spec sheet based on current rumors.

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2 days ago

A $79 Kindle Paperwhite is a killer Prime Day deal

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A $79 Kindle Paperwhite is a killer Prime Day deal

A Paperwhite is the best invention since Gutenberg's press.

I love to read. I try to read at least two books each week and don't limit myself to any specific genre — I just like to lose myself in a good book or two. And I've found the best way to read if you love reading as much as I do is with a Kindle Paperwhite.

I've been unfaithful to my Paperwhite in the past, thinking I had little desire to keep yet another device charged and up to date and that my phone was a good enough experience that I'd not miss it. And I was wrong. A Paperwhite, with its spectacular e-ink screen, not only feels like a real book but looks even better. E-ink is probably not the right type of display for a phone (sorry Yota) or a smartwatch (sorry Pebble) but when it comes to looking at page after page of words and enjoying it, the contrast and unique screen lighting of a Kindle Paperwhite really is the best thing to happen for book lovers since Gutenberg. You'll know this is true once you take a Paperwhite outside.

Here are all of the best Prime Day 2018 deals

Amazon's Kindle experience and ecosystem are also pretty good. Once you forget about DRM and how Amazon will do whatever it can to lock you into their store (every online bookstore seems to want this) you'll realize that any book you would want to read is probably available at the touch of a button. If it's not, you can also easily import your favorite DRM-free books into your library just by placing them on the Kindle via the USB cable. And if you're a voracious reader, Amazon's KindleUnlimited service lets you read (or listen to if you're into Audiobooks)your choice of millions of titles any time you like for $10 per month.

Get the black version if you'll be reading outside — your eyes will thank me.

As I mentioned, I strayed and thought I no longer wanted to continue my affair with my old Paperwhite. Too many things to keep charged is a real thing, and I foolishly decided to drop a device that only needed charging every week or so and put the Paperwhite on the shelf with the rest of my unloved tech. It didn't stay there long: kids and spouses tend to make quick work of grabbing something good that never should have been abandoned. I've been meaning to grab a new Paperwhite when I caught one on sale and Prime Day made it easy.

You can get a Kindle Paperwhite with Amazon's "Special Offers" — ads on your lock screen and a banner on the home page — for just $79.99 today. That's saving you $40. If you like to read, you won't get something this nice at this price until next year.

See at Amazon

1 week ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 leaks with keyboard cover and stylus

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 leaks with keyboard cover and stylus

Up close and personal with Samsung's next tab.

It's no secret that Samsung's working on the Galaxy Tab S4, and thanks to tipster Evan Blass on Twitter, we have yet another render of the device — this time showing it off in a white paint job and with a couple of its official accessories.

Starting first with the white color, it looks like it'll only be visible from the back and frame of the tablet. Samsung's sticking with black bezels on the front of the Tab S4, and depending on your personal preference, that's either a job well-done or a huge eyesore.

These renders also showcase what's likely a first-party keyboard cover from Samsung and a stylus. While the overall design is mostly the same, the Tab S4's stylus appears to be shiner and drops the pen clip found on the one offered with the Tab S3.

We still aren't sure when the Galaxy Tab S4 will be announced or how much it'll cost, but with IFA coming up this August, that's likely where we'll see Samsung unveil all of these important details.

Are you looking forward to a new Samsung tablet?

Best Android Tablets in 2018

2 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 shown off in render with much slimmer bezels

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 shown off in render with much slimmer bezels

Samsung's new tablet is ditching the physical home button.

It's been well over a year since the Galaxy Tab S3 was released, and at some point this year, we're expecting Samsung to follow it up with the Tab S4. Thanks to a new render from Android Headlines, we have a pretty good idea as to what the thing will look like.

Right off the bat, one of the most notable changes from the Tab S3 is the display. The bezels have been slimmed down considerably, and along with more display area, this will also likely result in a tweaked aspect ratio now that the screen's being stretched to cover more space.

We can see a front-facing camera at the very top with a couple of other sensors (iris scanning?), and unlike all previous Galaxy Tab devices, the Tab S4 will not have a physical home button.

On the back is a single rear camera with an LED flash below it and the right side of the tablet is home to the power/lock button and volume rocker. There's also an icon for what appears to be representing a wireless connection near the top right of the screen, hinting that the Tab S4 will get an LTE-equipped model.

The date on the lock screen shows Friday, August 24, and seeing as how IFA 2018 officially begins on August 31 with press conferences starting a few days before that, that's likely where Samsung will formally take the wraps off this thing.

All that's fine and dandy, but is anyone still interested in Android tablets in mid-2018? Let me know in the comments below.

I, for one, am totally OK with Chromebooks replacing Android tablets

2 weeks ago

Why Android is vital to Microsoft's software and services strategy

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Why Android is vital to Microsoft's software and services strategy

Android and is now a key player in Microsoft's overall software and services strategy — and that's a good thing for Microsoft.

When Microsoft announced that it was stepping away from its smartphone efforts, there were quite a few of us who were worried about how we'd continue to remain invested in Microsoft's ecosystem without being able to carry Windows around in our pockets. But it ultimately allowed Microsoft to invest in bringing ecosystem synergy to more users than ever before.

