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Old October 16th, 2011, 06:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Mobile All-in-One Tablet/Smartphone Replacement for Flip Phone and Laptop?

Iím in the market for an all-in-one tablet/phone device so I can ditch my primitive flip phone and also perform all of the basic things my 17.3Ē, 8 pound laptop can do, but on a more portable scale. Although I have a Android devices in mind (Viewsonic G and Viewpad), Iím also considering either the Apple iPhone or the iPod Touch. And although this is an Android forum, Iím sure that many of you also have experience with Apple devices, as well. But as you guys can probably tell, Iíve done a little research and have come up with a list of features that Iím looking for:



(1) Relatively fast (In your recommendations, take into consideration some of the ROMs I could install such as Vegan and CyanogenMod that would dramatically increase speed.)
(2) Less Expensive than a Budget Laptop (<$450. Iím also willing to buy used or refurbished devices, so if youíre going to recommend a more recent generation of the iPod Touch or iPad, for instance, do it only if it has notably better features, other than just being new.)
(3) Covered by Square Trade Warranty (Iím fairly sure that ST doesnít care about jail-broken or modified tablets/phones, but let me know otherwise. I know that there are also a lot of great deals on refurb/used phones on places like Newegg.com, but I donít really know about their warranty coverage compared to Square Tradeís.)
(4) Released before 11-08/Doesnít Require Data Plan (I live on a university campus, so I plan on using the fee wifi here. Iíve also read that any phones released after November, 2008 are required to have a data plan. I donít know if this is true for all carriers though, and Iím also unsure of this policy on used phones released after that date sold on Ebay.)
(5) Intuitive Texting (This goes especially for touchpad keyboards.)
(6) Many (free) Downloadable Utility Apps (Iíve heard that Android and Apple products each have a lot of apps in their store, so I donít know if this would be a deal-breaker. One specific app I would like to have is a decent voice recording app, the reason for which youíll see below.)
(7) Free/low-cost Texting and Calling Capabilities (This applies to both receiving and sending. I wouldnít mind using multiple apps to achieve this, either such as Groove IP, Line2, Sipgate, Nimbuzz, Google Voice, Talkatone, etc. This feature also depends on my best option to satisfy (8) below. Iím also taking into consideration the size of the device. After all, itís a lot easier to text and call on a smaller device, but that might come at the cost of other features, such as viewing and typing 300+ word documents and also the ability to use it in class without getting reprimanded for appearing like Iím texting instead of taking notes.)
(8) Working, Convenient Microphone (Iím willing to buy a Bluetooth or 2-in-1 headset if there is no built-in microphone or microphone jack available. I donít know how the Bluetooth would work if I suddenly had to put it in take a call from someone, though. I would also really like to have the microphone be useful for picking up voices several feet away so I could record lectures, casual conversations, etc. Some of the clip-on microphones/headsets from Amazon look promising enough.)
(9) Superb Customer Satisfaction Overall




I realize that I am definitely asking for a lot, so any recommendations, as well as comments and corrections to my research would be extremely appreciated.

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Old October 16th, 2011, 08:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You're asking a lot for a device that is less than $450. Most smart devices that are subsidised require data plans.

Replacing a laptop is a very tall order. What exactly do you do on your laptop? I have an Eee Pad Transformer with keyboard dock. It does a lot of what my laptop can do, but cannot fully replace it. I just tried using the spreadsheet app on it and found it rather lacking.
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Old October 16th, 2011, 08:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by element_dragon View Post
(4) Released before 11-08/Doesn’t Require Data Plan (I live on a university campus, so I plan on using the fee wifi here. I’ve also read that any phones released after November, 2008 are required to have a data plan. I don’t know if this is true for all carriers though, and I’m also unsure of this policy on used phones released after that date sold on Ebay.)
Are you on AT&T? If so, the November 2009 date is the cut-off date for when you activate/start using a smartphone on their service, not when the phone is manufactured. All carriers require a data plan with smartphones (Android, Blackberry, iOS, webOS, Windows Phone 7). AT&T appears to tack on the data plan based on IMEI so if they don't recognize the IMEI for your non-AT&T branded smartphone, they won't tack on the data plan. I've never heard of a November 2008 date before, but even if there was one, the phones available from that time would likely suck by today's standards.

You might want to consider using a different carrier. You can get plans that offer voice/unlimited text/unlimited data for cheaper than the lowest plan with tiered data on the Big 3.

