Project Scope: Replace an obsolete Tablet. (Instructions on choosing a new tablet)

Establish what Product you want to Buy.

I have been working on this project for a little over year now. I had an original iPad. It worked great. Then Apple decided to upgrade the iOS till it made mine less than a reader. At the time I was in the process of upgrade my old desktop. I had already elected to remain with a Windows OS. It would better suit our daughter. They use and teach with Windows 8. She probably would have to start learning Apple in highschool though. So even though I was thinking I might like to look at a Mac this replacement would remain a Widow’s PC. I found a great deal on an HP Laptop online.
I still needed or wanted a tablet. I started testing them. The first tablet I ordered was a Samsung. It was nice. It was an Android OS. I had a lot of trouble connecting to my Wi-Fi. It took 3 days till one of the support techs begged me to reboot my Wi-Fi router. Both of us thought it was a weird idea. I had a strong background in PC support and networking. Everything pointed to a tablet hardware issue. I couldn’t believe it. It connected to the network. So I would keep that in my “repair-a-gadget” memory. After about a week I was ready to return it. There were too many quirks. To get an app was painfully drawn out. There was always a little difference in the product. The reviews always compared the product to Apple apps. If you wanted this particular function, here was the work around.

Document Your Requirements.

I reviewed what I wanted in a tablet again. I narrowed down the “needs” and “nice to have”. I wanted a reader. I have most of my most recent books in Kindle. Internet access would be nice and an email reader. Also, I missed watching some news shows, CNBC and others. These were all nice but not required. At least thats what I thought. Would I use it for “writing”? No. I do like the ability to trace from one key to the next key to type out a word though. What about photography and editing? Not really. I find it absurd when someone whips out their iPad to take a photo or a movie. What do I know. Its there and available but it is not a requirement. So I listed my main requirement would be a “reader”.

Establish a Budget.

I want to be able to get what I want for less than $200. Really I would like to only spend $100 but that just shows you what a tight wad I am. The Samsung was close to $300, including shipping & taxes. For that amount I might as well stay with an Apple iPad.
So my next choice of Product to test was a Kindle Fire HDX. It was just over $225. I saw it on one of those “shopping channels”. It was a package deal, came with all sorts of add on and Amazon Prime with all it movies. I have so experience with Kindle. My wife has had one for about three years now. At least they didn’t upgrade it into extinction. I found it to be the perfect reader. What I didn’t expect was that I was revisiting my usage requirements. This came with all the movies from Prime. I really enjoyed that, even though I couldn’t watch them on the television at that time. Then I thought how about CNBC. Well wouldn’t you know it. The Amazon App store could provide that at this time. Then I decided to look at how my banking app would work. “Sorry, we don’t have one that works very well with an ‘android’ type” device. I could get to the bank through the internet app. So after two or three weeks of using and testing the Kindle, I knew I was settling for less than I wanted.

Product Testing?

All this time I had an iPhone. At first it was a 4s now it a 5s. So I had all my apps that I from my original iPad plus more that I have picked up over time. I still had no desire to use an iPad for a camera. I wanted to be able to pick up something I was reading on one unit Put it away & start with the other. i was really looking for transparency between hardware.
Around December 1st I was at one of those “big box” warehouse stores. They had an Acer mini-tablet. for $100 or so. I had to try it. My first experience with it was a disaster. I was into my 5th hour of trying to set up the tablet & it was a failure. I could see it on my network. It was being assigned an ip address but I couldn’t PING it. I was an expert at “Resetting to Factory” settings. Tech support was little help. They were friendly but we both were reporting “IDtenT cause of error” on the other end of the line. I thought this is not right. I went online to see what other had experienced. Many had the same issue but no one was reporting how they fixed it. At one point ACER was setting up a return shipment approval. I said that wasn’t necessary, I could return it to the “big box” store. I had it all packed up & ready to go there sometime. I had 30 days. All of a sudden I look at my router. “Naw, it won’t fix it. Will It?”. Sure enough, I rebooted the router & i was able to connect.
Now for the testing. Okay, it a good reader. I get all my kindle books. Wait, I had just downloaded on my iPhone an article from The Daily Post. It was their 365 Days of Writing Prompts. It was nowhere to be found. When I try to download it again to the ACER, it just went out to hyper-heaven. Its floating around on my tablet somewhere. That’s no good.

So I moved on. Now I thought let me go over to my chair, where I can start reading some of the WP blogs I follow. “It won’t update”. It keeps dropping the network connection. (I have an network extender too that it would fail.) So I moved around the house. Turns out I have to sit in halfway down the hall to get a continuous connection. Any farther & it would fail. My iPhone worked everywhere. (Yes, I was connected to the Wi-Fi, cellular data is too expensive.) So one more final test. I decided I needed to understand how well it did at writing. I loved the dragging of the finger across the keyboard. Apple probable has this type of replacement keyboard, I just haven’t found it or looked for it. The ACER would write okay. For a line or two. It kept on crashing. I was using Google Docs. Not one of my favorites but it was cloud based & I knew I was going to be moving around this morning. I would type a line and BOOM CRASH. I was back to the home screen. The first time I lost a paragraph. From then I on I would write a line or so & save. I would still try for one more word and it would crash. Very tedious. Not smooth or productive. Guess what its going back.

Decision Time

I went back and reviewed my scope: Replace an obsolete tablet. I was staying within my scope. I just couldn’t find a product that I wanted to own. I know that you can’t always meet all your expectations. Mine had grown but maybe I had limited them too much in the beginning. I then reviewed my budget. That is where I had the short fall. My budget was unrealistic. I was hoping to get by with a budget under $200. It was a cash restriction from what I received when I traded in my original iPad.
So my decision is to go back to the finance committee & request an increase to the budget.
My wife looked about and told me “You’re the only one being cheap around here. I am not limiting your budget”.
She’s right, you know.

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