Tag Archives: tablet

Get an iPad Mini Now or Wait?

It’s about time for us teachers and students to start thinking about heading back to school.  I love this time of year:  shopping for back-to-school clothes, and supplies…and GADGETS!

I decided to sell my iPad 2 wifi and get an iPad Mini 3G, but I was faced with the ever present tech shoppers dilemma: Do I get the current generation or wait for the update?

I watched/read tons of reviews of the 1st gen iPad Mini to make sure it would meet my expectations. I investigated every rumor pertaining to the unveiling of the 2nd gen iPad Mini. I determined that the 1st gen iPad Mini exceeded the iPad 2 in performance – so it would be an upgrade for me. And, if the rumors are correct, the 2nd gen iPad Mini will be revealed sometime in the next 2-6 months – not very specific.

If a retina display is a high priority for you, and you can wait up to 6 months (according to rumors), and you don’t mind paying full retail price, then wait for the 2nd gen.

I’m not already spoiled by a retina iPad so even though the resolution of the current iPad Mini is the same as the iPad 2, its smaller display has a larger number of pixels per inch, giving it a sharper appearance. I decided to go with the 16GB iPad Mini 3G that retails  for $459. However, you can get the same model, only refurbished, directly from the Apple Online Store for only $389. Even if Apple announces an new iPad Mini in a couple months, it would probably be well after the 1st of the year before they started showing up in the refurbished store. I ordered the refurbished device. You can watch my unboxing below.


Nokia N810

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Recently I picked up a Nokia N810 on eBay for $60.

The only app I’ve discovered that I don’t already have on my phone is ATI (Almost Real TI), a Texas Instruments graphing calculator emulator.

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What sets this app apart from apps I’ve used on iOS and Android is:
-there are 5 calculators to choose from (see picture below)
-the interfaces look just like the actual TI calculators
-it was free

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The downside is that there is no longer any app support for this device, it’s OS, or software such as this.

The upside is that I now have 5 different models of TI calculators on one device for only $60. This is convenient, since I’m high school math teacher.


Equation Editors for the iPad (or Android Tablets)

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Last year I tried replace my laptop with an iPad. I’m a math teacher and I needed to be able to create and edit word documents that contained equations…lots of them. I found a few apps (like MathBot) that would allow me to create equations. The downside with these type of apps is that they are not word processors. You have to export each equation as a photo or PDF, then you have to paste it into a document you’ve created in another app, then you have to adjust the size and if you have several equations on the same page it is nearly impossible to get them all a uniform size. And there is no editing the equations once they’ve been exported.

It’s a lot of work, and the end product is not that great.

I continued to look for a word processor with a built-in equation editor. I nearly bought a Microsoft Surface RT because it came with MS Office, but the price ($599) convinced me to keep looking for a more affordable option.

I found the perfect solution: Refurbished iPad 2 ($319) + CloudOn (free).

CloudOn is an office suite with built-in equation editor, just like MS Office.

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It’s a web app, so you must have internet access, but finally there’s a productivity suite with a built-in equation editor. I’ve used it on an iPad 2 and a Nexus 7 and it works great on both tablets.

Check out my overview of CloudOn’s equation editor.


Apple Refurbished iPads

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Like new.

Yesterday I unboxed my Apple Refurbished iPad 2 (16 GB) and posted the video on YouTube.
Apple Refurbished iPad 2 Unboxing

*The packaging is different than a new iPad, yet still very attractive.
*A new 16 GB iPad Costs $399, while the refurbished devices cost $319 (I couldn’t find a deal to beat that on eBay).
*Shipping was free and prompt – I ordered it and a new Smart Cover on Saturday and the cover arrived Wed. while the iPad arrived Thur.
*I could not tell the difference between the refurbished device and a new one.

Apple refurbished iPads have:
-a new battery
-a new outer shell
-a one year warranty

The less expensive models tend to go faster, so if you set your heart on getting one, you may have to wait until more of your desired model becomes available. I’s worth checking out.
Apple Refurbished iPads

You can also purchase refurbished laptops, desktops, and iPods from Apple.

I’m curious to see how much the iPad mini will cost when the start selling refurbished models.


My Nexus 7 Has Arrived…FINALLY!

