1. TheMoonbeam's Avatar
    Hey everyone,

    Coming up in the next few weeks I'll be traveling quite a bit for work. Rather than carrying two laptops (Since neither are ultrabooks lol), I'm thinking of picking up a tablet. Ideally I'd like something mid-range or better, with native keyboard support, like the Surface line because I like to use physical keyboards (the extra battery life is a nice plus), a front facing camera for skyping with my husband, and preferably 6+ hours of battery life so I can use it on-and-off during international flights. In terms of price, I'd like to keep it under $500. And I don't really care if it's RT or full Windows 8.1, because I will mostly just use it for social media, YouTube, Netflix, Skype, email, and Facebook Messenger.

    What does everyone recommend? Or is there something awesome coming out in the next few weeks that I should wait for?

    Thanks everyone! :)

    Update: I don't mind if it's refurbished/used, and I'd kinda prefer ~10", but not a must.
    Any recommendations on where to find the best deals for refurbished tablets?
    Last edited by TheMoonbeam; 07-13-2014 at 09:53 PM.
    07-13-2014 04:39 PM
  2. xandros9's Avatar
    Inexpensive options to consider (current gen that is) that come to mind are the Asus Transformer T100 and original Surface RT.

    The RT isn't really a speed demon, but it can be had for great prices along with a cover. ($150+)
    The T100 is a 10" tablet notable for the included keyboard dock and pricetag of ~$3-400 (??)

    the baseline Dell Venue 11 Pro clocks in at $500, but keyboards can add $100 more.
    the first-gen Surface Pro has similar pricing, but battery life falls short.

    If you won't mind refurb or used, a previous gen used tablet such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Lynx or other device might be found for a good price. however as is the nature, it varies widely.
    TheMoonbeam likes this.
    07-13-2014 05:07 PM
  3. e4et's Avatar
    Inexpensive options to consider (current gen that is) that come to mind are the Asus Transformer T100 and original Surface RT.

    The RT isn't really a speed demon, but it can be had for great prices along with a cover. ($150+)
    The T100 is a 10" tablet notable for the included keyboard dock and pricetag of ~$3-400 (??)

    the baseline Dell Venue 11 Pro clocks in at $500, but keyboards can add $100 more.
    the first-gen Surface Pro has similar pricing, but battery life falls short.

    If you won't mind refurb or used, a previous gen used tablet such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Lynx or other device might be found for a good price. however as is the nature, it varies widely.
    Good informative post 📮
    xandros9 likes this.
    07-13-2014 05:09 PM
  4. onlysublime's Avatar
    The big thing is what size screen you can accept. The 8" ones are cheap but 8" is awfully small for a lot of people, especially if you want a laptop replacement.

    For a multipurpose machine that can replace a laptop for under $500... I'd go with the Surface RT if budget is a big thing. If you can get a used or refurbished Surface 2 for cheap, that'd be great as well (as the Surface 2 is significantly faster). I love my Surface RT. I love my Surface Pro 2 machine but that's out of your budget. I'd recommend the Surface Pro 1 but the battery life is super short. I use my Surface RT daily as my work machine though my Surface Pro 2 is for the hardcore tasks that I also use like my desktop PC. I would take my Surface RT over nearly all budget laptops as the screen is bright, it's lightweight, and the battery life is good. 3 of my coworkers use the Surface RT as their in-the-field work machine. For the heavier work, they use their desktop PCs at work or home. And they can always remote into their machines from the Surface RT as well through TeamViewer. So if you needed to work on a PhotoShop document on your Surface RT, you can do that.

    Now, the Surface RT's web browsing is slow so that's a negative. I prefer web browsing on my Windows Phone Lumia Icon than the Surface RT. And my Surface Pro 2 is pure luxury where web browsing (and everything else) is screaming fast.

    For Windows 8.1 machines, I'd try the newer Acer Aspire Switch over the Asus Transformer T100. The T100 has a lot of flaws. The T100 is better for web browsing than the Surface RT. I use my T100 purely as a tablet because there are too many flaws for the machine as a laptop replacement. The Aspire Switch is a direct competitor to the T100. I haven't used it yet but it seems better (looking at the docking mechanism and the keyboard). Normally, I wouldn't recommend a machine I didn't play around with, but I have extensive experience with multiple T100 machines and anything I can do to let people know about its flaws, I'm more than happy to discuss them. It's good as a tablet machine but not much else.
    TheMoonbeam and xandros9 like this.
    07-13-2014 07:17 PM
  5. TheMoonbeam's Avatar
    Thanks for your feedback! :)

