ciphergoth: (Default)
[personal profile] ciphergoth
It's time I bought one or more new small glowing rectangles. All of mine are ancient; my contract expires in less than a fortnight and I just got a bonus at work.  I'm definitely going to stick with Android devices. But apart from that, I'm totally at sea on what to buy or how many! Your advice gratefully received.

I use them to:
  • check Twitter, Facebook and RSS
  • look things up online
  • read books (that rectangle doesn't currently glow)
  • read PDFs of scientific papers, books etc
  • make voice memos
  • look at maps
  • make journey plans
  • check bus arrival times
  • occasionally take photos
  • from time to time even make and receive voice calls.
I'd like to use them also to make Skype calls.

One thing I can't work out is whether to buy one device or two. What fits comfortably in a pocket is too small for reading PDFs and smaller than I'd like for many of the other jobs. But with my current collection of ageing devices, I've found setting up a WiFi hotspot every time I want to get one of the other devices online on the move is a right pain; it's slow and cumbersome, and you have to remember to turn it off or you're wondering why your Internet is so slow when you get home, or why it's not working on the Tube platform.  I don't really want the expense of two SIM cards and contracts to go with them if I can help it either!

If such a thing existed, I'd almost be tempted by a 7" phone, but it wouldn't fit in my pocket at all, and though my bag is with me everywhere it's often too far away to have my phone in.  I just tried some PDFs on my slightly broken Galaxy Note 1, and the maths PDF is fine but the philosophy one is awful, very hard to read - in part simply due to the double spacing.

For the price of, say, the Galaxy Note 3, I could get something like a top-of-the-range Nexus 7 and a smaller but fairly high-spec phone.

What should I buy? Thanks!


Date: 2013-10-01 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Unless you go with a note-sized device, you're just going to have to live with the pain that is PDF reading on a mobile device. Apps like ezPDF reader are fine, but no app can fix how irritating it is to move around zoomed in on text (Unless I'm mistaken).

The LG G2 has a very small bezel, maximising the screen ratio to phone size, so that might be a good compromise. The device itself is pretty well specced, but I think it comes with a boatload of LG preinstalled crudware. (I'd unlock and flash a stock rom, if available).

Maybe hang on, see what the Nexus 5 will bring? If Google subsidise it as much as they did for the N4 (which I think is sold out now), that might be a winner.


Date: 2013-10-01 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This is a great site for checking out phone sizes:,368,361,184,80;1

Don't forget to click the red 'actual size' button and put in your monitor size.

Date: 2013-10-01 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I would wait until J gets her SGS4 and borrow that briefly. My experience with the HTC One X has been that it's big enough (the SGS4 is the same size) that *I* don't want a tablet on the go, and then everything falls into place. Mind you, most of my mobile reading is Proper Books and I have a Kindle for that (has wifi but wifi not really needed on the go) so that's another factor.

Date: 2013-10-01 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh, that was Simon BTW :-)

Date: 2013-10-01 10:20 pm (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
[personal profile] miss_s_b loves her Note2 that she got at Christmas on contract, I'm finding my G3Mini perfectly adequate (and actually phone/trouser pocket size) for all my needs (got it free on a cheap contract in June, my first Android after Symbian devices).

I, personally, wouldn't want a 'phone' that's bigger than my Mini, but I do get moments of phone envy when I see what Jennie can go with the much larger note, a smaller tablet might be on the wishlist at some point, but the note is a good compromise, etc.

Date: 2013-10-02 07:01 am (UTC)
doug: (Default)
From: [personal profile] doug
No specific device ideas, but the obvious combo to my mind is a large ish smartphone to do most things plus a cheap wifi-only tablet for reading.

My other main tip is to do the sums for buying outright vs on contract for the phone. Every time I do this I'm startled by how much better a deal you get. Sounds like you have the cash to do it, but even if you don't, it's an extremely expensive way of borrowing the money.

Date: 2013-10-02 07:16 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
In my (limited) experience of doing those sums it seems to vary. If there is a pattern, it might be off-contract being cheaper when a device launches, and on-contract becoming cheaper later. -- Simon

Date: 2013-10-02 07:53 am (UTC)
topbit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] topbit
I bought myself a nexus4 a month ago for £209 delivered. I do very little voice or txts, so I barely even need the £10/month top-up (and so that's building up right now), but still enormously cheaper than any decent handset on a contract. I'd spent a similar amount a year ago for a Nexus7, since improved.

Date: 2013-10-02 07:28 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I'm currently waiting for the Nexus 5 to launch - due sometime in October, looks rather nice, has a 5" screen.

If it's horribly expensive then I'll see if I can pick up a Nexus 4 cheap.

(I have an Android tablet, but it's 13", which is probably larger than you were thinking of)

Date: 2013-10-02 07:46 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Oh yes - perfect for reading comics. There's a picture of me Marvelman here:

Date: 2013-10-02 07:48 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
However, unless you need a 13" tablet for reading comics, etc. I wouldn't recommend _that_ one - the screen quality isn't that great, and the SD card is slow, so it can be jerky when running large things. It's fine for me, but would annoy many people.

