jay_beckner

I play poker and trade options, seeking edges from study, reflection and analytics.

New Tech

New Tech

Whew. Glad that's over!

I endured decrepit primary devices for awhile, but my productivity-limiting, mobility-limiting and downright frustrating old tech has finally been replaced.

Just in case you're in the market for a new tablet, notebook or phone, here's a quick summary of my new tech and thoughts on the major ecosystems.

Tablet

I was thinking a solid 2-in-1 PC could eliminate the need for a personal-use tablet, but I really enjoy the durability, hyper-mobility and good-for-reading form factor of tablets.

The new iPad's price, and Best Buy's trade-in program and ($25) gift card incentive, made upgrading a no-brainer. The 32GB model with WiFi in Space Gray ($329) replaced a barely-usable 3rd gen iPad 32GB with WiFi + Verizon 4G ($96 trade). I'm thrilled so far.

This is the ESR iPad case. It's quality, functional and cheap. The new iPad looks very similar to previous iterations (i.e. no product image needed).

This is the ESR iPad case. It's quality, functional and cheap. The new iPad looks very similar to previous iterations (i.e. no product image needed).

Update 4/14/17 - I played Super Mario Run on the new iPad. When the screen dented slightly from tapping "too hard," it went back. The swapped for device appeared to have been a frisbee in a former life. I returned it, so no iPad. 
 
I learned: 1) Best Buy has great customer service, a generous trade-in program and the new "My Best Buy" UI (user interface) is a worthy customer retention strategy, 2) I overstated this tablet's durability and was reminded why I'm not an Apple fan.

Notebook

I've been searching far and wide for a reasonably priced, 2-in-1, Windows 10 ultrabook with bleeding-edge hardware, beautiful design and solid construction.

Microsoft's Surface line looks great, but it features top-of-the-market pricing and 6th gen Intel processors (the rest of the market is on to generation seven). Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 seems like the perfect adaptation to it's killer XPS notebooks, but too many reviews flag the under-powered mobile chip as a product killer. Asus and Lenovo offer interesting designs, but none are the total package.

Then there's the HP Spectre x360... I caught it on sale ($150 off), got a $70 EPP discount and ordered the following custom configuration for about $1,120 before tax:

  • Windows 10 Home 64
  • Intel® Core™ i7-7500U (2.7 GHz, up to 3.5 GHz, 4 MB cache, 2 cores) + Intel® HD Graphics 620
  • Onboard 16 GB Memory
  • 512 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD
  • 13.3" diagonal FHD UWVA BrightView WLED-backlit touch screen (1920 x 1080)
  • Full-size island-style backlit keyboard
  • Intel® 802.11ac (2x2) Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® 4.2 Combo
  • HP Wide Vision FHD IR Camera with Dual array digital microphone
  • 3-cell, 57.8 Wh Lithium-ion polymer Battery
  • Dark ash silver (color)
  • HP Active Stylus Pen
  • HP USB-C to HDMI Adapter
Spectre x360 (2nd generation) product image from the HP Store.

Spectre x360 (2nd generation) product image from the HP Store.

The comp has yet to disappoint. I especially like the system's performance, great keyboard design and the tablet configuration/mode. I replaced a bulky, failing 2011 Dell XPS 15 Window's 7 laptop with a 2nd gen i7 processor and 8GB RAM. (Best Buy will get it next week.)

If you buy the HP or a similar 13.3" 2-in-1 notebook, get the Tshing Sleeve Case. It's much nicer than the bundled HP case and matches the computer's dark ash silver color scheme. And, the Samsung T3 External SSD 500GB has been a great backup and transfer solution.

Update 10/9/17 - I've tried three times to get a working system! The summary can be found in yesterday's Quarterly Report. I still think the design/ value of this system is best in class, but I can't recommend HP for quality issues and poor customer service.

Phone

My Google Nexus 6P, on the Project Fi network, survived this round of upgrades. The high-powered, bloat-free device gets the latest Android software updates and is the mobile data hub for my new WiFi-only tablet and PC.

If you're looking for a new phone, the Pixel is the way to go. But, its Huawei predecessor (the 6P) is still one of the best phones in the market.

Ecosystems

Apple, Google and Microsoft are the titans of consumer technology. IMO, each has claimed a device category.

Apple tablets - simple design, great for media (iTunes), the App Store

Microsoft (Windows 10) notebooks - versatile, ubiquitous, unmatched productivity

Google phones - high-end performance, amazing camera/Photos combo, Maps and Android Pay are best-in-class mobility apps

I have my preferences, but the ecosystems are speeding toward commoditization (hence the investments in future technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality and autonomous vehicles)...

Finding and transitioning to new devices is painful and expensive. Good luck if changes in your digital life are imminent!

Quarterly Report

Quarterly Report

Poker Revelations

Poker Revelations