Microsoft is embracing its own ecosystem on Android and iOS, and frankly, this is an amazing idea that is paying off well. No longer does Microsoft have to rely on Windows to ensure people to use its software and services on mobile devices. These services are now available wherever the user is, rather than Microsoft expecting the user to switch platforms to enjoy those software and services.

With Android in particular, Microsoft has an opportunity to finally realize its vision of total synergy across your PC and smartphone. Android has over a billion users, a large percentage of which likely use Windows. It's wise of Microsoft to capitalize on this.

Investment is key

Microsoft has always had apps available on rival platforms, but not in the way it does today. Windows users new to Android used to have no real reason to invest in anything Microsoft on Android. It made more sense for people to invest in Google's ecosystem, which was already platform agnostic. But Google can only do so much in bringing synergy to its ecosystem across PC and phone. Microsoft, on the other hand, is in a unique position to make this experience truly great with features like Timeline, Cloud Clipboard, Cortana, and Your Phone.

On Android, Microsoft has a lot more freedom to dig its claws into the platform and integrate its software and services for better synergy with your PC. The Microsoft Launcher, for example, lets users share basically anything on your phone with a PC via "Continue on PC." Photos or documents can be easily sent to your PC from your phone. Cloud Clipboard will also let you share copied content across devices, minimizing yet another barrier between your PC and phone.

With Timeline, users will be able to resume activities they started on either their PC or phone on any device that's logged in with a Microsoft account. Everything from web browsing to Word documents will be curated by Timeline, and it will let users go back 30 days to resume content they were previously looking at or working on. Even Android apps can get involved, letting content be resumed across a Windows 10 app and an Android app, if the developer supports it.

The biggest tie-in will come in the shape of Your Phone, which will let PC users see what's going on with their phone without even needing to pick up the phone in the first place. Your Phone will curate all notifications that come in and allow you to interact with them directly from your PC. It'll even show you missed notifications so that you don't ever have to lift your phone when working on a Windows device.

Vital synergy

Windows being able to talk to and interact with Android like this is super cool, and it is a vital part of keeping Windows relevant in a market that is dominantly mobile. Microsoft simply couldn't afford to continue to expect users to switch to Windows phone if they wanted to experience Microsoft software and services anymore. Now, users don't have to switch and can enjoy a better Windows 10 experience because of that.

There's no real reason for anybody to use Outlook or Office on Android if there's no ecosystem or synergy for the user to benefit from. Windows isn't as relevant as it used to be, and the only way it can stay relevant is by bringing the best of Windows and Microsoft to Android.

Google and Apple both have their own ecosystems, and since they have their own mobile platforms, they are in a better position to tie in their ecosystems with users who use their phones. Google only really has leverage on the smartphone form-factor, however. Google can't do much to make your phone work better with your PC, because it doesn't have a PC OS that's in use by a significant market.

Apple does have a PC platform, but it's nowhere near as "popular" as Windows. Most Android users are also Windows users, meaning Microsoft is in a unique position. And that is a real opportunity for Microsoft.

What are your thoughts on using Android with Windows and the Microsoft ecosystem? Let us know in the comments.

2 weeks ago

Amazon's Show Mode docks turn the Fire HD 8 and 10 into Echo Shows

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Amazon's Show Mode docks turn the Fire HD 8 and 10 into Echo Shows

There's also a new Fire HD 10 Kids Edition tablet.

Alexa seems to have invaded just about all of Amazon's hardware products, including its Fire HD tablets. Hands-free Alexa functionality was rolled out to the Fire HD 10 last year, and following up on those efforts, Amazon's now releasing something called "Show Mode."

Show Mode will be available on the Fire HD 8 and 10 as part of an over-the-air update on July 2, and once it's enabled, Show Mode will essentially turn your tablet into a portable Echo Show.

With this on, you'll be able to ask Alexa to show you the weather, get lyrics to your favorite songs on Prime Music, start a video call with friends and family, and more. All of the same visual elements from the Echo Show and Spot are present with Show Mode, and to help you get the absolute most out of the new feature, Amazon's also launching Show Mode Charging Docks for both the Fire HD 10 and 8 that'll keep your device juiced up and automatically enable Show Mode once the tablet is docked.

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The charging docks aren't required to use Show Mode, but they are a nice touch that should make the whole experience feel a little more complete. Also, if you've got a Fire HD 8, you'll need to be connected to power in order to use Show Mode.

Additionally, Amazon also announced its new Fire HD 10 Kids Edition tablet. Similar to other Kids Edition tablets Amazon's released, the 10-inch variant comes with a fully-featured Fire HD 10 tablet, rugged kid-proof case, two-year "worry-free" guarantee, and a free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited.

If you're interested in any of this, here's what pricing for Amazon's new toys looks likes:

See at Amazon

Amazon Fire tablets

See more at Amazon

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1 month ago

HP Chromebook X2 review: Great Chromebook, better Android tablet

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HP Chromebook X2 review: Great Chromebook, better Android tablet

The first detachable Chromebook is here, and it's more than worth your consideration.

