Need a cheap, small Windows tablet: <$200US, 2GB ram

Discussion in 'PC Purchasing Help' started by Albuquerque, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    I'll be using it for tuning on my turbocharged 2009 Mazda MX-5 (Miata in other parts of the world.)

    I started with my existing Lenovo Y460 laptop, which is crap for lugging around in a car seat. it also tends to flop around everywhere and isn't easily tucked into a tight spot. I then borrowed my wife's Surface Pro and it was significantly better. Easy to wedge into the gap between the center console and seat, you can one-hand the screen, and the touch interface makes starting a logging session a cakewalk.

    After a bit of research on other forums, it looks like any modern BayTrail or later Atom is more than sufficient. Right now my best options seem to be:I'm leaning towards the Lenovo with the significantly higher resolution (1920x1200), it's brand new and has significantly better battery life. The little hinge thingy might be useful, too.

    Anything that is Android or iPad isn't an option; the ECUtek software doesn't support either of those operating systems. I might be willing to spend a few extra dollars, but this tablet really has only ONE job -- to rattle around in the car and plug into the programming cable :)
     
  2. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    Late add: The Insignia Flex 8.9 looks like it could do the job with a price tag of $149. Sports the high rez of the Lenovo too...
     
  3. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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    Wow I really like that Yoga for the price and design.
     
  4. tongue_of_colicab

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    Totally offtopic but what mods did you perform on your car Albuquerque? I'm thinking about buying a old Roadstar (as its called in Japan, I think its only called Miata in the Americas?) assuming I can find a parking place close to my apartment that costs less than 200 dollars a month...

    I need something with a manual and RWD get pass my first year as a driver and gather (hopefully) some insurance points before I make the jump to hopefully a Porsche (one needs to have dreams to get up in the morning, though Caymans are relatively cheap around here if you consider that most only have 20 ~ 40.000 km on the clock).
     
  5. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    #5 Albuquerque, Jan 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  6. tongue_of_colicab

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    Awesome, I'm going to check out that thread from time to time ;)

    To some extent I really envy people living in the US. Really big car culture with cheap cars and so much space in most places it's easy to work on your car at home.

    I visited my companies office in the US about 6 months back and all the guys there are car nuts as well, some driving Supras, others old muscle cars or new corvettes. Really jealous of that because both back in the Netherlands and Japan owning a car hasn't been possible for me.
     
  7. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    Yeah, it's very much a cultural thing here. I truly enjoy the mechanical side of logic; working on my car can be very zen-like ;)

    I ended up ordering the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 linked above. The build quality (aluminum frame, aluminum front bezel and "spine" assembly, plastic only on the rear portion), the IPS panel, the "AnyPen" tech and associated "super-glass", and the ridiculous battery life made the decision pretty easy.

    Also, the extra $50 USD expense is pure rounding error relative to the money I've spent on the car and subsequent modifications ;)
     
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  8. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    Hmm I'm not really a hardware guy but I'm curious with my car (that's still on credit, probably for the next 10 years lol).

    I wonder, what first step should I do for fiddling with car? I've been wanting to try to see what is my car thinking behind the scene.

    Can I just plug odb usb cable to a phone and use some generic app? Is there good noob friendly free app or I need pay app?
     
  9. Silent_Buddha

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    Have you considered the HP Stream 7? It appears to be EOL so you can find them at clearance prices. For example,

    http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/459419/HP-Stream-7-5701-Windows-Tablet/

    It's on clearance for only 74.91 USD. Even when new, you could get them for ~100 USD.

    It does have some sacrifices though. The resolution is only 1280x800 but at least it is IPS. Also, it only has 1 GB of memory and only 32 GB of storage.

    [edit] Whoops, I didn't notice the 2GB requirement. :)

    Regards,
    SB
     
  10. Silent_Buddha

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    If you don't mind refurb, the Asus VivoTab 8 can be had for around 100 USD.

    http://www.amazon.com/VivoTab-M81C-...452239230&sr=8-2&keywords=asus+windows+tablet

    Alternatively, if you like to use pen input from time to time the Vivotab Note (8.8") can be had for around 150 USD refurbished or used.

    http://www.amazon.com/VivoTab-Note-8-8-Inch-Tablet-Processor/dp/B00ISV5V16

    Drawback is that they have a 1280x800 resolution for the screen.

