Our dream tablet: 10 things we want

Our dream tablet: 10 things we want

Summary: The perfect tablet may never be built, at least not one that appeals to everyone. Using these 10 components would create the best there is.

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TOPICS: Tablets, Mobility
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  • Battery life

    We're the first to admit that battery life has gotten pretty good on tablets, with 10-12 hours now commonplace. That's not good enough for our dream tablet, though, as we want to be able to use it a couple of days without hitting the charger.

    That desire means a solid 15 hours of usage on a single charge. It's not that big a stretch over current tablets. And it's our dream, so there.

  • (Image: iFixit.com)

    Speakers

    Tablets are perfect for catching tunes on the go, whether the music is stored locally or streaming from the cloud. We plan on doing that a lot on our perfect tablet so we need some killer audio onboard.

    That means good speakers, and not just those with a fancy brand name. No, we're talking good stereo speakers with decent audio playback that will make us tap our feet and annoyingly play air guitar.

    Sure, we can plug in good earbuds to get decent audio, but sometimes you need to crank up the volume on the tablet and blast the room.

  • (Image: Apple)

    Lots and lots of storage

    The killer audio coupled with the enhanced video capability of our dream tablet means we will want lots of storage capacity. We'll do our share of keeping things in the cloud, but we want the option of stashing lots of music and video.

    This means a solid 64GB of internal storage on our perfect slate, and a memory card slot to add more when needed. A microSD slot or even a full SD slot will suit just fine and let us add another 64GB of storage.

Topics: Tablets, Mobility

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  • and we want it to cost $15

    well, just being honest.
    malert
    • Cost

      To be honest, I would prefer them to pay me to take it. Especially since I would be ordering lots of stuff online.
      hayneiii@...
    • $15

      Amen, man!
      Aristarco Palacios
  • What about....

    USB 3.0, HDMI, removable storage. If a tablet is going to be really useful, it has to have these.
    jgoode@...
    • #9 Mentions Removable Storage

      "... and a memory card slot to add more when needed ..."
      chuckharold
    • Re: What about

      Did you miss the floppy drive? The QIC table drive (or DAT). It should also have swappable hard drive bays!
      danbi
    • SJVN has almost described a Surface Pro

      Sure, the current Surface Pro isn't as thin, light and power-frugal as he's requested, but it does almost everything else: The Surface Pro has a pen, retina-DPI screen, is blazingly fast, has 128GB storage, SSD card slot, USB3, etc. And you can run multiple instances of various OS' in Hyper-V VM's.

      Perhaps if Haswell can indeed deliver it's promised 9W @ idle, then we may well see 10-hour Surface Pro 2 that is also thinner and lighter too.
      bitcrazed
      • Excess is killing Surface Pro -- it is not a contender in the TABLET market

        1) Excessive power consumption. Doesn't matter if it does 'almost everything else' -- an ultra mobile device that has to be plugged in every few hours is not going anywhere. *Maybe* the next processor will fix it, but that doesn't exist yet.

        2) Excessive pricing. $1000+ buy-in means its only going to sell in any great numbers to the rich and limited corporate. Sure, its comparable to an ultra-laptop, but thats a different market and purpose than tablets. Before anyone chimes in with nonsense about the iPad top model being over $800, I invite them to look at the percent of iPad sales that are the 'top model' -- pretty tiny. iPad would have NEVER been so wildly successful had its starting price been $800+.

        Surface Pro probably steals a LOT more sales from laptops than tablets.
        SbySW
      • Don't you just hate the lack of a comment editor?

        I'm sure you meant to say James almost described a Surface Pro rather than Steve but I have more issues with you statement other than that typo.

        I have a Surface Pro. I really like the Surface Pro. But it is not the dream tablet you make it out to be. In fact, I don't really consider it a tablet at all, bitcrazed. IMO, it is quite close to the ULTIMATE netbook vision realized except for it's battery charge reality. (BTW, just got done testing out Avatron's Air Display beta drivers on it using my iPad 3 as a secondary monitor. They need a bit more work to get the speed up but having a lightweight mobile dual monitor computer system is a joy. But I digress.)

        Although the display on the Surface Pro is a very nice and color accurate display, it's resolution is a little shy of retina class. ClearType font tech greatly helps but it is only available in landscape mode. One of the joys of using the iPad is it's portrait orientation capability. As Apple research indicated and the key point Google designers understood when they designed the Chromebook Pixel, the 16:9 ratio display is NOT optimized for web pages and one of the main uses of a tablet or Chromebook is obtaining info from web pages. The traditional 4:3 aspect ratio is better suited for that activity.

        That being said, viewing the NBC app on my Surface Pro display in it's HD 16:0 ratio is extremely pleasant. Ah, design choices! One reason why there can never EVER be a single dream tablet design.

        I agree that cloud storage is not the answer for all storage needs, (Sorry, Jason Perlow), and I would like to see a micro SDXC storage option available on ANY current tablet design. But there is a caveat to go along with that regarding iOS devices.

        Currently, Apple manufactures their iPad tablet with a 128 GB storage option. Sure, one pays quite a price for that capability and a micro SDXC card is much more cost effective but that storage coupled to it's ability to access multiple cloud based storage options negates the necessity for a micro SDXC option.