Chromebooks — and Chrome OS as a whole — have been going through a growth spurt over the last few years. Conversely, Android tablets are still around, but it's clear that Google is aiming for low-cost Chromebooks to take over this space. Convertible Chromebooks are already plentiful and inexpensive enough to fill this gap, but these don't necessarily make good tablets.

Android Central Choice Award

Yes, you can spin them around and use them in portrait mode. Yes, Android applications on Chromebooks have come a long way — essentially feeling like native applications at this point.

But the extra weight that comes with a keyboard makes it hard to use them in tablet mode for hours and hours while you watch Netflix or read a book. And having your hand grip a keyboard deck instead of a smooth surface — as minor as this sounds — contributes to knowing you're not actually using a tablet.

So what's the solution? Read on.

HP Chromebook X2

Price: $599.99

Bottom line: This is the first detachable Chromebook, and it sets a high bar for competing devices.

The Good

  • Lightweight in tablet mode
  • Rock solid when used as a laptop
  • More than powerful enough for most Chrome OS users
  • Better than average battery life
  • Gorgeous, vibrant display

The Bad

  • No backlit keyboard
  • Only 32GB of internal storage
  • Higher-specced options are nowhere to be found

See at Best Buy

Acer announced (but has yet to release) the first Chrome OS tablet in March, and HP shortly followed with the first Chrome OS detachable: the HP Chromebook X2.

I've been using the HP Chromebook X2 as my main device since June 4, both with my personal account and the G Suite account for my day job. In this time, there has been one software update, but this was a minor bug fix update.

HP Chromebook X2 What's included

Unlike competing devices like the Surface Pro and the iPad Pro, the Chromebook X2 includes everything you need in the box. The keyboard is attached to the screen when you remove it from the box, and the pen is packed in its own plastic packaging. Unscrew the battery housing for the pen, pop in the included AAAA battery, and start using the pen — no pairing required.

Also included is a 45-watt USB-C charger, though the X2 will gladly charge from any USB-PD charger or power bank. With a 45-watt charger, it can go from completely drained to full in about an hour and a half.

HP Chromebook X2 The insides

The Chromebook X2 is powered by a 7th generation Intel Core m3-7Y30 processor and 4GB of RAM, with 32GB of internal storage. The processor is a fanless, low-power model — perfect for Chromebooks. That storage is expandable via microSD, and you can always hook up a USB-C flash drive for portable storage. Since all of the ports are on the screen portion of the device, it's too thin for USB-A ports. 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 are here to connect you to the net and your wireless accessories.

HP Chromebook X2 The outsides

The display is the exact same panel that's been used in the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro and the Google Pixelbook. This is a 2400x1600 display — meaning it has the excellent 3:2 aspect ratio — and just like those earlier devices, the display is gorgeous. I have 20/20 vision, and I struggle to see any pixels, even when the display is close to my face. Colors are accurate and vibrant, making videos and comic art pop.

The HP Chromebook X2 next to the Google Pixelbook.

This display is surrounded by a healthy bezel — not as large as on the Pixelbook, but still enough to comfortably hold the tablet portion without accidentally touching the screen. Touch response is excellent; there's no delay between tapping the screen and an action occurring. The reflective HP logo on the bottom bezel is a bit distracting at first, but I've since gotten used to it.

The side of the tablet portion is trimmed in reflective silver, while the back is stark white with a reflective HP logo. The white portion has already picked up a few faint blue marks from going into and out of my backpack, so be warned about scuffs. The keyboard is black on the bottom and blue on the top with a faux leather texture. This is the only color option currently, so if you want a different look, you'll need to hope some company make a skin. There are two obnoxious stickers on the keyboard when first opening the device, but these are removed easily enough.

While I prefer plain designs — just see the skin on my Pixelbook — I have to say I don't mind these colors. The design is distinct without being gaudy, and you wouldn't confuse this for any other laptop.

HP Chromebook X2 What it's like to use as a laptop

If you've ever used a Chromebook, the experience of setting up and using this will be very familiar. Even if you've never used a Chromebook, you'll be able to pick up and use this without any issues. The whole unit is a bit top heavy since all of the components are inside the screen, but you'll have no problems using it as a laptop. And I do mean a LAPtop: the hinge is stiff enough to hold the tablet portion upright, meaning you'll be able to use it on your lap without any worry. Contrast this with the Surface Pro, which uses a kickstand for stability. The kickstand is fine on a table, less so in a lap. The hinge opens up to about 120-degrees, so you want the screen flat on a table, you'll need to detach the screen.

The hinge is absolutely solid, making this natural to use in your lap.

The keyboard uses the same layout as every other Chromebook (minus the Pixelbook) — again making this familiar for return Chrome OS users. The keys themselves are well spaced with good travel, and after a few minutes to adjust to how much force the keys need, I was spitting out words like it was nobody's business. The trackpad gives you enough space for navigation gestures, with great tracking and a satisfying click. There are precious few trackpads I can use without reaching for an external mouse, and the trackpad on the Chromebook X2 is one of them. The whole keyboard deck communicates with the rest of the components over the POGO pins, so no need to worry about pairing or interference from a Bluetooth connection.

