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Looking for advice on a Tablet for digital modes.

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by AB7RU, May 25, 2019.

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  1. AB7RU

    AB7RU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am looking for a lightweight, decent tablet (or laptop but it seems tablets can do the same thing) to use on digital modes including wsjt-x, Fldigi, and the software I need to program my radios (Elecraft kx3/KW th-d72/74). I am currently using an older Dell Latitude D630 windows 7 laptop for the shack, but am searching for something lighter + lower power consumption to use in the field that will run the Windows apps. (Hoping to do some backpacking this summer and this laptop weighs like 6 pounds, ouch). I would rather stick with a PC but Android/Linux might be okay as long as it will run the same apps including the Kenwood and Elecraft radio software. Any recommendations?
    73's Mike AB7RU
     
  2. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just an operational one, Mike: unless you have a separate, bluetooth-connected keyboard, you're going to hate typing natively on a tablet; you're better off buying a low-mid level laptop that has all the smarts a tablet has, plus a built-in keyboard...which allows for a wider variety of software, too.
     
    AB7RU likes this.
  3. AB7RU

    AB7RU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks WF7A, yes that is a concern. Honestly I would probably prefer a laptop as that is all I have ever used over recent years but I have noticed a lot of hams using tablets in the field for digital modes which got me looking into them.
     
  4. KC9YGN

    KC9YGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Personally I'd avoid a tablet as well. As WF7A said they're awkward to work with. I used an iPad when I first started playing with digital and it was more irritating than useful. I'd go with a cheap Win10 laptop. Most of them get pretty good battery life these days and you can pick 'em up surprisingly cheap if you shop around, especially if you look at the refurbished market.

    I'd avoid Apple laptops. Yes, you could dual boot them so you could get them to run Windows, but the newer generations of the Macbook only have USB-C ports, not standard USB ports, so you'd need to carry extra dongles, adaptors, etc. Booting them into Windows is possible but I'll guarantee you'll have software compatibility issues.
     
    AB7RU likes this.
  5. VA3VF

    VA3VF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I strongly suggest you buy one of those sub $200 laptops with EMMC HD. Upgrade from Win 10 S to Win 10 Home, it's free, and go from there.

    If you are determined to go with a tablet, I suggest you get a Win 10 one.
     
    AB7RU likes this.
  6. AB7RU

    AB7RU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks KC9YGN and VA3VF, that does seem to be a better way to go, stick with a laptop. I came across this Dell which comes with Win 10 Home, and it is certainly lighter at 2.5 lbs than what I am currently using at about 6 pounds.
    https://www.dell.com/en-us/member/shop/cty/pdp/spd/inspiron-11-3180-laptop
    And yes I am avoiding Macs, as much as I have used them in the past and generally like them, I am not interested in trying to get Win software to run on a Mac.
    73's AB7RU
     
  7. VA3VF

    VA3VF Ham Member QRZ Page

    The link re-directs to the Dell Canada site, and does not show a laptop.

    Here in Canada, I would say go with either an ASUS or HP.
     
  8. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I look at a small laptop specifically for ports useful for amateur radio.

    ..every time I find a small laptop with sufficient ports, it is sold out.

    I think that should be taken into account by manufacturers.

    I like best the small form factor laptops, thicker in the back to accommodate the ports.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  9. VA3VF

    VA3VF Ham Member QRZ Page

    While not hamradio related, the first thing I look for on a laptop these days is an HDMI port. If it does not have one, I won't look at any other spec.
     
  10. KC9YGN

    KC9YGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I certainly agree with that. Alas, there is a trend to removing ports rather than adding them these days, often in an attempt to make laptops ever lighter and smaller. I'm an Apple computer user going back many years, but their decision to eliminate standard USB ports on their newer laptops means I'm never going to be able to buy another MacBook.
     

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