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2 months ago

From the Editor's Desk: Google I/O 2017 and beyond

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Google IO

Get ready for the most interesting I/O in years.

In just over a week's time, we'll be heading out to Mountain View for Google I/O, the annual developer conference where we'll see, in broad terms, what's next from Google. At its core, I/O is a developer conference, but it's also been a platform for other major announcements from the firm, and sometimes the occasional product launch. Looking back at last May's conference, Google foreshadowed its big push into consumer hardware with Google Home and Daydream, showed us the next evolution of Android Wear (which, incidentally wouldn't actually be ready until the following February), and laid the foundations for Android apps on Chrome OS and Instant Apps across all Android devices.

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2 months ago

Amazon's 7-inch Fire Tablet dropped to £35 again in the UK

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If a cheap, yet not terrible Android tablet is what you seek, you can do worse than Amazon's excellent 7-inch Fire Tablet. And if you're in the UK now is definitely the time to buy as Amazon has dropped the price again.

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3 months ago

Xiaomi rolls out the Mi Pad 3 with upgraded hardware, unchanged exterior

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The Mi Pad 3 delivers much-needed upgrades while retaining its affordability.

Xiaomi has rolled out an update to the 2015 Mi Pad 2, switching out the Intel SoC — which offered the ability to run both Android and Windows 10 — for a MediaTek MT8176 with two 2.1GHz Cortex A72 cores and four 1.7GHz Cortex A53 cores. The external design hasn't changed with the Mi Pad 3, and the tablet features the same 7.9-inch 2048 x 1536 screen as its predecessor.

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3 months ago

Phones with 'foldable' AMOLED displays may not debut until 2019

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Foldable OLED

Samsung Display pours cold water on prospect of a foldable Galaxy anytime soon.

Rumors of a foldable Samsung smartphone have been circulating for years, with the name "Galaxy X" doing the rounds recently to refer to a phone that opens like a book to transform into a larger, tablet-sized screen.

But comments by a leading engineer at Samsung Display — the arm of the Korean electronics giant responsible for making those screens — suggest such a device is still a couple of years off.

Technical challenges and strong demand for bezel-free panels are responsible for pushing back the 'foldable' phone.

The Korea Herald quotes Kim Tae-woong, Samsung Display's principal engineer, at the Display TechSalon in Seoul.

"Because the bezel-free display currently sells well," Kim says, "we still have enough time to develop foldable display. The technology is expected to be mature around 2019."

Kim notes that there were still some technical challenges to be overcome before foldable smartphone displays could ship in a retail product, the outlet reports, adding that single-sided foldable phones will likely arrive first. Double-sided foldable devices — where the entire surface area of both sides is basically a screen — should come later.

So unless the demand for bezel-free displays slows unexpectedly in the next year, don't expect a foldable Galaxy anytime soon. The idea of carrying around a single, super-slim device that can instantly double its screen area as needed remains exciting. But it's unlikely we'll see anything besides concept demonstrations from Samsung for the next couple of years.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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3 months ago

For a limited time you can grab the Fire Tablet for just $39

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time making the Fire Tablet even more affordable!

Right now you can pick up Amazon's Fire Tablet for just $39, a savings of $10 from its regular price. Even at $49 this thing is an incredible value, so being able to save an additional $10 on it makes it an even easier purchase. The tablet features a 7-inch IPS display, a 1.3GHz processor and now works with Amazon's Alexa cloud-based voice service. There are tons of great apps, games and more that are completely free through Amazon Underground, so you won't have any shortage of content here.

Amazon is also discounting the Fire HD 8 by $20 and the Fire Kids Edition by $20 as well. Storage in these tends to fill up fast, so you may want to check out some of the best microSD cards to add so you don't find yourself running low. This pricing won't last long, so be sure to pick one up before it is too late!

If you're looking for just an E-reader instead of a tablet, Amazon also has some great savings on its Kindle lineup, so be sure to check those out.

See at Amazon

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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3 months ago

How to edit the Air Command menu on the Galaxy Tab S3

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The S Pen is already pretty great. You can make it even better by customizing its companion Air Command dock.

The S Pen is the Galaxy Tab S3's most powerful trait. It features a clickable button that, when pressed while hovering the S Pen above the Tab S3's display, brings up the Air Command dock. You can program this pop-up menu window with oft-used S Pen actions or shortcuts to your favorite stylus-compatible apps.

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3 months ago

How to enable night mode on the Galaxy Tab S3

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Avoid messing up your circadian rhythm with the built-in blue-light filter.