This is the first Chromebook with a 7th-generation Intel Core m3 processor, but there aren't drastic differences between that architecture and that of the 6th-generation processors. I was able to write, load up a bunch of web pages, drive an external monitor, all without any slowdowns. The Pixelbook may be a better match for those that are going to use hardcore Linux apps, but these specs will suffice for nearly every other Chromebook user.

The newer generation processors are a bit more battery efficient than previous ones, and that reflected in my use. I could comfortably get 10 to 12 hours of use from the Chromebook X2 with five or six tabs open, browsing web pages and typing up documents in Google Docs, and about 75% brightness. Video watching nets me about the same life, while the battery seems to last forever when reading books and comics. I compare this to seven or so hours of similar use on my Pixelbook, which is just low enough to necessitate a mid-day recharge.

HP Chromebook X2 What it's like to use as a tablet

Getting rid of the weight of the keyboard goes a long way towards making this comfortable to use as a tablet.

As a detachable, the Chromebook X2 is much lighter when used as a tablet compared to every other Chromebook. The Pixelbook and Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro weigh in at 2.4 lbs, while the screen of the HP Chromebook X2 comes in at 1.6 pounds. This may not sound like a huge difference, but after hours of comic-reading or in-bed Netflix, you'll absolutely be able to tell a difference.

The lighter weight translates to being able to comfortably use the device as a tablet for longer periods of time. Reading books, doodling with the pen, or watching shows on Netflix are all super easy, and it's great to be immersed in the 12.3-inch screen.

HP Chromebook X2 Other odds and ends

Both USB-C ports can be used for charging, display-out and transferring data. A USB-C port on each side is great, since it cuts down on cable clutter. The 3.5mm headphone jack is present and accounted for, and can be used for microphone input. The power button is thoughtfully placed on the top left edge, meaning you won't accidentally press it when using the device in portrait orientation.

The cameras are… present. The camera interface on Chromebooks has improved a bit over the last year, adding the option for video recording and the ability to switch between front and rear cameras. But the camera interface on Android has grown a lot in the same time, with the addition of Motion Photos and Google Lens. You can use the Google Lens Android app, but this doesn't present information in the camera viewfinder. Here's hoping we see more capabilities for cameras in Chrome OS.

HP Chromebook X2 The bad parts

My main gripe with this device is that HP initially said it would have a backlit keyboard, but it doesn't. As familiar as I am with the Chrome OS keyboard layout, I still need to look down at the keys sometimes. The lack of a backlit keyboard is a huge mark against this device, especially at this price. Both the Asus C302 and the refreshed Samsung Chromebook Pro offer a backlit keyboard for less money.

And while I'm fine with the 32GB of internal storage, others won't be. Android apps can't take advantage of microSD cards just yet, so this low amount of storage will be limiting for those that want to download Netflix shows offline or download large Android games.

I also wish there was an LTE option. Tethering from my phone's Internet connection is fine, but having the option for integrated LTE would be nice to save my phone's battery. Integrated LTE would also mean users could just open the device and get to work, rather than wait to connect to their phone or connect to unsafe public Wi-Fi points.

HP Chromebook X2 Alternatives

If you're staying within the Chrome OS world, there aren't any other detachables yet. If you don't care about being able to detach this and use it as a tablet, you can either save money by buying the Samsung Chromebooks or new Acer Chromebooks, or get more power and storage with the Pixelbook.

If you're not tied to Chrome OS, then the iPad Pro and Surface Pro are also excellent alternatives, with the iPad leaning more towards being a tablet and the Surface leaning more towards being a full laptop.

HP Chromebook X2 Should you buy it?

If you loved using high-end Android tablets like the Pixel C as an on-the-go productivity device, a detachable like this is a natural next step as high-end Android tablets fade away. A full desktop browser will go a long way to making you even more productive than a tablet could anyway, with all the Android apps you've been using.

If you want a Chrome OS tablet, this is the only option until Acer actually releases their tablet. Even then, this is a more complete device by including a keyboard in the box. This can be your one portable device by having the full keyboard, full desktop browser, and some productivity apps. At the same time, this can also be a great consumption device by removing the keyboard and curling up to read a book.

4.5 out of 5

Unless something comes along to drastically improve on this device (like a backlit keyboard), I can see this being my daily driver for a long time to come.

See at Best Buy

1 month ago

Huawei MediaPad M5 now available in the U.S. for $319 and up

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Huawei MediaPad M5 now available in the U.S. for $319 and up

You can buy it at Amazon and Newegg.

Android tablets are an ugly duck in 2018, with most OEMs leaving them in the dust to focus on bigger and better things. Huawei is one of the few companies that continues to kick out Android-powered tabs, and its latest series — the MediaPad M5 — is now available in the United States.

We got an early look at the MediaPad M5 during MWC in February, and it's available in 8.4-inch and 10.8-inch flavors. No matter which screen size you choose, the M5 tablets are powered by Huawei's own Kirin 960 processor and 4GB RAM with 64GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card).

You'll also find a 13MP camera on the back of the tablets, an 8MP front-facing one, and Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.0.

Both models also share the same resolution of 2560 x 1600 despite their different screen sizes, but the 10.8-inch model has a much larger battery at 7,500 mAh compared to the 8.4-inch one's 5,100 mAh unit.

