Saturday, May 7, 2016

I cannot reccommend Android tablets

In December I bought an RCA tablet. It was the 7 inch Voyager 2 Pro and was purchased in December from Walmart. No fault of Walmart what subsequently transpired.

The tablet came with a keyboard case. The keyboard was a delight to use. The problems with the tablet were minimal. It was fast, had sufficient storage and worked well. The keyboard was at a very strange angle. With the keyboard level, reading the screen was somewhat hard due to its narrow viewing angle. A few apps wouldn't work on it. The screen was low resolution and didn't have a great color gamut.

Then on the 20th of March, the USB charger port worked loose. It had been getting gradually sloppier and sloppier. It stopped charging the tablet totally. As it was under manufacturer warranty, I contacted RCA. They responded - eventually - with a series of very confusing emails. It transpired they wanted me to spend $10 to ship their incompetently constructed hardware back to them. They promised to ship me back - not a new purple tablet but a reconditioned black tablet. Basically they would be shipping me a tablet somebody else had rejected or had failed to keep their payments up on.

So, because RCA is incompetent in their construction, they want me to pay $10 to ship their junk back to them. No - no way. I am not throwing $10 of good money away after $50 wasted on trash.

That set me thinking. I spent $90 on a Nook Color. That let me down, embarrasingly, in public. At a time when they were going on eBay for $75 I listed it and got the princely sum of $26 for it. Way under the going rate. I took it just to get shot of the bloody thing.

Then I bought a $50 RCA 7 inch tablet with 8GB storage. That was so worthless I threw it in the closet and spent $100 on a reconditioned Nexus 7. That worked reasonably well but stopped working about 12 months later. I did the factory reset which was when I discovered the factory image was missing. It had bricked itself!

Looking around I found lots of people that allegedly fixed tablets. None would reflash my Nexus 7. I don't have a good enough internet connection out in the sticks to download the gigabytes of data needed to fix it. It went in the closet.

So, next was the latest RCA disaster area. By now I have spent $290 on tablets and regained $26. Basically I have spent the $269 of an iPad mini and had nothing but frustration.

It is looking increasingly as though Android tablets of whatever price are just throwaway devices. As soon as they go wrong, throw them away. It's not as simple as that though. All data stored on them can be restored after deletion. With villains so easily undeleting data, the only way to ensure data security is to destroy the device.

So, I could spend $10 more on my RCA junk AND run the risk of somebody stealing my data. I don't think I'll bite on that one!

Whre to go from here? Well, there are 3 options:
1. Fix my laptop (it probably needs a new battery) and say "stuff tablets".
2. Buy a new junk tablet and hope it will last longer.
3. Stretch my finances, say "stuff it" and buy an iPad mini.

From my experience, it seems the weak point on the Android junk is the USB charger. All of my tablets and my phone have USB charging ports. All the USB ports have failed. My phone is now charged solely via a cordless charging pad. My Nexus 7 USB was getting very loose. The latest RCA tablet has probably got broken solder connections. This is why Apple uses their Lightning connector.

The reason why we have crappy USB connectors is because the EU wanted a standard power connector to reduce electronic waste. It actually causes more electronic waste because when the flimsy USB connector fails, the device is thrown away. It's just too expensive to repair them.  

This leaves me blogging with just my phone and a bluetooth keyboard. It's not a happy state of affairs. I am not happy! Given that my Nexus 4 Android phone is complaining of memory issues, I  suspect it is not long for the road either.

Clearly I'm going to have to go forward from here. The solution might be an iPad mini and simply replace my phone when it dies - probably with a flip phone. Each time I buy a smartphone, I swear I will go back to a flip phone. Give that nobod ever calls me, that might well be the way forward. As far as the tablet, I'm not sure that I wouldn't be better just fixing my laptop and not bothering with a tabet. Perhaps just get a cheap Chromebook.

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