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Netbook or iPad?


bhjazz
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Needing something small-ish that had some sort of digital output. USB is fine. I'd like to send the output to a DAC as well as have some kind of internet connectivity.

For starters, I'm not a big apple fan, but am willing to give it a try if it's far away the best source. I'd probably bring it to work and rock out there, then bring it home for moving tunes on to it if need be.

3G not necessary, wifi would be fine. I'd be keen onand Android tablets, but Google continues to skip implementing USB host mode. That is, USB host mode without some damn cable hack.

Comments? Suggestions?

OK. Thanks!

Brian

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The Toshiba Thrive (Android tablet) comes with an actual USB port (and the latest version of Honeycomb, which includes USB host mode).

Not sure how practical it'd be to actually store lossless music on an Android tablet though given the limited storage space they have though. Something like a netbook might make more sense if you have a lot of music.

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I really like my iPad for many reasons, but probably would not buy it just for its musical abilities. In particular, the USB camera adapter could be tighter - it often slips off as I'm listening and I have to plug it back in. The real techies would know better, but I don't know how universal the USB is - there seems to be some voltage compatiblity problems, and not sure it would work with all DACs. Then there's always the threat that Apple will just pull the plug on allowing audio at all, in light of the fact that it's really supposed to be used for transferring photo files. Not saying they WOULD, just that with each iOS upgrade, the thought crosses my mind.

I'm thinking if you're looking for a device that is mainly to play music by outputing digital to USB, probably a GOOD netbook is a better option. If there is such a thing. I've read good things about the Lenovo Thinkpad X120e, but I have no direct experience with any netbook.. Looks like they're on sale, though!

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=C63BB22720313B14F5906FFA72CB90D5&action=init

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Samsung and Toshiba have new tablet computers coming out. Samsung Series 7 Slate is a Windows 7 machine that will change to 8 when it is available. Toshiba AT200 is an Android/Honeycomb machine. Both have USB, and the Sammy is full size USB 2.0.

Edited by Voltron
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I'm thinking if you're looking for a device that is mainly to play music by outputing digital to USB, probably a GOOD netbook is a better option. If there is such a thing. I've read good things about the Lenovo Thinkpad X120e, but I have no direct experience with any netbook.. Looks like they're on sale, though!

http://shop.lenovo.c...0D5&action=init

I have one and it's probably my favorite laptop I've owned. The size is perfect, screen has excellent resolution for 11.6"(1366x768) and the keyboard is a joy to type on. The E-350 is more than enough for casual computing (including watching 720p movies and light gaming). And the best of all, it's cheaper than an iPad.

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I had a netbook for a while and found it to be totally useless. Underpowered, even for listening to music, and too small to work on. I replaced it with a used Thinkpad X61. It has a full sized keyboard, a big enough (4x3!) screen to actually get something done, and turns out to be a much more powerful machine. It also runs XP, which is a bonus from where I sit. I also get ~8 hours of battery life. And, it is barely bigger than a netbook. And, the difference in build quality between a thinkpad and a cheapo netbook is huge. Cost me $275 on ebay, and came with a docking station, so no need to pick up an external drive. Truly the best $275 I have spent on hardware, and my favorite computer I have owned.

There is also a tablet version, though I am not sure how well that part would work.

Not a bad price, though I'd still take the X61, even at the same price :)

Edited by dsavitsk
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I've heard good things about the Toshiba. Will look in to that, as well as the Lenovo (which we have for short-term use at work) and the Thinkpad.

Friend of mine had an Acer Ass-pile One, and after a few months the cable connecting the bottom of the unit to the display gave out and shredded. Nice.

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I use an iPad at work with the USB camera connector. I use it with the iPad dock which greatly reduces the strain and it doesn't fall out as easily, if ever. It works well with the Pico DAC. It worked for about 15 seconds with a Trends UD-10 into a Denon DA-500, then I got a voltage error.

As far as storing music on an Android tablet... the Thrive has an SD card slot. 48 gigs with an iPad is 200$, the same could be done for what, 50$ or so in SD cards? I'm not sure how well the USB host works on Android tablets at this point, but I haven't seen an interface that's as good as Apple's for music playback.

manaox2 suggested a more-than-a-netbook computer with an e450. I'm not sure the e450 is shipping yet, but it should be soon. The predecessor, the e350, is an option in the suggested Thinkpad X120e, and also the HP dm1z. At this point, I'd wait for the e450. With these, you could always upgrade to a small SSD drive and then have an external portable with all your music. I've seen 1TB USB powered portables for 55$ lately. You would give up some battery life, but I don't see it as a problem if you're looking to be stationary with a plug in. You can get these processors in anything from an 11.6" computer to 15.6", but almost always with a 720p/1366x768 display. I'd stick with the small ones, personally.

FWIW, I really love my iPad. You can also get apps and use a service like Subsonic and stream your music to your iPad, if you have a computer you want to leave on at home.

**BRENT**

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I had a netbook for a while and found it to be totally useless. Underpowered, even for listening to music, and too small to work on.

:(

I did all of my programming, some of my circuit modeling, most of my writing, and most of my studying on it last semester. Other than the kind of flakey wireless card, it has worked fine for me.

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We've got x100e's at work and they seem quite capable, although the battery bulge is a bit funny. One of those tradeoffs I guess one has to make.

Neat call on the 1TB drives, Brent. I think the rig at work is the one I want to focus on, so maybe transporting a drive back and forth is an option I hadn't considered.

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manaox2 suggested a more-than-a-netbook computer with an e450. I'm not sure the e450 is shipping yet, but it should be soon. The predecessor, the e350, is an option in the suggested Thinkpad X120e, and also the HP dm1z. At this point, I'd wait for the e450. With these, you could always upgrade to a small SSD drive and then have an external portable with all your music. I've seen 1TB USB powered portables for 55$ lately. You would give up some battery life, but I don't see it as a problem if you're looking to be stationary with a plug in. You can get these processors in anything from an 11.6" computer to 15.6", but almost always with a 720p/1366x768 display. I'd stick with the small ones, personally.

The HP dm1z is a top-rated netbook and is slated to come with the E 450 and a few little updates very soon. Its already been reviewed by PC magazine. The Lenova update should be great as well, I am looking forward to seeing what comes with a refresh. The SSD and portable external are great advice.

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The Lenovo has a better keyboard, a trackpoint and a more business look while the HP has a more shiny and stylish look. Otherwise, they're basically the same computer. The HP is usually a little cheaper though the Lenovos are often on sale. I upgraded my X120e with a 64GB SSD a while ago and I couldn't be happier with the machine.

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As the owner of both an E350 lenovo and an iPad I can say both have their place and advantages. For a source I'd go with the lenovo, more cheap storage, easier dac connectivity, good enough battery life (6hrs), easier to load whatever you want on it and on and on. For sitting around surfing the net the iPad is great but it is very limited. Typing this on the iPad was a chore and the reason I haven't replied sooner since my wife stole the lenovo.

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  • 2 years later...

Reviving an old thread...

 

Seems that my X100e is approaching its end.

 

I've been looking at a refurb X131e. Anyone has any experience with series machine? Here are the specs of the unit I am looking at:

$315

ThinkPad X131e AMD Fusion E2-1800 1.70 GHz RAM 4 GB 320 GB 7200 rpm Gigabit EN 802.11( b ) (g)(n) Bluetooth 4.0 Camera 6 Cell ATI Mobility Radeon HD 7340 TFT Color LCD 11.6" 1366 x 768 Win 7 Pro 64-bit OS Installed

 

Any recommendations below $400 are welcomed as well. Thanks

Edited by CD44hi
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