    The Yoga is a good device though, as long as the bulge is something you either don't mind or actually like.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  11. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    Depends on what you're attempting to accomplish. If you just want stats, any modern OBD2-equipped car can use one of the abundant OBD2 scanners in the wild. The resolution of these can be very coarse; the generic ELM-327 bluetooth devices can provide something like eight or ten elements per second, thus more monitored elements (RPM, O2 sensor, throttle position, whatever) means a slower refresh speed per element.

    Higher quality units will cost more, but can provide significantly higher refresh rate. My employer owns a smaller company which provides high-tech OBD2 scanning for small repair garages; they provide an OBD2Link MX as the preferred device. These are only good for reading data and resetting diagnostic fault codes, they cannot write new data into the ECU.

    After solving the OBD2 port connectivity, there are multiple inexpensive (or even free / adware) apps to monitor the interface. If your phone is IOS or Android, the best is probably the Torque app. The free version has a limited set of monitored elements to choose from; the paid version has the full OBD2 spec available. They also have "add on" packages to read additional manufacturer-specific codes -- these are essentially optional extensions to the OBD2 spec, somewhat like manufacturer extensions in OpenGL.

    Complete ECU programmability depends on the car itself. I know the big four German manufacturers (VW/Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche) all have field-programmable ECU's. Many of the Japanese models do too -- Mazda, Subaru, Nissan, Toyota. You'll have to find a company who has cracked whatever the stock ECU code protection might be; I'm using the ECUTek product; I purchased the software license, the hardware interface cable, and a "lifetime tune" from a reputable Mazda Miata tuner here in the States as a single package.

    Seems like there should be a cheap joke in there that questions my sexuality :D

    Yeah, the Yoga seems like a solid product with a good brand name behind it; the device is scheduled to arrive this coming Monday. The "spine" seems like it could be useful for holding the device and is what enables the little fold-out stand, which seems equally useful.
     
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  12. ToTTenTranz

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    I got my wife a Yoga 2 10" Windows for Christmas. It's an excellent choice.
    Great loudspeaker sound, spectacular battery life, rock-solid dual-band 2x2 WiFi (not AC though) and the rotating base makes it extremely versatile.

    IMHO the only bad thing in the 8" version is the lack of HDMI-out, which makes it rather limited for using as a media-center for hotels and stuff (if only WiDi ever worked...).

    Unfortunately, Lenovo decided to degrade the Yoga tablet range into cheap-ass tablets with a Snapdragon 210 and Android, so there's little hope for a refreshed version with Windows and Cherry Trail. If they had made an updated model like that, I would be a day-one client for myself.
     
  13. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    Yeah, for your use case, the mini-HDMI out absolutely makes the most sense. About the WiDi though -- I've had very good luck with Intel's Haswell gen laptops and the newest WiDi adapters from Microsoft. I'm not sure if it carries over to these Z30-series Atoms, especially the Broadcom NICs in the Yoga tablets. I haven't actually thought to try; but now that you mention it... :)

    Dell is re-releasing their venerable Venue series on the newest Cherry Trail X5-series Atom to match the Surface 3. They're getting 4GB of ram, native 64-bit Windows 10, 1080p display, wireless AC and USB-C. If they weren't nearly $500, I'd be ALL OVER that. However, I share your disappointment with the Yoga line not getting refreshed (yet?) -- I'd love the battery life of my current device with the newer processor and 4GB of ram.

    As a follow up to my previous post, I've had excellent luck with my Yoga Tablet 2 8" with Windows. I bought this micro-USB to two USB-A splitter / hub from Amazon around the same time. Along with an 8Gb Patriot MicroSD card I had as a spare and a USB-to-MicroSD adatper, this cable allowed me to create a bootable Windows 8.1 recovery image directly from the tablet. Tested it once, tablet booted from the SD card without issue.

    I then cleaned up the remaining apps I didn't care about, deleted the onboard recovery partition and re-appropriated it for main storage, and then forced it through the 10589.64 Win10 upgrade. It already had pulled down the newest drivers for everything, and the performance is excellent. Installed an older 64GB Sandisk Class 6 MciroSD, formatted it NTFS, set the volume to performance caching (non-ejectable) mode, set up the daily backup routine, targetted all future video + picture + document + download + music storage to the card. I then downloaded a few offline maps for the surrounding states.