        What about the legit question of digital file transfers from one device to another when wireless transfer options are not available? Lack of a wireless source is the key reason behind the need for a USB2 or USB3 port or that SD card slot in a mobile device.

        I won't debate the logic or rationale behind the needs for such ports. They are a necessity for many users. But I will state that the lack of such ports in a tablet device is simply a design choice used by certain manufactures. Those manufactures that omit those ports may view a tablet's thinness or lightness as a higher priority. Especially if their intended customers have a reasonable expectation that this need might be an extremely infrequent one considering the ecosystem that this tablet was designed to operate in.

        To be frank, bitcrazed, the actuality of the current Haswell chip design led me to choose the first generation of the Surface Pro rather than wait until the next generation of Intel chips became available. The Surface Pro brings an impressive set of mobile capabilities to current consumers and it's 5 hour battery charge level should be sufficient for most mobile needs - especially if a secondary mobile device (either a smartphone, ultrabook class laptop or another tablet) can be used as a backup option. Personally, I will almost always couple my Surface Pro with my iPad 3 when used in a mobile, away from my desktop, scenario.
        kenosha77a
        • So youre saying ...

          The ultimate netbook in a tablet form factor isnt also the ultimate tablet? If it had the capabilities to be the ultimate PC in general it would still be the ultimate tablet. I'm not sure why people keep dividing this thing up like weight classes in boxing.

          It's like 2 guys walking around with the same exact tablet but one has an intel processor in it and the other has a ARM type in it. "Hey thats no tablet! its got a PC grade processor in it." Like its not fair or something ...
          RedSoldat
    • Ports

      USB n.0 and HDMI. Removable Storage? Um... USB should prove useful for that.
      Aristarco Palacios
      • Removable storage

        true true. only needed card readers for cameras before. Even thats not needed anymore with most newer models ... just wifi files over. Just pop a bigger main drive into the thing ... pure and simple.
        RedSoldat
  • Price

    How much would you be willing to pay for this? Just from thinking about it, $1200 would probably not be out of the question for something this impressive.

    Let me add one more thing to your list: a synthetic sapphire screen. If you are going to pay big bucks for a device, the screen should be both super high-res *and* nigh unbreakable, in my opinion.

    Other than that, I'm drooling over the prospects of a tablet with these specs!
    jackmcnally12
  • C'mon James!

    Samsung's Exynos Octa is not a real 8 core processors. In fact, in all likelihood it's not as fast as Qualcomm's quad core Snapdragon 800 processor. Don't buy into nonsense.
    jhammackHTH
  • Should have been 6 things...

    I totally disagree on 4 points. The retina display thing is a marketing slab of nonsense and few people would need or perceive anything better than 1280 X 1080 in a 10" tablet. Plus the higher resolution only adds to the load on the GPU and affects battery life. Not worth it.

    The thin thing is contrary to practical design, limiting the battery size and structural factors with impacts on durability and assembly quality. Beyond a point thin is just bad for engineering.

    Cameras? Beyond a utility resolution, you're not getting anything with a denser image sensor on a pinhole camera - poorer low light sensing, more artifacts - haven't we outgrown the marketing "resolution" nonsense yet? A tablet camera only has a few uses.

    Speakers. How good can the sound from a 1 cm speaker ever be? It simple physics. Use good headphones or stream to a proper soundsystem.

    All the other stuff is good. Add more security. The device needs hardware encryption, restriction and policy settings, and overall seamless layered security. Especially for enterprise use.
    rehabeng
    • Shhh...

      You're crushing a middle-aged man's dreams here. Stop making sense and all that.

      I actually lol'd a few times during the article. What kind of mobile games are so graphically intense to need a faux-octacore processor? I don't know about you, but there isn't a single mobile game I ever seen that can compete with consoles/full computer systems in complexity, controls, and magnitude of size. I can imagine now playing Skyrim or something on a mobile device without a controller nor keyboard (how'd a slick dock miss the list?)...wait, no I can't. Are the SD cards faux-cartridges? I guess Angry Birds, Temple Run, etc. genuinely require multicore support because of their intensity.

      This list speaks volumes to the disconnect between a tech person and what real people are actually using. Perhaps if low and mid range devices vanished and we had unlimited network bandwidth these features would make sense. In the meantime, reality will go on with $199 devices taking market share from 10" and high-end devices. I wonder what you could stream if all content was at "Retina" resolutions and everyone was using LTE...probably a good documentary on lag.
      ikissfutebol
      • a tiny bit of nitpicking here . . .

        "What kind of mobile games are so graphically intense to need a faux-octacore processor?"

        A tiny bit if nitpicking here - but it's the CPU component that's gonna be "faux-octacore," not the GPU component.
        CobraA1
      • Processor strain?

        I believe that may be the point. If not many games require the full resources of the octa processor, than it isn't taxing all of its resources and may get better battery life.
        TheMimic12
    • umm no

      I see the difference and it drives my wife nuts! She hates that I nitpick over aliasing and poorly drawn fonts in my ebooks.
      slickjim
      • Funny

        E-ink Kindles are listed at 167 ppi. To put that into context, that's roughly what the original 2007 iPhone used, too. I've never heard someone say they had issues reading the E-ink Kindles. I think the issue is reading on the various types of displays...and research also points out that lowering resolutions reduces eye strain. While I'm no optometrist, I'd imagine eye strain can cause images to look blurry.
        ikissfutebol