Chasing the best 8″ tablet – Samsung Pro 8.4 vs. LG Google Play 8.3

Just when I thought I had the perfect tablet, the LG GPad Google Play Edition 8.3″, along comes Samsung with their new PRO line of tablets. Unable to resist the temptation to chase the latest technology, I opted for the new 8.4″ Pro. Here are my findings and comparisons.

Software

Both units run the latest Android version 4.42 KitKat

The LG GPE (Google Play Edition) is pure Android with no bloatware software. The Samsung has a little but some of it is nice. The multi view gives you a little slide out menu that allows split screen operations of 2 programs.

Dimensions

The units are almost identical with 2-3 mm of each other. Of course if you bought cases for the LG, don’t think they will fit the slightly larger Samsung. The weights are very close.

CPU 

Samsung 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 – LG 1.7 Ghz Snapdragon 600 The Samsung seems a bit smoother and quicker.

Display

Here is a big area of difference with the edge going to the new Samsung.

Resolution 2560X1600 vs. 1920×1280

The Samsung Pro is brighter and the colors are truer. The LG has a slightly yellow cast to the whites.

Both screens are nice but again the edge to the Pro.

Camera

Edge to Samsung with an 8Mp camera with flash and lots of options vs a fairly stripped down 5MP rear camera.

Storage

Big difference here! Both unites had micro SD cards, but the LG is almost a joke. You can load it up with music videos, etc. on your computer and then insert it into the unit, but you can not write to it or access the files on it from the file explorer.

The Samsung allows total access to the SD card. The file manager let’s you write, copy drag and drop to the extra additional storage (up to 64 GB)

Sound

Another win for the Samsung. Much cleaner sound than the LG.

Price

The 16 GB Samsung is priced at $399.00. The 16GB LG GPE is $349.00

Recommendation

The Samsung is a better buy. The only other question you might be asking is would you want to consider a iPad mini for the same price. The SD storage and more open user interface, in my opinion give the edge to Samsung Pro.

What’s the best midsize Android tablet?

LG GPE 8.3 on left Nexus 7 on right.Both are in really nice bluetooth leather cases available on Amazon.

What is the best mid sized Android tablet?

Is there a Goldilocks solution that’s just the right size with just the right features at the right price?

We shall see. We’ll follow my journey from Nexus 7 to LG Gpad 8.3 to the pure LG Gpad Google Play Edition.

I’ve had Google Nexus 7 2012 8 and 16 GB versions, and then a Google Nexus 7 2013 32 GB version. I really liked everything about the Nexus. Specifically;

  • Great screen resolution
  • Reliable hardware and software
  • Most current version of Android
  • No bloatware (Samsung and LG among others add tons of apps and programs that kind of answer the questions no one ever asked. I find these options confusing and may reduce performance. More on that later.)
The only things on my wish list were
  • an SD Card slot. (But in reality the 32 GB version had plenty of room to spare without external storage.)
  • A little bit bigger screen
About year end 2013 I read about the new LG Google play edition LG 8.3. Ah-ha an almost 20% increase in screen real estate and still pure Android direct from Google. After much reading and price shopping I decided to try the Non Google play Edition from LG which was available from Best Buy for $299 vs $349 for the GPE (Google Play Edition). They are no longer offering that price so $349 is the price for either the LG version or the GPE from Google.
At any rate I was not happy with the LG version for the following reasons;
  • Screen was darker and had a yellowish cast
  • Performance was definitely slower. There was a noticeable delay when starting some apps and when moving about screens.
  • The bloatware on the machine was crazy click here for complete details.  http://www.lg.com/us/cell-phones/lg-V500-Black-g-pad-8.
  • It was running Jelly Bean OS 4.22 instead of KitKat 4.42which has some nice streamlining and improvements.
I returned the LG version and ordered the GPE edition. I am very happy with it. Here’s are the positives:
  • That little extra 1.3″ screen size make a big difference when watching movies or reading. It is still easy to hold and lightweight.
  • It has an SD card with up to 64 GB of storage fro movies music etc.
  • The GPE version has no bloatware and it’s performance is much snappier. I have seen no lagging.
  • The screen color was true and did not have the yellow cast. It also seems brighter.
So the GPE edition is the choice over the stock LG 8.3 tablet, especially since they are the same price currently.
How about versus the Nexus 7?
  • I would say the screen resolution is equal. Both are joys to view.
  • The Nexus 7 32GB is currently available from Walmart for $179 vs $349 for the LG 8.3 GPE. That is a very big difference for an extra 1.3 inches of screen.
  • The sound on the Nexus 7 is purer. The 8.3 GPE has a rather tinny sound from it’s stereo speakers.
  • Though the GPE has an SD card, you can’t write to it in the Android OS.
  • You have to remove the card and put it in a computer and copy your media to it. Then you can replace the card and the applications will se the media on the card. You can then play your movies, etc.
Bottom line, the Nexus 7 is the best value. If you need a little more reading room and want to take more media with you, then the LG Google Play Edition 8.3 is a tablet you will be happy with. I would avoid the stock LG unit.
ANd a final question might be, gee since the Ipad Mini with retina display at 7.9″ is only $50 more maybe that’s a better move?  Could be…… Then it gets down to preferences between working in the less restrictive Android environment versus the more rigid IOS7.