If you're interested, The MediaPad M5 8.4-inch costs $319 while the 10.8-inch model goes for $359. Huawei's also selling a Pro variant of the 10.8-inch M5 ($449) that comes with the Huawei M Pen Stylus and a keyboard dock that enables a custom desktop UI to help you stay as productive as can be.

The MediaPad M5 is available now from Amazon and Newegg.

See at Amazon

1 month ago

Best Android Tablets in 2018

Best Android Tablets in 2018

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1
Pixel C
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0
Amazon Fire HD 8
Amazon Fire HD 10

Why trust us? We're a virtual company that's always on the move. That means we use tablets for everything — from watching shows and playing games to getting work done. These are the best Android tablets you can buy.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 offers the best overall Android tablet experience, with a big screen, high-end specs, a stylus, and support for a full keyboard. It's expensive, and not the right pick for anyone who wants a smaller and more portable tablet, but as an all-around device it can't be beat.

Our Pick

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Amazon — $475

The best Android tablet for most people

This is Samsung's best-ever tablet, and a single device that can do it all. It's built extremely well, with a metal frame and glass back that looks great and feels worthy of the price. It has high-end specs to handle anything you could throw at it, and easily has the best display of any Android tablet. There are super-loud speakers, a stylus in the box and support for a detachable keyboard that make the Tab S3 an all-around performer for work and play.

Who should buy this tablet

The two most important things to have in a full-size Android tablet are a great screen, loud speakers, strong build quality and software that makes use of the extra screen size. That's what makes the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 the best Android tablet.

An amazing screen from Samsung is no surprise. The 9.7-inch 2048x1536 Super AMOLED on the Tab S3 carries on the tradition, and it's simply the best display on a tablet. Android and Samsung mesh to provide a great software experience, and the new S Pen stylus with 4096-level pressure sensitivity makes taking notes or producing digital artwork a breeze. Add on the optional keyboard to get some typing done, or just prop it up to watch a movie with that great screen and loud speakers.

Is it a good time to buy this tablet?

Yes. The Galaxy Tab S3 was released in March 2017, making it over a year old now, but we've seen over the years that these devices don't need to be updated and refreshed every single year. The specs inside make the Tab S3 plenty capable even in mid-2018, and there's nothing you'd be looking to do on a tablet that it can't handle. We don't expect it to be replaced with a new version until early 2019.

7 reasons to buy

  • Best screen available on an Android tablet
  • S Pen stylus included in the box
  • Robust and beautiful metal-and-glass frame
  • Recently updated to Android 8.0 Oreo
  • First-party detachable keyboard support
  • Quality speakers
  • Extras like a fingerprint sensor

2 reasons not to buy

  • Expensive if you're only a casual tablet user
  • Not really suited for portrait or handheld use for long periods

The Android tablet market is weak, but this one stands way above the rest

There aren't a lot of good Android tablets available today, particularly in the "mid-range" part of the market — so if you want a great Android tablet, you have to go to the high-end with the Galaxy Tab S3. The biggest reason why it's such a great tablet is because it's essentially a mix of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 phones, taken up to a tablet size.

That means you're getting internal specs that are way beyond the rest of the competition, with a super-fast processor, plenty of RAM, lots of storage and well-optimized software. And because it's a Samsung product, you're getting a best-in-class display and an amazing metal-and-glass build.

Because you're spending top dollar on the Tab S3, you don't have to make any compromises — you get it all. Beyond the specs, you get extras like great quad speakers, an SD card slot, a fingerprint sensor, an S Pen stylus included in the box and an optional first-party keyboard case that rivals some laptops. And despite being thin and light, it gets great battery life. If you want an Android tablet and you're wiling to spend the money, there's really nowhere else to go but the Galaxy Tab S3.

Alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

The Amazon Fire HD 10 isn't going to blow you away with speeds and feeds, nor does it have a stylus or a keyboard — that's not what it's for. Instead, it's simply the best big Android tablet for doing the basics, from watching movies and TV shows to playing some basic games. You don't get the Google Play Store or Google's great apps and services, but you also don't pay much for this solid tablet.

Runner-up

Amazon Fire HD 10

Amazon Fire HD 10

Amazon's Fire HD 10 is all about giving you the basic tablet experience that's focused on media consumption on a big screen without the extra complication (and cost) of productivity features.

See at Amazon

Not everyone wants a big tablet that can do everything, they want to stay mobile. The last-generation Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is a smaller 8-inch tablet that's focused on being light and portable rather than offering a productivity-focused experience. The screen is still good and plenty big enough for watching TV or browsing the web, but is light and small enough to hold in your hands without having to prop up on a table after 15 minutes.

Smaller

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

The Tab S2 may be a generation old, but it's still a great tablet if you want something lighter and smaller — and it still has good specs and a high-quality display.

See at Amazon

Amazon also makes the best super-inexpensive Android tablet available, the Fire HD 8. At $80 with 16GB of storage, it's an amazing deal. Like the HD 10 it doesn't have the Google Play Store or Google apps, but you're even more likely to look past that when you're spending under $100 on a tablet. This is a great choice for media consumption, browsing or handing to your kids.

