After resisting for a while I finally got hold of my first tablet: a Lenovo Ideapad A1. I bought it to perform the following tasks:
- Remote control for my XBMC setup at home.
- Read PDFs on the sofa, in bed, etc.
- Have a viable alternative to the laptop in limited-mobility environments such as airport terminals, airplane/train/bus seats, etc. All I wanted in these circumstances was to read PDF documents, edit notes and todo lists, etc.
The price is astonishingly cheap: 155 €. What you get:
- A 7" tablet with a weight of ~400 g. You can hold it for hours without tiring your hands.
- Texas Instruments 3622 processor, 1 GHz clockspeed, 512 Mb RAM, 16 Gb Flash memory. Swift enough for most routine applications.
- Connectivity: WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS. No 3G/UMTS.
- Android 2.3.4, which is not the most recent, but most software will still run on it.
- MicroSD card slot, MicroUSB plug, microphone, loudspeaker, 3.5 mm audio jack, power button, reset button.
- Battery life of 5 to 8 hours depending on usage.
Here is a pic running GO launcher (I was changing the lower icons at the moment) with my frequently used apps and a custom background (a pic I took at the Danube in Vienna)
Occasionally, a high-pitched noise will appear. This systematicall happens after unlocking the screen. It is audible only in very quiet atmospheres and becomes irritating after a while. This seems to be a general issue for this pad. Solutions I have found (trial and error and forum searches):
- Press the volume-up or volume-down button.
- Settings --> Sound --> Screen loc sounds (select). Using this option, a sound is produced when the screen is unlocked. This wipes away the high-pitch noise.
Research journal articles are frequently printed in two columns. This makes them extremely tedious to read on a tablet screen. I have found no free android app which automatically rearranges 2-column PDFs into single-column PDFs suitable for display in small screens. The only solution I could find (thanks to Julio) is k2pdfopt. This program does exactly the aforementioned task: 2column ---> 1column. White margins are cropped out, so you don't have to fiddle around with zoom in/out every time you want to change a page or go to the next column.
I haven't found a free PDF reader capable of handling bookmarks. The closest I have come to is using Acrobat Reader. It remembers the current position when you exit. Next time you load the document, you are brought to the position where you left it. That's already something.
Synchronizing Google Tasks
Sync with Google works out of the box (calendar, mail, contacts). However, tasks were a bit more tedious. I finally settled for Any.do.
Frequently used apps
- Arxiv.org mobile: to browse the arxiv.org on the go, on the sofa, etc.
- DS Audio to stream from my Synology DS411j directly to my tablet.
- XBMC remote as a remote control for an XBMC session running on a computer with a TV monitor + audio system which serves as my media center at home.
- Dropbox. I keep my notes and papers to read synced with Dropbox (in my linux machines I just create symbolic links in ~/Dropbox pointing to the corresponding directories and files). Dropbox for android has the offline reading and editing capability, as opposed to Google Docs as of March 18, 2012.
- Test VPN.
- Find a git repository browser.
- Test GPS