Date: 2013-10-02 10:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If such a thing existed, I'd almost be tempted by a 7" phone

I'm not particularly recommending it, but such a thing does exist (Asus Fonepad) :) There are also phones in the 6" range if you want something larger than the Note series but smaller than 7" (e.g., Galaxy Mega series - looks cheaper than the Note, though not as high spec).

Personally I prefer having multiple devices that are better suited for different tasks[*]. I have the 2013 Nexus 7, which works well with my Galaxy Nexus. I don't find Wifi tethering too much of a pain on it, but yes it is a downside (especially not being able to see the signal indicator - also one has to be careful with any apps that go "Aha I'm on Wifi, I can download tonnes off stuff!", depending on your data allowance).

I was surprised to find that my Nexus 7 does fit in my front jeans pockets - in one it fits easily, though those are jeans with very large pockets; in others it pokes out the top slightly, and wouldn't be comfortable sitting at work with it all day (though I suppose I could easily put it on my desk when at work). I did briefly consider that I could switch to a 7" phone, but I think I'd still rather have a smaller device too.

So I guess I'd add a recommendation for the Nexus 7 - the 2013 model is a good spec, very light and thin, still reasonably cheap, the only downside for me is lack of microSD (and annoyingly the workaround to use USB OTG doesn't work on it). [personal profile] tiamatlady just got the Tesco Hudl - although not as good spec as the Nexus 7 and a bit heavier, it's still very reasonable, much cheaper, and has microSD.

[*] I love reading LJ on my Nexus 7, but it still got tossed aside for a device with an actual keyboard for me to write this on.

Date: 2013-10-02 10:55 am (UTC)
hairyears: Spilosoma viginica caterpillar: luxuriant white hair and a 'Dougal' face with antennae. Small, hairy, and venomous (Default)
From: [personal profile] hairyears
Hmmm... Sounds like you want a tablet that's good at being small as well as the usual medium-sized things. That runs up against insurmountable physical constraints.

It's going to be two devices, so it may as well be two devices as dissimilar as you can find them.

For pocket-sized devices, I would start with the Samsung Galaxt S4. It's possible that you'll find something better, but you should always start such a comparative exercise with something on the pretty-damn'-good side of acceptable.

Larger devices? I have no advice to offer.

Also: don't fall into the trap of thinking pdf's will always be dreadful on pocket devices: that's a software design problem, not a law of nature.

Date: 2013-10-02 12:05 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I have and love a Note2. The Note3 has an even larger screen in more or less the same body size and 1080p screen- I would get that almost irregardless of cost rather than be stock with carrying about multiple devices with bluetooth nonsense for ~2yrs. For me- Note sized phone, decent laptop when really needed, done.

Date: 2013-10-02 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I can't tell, I'm screened

Date: 2013-10-02 02:34 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Kris friend of Adam off facebook!


Date: 2013-10-02 12:54 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Incredibly easy decision for me: two devices. Mind you, I still have a dedicated MP3 player and compact camera :) because they do the job more safely (MP3 player) or better (camera) than doing it on a phone.

As you may have seen, I have kept the Desire, because flashing a new ROM simply transforms it, and bought a s/h 'as new' Nexus 7 which gets tethered to the Desire if I need internet on it and there's no wi-fi. Total spend: £140.

With more money, I'd get one of the new Nexus 7's, and still have loads left over compared to the cost of a 'phablet' and, as you say, easily enough to get a new sensibly sized phone.

Re: Two

Date: 2013-10-02 02:55 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
But it does!

Look at the a2sd feature some have - unlike the older app2sd which moved some bits of the programs to the microSD card, this uses links in the Android *ix filesystem to move the whole lot to the card.

I have far more installed than I ever did before, and currently have (looks) 36Mb of free space left, plus 110Mb of cached data on the internal storage.

This plus the N7 has totally cured my desire to get a new phone. YMMV.

Re: Two

Date: 2015-01-23 03:28 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
I see that desire lasted about a year, when it was possible to get a Moto E for £50...

Re: Two

Date: 2015-01-23 05:04 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Yep. The combination of it with a third party ROM and the N7 did what I wanted.

In terms of email, web, Google maps, Twitter, DVD database, Amazon, weather alerts, being a torch, cycle hire stuff, and a couple of games I actually like, I could still use the Desire - all that is 99% of what I use the phone for now.

In those twelve months, the cost of something of the power of the Moto E fell substantially.

Date: 2013-10-06 10:40 am (UTC)
juliet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] juliet
I have Samsung G2 (? think it is that one) phone and an iPad mini. Neither of those devices would fit your specific current requirements, but in terms of sizing (pocket-ish sized phone & small tablet) I would say they absolutely hit the spot. The iPad mini is great for reading books/documents (even PDFs), webbrowsing, etc; the phone is great for being pocket-sized and being able to read things if pushed.

I believe the Nexus 7 is the same size, give or take, as the iPad mini. If I were replacing a tablet and switching OS that is certainly what I'd go for. I actively wouldn't want a larger tablet. I might go for a slightly smaller phone (but definitely not larger).

My experience is that I only very rarely need to do the setting-up-WiFi-sharing thing with phone+iPad; almost all of the time I can get by with the phone if using 3G, or use the iPad offline.


ciphergoth: (Default)
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