Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Tabby field test

Took Mr Tabby on a date to Vivocity for a field test to see how I liked him. So far his reviews have been mixed so it was time to try him out for myself.

Portability:
He certainly is a monster of a mobile phone with his 7" screen. But he fit perfectly into the side pocket of my berms. I could even button the flap. His 380g of mass was noticeable as I walked, but it didn't bother me too much after a while. Guess people who wear cargo pants have the advantage if they want to carry him about hands free. Else he'll have to go in a bag.

Connectivity:
3G, Wi-fi, Bluetooth. Connections are quite fast, making web browsing easy. 3G, of course, requires a data plan from SingTel -- 12Gb per month, standard. That's irritating because in order to use 12Gb per month, I have to transfer the SIM card from my current fully-functioning phone to the Tab, rendering my phone useless. Unless I operate the Tab exclusively on Wi-fi, in which case I'll be wasting my monthly data quota. I suppose I'll be swapping the SIM quite often to get the best of both worlds.

Making phone calls on the Tab is ridiculous. No way I'm going to put that giant cell phone to my face to talk, so a Bluetooth headset is a must-have. Fortunately, launch day customers receive the very item, gratis. One more thing jiggling around in the pockets wherever we go.

Interface:
The touchscreen is very responsive under the fingers. Fast flicks and pinches result in eyeball-spinning scrolling but it responds well to slow, controlled movements too.  The QWERTY-keypad is touch-responsive, signalling every key press with a little vibration and a brief highlight of the key pressed. In landscape orientation, the keys are rather far apart, so holding the Tab in one hand leaves only one finger available to do the typing with. In portrait, however, both thumbs can easily reach all the keys making typing much easier this way.

Camera:
Er, I didn't buy him for the camera.

Apps:
Lots of free apps are available from the Android Market. Apart from the usual FB, email, GPS apps, I particularly like using the Tab as an e-book reader. It's so easy to open up Kobo, find any book and download  a copy. Books are cheap too. I bought 'Drive' and 'Rework' for less than half the price at the bookstore. It's so easy, it's scary how one can get carried away e-shopping and not realize how much money it will all amount to when it's time to settle the bill.

Other:
I'm having some problems getting the contacts I have on my SIM to sync with the Tab. Not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I should figure it out soon enough. Mr Tabby is a serious money-draining device because of his ease of access to (often paid, even if cheap) information, sometimes we don't even realize we're paying for it. Also, some apps insist on tracking the user by GPS coordinates, so if I was ever going to commit a crime, I have to never make him an accessory or he'll squeal on my every movement in a snap.

Verdict:
Thought it may have been love at first sight, it's not love at first date. No doubt Mr Tabby is going to be useful but we're going to have to adapt to one another's quirks and annoyances if we're going to make this relationship work. As it is, when he's in my hands, I'm addicted to pushing his buttons just to see what else he can do. Once I narrow down his most relevant functions to me, I do believe we'll get along just fine.

3 comments:

Louis Tan said...

consider getting yourself a multi-sim card from singtel - think it's about $5 extra a month.

if you need a micro version for whatever reason, avoid getting it directly from singtel (they charge $10/mth), just get the normal one and have it cut instead.

masterofboots said...

why not an ipad instead?

Xmac said...

Louis: I had no idea such a thing existed! Thanks for a great tip! :) And the Tab usea a normal-size SIM, unlike the iPad.

NBS: Ah, the inevitable question. The simple answer is that the Tab isn't an iPad. Apple's smug, superior attitude puts me off.