Post Christmas Tablet Bargains

There seem to be a lot of stunning deals for 7in tablets about as the market is saturated. This means there are new devices, often from people you have never heard of, and refurbished devices going very cheap. If you want a tablet for use on SOTA activations and don’t want to spend big bucks and then find that a lot of SOTAing causes early failure of your tablet there may be something for you out there.

Android tablets: you really need to consider if you will use this to go online from some unknown location. Most of the cheap Chinese “noname” devices have some horrible security flaws in the software. In addition it highly unlikely they will ever receive an Android update. That doesn’t mean they’re no good, just that you need to be a little careful what you use it for. Also the battery capacity is often lower on the very cheap tablets and hence battery life is reduced.

Currys/PCworld are selling Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablets with 8GB of storage, 1GB ram, microSD slot, USB, Android 4.1+ for £79.99 complete with 2yr warranty. These are dual core tablets that work FB but are off the leading edge in performance. Probably there’ll be no more Android updates from Samsung.

Nexus7 Gen 1 refurbs: MorganComputers are selling refurbed A1 condition 16gb Nexus 7 tablets for £69.95. These are quad core with 1GB ram. There is no SD card slot but you can use an external USB memory stick with an OTG cable and some software. This has a quite a bit more performance than a Galaxy Tab 3 but will have only 3months warranty. You can get the version of Android (Lollipop 5.0) for this as it is still actively supported by Google.

Linx Windows 8.1 tablet: Various suppliers from £58 to £80. This a brand new 7in tablet with a quad core 1.33GHz Atom CPU, 1GB ram, 32GB storage. Unlike the others this has a x86 compatible processor and runs Windows 8 “metro” apps and traditional desktop apps. For £58 this is a steal but running Win8 in 1GB will be challenging for performance even though the Atom is much faster than equivalent ARMs. I’d love to see one running Metro and desktop apps. At £60 it’s almost worth a punt anyway, if it’s no good you can give it to the kids to watch films and TV progs.

All of these devices have Bluetooth, Wifi and USB for connectivity.

Personally I have a Nexus 7 Gen 1 32GB which has the full OS 1:50000 mapping installed, ebooks and some useful apps I use to administer some of the SOTA websites when out and about. With a Bluetooth keyboard I have a tiny laptop that is small and light. If I need to travel but don’t need the hassle of taking a full laptop with me, then this is great. I bought it because it was shiny and it took a while before I started using it more and more.

I’ve got no shares in the companies mentioned and none of the 3 devices mention use chip designs from my employer! As always caveat emptor. Make sure you know what you are buying before you spend your cash. The cost is not huge and you can dip your toes in the tablet water.

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When I saw the thread title I thought that Boots were doing 2-for-1 on Alka Seltzer.


You’ll need that tomorrow!

The best cure I know of for pickled liver…


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Be careful with the samsung one… If the battery goes really flat (mine did after a few weeks of not being used…) You may have to take the damn thing apart, disconnect and then reconnect the battery lead, before you can charge it up (or even use it, as it appears to be a brick!)

Having said that, it’s fairly easy to do, if a little hairy if you don’t fancy breaking the case!

Hmm, must dig it out the ‘week away bag’ and try it…

Do you think that Windows tablet would have enough horsepower to run JT65?

Good question.

K1JT’s own WSJT doc says you need an 800MHz CPU or faster. This has a quad-core BayTrail Atom running at 1.3GHz. The problem is that it’s difficult comparing CPUs based on paper specs any more. Once it was easy an 80386DX33 kicked the pants of an 80386DX25. Now with caches and speculative/out-of-order execution who knows!

I have an Atom based PC here running Linux, it’s an Intel Atom N330 1.6GHz, a dual core HT processor which gets a passmark score of 603. The processor in the tablet is an Intel Atom Z3735G 1.3GHz, quad core which gets a score of 953. The score is an overall test of the CPU so it may include some tests which are irrelevant to what is needed here. All I do know is my Atom based computer doesn’t set a records for performance but it was bought for low energy use to stay on 24/7. My core i7 based desktop scores 9500 and that is really quite quick. I guess it will probably have enough CPU performance but maybe might need a few options setting in the JT software.

There’s no info if this tablet has audio in on the connector. There is a 3.5mm jack for stereo output but no mention of input apart from a microphone. The other elephant in the room is how well it runs with 1GB of RAM and Win8. The machines I have to run Win 8 at work all have 8GB RAM. I’ve justed booted my Win7 Home 64 laptop and displayed the task manager where 1.1GB of RAM is in use. The tablet will be less as it runs in 32bit mode. Reports say it runs fine but one person’s fine may not be the same as your or mine version of fine.

So it may well work fine but you have to solve the audio connections.

Is this of any help for you on the linx7 think the battery life is only 4 hours

It has a small-ish battery. 3500mAhr in the Linx7 compared to 4325mAhr in a Nexus 7.

There is further information here:

Amongst other things, it says there is audio in on the connector. Also, a user reports that he has successfully decoded JT65 on it using WSJT.

Walt (G3NYY)

It runs SDR# fine as well. The availability of audio in on the headphone socket is very desirable.