LG on left Nexus on right. 1.3 inches makes a difference.

 

LG top Nexus bottom. in this view there isn’t much difference at all.

Switching to Samsung Galaxy S4 from iPhone Tips

iphone droidGetting tired of IOS7, but afraid to switch to a nice shiny Android phone or tablet?
Here are 6 apps that make the switch from iPhone to Android painless and fun. 

When you think about it, the reason millions love iPads and iPhones and Apple Macs is that, they are simple. Everything works, everything syncs and you don’t really have to think much about it. 

On the other hand, many of us are getting tired of the same old iDevices and we are tempted to stray the newest latest and greatest. 

So we look at Nexus, and Notes, and Kindle Fires, and Galaxy S3 and 4 and Note Tablets and yes even Windows tablets and phones. 

Well there is life after iDevices, but if you don’t want bruises form kicking yourself, here are a few apps that can make life easier. 

For Android – Syncing contacts, calendars, reminders and notes…

First of all if you are syncing your Mac ical, and contacts with Google you are half the way there. All Android devices are pretty strongly tied into Google services. 

Get Smooth Sync for contacts and SmoothSync for calendar. They work through iCloud and sync calendar, contacts and now reminders with your Android device. They are around 6.99 for each through the Google play store. 

Inotes is the answer for syncing your notes from Mac and iDevice to your Android. Also at the Google Play store for less than $10 and it works. 

For photos, the best answer I’ve found is Drop Box. The Drop box app will connect with your camera and upload photos from your device to the cloud and vice versa. Bottom line is all photos from all devices sync just like your Photostream. You can also sync files back and forth while you are at it. 

For Syncing big files like movies, a great program is called AirDroid. This is a FREE program to sync and manage files on your Android device. You can actually remote control your droid thing and other things as well.  It is particularly handy if your device doesn’t have a SD card like on the Google Nexus devices and Kindles. I have also found that Android file transfer program has stopped working on Macs. At least those with the new Mavericks operating system.  Here is a little video taste of Airdoid.

 
Finally for music, I recommend Google Play Music and Music Manager. You can upload 20,000 songs from your PC or Mac and access them from your other devices. Free again! Go Figure. 

If you have some apps or ideas to move between platforms let me know or comment here. 

6 apps that make the switch from iPhone to Android painless and fun

iphone droidGetting tired of IOS7, but afraid to switch to a nice shiny Android phone or tablet?
Here are 6 apps that make the switch from iPhone to Android painless and fun. 

When you think about it, the reason millions love iPads and iPhones and Apple Macs is that, they are simple. Everything works, everything syncs and you don’t really have to think much about it. 

On the other hand, many of us are getting tired of the same old iDevices and we are tempted to stray the newest latest and greatest. 

So we look at Nexus, and Notes, and Kindle Fires, and Galaxy S3 and 4 and Note Tablets and yes even Windows tablets and phones. 

Well there is life after iDevices, but if you don’t want bruises form kicking yourself, here are a few apps that can make life easier. 

For Android – Syncing contacts, calendars, reminders and notes…

First of all if you are syncing your Mac ical, and contacts with Google you are half the way there. All Android devices are pretty strongly tied into Google services. 

Get Smooth Sync for contacts and SmoothSync for calendar. They work through iCloud and sync calendar, contacts and now reminders with your Android device. They are around 6.99 for each through the Google play store. 

Inotes is the answer for syncing your notes from Mac and iDevice to your Android. Also at the Google Play store for less than $10 and it works. 

For photos, the best answer I’ve found is Drop Box. The Drop box app will connect with your camera and upload photos from your device to the cloud and vice versa. Bottom line is all photos from all devices sync just like your Photostream. You can also sync files back and forth while you are at it. 

