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You may remember not that long ago I partnered up with Intel to try out the Acer tablet (click here for my introduction post!) – I am now working with their team again as a follow up to working with the tablet as I have just upgraded to Windows 8.1 and as the holidays approach (for those of you still on the fence about getting a tablet for yourself or someone else). You can browse the different Intel running tablets here through this link – and find the one that fits your needs and lifestyle. So you may see some bloggers out there also approaching the subject, Intel only provided the tablets, but has given us free range to explore the world of being mobile; the good, bad and ugly.
Some previous photos I had taken of my tablet (you can view the whole set here)
The upgrade to 8.1 eliminated a few annoying quirks – mainly the customization bits. It was really confusing on how to customize the start screen and home screens! You couldn’t even choose an image of your own. Now that’s possible. I also love that the Windows backgrounds behind the tiles are now have better customization and move with your swipes in a really pleasing way. It makes it kinda cool to swipe back and forth between the apps. But mainly, the upgrade has eliminated a lot of bugs that slowed down the whole thing. It runs much quicker than before. I think one of the main perks of having a Windows tablet is the ability to treat it as you would a laptop or PC with access to a desktop. You still don’t get the ability to pinch and zoom when using the desktop, which is slightly annoying after having an iPhone and using an iPad for work – but it’s a feature that Apple has patented, so I’m hoping that in the future there will be an alternative to this. In the meantime, I make the text larger when using the browser.
Down the road, these are the ways I’ve found the tablet most useful
-Reading Books – to date, this year I’ve read 51 books (last year I read 95!!) no thanks to reading them mostly in ebook form. I’ve gone on non-stop telling people to use the Overdrive function almost all libraries use now! Click here to find if your local library uses Overdrive, and click over here if you want to download the free app. The best part about Overdrive is that once you have your books downloaded, you can always reach your books even without any wi-fi! And when your due date comes up, your books will return themselves, thus you avoid any overdue fees!! aka the best thing ever. I have two library cards (one where I work and one where I live) so my e-book collection instantly becomes doubled, basically all the books in the world and not enough time to read them!
Things have changed since I wrote this comparison review of using Overdrive between an iPad and Windows tablet. The main thing being that they have finally enabled a setting that lets you sinc your bookmarks across all devices. When I have this featured turned on I can read on my iPhone (which I do quite a bit when I’m waiting in line somewhere or in bed at night), and then if I open up the same book while I’m on my tablet on the couch or maybe at a coffee shop, it will ask me to move ahead to where I bookmarked it last (as long as there’s internet available).
-Browsing internet – I have a Chrome browser installed on mine, and when you sign into Chrome with your Google account, it saves your links and bookmarks across all interfaces. So the browser I see on my laptop is the same one I get on the tablet, no need to shuffle around looking for links or bookmarks! I took the tablet to my parent’s home with me over Thanksgiving break, and I had bookmarked a Dropbox link with lots of photos my boyfriend had taken of my sister’s wedding back in August. I was able to open the link up in Chrome through the tablet and share it with my mom instantly while we sat on the couch together. My mom grew up in another country and without computers and I was able to show her how to swipe to see all the pictures. Which is something I don’t think she could have accomplished if I had asked her to pull up to a computer and use a mouse to click on X,Y, Z…
-Drawing – as someone that loves using the regular old Paint feature that Windows offers, the ability to use Fresh Paint is AWESOME! Not too many people I know have ever gotten a chance to actually use it, but if you like to illustrate or even want to dabble in it, you may enjoy this quite a bit. If you think tablet illustration is for kids, think again – I recently saw the David Hockney exhibit at the DeYoung Museum here in San Francisco with a large collection of things he illustrated right on his iPad! And they were absolutely beautiful, I wouldn’t have realized they weren’t paintings had it not been pointed out. And blogger Justina Blakeney recently reviewed using Fresh Paint AND making prints from it on a Surface Pro, which is similar to the Acer I have. The results were also surprisingly very real painting like. Fresh Paint gives you access to a very detailed e-palette I don’t think I’ve seen on any other drawing apps.
-Entertainment – from using the free Spotify client on the desktop (which you have to pay to use on an Apple device) to browsing Instagram, there are quite a few entertainment features you can’t beat on a tablet. The best of which is watching TV and movies in bed or when someone else is hogging the TV ;) Our Netflix subscription comes in handy for this, we don’t have cable so we live by Netflix! We also recently switched out our Wii (where we previously accessed our Netflix on the TV) for a Roku 3 player, and I have just learned that I can possibly download the Roku app for the tablet! Which will be awesome because having the Roku lets you access many more channels to view videos, we’ve been enjoying catching up with a lot of PBS shows this way.
How I want to better use the tablet in the upcoming future
-Mobile blogging – often, my ideas about new posts come while I’m away from the computer. I used to write these ideas down, but would often lose the paper or forget where I’d written these things down. I’ve found that if I start a draft post with my idea, I’m more likely able to come back to it – now I need to be better about doing this while on the go. This also means capturing more images with the built in camera, which should now be easier that Photoshop has released a mobile editor in the last year!
-Mobile librarian – I’m still trying to figure this one out, I want the libraries where I work to begin offering more tablets to our patrons. Maybe if I begin carrying one around more, I can convince them! I recently walked someone through downloading and using Overdrive (see above) while still in the library. Many libraries will let you borrow a laptop while you’re in the library, wouldn’t it be cool if the library had a cozy corner where you can use a tablet? Patrons could browse the internet, look at ebooks, make phone calls, and maybe even one day chat with others over Skype all while in the library similar to the browsing stations at the Apple store or at airport lounges.
-Part time laptop – I still want to find a keyboard dock for my tablet. It’s actually been pretty hard to find one. I have a USB keyboard the plugs in, but it’s not the same thing. Having the keyboard dock would make lots of the features I do and want to do listed above, much easier. I’ll probably have to turn to eBay or Amazon in this case.
So I’ll be checking in with you here and there with the tablet progress! But as always, I’d love to hear your ideas on how you like your tablet if you have one, why you’re on the fence or even refuse to get one!