New Toy: Azpen A727

Last Friday at work I was presented with a coupon from a local Micro Center for an Azpen A727 tablet for $20.  I didn’t own a tablet, but then again I don’t have WiFi at home so I had to think it over.  On the one hand: tablet for $20!  On the other: what the hell would I do with it?

“$20 tablet!” won that debate.  I figured I might be able to use it at work, or if I travel.  I’m going to a wedding in late July, and off on a business trip to Little Rock, Arkansas for a couple of days in September so I’ll probably be able to use it at the hotels.  Whatever – $20 tablet!  So after work I plugged the address into my GPS and off I went.  Sure enough, tablet for $20, no hassle, no upsell, no problem.

I figure $20 doesn’t even cover the BOM, so how bad could it be?  Well, not too shabby.  The screen ain’t no “retina” but it’s bright & pretty.  The camera is low-res & choppy, but for $20, who cares?  I think the whole “$20!” thing is going to arm-wave away whatever shortcomings it has.

The screen is way small to RDC into our terminal server to access our ERP suite, but it can do it.  Unfortunately the MS RDC app doesn’t seem to close properly when I log out, but whatevs.  I’m still figuring out what to put on it to make it useful.  Firefox, Chrome, Google Translate, Google Earth, Gmail, Quickoffice, maybe Skype.

Tablets have been around for years and I ‘m fumbling around – I feel like a cave man.


UPDATE [2014-08-28]:

Not having much of a need for a tablet I haven’t used this much, but here are some observations:

– My SanDisk 32GB Class 10 MicroSD doesn’t work. Oh, the tablet recognizes it, can “format” it, but it can’t see any files or folders.

– My Samsung 32GB Class 6 MicroSD seems to work OK. Well, sort-of. At first the tablet had trouble with seeing folders, but after I issued a Format command, all the folders I’d put on it were there. So the card wasn’t formatted, but it works fine now.

– Connecting to the drives (internal and MicroSD) is unintuitive. The drives show up as “Removable Storage” on my Win7 workstations but they are inaccessible. On the tablet you have to drag-down the top-left status indicators, select “USB Connected / Touch to copy files to/from your computer”, then touch the button “Turn on USB storage”. Tablet access to the drives is limited when you do that (so, for example, the camera won’t work because it’s got nowhere to drop a picture file); best to transfer the files and then disconnect.

– Azpen Technical support responded to my email in a timely fashion and gave me instructions on how to access the drives (as above), so that’s a plus.

– With only a 7″ screen typing is cramped. It’s easier to sync my Firefox or Chrome and call up a bookmark than it is to type an URL. Typing in passwords is challenging.

– Crashes are occasional.

– I can’t turn off the sound. Oh, I can turn off system sounds, but when I peck at the onscreen keyboard it still clicks.

– Google Earth knows exactly where I am, despite no GPS listed in the tech specs. I have no idea how that’s possible.

– Clicking on the “User Manual” icon invariably generates the following message, “Unfortunately, User Manual has stopped” <OK>. No, that’s not OK.

– The image quality of the camera is piss-poor:

Azpen A727 - Piss Poor Camera

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