Monday, January 19, 2015

Gear Talk: Dell 8" Windows tablet and Fintie keyboard

Pictured above is my new Dell 8" Windows tablet and Fintie keyboard and case.  As some of you may know, I was pretty disappointed in the Samsung tablet we purchased for the big Rocky Mtn. tour in 2012.  It was a chore to compose on, didn't download photographs easily, didn't have spell check, had a habit of spontaneously disconnecting from the internet, and on and on and on.  It was okay for checking email and watching stuff on Netflix, and that's about it.  After seeing one of these Dell units, I knew the reign of the Samsung was limited.

After only a couple years, it's now possible to get a very compact tablet that is also a fully functional computer.  I'm composing this post on the machine and doing just fine, thank you very much.  I was able to get this 32 GB version for about $250, and the case/keyboard combo was only about $30.  Bigger memory means a bigger price, but not by a lot, about $290 for 64GB.  With both units, it's possible to easily bump memory by sliding in a mini SD card--slick.

The screen is sharp, and the functions are plenty fast enough.  It even has a 5MP camera.  You will, however, want a few accessories.  Pictured is a mini USB adapter cable and SD card connector.  I've also ordered a USB hub so that I can use a mini mouse, too, although a stylus is handy and can function in a pinch or to save a little weight/bulk.  As pictured, the unit clocks in at around 1.75 lbs.--not bad for all that it does.

I experimented with charging off a small USB adapted solar charger, and it worked perfectly.  As per specs, the keyboard has about 100 hrs. of use per charge, and the tablet, I think, about 10 hrs.  Both units can be charged easily via the solar unit. 

I think my only issue so far is getting used to the tiny keyboard.  The touch and function are flawless, but there is a little learning curve to get used to the tight keys.  Truly fat fingered folks might find it a challenging.  I have a bigger Blue Tooth keyboard I can take for more comfort on motorized trips, although the Fintie attaches with powerful magnets, so the whole unit stays together nicely.  Here's a pic with my hand to show relative size.  This baby is compact!

So, overall, I don't think I could be happier with this tablet.  It's got full computing power--at least all that I need--and is light and compact enough for all our human powered adventures--although I probably wouldn't take it backpacking where every ounce counts.

Thanks, Dell!

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