For the last 3 weeks I’ve felt like a 9 year old child waiting for Christmas.  But at long last my wait is over and the new Nexus 7 tablet has arrived at my door.

Lots of people have been complaining about a “shipping scandal” and the “lack of communication” from Google.  However, when I pre-ordered my 8GB Nexus 7 from the Google Play store, it was clearly stated that the tablet would ship in 2 to 3 weeks.  I received a confirmation via email shortly after I placed my order then another email notifying me when the tablet shipped and included a tracking number.  My tablet was delivered exactly 2 weeks after I ordered it.  I’m satisfied with that service.

The Kid and I did an unboxing that you can check out below.

Nexus 7 unboxing video


Nexus 7 Has Shipped!

Nexus 7

I pre-ordered Google’s Nexus 7 on July 3, and I received an email bright and early this morning (July 14) that my order has shipped.

I ordered the 8GB model of the 7″ tablet from the Google Play store for $199.  After sales tax and shipping were included, the total cost was $225.

The 8GB model is currently only available at Google Play, but the 16GB model is being sold at Google Play as well as retailers like Staples, Game Stop, and Office Depotfor $249.  I’ve heard that many of the retailers are sold out and may not be getting another shipment until mid August.

Nexus 7 covers – rumored to have the auto sleep/wake function.

If the rock bottom price hasn’t enticed you to purchase one of these shiny new tablets, Google Play is offering a $25 credit with

the purchase of a Nexus 7.  With this credit you can purchase apps, music, movies, books, and it just occured to me that you may be able to purchase the Nexus 7 cover, which is listed in Google Play as coming soon for $19.99.


My Nexus 7 Is On The Way!

I pre-ordered Google’s new 7″ tablet, called the Nexus 7, from Google Play.  It should arrive in 2-3 weeks (July 16-20?).

Earlier this summer I almost bought an iPad 2 (again).  I heard rumors that Microsoft was making an Office app for the iPad and I got iPad fever. Unfortunately, it was just a rumor.  MS has their own tablet in the works, and they’re hinting that the “Pro” model could cost as much as an ultrabook laptop…I’m not interested.

However, on June 27 at Google I/O developers’s conference, Hugo Barra announced the Nexus 7…starting at $200…I’m interested!  So I started comparing the Nexus 7 to the iPad:

Exterior Design:  The Nexus 7’s display is made of a scratch resistant Corning Glass instead of Gorilla Glass like the iPad.  I don’t know what that means in terms of durability if dropped, so I’m glad the Nexus 7 has a non-slip textured back instead of a slippery aluminum back like the iPad.

Operating System:  I used Apple’s iOS 5 when I had an iPhone and I’m currently using Android 3.2 Gingerbread on my Galaxy Note.  I like using both, but Apple has a better system for getting updates out to all users.  The Nexus 7 that I just ordered comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and since it is coming straight from Google, I’m hoping that I will be able to update the OS each time a new one is released – like Apple devices.

Apps Store:  In order to download apps or even browse Apple’s App Store you have to download iTunes to your computer or you must already own an Apple device that has the App Store on it.  I like to browse an app store before I buy the corresponding device.  If I can’t get the apps I need, I don’t want the device.  For example:  The Blackberry Playbook was an awesome device with a horrible app store.  Fortunately, Apple has a great App Store.  I like Google’s app store, called Google Play, because it is online, you don’t have to download it, and I could check out the app selection before I ordered my Nexus 7.

Apps:  Apple has a larger selection of apps, but I’m happy with the apps offered by Google.  Plus, the Nexus 7 uses Chrome as its browser so I’ll also have access to Chrome’s Web Store with its selection of web apps.

Portability:  I like the 7″ form factor for a tablet.  I had a Blackberry Playbook and I took it with me everywhere.  When I had the iPad, it stayed at home.

Storage:  Neither the Apple iPad, nor the Nexus 7 come with expandable storage.  That’s fine with me.  It keeps the cost down and with all the cloud storage that is available, I don’t need it anyway.

Price:  I had planned on getting a 16GB iPad 2 for $320 – this model is refurbished by Apple and includes a 1 year warranty.  A 16GB Nexus 7 costs $250 and comes with a $25 credit at Google Play.  I ordered the 8GB model for $200 and it also comes with a $25 credit.