    I loaded up the ECUTek software for my car, using the dual-headed USB dongle to connect the ECUTek hardware license key and the OBD2 cable interface to my car. I also installed one of my O365 licenses so I can properly use Excel, OneNote and Outlook on the box (great for car tuning duties :) ) After everything was completely loaded and ready, I still have more than 20GB free on my 32GB internal storage, with no data on the SD card (except for some backup copies and the aforementioned offline maps.)

    Box cold-boots in probably eight seconds, wireless-N performance seems very good ( was regularly getting over 50mbps during the Office install), Micro-SD interface performance is so-so but this is partially linked to the age of the card itself. The little fold-out foot thing works VERY well, and when collapsed the bulbous spine shape makes it very comfortable to carry. Also, being able to use any metallic object as a stylus (the marketing term is "Anypen") is also fantastic; I've become enamored with using a #2 pencil as my stylus because it confuses onlookers :)

    On a single charge, I did EVERYTHING above -- OS backups, OS upgrades, Office install, ECUTek install, some quantity of time for surfing, one episode of Star Trek from Netflix, some fooling with the tethering function of my new Lumia 950XL. Only last night did I finally need to charge it; I wager I got a solid 10 hours of actual use (and not necessarily light use, either) on that battery fill.

    For $199, this has been an excellent purchase. If you're in the market for an inexpensive and tiny x86 Windows tablet with an excellent screen (1200p!), is entirely capable of MS Office use, web surfing, YouTube / Netflix / Amazon streaming, and *gasp* even some lightweight gaming (Osmos is fun on the tablet, I also have some Windows Store games like Asphalt 8, Radiant Defense, that sort of thing) this is a great buy. Also works great for in-car tuning and logging :D
     
  14. ToTTenTranz

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    I still see one thing you need to do and I can't fathom why you haven't done it yet:
    - Get an iPega 9023 (or just any X-Input capable gamepad for a first try) and play glorious PC games maxed out through Steam In-Home Streaming.
     
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  15. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    Of course!

    After I was done with all the "work" aspects, I loaded up Steam, downloaded a few small older games (Osmos mentioned above) and then streamed a handful of games. I used my little breakout cable to connect an older USB Logitech PS3 dualshock-lookalike controller, fired up a streaming session of GTA-V, snapped a pic and sent it to my brother with an impolite message :D When I get home tonight, I'll try to remember to upload the pic here for everyone's amusement.
     
  16. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    Just thought I'd bump this thread with a minor update...

    Bought a $49 Microsoft WiDi adapter and I love it. Performance is very good for what it is; I use it for both my little Lenovo tablet and also my Lumia 950XL's Continuum mode. I also bought a Logitech BT Keys-to-Go keyboard <-- link to Logitech site. I love that little keyboard; it's got a nice soft surface yet tactile feel to the keys, with a notable amount of z-travel. Also the battery life is patently absurd; I've been using it on the factory charge for a month now. I'm reasonably certain it isn't even a full charge; it uses any standard MicroUSB to charge with.

    The tiny tablet still works fantastically. Battery life is about eight hours with the display on and running 50% most of the time. I used it for data acquisition and simultaneous turn-by-turn directions from Memphis to Louisville late last month -- a five hour drive at 80mph -- without ever turning off the display. I still had something like 25% battery remaining when I pulled into my destination :)

    Loaded a few Steam games, but the poor little Atom Z3000-series IGP just isn't sufficient for much beyond the simple 2D scrollers. Crayon Physics is fun, Osmos works fine, Oblivion at lowest settings and 1400x900 rez is acceptable (it feels like it might sustain 30fps if I've had a few drinks ;) ). It plays all of the freebie Windows store games I've attempted to throw at it, the most resource intensive being the Asphalt series.

    It works pretty well for a Steam streaming endpoint with the little Logitech BT keyboard and a Microsoft BT mouse.
     
  17. Silent_Buddha

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    That little keyboard is cute. After so many years of Logitech taking their design cues from Apple for most of their mobile peripherals, it's nice to see one taking design cues from Microsoft. :)

    Regards,
    SB
     
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