Tablets Are UnderWhelming

After spilling coffee on my beautiful and flawless Asus Eee PC –and disassembling it, washing the keyboard in the dishwasher (yes, really), and trying other extreme methods of rescuing it– I realized I needed a new ultra-portable computing solution.

The hot new thing is, of course, the tablet computer, led by the iPad.  As is well known, I’m religiously opposed to anything manufactured by Apple, so I decided to experiment with some cheaper, open source options.

My first purchase of a 10″ Android tablet was a disaster, mostly due to the total worthlessness of the resistive screen, which is the same technology used by the old Palm Pilots of the early days of personal digital assistants.  So I upgraded to a capacitive screen.  Running Android’s ice cream sandwich, it was tolerable, but ultimately pointless.  It’s not powerful enough to be a useful computer.  And its lack of a keyboard makes it untenable as a word processor.  When I plug a keyboard into it, it’s essentially a netbook, so why bother?

I’ve since transformed it into an eBook and comic book (CBR) reader.

It was sort of useful as a portable video and media device, but, at 10″, rather awkward.  So I acquired a 7″ model that was thinner and fit into my breast pocket.

Okay, we’re on to something here, right?

No.  My cheap-ass Chinese model is too weak to run such standard apps as Facebook and Twitter.  But it can stream Youtube vids and play back loaded media.  But that’s not the problem.  See, cheap Chinese tablets often suffer from poor battery capacitance.  Sure as fuck, right out of the box my 7″ could not maintain a charge beyond a couple of minutes.  And of course the seller was completely unresponsive.

So I disassembled my 7″ tab and broke out my multimeter to check ever node on the circuit board to see if there was a voltage drop.  My theory was that the battery was crap and could not maintain a charge –which, however, did not explain why the beast wouldn’t run continuously while plugged in.

Finding a replacement battery proved impossible.  Eventually I went on Ebay and ordered a generic tablet battery, which was three times the physical size of the one in my tablet.  The following photo shows the tablet’s innards as I soldered in the new battery; the old one is the blue thing on the side.  Note the size difference.

As soon as I completed the connection, my tablet sprung to life!  My assumptions had been proven correct!

So I spent the evening charging up the battery, re-installing all my apps, and having a good time with my new ultra portable media device… even though the casing was sort of warped, due to the larger size of the new battery.

But then… I woke up this morning to find a completely dead, unresponsive and non-charging device.

Verdict: I’m done with tablets.  Give me a netbook any day.