Homer's Travels: A Tablet Replacement

Sunday, May 07, 2017

A Tablet Replacement

My tablet, a Nexus 7, turned four years old last November.  In computer and gadget terms, four years old is ancient.  Over these years apps have become more demanding of the hardware and my Nexus has slowed down to a crawl.  Things it could do when I first bought it will now take forever, or worse, crash.  It was time to upgrade.

My choice of upgrade was an Acer Chromebook R 11.  The laptop/tablet/convertible is faster than my Nexus, has a much larger (11.6") display, and a physical keyboard.  The keyboard can be folded back to convert it to a tablet.  The screen is, naturally, a touchscreen.  I find myself alternating between using the keyboard touchpad and touching the screen - I like that flexibility.  It was also cheaper than my original Nexus.  So far ... I love it.

My intention when I bought it was it to be a replacement for both my Nexus and my desktop.  The past week or so of playing with it has shown I've met my goal by about 85% - 90%.  The Chromebook is essentially a front end to the internet.  If you want to do something you have to have a website or in the case of this Chromebook an Android app, that will do it.

So far I have only run into a couple things that the Chromebook can't do.  I was unable to find an app to geotag my Appalachian Trail photos using my GPS generated GPX file.  I had to use the Geosetter program on the desktop.  Also, the scanner app for my printer/scanner could not find the scanner on my network.  Fortunately, there is a multi-step workaround to use the scanner.

That is what I am finding out.  To do things it often takes a two or three step process on the Chromebook to do what takes a single step on the desktop.  This is more a matter of getting used to how things work on the Chromebook than anything else.  I'm sure I will find more things that I cannot do on the Chromebook but I'm also sure more apps will be written to fill some of the gaps as well.

And what of my Nexus?  I've removed most of the bloated apps that slowed it down and now has mostly reader apps.  I've relegated it to being an e-book reader.

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