For Syncing big files like movies, a great program is called AirDroid. This is a FREE program to sync and manage files on your Android device. You can actually remote control your droid thing and other things as well.  It is particularly handy if your device doesn’t have a SD card like on the Google Nexus devices and Kindles. I have also found that Android file transfer program has stopped working on Macs. At least those with the new Mavericks operating system.  Here is a little video taste of Airdoid.

 
Finally for music, I recommend Google Play Music and Music Manager. You can upload 20,000 songs from your PC or Mac and access them from your other devices. Free again! Go Figure. 

If you have some apps or ideas to move between platforms let me know or comment here. 

Dell Venue Pro 8 Review

Dell Venue 8 proDell Venue Pro 8 Review…Hands on with the Dell Venue Pro 8. Is Windows 8.1 on a small screen your friend?

After reading a great review of the new Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows tablet,  I bought a 32 GB version from Amazon for $279.00. I later learned that I should have bought the 64 GB version for another $40 because the OS uses up about 60% of the “32 GB” which actually only shows up as being 23 GB in Windows explorer. But I was very excited about the possibilities of the best of Windows and a tablet all in one.
Service was great and I had it in less than 24 hours.
I’ve had 3 iPads, a Samsung note 10 and 2 Nexus 7 tablets.
I thought it was time to give Windows a try.
I’ve used Windows for years and am in the technology field so I wasn’t new to windows, though I’m not a big fan of microsoft’s complexities.
I got the Dell Venue Pro 8. It was well packaged, nice quality. Good looking screen although I did have to take off the auto brightness setting and then I could actually see how bright the screen was.
As I began to use the Dell Venue, I realized how great the interfaces for iPad and Android are. They are designed for tablets. Tap and touch. You just click the Apps.
But Windows just isn’t ready for tablets yet.
The Metro START screen looks like it should be easy, but many of the APPS / tiles just take you into the windows desktop. There you have to try to use a large finger to select files with tiny print. Try double clicking or right clicking on the middle item in a list.
More times than not I clicked the wrong item.
I actually tried a stylus and did a bit better. That’s great as long as you always remember to bring your stylus.
I connected a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. That made it easier, but in reality I don’t always want to have to use a keyboard and mouse. I have laptops for that.

My primary computers are Macs and I have been pleased with the ability to seamlessly sync the core items of life (contacts, calendars, reminders/tasks, and photos between devices.
I learned that windows no longer syncs that stuff with Google anymore. So the most common link is gone. Android has some nice apps called Smooth Sync for Contacts and Smooth Sync for Calendars as well as an app called shote which handles the notes. Drop box will take care of syncing files and pictures from the camera.

I was excited to read that the iCloud Control Panel would sync contacts, calendar, photos, bookmarks and tasks. But in actual practice I found that the syncing only happens with Outlook. NOT the calendar and contacts that are part of the Windows Tablet Start screen. So you have to have Outlook running. And that is not reflected on the main screen. When the sync begins it asks if you want all the photos to sync (which in my case was 13000 and so the choice is no. So forget your photos syncing. Oh and one other caveat. DO NOT CLICK MERGE BOOKMARKS. I did thinking that I didn’t have many bookmarks in Windows so no big loss if they were added to my Mac bookmarks. What it should have said was how would yo unlike to wipe all you Mac bookmarks and replace them with a hodge lodge of windows “Favorites”? Thank God for backups.

I tried to set up my favorite apps and found that many are not available in the Windows store. For example, Yelp is a very handy restaurant review app available on both the Apple platform and android. It’s not available on Windows tablet. Instead there is an app called Zalp, which allegedly combines Yelp and Zagatt. I gave it a try and picked 4 different commonly known restaurants. It said nothing found in either Yelp or Zagatt.
I liked the look and the size of the Venue, but Windows on an 8″ tablet is not easy to use.

I liked the idea of “Full” windows on a tablet, but “really” try doing anything work on an 8″tablet. Right clicking? dragging and dropping, alt tabbing between screens? How to make yourself crazy in one easy lesson.
It’s not close to the Android or apple interface. So no matter how many techie features Windows boasts, this thing is a pain in the neck. I was very happy to go back to my Nexus and iPad.
Good luck but this is not the user friendly choice of a tablet.
I returned it in less than 24 hours.

Oh and one I forgot… within an hour I picked up some malware. A program that allegedly tested my performance on my hour old Venue and found I need to sign up for their performance boosting utility. Really.

No more Windows for me thank you!!