I love to read late at night, but doing so on a backlit tablet display isn't the best idea before settling in for some shut eye. Studies have shown that the blue-hued light emitted from screens are detrimental to keeping the circadian rhythm functioning as it should.

Samsung equipped the Galaxy Tab S3 with a yellow-hued night mode so that when you're using the tablet before bed – reading digital magazines or e-books, for instance — you aren't surreptitiously telling your brain you're avoiding rest. You can set it up to automatically switch on after sundown, or toggle it on from the Quick Settings.

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3 months ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 vs. ASUS Chromebook Flip: Which one is better for productivity?

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Tthe Galaxy Tab S3 and the ASUS Chromebook Flip are exceptional as productivity machines. But one is better for productivity.

I've always been particularly dubious about whether a tablet could fulfill all my productivity needs. And that's why I purchased an ASUS Chromebook Flip: to write copy and edit photos, and then upload all that to the internet. I need to be able to do this quickly and efficiently, which is possible on Chrome OS.

I'd hoped the Galaxy Tab S3 could have shattered those preconceived notions I had about tablets since it comes bundled with a ubiquitous pressure sensitive stylus, the S Pen. But after a week with it as my secondary productivity machine, I went crawling back to my Chromebook. There are still some elements of the Android tablet interface that make it clunky to use for work, and even though Samsung's S Pen makes the Tab S3 such a pleasant experience, it's not enough that I could trust it out on the road as my only productivity device.

Scrawling is nice, but typing is faster

Typing is faster than writing.

I'd much prefer to type on the Chromebook Flip than scrawl out my notes with the Tab S3.

The Galaxy Tab S3's S Pen is incredibly convincing. It's easy to use, to wield, and to write with. You can use it to crop parts of the screen as you need to save a screenshot, or draw on parts of the screen and save that as a diagram. You can even write on the screen while it's off — sort of — and that's my favorite feature because I'm constantly scrawling throughout the day. I can even launch a new Google Keep post-it to scribble down what I need — another great feature to have, particularly if you're furiously jotting down shorthand.

But you don't need to pay the money that's required of the Tab S3 to get that sort of functionality from a tablet-like device. The Chromebook Flip flips into a tablet, which you can then use with a cheap stylus for diagram drawing. It's not as good at handwriting as the S Pen, but it is better for typing marathons; its keyboard is soft and velvety, and more comfortable to use compared to the constricted layout that's offered with the Tab S3's optional $130 keyboard.

See at Amazon

Apps are better with a desktop

The desktop can help you get more done.

The desktop can help you get more done.

Apps are a major part of the productivity realm, and thankfully, many companies have embraced the life of the mobile worker. You can find most of the Microsoft Office suite in the Google Play Store, for instance, as well as various titles from Adobe's camp. There are also apps for other services you might need for work, like VPN clients, chat applications, and collaborative boards. Since Chrome OS has adopted Android apps, these suites have also become available to the Chromebook ecosystem, though many of them also sport companion browser apps.

The Chromebook can use Android apps; Android tablets don't have the flexibility of Chrome apps.

Using Android and Chromebook apps interchangeably have made me realize that I have an easier time flipping between apps on Chrome OS not only because I have a choice between the app and the web app, but there's a desktop available for sprawling out that work. I can spread out windows and place them around as I need them to compare information between apps. I can also easily drag and drop between apps and services without having to tap a multitasking button and sifting between the apps I'm using. And though the Tab S3 employs Nougat's excellent multi-window feature, having to set up two apps side-by-side while up against a deadline is a major stressor. I can move faster on a Chromebook.

Dealing with photos

Photos aren't easy to edit on the Tab S3.

RAW photos aren't easy to manage on the Tab S3.

I'm sticking to the Chromebook Flip, primarily because it can handle a massive batch of those RAW files where the Tab S3 can't.

Neither the Galaxy Tab S3 nor the Chromebook Flip are particularly outstanding at importing a massive batch of RAW photos, but I've found that it's easier to develop a method to the madness with Chrome OS. I set up a virtual "My Documents" folder where I can store RAW files and import only the ones I need into an editing app like Polar. I also appreciate the physical sensation of dragging and dropping files around, which is possible on Chrome OS — even though the trackpad on the Chromebook Flip isn't very good.

I also tend to use a microSD card in an adapter in my DSLR, so that I can mount the card inside the Chromebook. I can do the same with the Galaxy Tab S3 and its expansion slot, but the way that Android handles SD cards means that some apps won't accept the methods of storage, and so I can't access those files or open a batch of them in an editing app.

