Aug 152013

My old Motorola Xoom tablet has been slowly dying on my lately. It has been running slower and slower. Part of the reason, I think, is because Google/Motorola stopped supporting development of the Android OS for it. So it doesn’t get updates anymore, which means it’s stuck on 4.1.

Also, the hardware is old, so programs that have become more and more greedy when it comes to CPU and memory are running out of room to work.

It doesn’t help that it weighs a ton, and becomes uncomfortable to use after a few hours.

I saw a sale on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 pen tablet the other day, and finally decided to buy one. I have a few good reasons for it.

First, it supports microSD cards up to 64GB. I have a lot of e-books and MP3 files, and I want to be able to fill that up. The tablet only comes in 16GB models, which I find somewhat annoying, but less annoying if there’s an microSD card slot.

Second, it has a Wacom pressure sensitive stylus, with that bit cooked into one of the layers of the OS. I like Wacom products a lot, so I see this as a definite plus. If I can find a good drawing program, I’ll be set.

I’ve had it for a couple of days now, and I like the tablet overall. The display is crisp, colors are good, and sound is good enough. (I use headphones anyway.)

Yes, it’s plasticky, but I don’t care. Compared to the Xoom, it feels feather-light. If plastic makes it lighter, then by all means, make it all plastic. It’s just as strong as anything else.

My only beef is with all of the “Software I don’t want or need” that Samsung insists on dumping on the tablet. I don’t need a Samsung version of every Google program I already use. What’s worse is that I can’t uninstall the Samsung software. Samsung makes great hardware, but I like the Google software.

Let me run what I want. It’s like buying a laptop full of crapware. I wind up formatting the hard drive and doing a clean install anyway.

I would love to put Cyanogen on this, but then I’m afraid I’d lose some of the pen pressure support, and it may be just as much or more of a hassle than keeping the software I won’t use, anyway.

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