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Recommendation for a contemporary 7" Android tablet for SOTA logging?

Dear all

I am preparing here for switching my former SOTA paper log to tablet logging with VK port-a-log. The software has been tested, discussed and recommended in our association. I want to give it a try.

Being in the Apple world for mobile devices, this decision requires to buy a reasonably featured (and priced) 7" Android tablet. This tablet will used only and solely for SOTA logging. Do you have any strong recommendation for such a tablet that satisfies yourself for logging SOTA contacts?

My thoughts so far:

  1. Around 250-300 g weight, around EUR 100-150 cost.
  2. No special need for being water resistant, I am not the man for activating in rain and snow storms.
  3. Clearly legible screen even in sunshine and/or with sunglasses (this will probably make difficult to buy the cheapest one).
  4. Not necessarily the newest one on the market, but not outdated - to be able to update it and use it for some years.
  5. Feedbacks desired from a Swiss, German or European Market perspective and availability.
  6. Characteristics/features that have been proven to be useful in your SOTA summit operating expericence.

Thanks in advance for your estimated support or advice.

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

Hi Markus,
I used to have a 7 inch Acer tablet before giving it to my sister. I think new, it would be a little over the Euro 150 limit but I bought it as it has a “proper” 4 pin 3.5 mm headSET jack on it, not just a headphone jack as many of them have. If you only want to use the tablet for log keeping, that’s not too relevant but it you decide to use it for digital modes, you need the mic in connection.

As for reading in sunlight - my suggestion is some kind of foldable cardboard box that you can put it in to shade it from the sun. I have yet to find a tablet that will work well in full sunlight.

73 Ed DD5LP.

At one time it would have been easy to recommend something but the tablet market has reached saturation and there’s much less development and choice now. Looking on ebay for the UK shows plenty of recent tablets for about £50 that are reconditioned units running Android 6. If you are just going to use for a single purpose then the Android revision is probably less important as is getting security updates.

I would be cautious of the very cheap Chinese tablets available. Whilst they all work they tend to come with very underspecified batteries meaning they have poor operational life. Also, it’s not unusual to find additional software installed by default that logs activities etc. and sends it to servers located in China without your knowledge. But hey Lenovo did that on their laptops too!

I use that logging app on a 7" Lenovo tablet that was sold quite inexpensively in Australia by an electronics store, less than AUD99. I am happy with how it works. I connect to the net using either my iPhone as a wifi connection or a wifi hotspot device. The Lenovo has designation “tab 3 7”.

73 Andrew VK1DA VK2UH

Lieber Markus
Bitte kaufe ein Tablet, bei dem du eine SIM-Karte einsetzen kannst.
Damit musst du keinen Hotspot einrichten.Für 10 Franken pro Monat erhälst du beispielsweise bei Swissom eine 2. Simkarte. Du kannst aber auch eine bei SWISS bestellen.
73 de SV2/HB9BIN/p, Jürg

Hallo Juerg, Hallo Markus,
Meine Acer 10 Zoll Windows Tablett hat 3G mit ein Pre-paid SIM Karte. Ich glaube die einziger Marke mit ein Tablett für Android mit eingebaute 3G konnte nur Samsung sein. Wenn dass Tablett ist nur für logging Arbeit vielleicht Internet ist nicht richtig und keine 3G/4G Anschluss ist nötig.

Hi Juerg, Hi Markus,
My Acer 10" Windows tablet has 3G and a pre-paid (pay as you go) SIM card. I think the only Android tablets with built in 3G are some models from Samsung. If the tablet is only to be used for logging purposes however, then Internet connectivity is not important and hence the 3G/4G connectivity is not needed.

73 Ed.

Hello Markus

As others have suggested avoid cheap tablets. I have 3 tablets here, one was the cheapest available and the only way I can get good use from it is to disable all updates of apps, keep it fully charged and remember that the battery will be dead in a couple of hours.

I only use the cheap one for testing updates of VK port-a-log figuring if it works OK on the cheap tablet it will be good on the better devices.

For 3G/4G connectivity I use a separate phone and set it up as a WiFi hotspot. Connectivity is not required for the logging function of VK port-a-log but is needed if you wish to use the SOTA (or WWFF) spotting functions.

I hope you get a suitable tablet and find VK port-a-log of some benefit.

73 Peter

Dear all

Thanks a lot for your suggestions, recommendations and advice and for those coming in later on.

3G/4G connectivity everywhere has not a top priority for me at present, especially not abroad. Maybe I’ll rate this higher some years ahead. Let me develop that at my pace, hi.

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

Hoi Markus

Ich hab das Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7“ mit SIM-KartenSlot. Leicht, gut und günstig.

vy 73 de Matthias HB9FVF

Dear all

A Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7" without SIM is now in my SOTA box - done some activations and been easy with it so far. I don’t use it for anything else.

Thanks to Peter for his software.

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

I use a Note 8 Table.
No SIM, I hot spot it to my phone