Budget pick

Amazon Fire HD 8

Amazon Fire HD 8

A light and portable tablet well under $100 — there isn't much you can complain about in that equation. Better yet, it comes in four colors.

See at Amazon

Bottom line

For someone who wants the best possible Android tablet experience, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the best choice because of its high-end materials, great screen, capable software and accessory options — but you'll pay quite a bit for it, roughly $500. For those who don't need as many capabilities, the Amazon Fire HD 10 offers a good media experience but without the app support or productivity capabilities of the Galaxy Tab S3 — and it's one third of the price because of it. If you want something smaller (and also cheaper), the last-generation Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is much lighter and more portable than any other tablet, and for even less money you can pick up a Fire HD 8.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation's Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.

Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.

*/
1 month ago

Google removed the 'Tablets' section from the official Android site (Update: It's back up)

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Google removed the 'Tablets' section from the official Android site (Update: It's back up)

In case you didn't already know that Android tablets were dead.

Update, June 2: According to the SVP of Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, the section was removed accidentally during a routine update. It's back now.

Original story is below:

Android tablets have always been interesting beasts. Companies like Motorola and Samsung tried making them popular with the Xoom and Galaxy Tabs early on, and Google soon swooped in with home runs such as the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. However, due to lacking developer support and no proper optimizations for the OS on the big screen, Android tablets never caught on the way the iPad did.

It's been apparent for some time that Google's all but given up on Android tablets, but now the final nail in the coffin has been set with Google quietly removing the "Tablets" section from the official Android website.

If you visit android.com, you'll see the navigation bar pictured above. There are links to Phones, Wear, TV, Auto, and Enterprise. A Tablets button was there prior to today, but now it's nowhere to be seen.

This isn't surprising in the slightest considering that Google's last tablet was the overpriced Pixel C from 2015, and the quiet removal from the Android site without any big announcement goes to show that Google knows no one really cares about Android tablets and haven't for some time.

So long and farewell, Android tabs. You were never really amazing, but we'll still miss you (kind of, but not really).

Here's to Chrome OS tabs 🍻

I, for one, am totally OK with Chromebooks replacing Android tablets

2 months ago

Chromebook vs. iPad: Closer than ever to being actual computers

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Chromebook vs. iPad: Closer than ever to being actual computers

The future of Chrome OS is to compete with the iPad, but it's a long fight.

It should be abundantly clear by now that Android tablets are never going to catch on. Instead, it looks more and more like Google is positioning Chrome OS with Android apps to fill that space. Chromebooks have been tremendously successful in the quest to replace the traditional computer over the last couple of years, especially in school settings. At the same time, Apple's iPads are the only reason the tablet market continues to exist today. Lots of people own iPads, and many claim these tablets are just fine as a replacement for a computer.

To get a feel for what Chrome OS and iOS offer people who want an alternative to their computer, I spent a week using nothing but a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with a keyboard cover and an Acer Chromebook R13 Convertible. While I didn't find either of them to be a computer replacement for me, in many ways both Google and Apple are damn close.

Hardware

While Chromebooks come in a lot of different options, from a lot of different companies, including soon a keyboard-free tablet form factor, these machines are by and large an inexpensive PC. Google offers the premium Pixelbook for those eager to shell out that much money, but most of the time what you are buying is a fairly standard laptop or convertible with a unique operating system on board.

You can find decent Chromebooks for not a lot of money, whereas the cheapest iPad and keyboard costs close to $400.

This Acer model is an excellent lower-end Chromebook with a fair look at what you can expect from most Chromebooks, by which I mean it's an OK laptop with an okay-ish experience. The body has tons of ports, so I can attach a flash drive or a printer or a microSD card if I want. The display, speakers, and camera are ok but not exceptional in any way. The keyboard is nice for a laptop keyboard, but the trackpad is pretty gross compared to just about everything. The convertible hinge makes flipping between laptop and tablet super easy, and the design is just bulky enough to convince me it will survive a drop or two without any serious damage.

Where this machine really stands out is the battery. Rated for 48Wh, this battery gets me through two full work days before it needs to be charged. And since it charges via USB-C, I can charge it with the same cable and battery and wall plug I use with my phone.

Apple's iPad Pro comes in two sizes, and choosing between the two has everything to do with how you intend to use it. I did not need the 12-inch version, but the smaller 10.5-inch iPad Pro travels with me quite well. It's super thin and ridiculously light, with a beautiful display and surprisingly loud speakers. The only port is the Lightning port on the bottom, and the headphone jack is at the top, but there are adapters for connecting flash drives if you need one.

USB-C charging makes all the difference.

To type on this, I need to attach the $160 Smart Keyboard or try to use the virtual keyboard. Imagine the stuff on the outside of a regular iPad cover over a set of small keys, and you've got some idea of how this feels. The individual keys are decently spaced apart, making typing even on the smaller keyboard surprisingly comfortable. The wedge design lets you comfortably use the iPad like a laptop on your lap, but it removes the ability to control the angle the screen sits. There are other cases which offer a little more flexibility, but they're not nearly as lovely as this keyboard.