Which is it? The Chromebook

Which one to use?

Which one to adopt for work?

I worry for my future as I'm realizing that I may be the last generation that's used to a desktop-style environment; that relies on that drag-and-drop sensation in our digital lives. Is my inability to catch on to the Tab S3's tablet interface a true folly of Android's? Or is it that I'm just not used to interface's mechanisms because that's not what I've been conditioned to use?

The answer to that lies in another story, for another time. For now, I'm sticking to the Chromebook Flip as the secondary work machine, primarily because it can handle a massive batch of those RAW files where the Tab S3 can't. Multitasking between windows is easier, too, and though the Chromebook doesn't play as nicely with a stylus, I hardly found myself missing the S Pen after putting it down.

Everyone has different needs, which is what makes the variety of technology that's available so exciting for the rest of us. My experience shouldn't deter you if you're looking to adopt a tablet-only lifestyle, and the Tab S3's S Pen capabilities may be worth the price for you. If you're an artist or a creative type who needs to physically write to be prolific, you're likely to have a better experience with Samsung's tablet than with a convertible Chromebook and some after-market stylus.

See Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 at Amazon See ASUS Chromebook Flip at Amazon

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4 months ago

The Galaxy Tab S3 is worth buying just for its S Pen

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Samsung has once again graced the tablet world with the presence of its S Pen. Here's why the Galaxy Tab S3 is worth it simply for its pressure sensitive stylus.

It's been years since a major tablet release from Samsung came bundled with a stylus. The last S Pen-equipped device was the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition (say that in one breath). But now that the Microsoft Surface and Apple iPad Pro have become mainstays with their stylus-equipped tablets, Samsung is throwing its S Pen back into the ring.

The S Pen became an attractive reason to choose a larger Galaxy Note smartphone over smaller devices, and now that technology has been bundled with the Galaxy Tab S3. If you're considering a tablet with a stylus in tow for your next purchase, here are a few reasons to consider Samsung's latest tablet over the competition.

It's compatible with a ton of apps

The most important thing to know about the S Pen is that it's compatible with any mobile application that supports the stylus input. I tested it with apps like Microsoft OneNote, Google Keep, and Adobe Draw and all three applications recognized the S Pen's pressure sensitivity, though not all of them registered it fully. Drawings apps will be more precise than productivity-focused ones, for instance, because they're programmed to recognize the nuance in the direction of the S Pen. The point is, you can get professional-grade work done with this tablet.

The Galaxy Tab S3 also comes with its own Samsung Notes, which is good for quick hits and jotting down random notes when other apps aren't immediately available. But I preferred to use the S Pen with OneNote, which is where I typically scrawl notes throughout the work day. I appreciated, too, that the S Pen's 0.7mm tip helps make it one of the most accurate styluses I've ever used.

Program it, however you like

Adobe Draw.

Maybe you don't want to use the actions set by default in the S Pen's Air Command — that's fine! You can program the Air Command menu as you like, whether to pin oft-used apps and services or to rearrange the order of some of the S Pen's default abilities. You can add up to a maximum of ten shortcuts or as few as one — the one shortcut to rule them all.

Easily translate words

Translate German.

Translate the language on screen with just a hover of the S Pen.

I like to read German website and I'm continuing my education in my parent's native language. It helps to have a built-in translation feature that doesn't require I copy and paste text into another app, as is typically the case with using Google Translate.

On the Galaxy Tab S3, you can enable a mode that translates the language on screen with just a hover of the S Pen over the word. The feature works in most apps with clear text, including Texture, the magazine reading app. I like to use this feature when I'm reading Romanian websites because then I can translate any of the words I'm stumbling on without having to translate the entire page into English. It forces me to practice.

Make animated GIFs

GIFs.

Use this feature to extract text from an image.

This isn't a necessary feature per se but it is a fun feature to have readily available. You can hover over the screen and select Smart select from the Air Command window to create an animated GIF from a non-DRM video file. It works fine with YouTube videos and most videos displayed in the tablet browser, though you won't be able to use it inside apps like Netflix and Hulu — that's considered copyrighted content.

You can also use Smart select to crop out a portion of the screen and save it as a separate image file. This is helpful if, for instance, you need to share quick information with coworkers through chat. You can even use this feature to extract text from an image and then paste it into another note taking app. These are helpful multitasking abilities to have built into the interface.

Write with the screen off

Screen off.