On T-Mobile, if you don't get a subsidized phone from them, I think they don't force you to get a data plan and they allow you to choose a Value Plan which is less expensive than their normal plans. Their 500 Minute Value Talk plan costs $35/month. They also have the 500 Minute Value Talk and Text plan which includes unlimited texting for $40/month.

Prepaid is another way to go. AT&T and T-Mobile don't require you to get a data plan on prepaid. On AT&T GoPhone, assuming you can stick to using wi-fi for calls and text messaging, service can cost as little as $100/year (with Pay As You Go). T-Mobile just released new prepaid plans that are looking pretty awesome. $30/month for 100 minutes/unlimited text/unlimited web (throttled after 5GB).

Unfortunately, other prepaid services such as Virgin Mobile, Boost, etc, use CDMA so device choice is sorely limited.

I've found Android to be the nicest when using internet telephony apps. I use GrooveIP for voice calls (can integrate with the native Android dialer) and the official Google Voice app for SMS and visual voicemail with transcription. The nice thing is, my Google Voice number is mine forever. I don't have to deal with number porting if I decide to change carriers.

That said, this device looks quite promising:
Get the latest update on ASUS Padfone.
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Old October 17th, 2011, 01:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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@ Stuntman

Quote:
You're asking a lot for a device that is less than $450. Most smart devices that are subsidised require data plans.
You have a point there! I guess I didnít word my post quite right. I actually want to keep my laptop for the time being (itíll remain stationary in my dorm room). But Iíve found that it would be nice to have something portable where I could check my email, calendar, documents in the cloud, call, and type a light to moderate amount. I guess I want to greatly curb/eliminate the texting/calling costs and inconvenience of my flip phone as well as be able to type/access information on the go without carrying around my heavy, short-lived laptop.

Quote:
I have an Eee Pad Transformer with keyboard dock. It does a lot of what my laptop can do, but cannot fully replace it.
I actually have seen the Asus Transformer, but it was a bit expensive compared to the Viewsonic tablet models, which Iíve heard are among the best when you want to get the most for your buck. And again, when comparing laptops to tablets, Iím looking for something that would complement the laptop I already have. And thanks again for helping me clarify my post.



@rui-no-onna

Quote:
Are you on AT&T? If so, the November 2009 date is the cut-off date for when you activate/start using a smartphone on their service, not when the phone is manufactured. All carriers require a data plan with smartphones (Android, Blackberry, iOS, webOS, Windows Phone 7). AT&T appears to tack on the data plan based on IMEI so if they don't recognize the IMEI for your non-AT&T branded smartphone, they won't tack on the data plan. I've never heard of a November 2008 date before, but even if there was one, the phones available from that time would likely suck by today's standards.
No, I have a Virgin Mobile phone on a prepaid plan. The phone and plan are fine for what they are ($15-$20 every 2-3 months or so), but as I gradually need to keep in touch with more and more people in college, I know that it very well might get more expensive in the future, and I feel like I shouldnít have to pay for a data plan if I live on campus and have access to a wifi connection. Are there any disadvantages to wifi (besides the inability to use it when off-campus) that Iím not aware of? I feel that if I can take advantage of some free/low-cost apps, then I would want a smartphone or tablet, the final selection of course depending on the other variables Iíve mentioned. As for pre-2009 phones, I honestly have no idea how inferior they would be to todayís models, mostly because Iíve used an extremely basic phone plan for the better part of my life. I mean, similarly some people still use Windows XP, although itís very outdated.

Quote:
I've found Android to be the nicest when using internet telephony apps. I use GrooveIP for voice calls (can integrate with the native Android dialer) and the official Google Voice app for SMS and visual voicemail with transcription. The nice thing is, my Google Voice number is mine forever. I don't have to deal with number porting if I decide to change carriers.
So have you found the telephony apps to be reliable? (Thanks, btw, I wasnít aware of the exact phrase that was used.) If they are reliable, do you have your 3G service because you donít have that constant access to a wifi hotspot?

Quote:
That said, this device looks quite promising:
Get the latest update on ASUS Padfone.
It does look very promising, indeed! It certainly seems like it would fit most, if not all of my criteria. However, I fear that itís going to be fairly expensive for a while, and I would like to purchase a more reasonably-priced device within the next 1-2 weeks, one that can act as a jack-of-all-trades device with a few forgivable imperfections, especially when I still have an aforementioned, fully-functional laptop. Perhaps I can sell what I will hopefully get in the near future and buy it when the price is lower.
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