    I forgot to mention before (updated post to reflect this): I don't mind if it's refurbished/used, and I'd kinda prefer ~10", but not a must.
    Any recommendations on where to find the best deals for refurbished Surface 2's? I'm kinda leaning towards that, now. Also, Surface users, do you prefer the touch or type keyboard? I haven't been able to find a touch keyboard to try out (neither Best Buy or the Microsoft Store had one on display.
    07-13-2014 09:54 PM
  6. onlysublime's Avatar
    CowBoom has the Pre-Owned Microsoft Surface 2 10.6in 32GB Tablet starting at $249.99 Free Shipping after Coupon Code: "14681962" (Exp 7/17).

    Check out CowBoom and see if any of the machines are good. I guess they price them by condition? They have the 32 GB and the 64 GB but I would aim for the 64 GB because 32 GB is really really limiting even with the MicroSD card expansion. Microsoft Surface 2 64GB - Magnesium - CowBoom.com

    CowBoom is owned by Best Buy.
    xandros9 and TheMoonbeam like this.
    07-13-2014 10:33 PM
  7. TheMoonbeam's Avatar
    I looked through CowBoom's listings, I think I'll look elsewhere. The 64GB version starts at $390, and their site almost seems like a "Buy It Now" version of eBay. Also noticed that only one or two of the listings comes with more than just the tablet (i.e. no charger). I wish the Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 were available on MS's refurbished site.

    One thing that has always bothered me about tablets and phones is the price for memory options. If you buy a PC, the storage options usually are reasonable, like paying $30 to upgrade from 500GB to 750GB. Which makes it rather frustrating that tablets and phones typically cost $100+ to go from 32GB to 64GB. I know the cost of the type of memory is different, but I have a hard time believing that in the last several years the cost of upgrading from 16GB to 32GB, and 32GB to 64GB has not managed to dip below $100, and 16GB and 32GB are still the "standard" capacities...
    07-13-2014 11:51 PM
  8. onlysublime's Avatar
    yeah, that's the state of SSD and eMMC of the tablets versus the traditional HDD of laptops.

    if you look at the cost of RAM, 16 GB of DDR3 RAM is about $150. that's desktop memory. with no controller circuitry or other components of a storage device. There's a lot going on with memory-based storage devices beyond just the memory itself. To go from a smaller HDD to a larger hard drive, it's the same amount of circuitry. All they're doing is adding another platter or a denser platter.

    But it's what we want because we want devices to load "instantly." I completely left the world of HDD as my boot drive when I saw Windows load in under 30 seconds for a fully loaded system versus that same PC loading in about 2 minutes from cold boot to fully loaded desktop with the same amount of programs. I mean fully loaded as in the HDD basically stopped loading programs completely (not when it just displays the desktop but is still loading all my programs in the background). it's just amazing to see a major Windows program load instantly or a couple of seconds versus the many seconds of a HDD.

    None of the Atom tablets have SSD. They all have eMMC which is slower than SSD. eMMC is a step up from flash drives. The Surface RT and Surface 2 also have eMMC. eMMC is cheaper which is what is needed for price-conscious consumers. The Surface Pro machines and many Windows notebooks have true SSD.

    Honestly, it is a you-get-what-you-pay for. We work within our means and buy what we can within our means. If you see a 32 GB machine and manage carefully, it can be a good machine. Just not a machine you'll live with for a very long time, especially if you plan on using it as your main or only machine. if you plan to have two machines, then a 32 GB can definitely work for you. I have my Surface Pro 2 (256GB) and my Surface RT (32 GB). I'm down to 5 GB free space on my Surface RT. I've supplemented it with a 64 GB MicroSD card. I noticed the performance of the Surface RTdegrades significantly as I get closer to 0 GB on Drive C: so I basically stopped at 5 GB. Now I uninstall the truly unnecessary as I get new apps. If my Surface RT was my only machine, I would've definitely gotten a 64 GB model. But I have my desktops, my Surface Pro 2, etc. so I was fine with a 32GB machine. I just can't go hog wild and download every app I see. Live within my means!

    Yeah, it would've been nice to see a Microsoft-backed refurbished to factory specs machine for cheap. Then again, my dad just got an iPad Air 16 GB machine for $550 (after taxes). I wince every time I think of that... It's not much better than my iPad 2 (and he confesses to that too as he used to have an iPad 2 as well).
    xandros9 likes this.
    07-14-2014 12:22 AM

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