The Galaxy Tab S3 doesn't actually work when its screen is off, but it does come enabled with a feature that lets you easily pen a note without having to endure unlock hell. Simply grab the S Pen, click its button, tap it to the screen, and get to writing. The note will be saved in the Samsung Notes app, where you can then export it to other applications as you need. It's a good feature to have if you're living a life that's constantly on the go.

Would you like a stylus?

Would you like a stylus with your next tablet? Got any other questions about the S Pen's abilities? Sound off in the comments!

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4 months ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review: The next great Android tablet

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The Galaxy Tab S3.

The Android world has been patiently waiting for the Next Great Android Tablet. Samsung's third-gen Galaxy Tab S3 may very well be it.

The quick take

The Galaxy Tab S3 is a solid Android tablet with a high definition 9.7-inch display, a stylish metal-and-glass body, and a robust pressure-sensitive stylus that proves — yet again — what a fantastic piece of technology the S Pen really is. If only its battery life were a bit better for those of you planning to multitask the heck out of life with this tablet device in tow.

The Good

  • A bevy of multitasking software features
  • The S Pen is everything
  • Stylish hardware
  • Available with an optional, comfortable keyboard

The Bad

  • Battery life is fine when the screen isn't on
  • No water resistance
  • It's not a replacement for a laptop

See at Best Buy

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4 months ago

Android 7.1.2 beta 2 for Pixel C adds Pixel launcher, brand new multitasking interface

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Android 7.1.2 Beta for Pixel C

A great sign of cohesion for the old Pixel C getting with the times.

Android 7.1.2 beta 2 has started rolling out for Pixels and Nexuses, bringing some older devices up to speed with some new features. Sliding under the radar, at first, was the Pixel C, which actually seems to have received the largest changes. The latest beta release includes the Pixel launcher, as well as a brand new multitasking interface that makes multi-window management a bit more natural and altogether better looking.

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4 months ago

Google Assistant won't be compatible with your Android tablet any time soon

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The company has no plans to push its Assistant capabilities to tablets.

Sad news, Android tablet users. Not only are Android tablets sort of scarce these days, but Google doesn't appear to be committed to equipping them with Assistant, either.

Android Police noticed that in last month's blog post, Google avoided mentioning that any Android tablets would be seeing the update that enables Assistant on Android 6.0 and above. When the site's editors reached out to Google, they received the following response:

The Assistant will be available on Android Marshmallow and Nougat phones with Google Play Services, this does not include tablets.

It's certainly a bummer that we won't officially see Assistant on Android tablets, especially considering that some tablets tend to be considered the household computer. Wouldn't it be great to set up Assistant so that anyone who plops down on the couch can summon a Netflix binge on the living room Chromecast? (If you're especially desperate for this to happen, you can root your device and try this XDA Developers trick.)

For now, there is no word whether Google will ever bring Assistant to Android-powered tablets.

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Google Best Buy

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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4 months ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 launching March 24, pre-orders start March 17 at $599

47

It won't be cheap, but you also don't have many other options.

Initial leaks about price proved to be correct, as now we know for sure the Galaxy Tab S3 will go up for pre-order starting March 17, with in-store availability coming March 24. The price, as expected, is a smooth $599 that puts it up in the same territory as Apple's iPad lineup of the same size.

For that money you're getting Samsung's most powerful tablet yet, but also one that gets a bit closer to modern specs than previous models. The 9.7-inch display is backed up by a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 6000mAh battery with fast charging through its USB-C port, and 32GB of storage with an SD card slot as well.

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4 months ago

Which Android tablets have the best camera?

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Galaxy Tab S2

If you want an Android slate with a camera that's not a total afterthought, your only real option is Samsung's Tab S line.

The Android tablet space is kinda weird right now, ahead of major changes expected later in the year in the world of Google laptops, tablets, and convertibles. If you need an Android tablet right this second, the best options are Google's Pixel C and Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 series, soon to be superseded by the Tab S3. For more laptop-like productivity, there's Lenovo's Yoga Book. But of this subset of decent Android tablets, only Samsung's Tab S2 treats the camera as more than an afterthought.

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4 months ago

NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Tablet K1 updated with stability and crash fixes

20

It's always good to get an update, no matter how small.

NVIDIA's tablets, the much-older Shield Tablet and refreshed cheaper Shield Tablet K1, are both getting the same "software upgrade 5.1" with various fixes aimed at improving instances of crashes and instability. The pair of 8-inch tablets should download the update automatically, but you can always check manually in your settings if you're impatient.

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