Battery life on the iPad Pro 10.5 is enough to get me through a work day, but not usually enough to get me through much more than that. Apple claims the 30.4Wh battery in this model will get you up to 10 hours of use, but when you've got more than one app running on this machine that battery drains quite a bit faster. The good news is you can charge these iPads fairly quickly with a USB-C to Lightning cable and a Rapid Charging adapter. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't include either in the box with the iPad Pro 10.5, and the included charger isn't particularly fast.

Software

Apps rule the world these days, but there's a lot of discussion around how much "work" you can do in an app-only ecosystem. Many of the apps Chromebooks and iPads have access to were designed with Android phones or iPhone in mind, and not built to support a workflow where you're using the app for hours on end to get a big project done, right? These days this is less true than you might think, but there are still some usability issues with both platforms.

Chromebooks started out by giving you Chrome as the only interface, and nothing else. This works for several groups of people, since so much if done in the browser these days anyway. Recent builds of Chrome have way more features, including offline mode for people who aren't connected to WiFi and access to a vast majority of Android apps available in the Google Play Store. This means I can use the mobile version of Adobe Lightroom, which gives me the ability to edit RAW photos and syncs everything back to my desktop. While it's not exactly as capable of the Desktop Lightroom, it's way better than most alternatives. Having access to a full desktop browser is something you don't get on mobile devices, no matter what platform you use. When you add Android apps to this, you get a healthy mix of usability options.

It's common to dismiss iPad as just big iPhones, but when you attach that Smart Keyboard and dig into apps you get quite a few features that don't exist on the phone yet.

For example, instead of letting Slack and Trello live in browser tabs on Chrome OS, I can give them their own windows and let them run as Android apps. These windows snap in place quickly so I can switch between them with a tap or a click, and everything I see on the screen is running in the foreground. I can control how big each window is on the screen, offering up quite a bit of flexibility in setting up my experience. I can get crazy and have 10 apps open on my desktop, or keep it simple and focus on getting work done.

Unfortunately, a lot of this experience disappears when you turn the Chromebook into a tablet. When the keyboard goes away, Chrome OS turns all of the Android apps into full-screen apps, which means I now have a big clumsy 13-inch Android tablet that also has Chrome. This is not ideal, and something Google is working to fix in the next couple of Chrome OS updates. Updates, by the way, are one of best things about Chrome OS. They are constantly rolling out, install with the greatest of ease, and every Chromebook gets the update as soon as it is available.

It's common to dismiss iPad as just big iPhones, but when you attach that Smart Keyboard and dig into apps, you get quite a few features that don't exist on the phone yet. Apple has implemented split window support on iPads so that you can run two apps in side-by-side windows. When these apps are stuck to one another, they stay stuck even when you leave the apps to run something else. You can come back to those apps days later, and they will both be there just as you left them. In some cases, apps that are stuck side-by-side like this have file sharing features to make it easy to send things from one app to another.

You can also combine split window with picture-in-picture, which means I can have a video playing in the corner while I'm photo editing and keeping up with my co-workers in our group chat. Suddenly the app-driven experience that was once limited to a single app on the screen at a time is now running three apps simultaneously with adjustable app sizes for each. On a 10-inch screen, that's a lot to have running all at once and easily dismisses any feelings that this experience isn't a "real" computer while using it.

But it's not perfect. For starters, very few apps support all of these features. The Apple apps will, of course, but deviating from that frequently causes problems. Splitting the screen with another app required a lot of trial and error, as well as having the app in my dock for convenient switching. Not every video app supports picture-in-picture either, which causes other problems. It's not a universal experience, and that means you have to work to find the apps which support the workflow you want to create.

Summing it all up

I reject the "real work" argument against Chromebooks and iPads, but there's a lot of improvements needed to make these experiences feel polished. If Google is planning to go all in with Chromebooks as tablets, the software needs to be a lot more flexible in that tablet mode. Before I reach for an iPad to take with me as my only computer, I need a way to know what apps are optimized for my workflow before figuring out the hard way. The irony of my conclusion isn't lost on me; iPads make great tablets which sort of make OK computers in a pinch, where Chromebooks make great laptops which sort of make ok tablets in a pinch.

But if I were to choose between the two experiences right now, I'd go Chromebook without hesitation. Having access to a full desktop browser is a huge deal, and the things you can do in that browser on a Chromebook simply can't be done on an iPad. Being able to create my own filenames shouldn't be something that requires a hacky workaround, but Apple has no native solution for this seemingly obvious thing. Safari on the iPad still opens many websites in mobile view by default, and when the answer to that problem is "just use the app" there needs to be a guarantee that app isn't also offering a mediocre experience.

Take a look at the best Chromebooks you can buy today!

2 months ago

Best Keyboards for Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

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Best Keyboards for Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

The Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the few high-end Android tablets left. Here's how to turn it into a productivity machine!

High-end Android tablets may not be so common these days, but Samsung is one of the few manufacturers still offering a high-end option with its Galaxy Tab S3. But sometimes you need a tablet to be a bit more powerful, and that's where a keyboard comes in handy.

Here are the best keyboards for your Samsung Galaxy Tab S3!

