Tablet left by an AndroidI’m in the market for a tablet with some very specific specs and uses that, unfortunately, are not easily searchable and I’m wondering what your suggestions are.

The basic idea here is in about two months for about two months straight I’m going to be pulling new baby duty, which means I’ll be up quite a bit at night holding a wiggle worm and attempting to occupy my brain while I give up on the notion of sleeping through the night.

Book/Comic Reader

I’d really like something a proper size for reading ebooks and also comic books (I know, don’t laugh. It’s what you have the attention span for when you get a new kid.) This puts the ideal screen size larger than most of the tablets I’ve played with but definitely need smaller and lighter than the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

About the size of a comic book page – 7 x 10.5 viewable screen space would be ideal.

Also as I’m going to be reading holding this thing, light is better. Seriously, you hold a two something pound monster and try to get more than 11 pages in an ebook without Googling “carpal tunnel syndrome”.

While this may be an Android specific request, it would be nice if the device can connect to a Windows share to grab source files from. I’ve got 26 kajillion public domain CBRs and would like to be able to access them without having to choose which ones I want on the tablet.

When you’re trapped under an infant at 3:00 a.m., they don’t really take kindly to you going upstairs to plug in a tablet, wait for iTunes to pop up, drag the items over to the app, wait for it to sync, and then come back down to handle cranky newborn.

Baby monitor

Part of the job of the tablet is going to be using it to monitor baby #2 when it finally gets here. While the specs for a baby monitor aren’t anything a modern tablet can’t handle, having the screen on all night on basically the same image tends to lead to burn in on some tablets. My Sony Tablet S has a pretty good ghost image of my daughter’s crib.

Root/reportability

It would be nice if I had something I could write about that wasn’t covered by every blog out there. Why don’t I write much about Apple? Because there are 11 trillion Apple blogs out there. I mean I wouldn’t turn down an iPad Air 7 or whatever, but there’s not much for a root guy to write about in that market that isn’t covered by freakin’ Forbes magazine.

Ability to switch users

I’d like to use it, my wife would like to use it, I’m betting baby #1 would like to use it. I’d rather not have my home screen have their junk, and I’m pretty sure they’d rather not have links to scripts and applications that could brick the device.

Tough enough to survive a toddler with peanut butter hands

This one’s tricky – most tablets will survive a toddler without huge issues. Toddlers are short, they drop things closer to the ground, they’re less likely to break a tablet in a fall than you or I are. Gorilla glass is tough.

However, the peanut butter hands is where things get tricky. Buttons without proper seals tend to collect grime, and peanut butter. To date my tablets (the Sony Tablet S – too slow to handle, and the iPad 2 – no storage, can’t access Windows share, completely filled with educational apps,) have survived only due to cases that cover the buttons with soft rubber.

Not saying that a tablet that requires a case is a deal breaker, but it would be nice to not have to spend an extra $30 on that.

Fast enough to not make me want to break it

One of the things with my Tablet S that drives me batty is I can tap on a text input and wait five seconds for a keyboard to appear, and then wait another five before I can input text.

Fast enough to not make my daughter want to break it

I packed the iPad 2 for a Memorial Day weekend trip and headed down to Atlanta. It didn’t get broken out until we were on the way back and the toddler grew a great sense of ennui and disenfranchisement from the driving class.

I knew something was wrong from the angry outbursts from the peanut gallery, but she somehow created a kernel panic, the OS crashed, and it had to start up again. That thing takes forever and three days to start.

Sound

One of the things I love about the HTC One M8 and M9 are Boomsound speakers. I never thought there would be a use for these until I had a kid, now I’m told on the idea of a cell phone with speakers. I can play music my toddler likes, I can watch some movies if I’m just sitting around waiting for something and haven’t brought headphones,) and games are pretty enjoyable without noticing that my ears don’t seem to ever fit quite properly with whatever earbuds I’m trying this month.

Sound quality isn’t a must, but it’s a strong factor in what makes the perfect tablet for me.

Power / battery / geese

It doesn’t have to last forever, but a few days of activity that’s mostly reading would be nice. Also something that can charge fairly rapidly so if I’m in a situation where I’m about to head out and want the tablet and it’s not charged I can get it charged to usable for a bit.

honk honk honk

Updates

It would be nice if there’s a track record of updates. I’ve got an Android tablet that as far as I can tell was end of life the day I bought it, and the updates for the iPad 2 seem to have mostly been a downgrade in performance (this is just me griping about iOS 8 on the iPad 2, not iOS 8 in general).

Sensors and things

Doesn’t need to have connectivity past WiFi, would be nice to have GPS, NFC, tilt/compass sensors, and a camera.

Wrap up

While my ideal device is a comic book sized Android tablet with 24 cores, 64 gigabytes of memory, and a couple of petabytes of storage, that currently doesn’t exist, and every tablet I’ve run across looks good on paper, but something about it generally is defeated by my requirements.

I have no idea what this tablet is, I’m hoping one of you have some input. Or just tell me about your tablet, what’s good and what bites about it.