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Keyboard Cover

Usually, the best accessories are made by the same people that made the device. That's true with Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 Keyboard Cover, which is the perfect companion for your tablet. The keyboard connects directly to pins on the keyboard, so you won't have to worry about connection issues or Bluetooth interference. The keys are well spaced out and offer a comfortable amount of travel, with dedicated buttons for search and multi-tasking. The cover itself won't be as rugged as other cases, but it'll protect against short drops.

The suggested price for this keyboard is $130, but at the time of writing Amazon has it in grey for $72.

See at Amazon

Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard

If you want a keyboard you can stick in the back of your pocket, Microsoft has you covered. The Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard can remember two Bluetooth devices, so you can switch back and forth between your tablet and your phone if need be. Turning the keyboard on and off is super easy; just open it to power it up, and close it again to shut it off. There are dedicated keys for Home, Back and Search, and the battery lasts up to three months on a single charge. When it is time to charge the keyboard, just use one of the dozens of Micro-USB cables you have lying around. One downside of this keyboard is there's no way to mount the tablet, so you'll need to pick up a tablet stand or a case with a stand built-in.

At the time of writing, the Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard is available in black for $82.

See at Amazon

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480

This keyboard from Logitech isn't as compact as Microsoft's, but has more features and a much lower price. The K480 pairs to up to three Bluetooth devices, so you can use one keyboard for your tablet, desktop, and phone. Better yet, there's an integrated cradle to hold your phone and tablet. It may not be as stable as a laptop, but it'll be much more portable. There are dedicated keys for home, multi-tasking, back, and search, as well as media control keys to keep you from blasting your mixtape for the whole coffee house. The K480 includes two AAA batteries, which should be better in the long term than an internal battery.

At the time of writing, Logitech's K480 keyboard is available in black or white for $25, though retail price is $50.

See at Amazon

EC Technology Multi-Device keyboard

If you want something even less expensive, EC Technologies has the keyboard for you. Its keyboard also remembers up to three Bluetooth devices, and includes a fold-out stand for your tablet. The stand isn't padded, so be wary of scratches. There are dedicated media keys, but no other controls for Android. The keyboard is powered by two AAA batteries, though there aren't any included in the box. The keyboard should last for three months with two hours of use per day.

At the time of writing, EC Technology's Bluetooth keyboard is available in black for $20.

See at Amazon

DREVO Calibur 71-key keyboard

A wise man once said to speak softly and carry a big stick. I say, type loudly and carry a small keyboard. The DREVO Calibur 71-key keyboard fits that bill nicely. This is a mechanical keyboard, and it offers your choice of black, blue, brown and red switches. Each switch type has its trade-offs, but I prefer the blue switches because they sound amazing and don't require much force to press. The keyboard can remember three Bluetooth devices, but can also connect to a device through the keyboard's Micro-USB port. You won't have access to any of the Android navigation keys, which is unfortunate, but the keyboard has an internal battery that charges with its Micro-USB port, and two adjustable feet to make your loud typing that much more comfortable.

At the time of writing, the DREVO Calibur keyboard is available in black for $61. There is a white version, but it is currently out of stock.

See at Amazon

What say you?

Which keyboard do you use with your Galaxy Tab S3? Let us know down below!

3 months ago

Amazon Fire Tablet 7 vs. Fire Tablet Kids Edition: Which should you buy?

17

Amazon Fire Tablet 7 vs. Fire Tablet Kids Edition: Which should you buy?

Amazon Fire 7
Amazon Fire Tablet
Amazon Fire Tablet
Fire Kids Edition
Amazon Fire Tablet
Amazon Fire 7

Amazon Fire 7

You want to get your youngsters an Amazon Fire Tablet, but which version is right for you?

The Amazon Fire Tablet 7 is a great buy at $50 (Prime members can save $15 right now, however), especially for the kids. It's capable enough to keep them entertained while not costing enough to pull your hair out if it gets accidentally destroyed. You can also get all the (non-Google) major content services on there as well as a dedicated kids mode to keep those little fingers from buying a new laptop on your Amazon account.

But when you go to buy, there's both a "regular" 7-inch and a Kids Edition, which now also has an 8-inch version. Underneath, they're both regular Amazon Fire tablets. So what's the difference, and which one should you buy?

Let's break it down.

4 months ago

Huawei's MediaPad M5 has upgraded hardware and Oreo out of the box

5

Huawei's MediaPad M5 has upgraded hardware and Oreo out of the box

MediaPad M5
MediaPad M5

MediaPad M5

Latest Android slates come in 10.8- and 8.4-inch flavors, with optional pen input and a desktop mode.

*/ /*-->*/

Your options for good, cheap Android tablets a pretty limited these days. Samsung's Tab S3 line is the go-to option for many in the West. Huawei, however, occupies the number three spot for tablet sales — after Apple and Samsung — when you look at the global numbers.

The products haven't been perfect, though. The previous-gen MediaPad M3 suffered from frustrating software issues — a consequence of the older EMUI interface — although the hardware was solid.

At Mobile World Congress 2018, Huawei returns with a by-the-numbers upgrade to the MediaPad series, bringing modest spec upgrades, a fine-tuning of design and most importantly of all, newer software based on Android 8.0 Oreo.

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