Entry-Level Phablets: Current Recommendations?

Posted 04 July 2018 – 10:50 PM

If this topic gets any attention and traction it will, obviously, become dated as far as the early posts as time goes on.  At the same time, it has the potential to show whether any of the non-majors are making consistently better products than the others.

I have finally convinced my partner to enter the 20th century (even though it's the 21st) and get a smartphone.  His main reason for wanting one is to use Waze.   He certainly does not need a flagship device either in terms of speed or ultra-high screen resolution.  But, he wants a large screen and I've been sticking with a 6" screen as a minimum.

This search has not been easy, and I've already hit several major bumps.  I decided to give a BLU Vivo XL3 Plus a try first, and given the price of $140 on smile.amazon.com and the specs, it looked to be perfect, and almost was.  I got the first one and it worked perfectly except for one huge thing – you could not make outgoing calls.  Any number you dialed put the thing into its own "Do Not Disturb" mode, icon on the status bar on top and all.  After spending a great deal of time on the phone with their technical support (which was great, actually) they determined that the device was not working correctly and should be returned, so I did.  Thinking this had to be a fluke I did an exchange.  Well, device number 2 did exactly the same thing, so back it went for refund.  It's a real shame, as it was a joy to hold and was very snappy in its overall performance, but if you can't make a phone call with a phone, well . . .

Next (and currently) I decided to go with a Dougee Y6 Max, with a 6.5" screen.  It is a heavy device with a very solid feel to it, much more solid than its $150 price would make you think it would have.  The screen is huge, the resolution is great.  The performance in virtually every way has been way more than adequate, save one, and a pivotal one:  GPS.   The GPS in this device is marginal to fair, and I've done everything I can to recalibrate the GPS and the compass.  That seemed to work more than well enough for ALK CoPilot to run more than well enough, if slightly jerky, but not Waze.  Waze is just acting bizarre, with the car (icon) traveling off the road as I drive, stopping in the middle of "fields" during drives, suddenly jumping to locations that, while "in the area" are nowhere near to where I actually am.  When stopped and sitting still, the Waze map will often reorient itself at random, with the street that is, in fact, directly behind me showing up in front of me, or somewhere else relative to the orientation of the car itself other than where it is.  I do not have this problem when I'm running Waze with my Galaxy S7, but the screen on that is too small for my partner and it is, after all, my phone.  I have yet to see what will happen with Google Maps, but I'm not particularly hopeful.  In any case, the ability to use Waze is actually pivotal here.

It's not like smartphone technology is either new or wildly difficult, so I'd imagine there are any number of makers that are not major players in the US market (e.g., BLU, Dougee, Huawei,InDigi,  Xiomi, etc.) that make a decent entry level device, but it seems I haven't found it yet.  I am trying to keep a budget of $250 or less, as the primary use for this thing will be as a Waze device, phone, and for checking e-mail and/or texting.

If anyone has recently purchased a budget phablet, with a 6" through 6.5" screen, that is behaving well as a phone and a GPS device I'd love to hear about it, particularly if you're a heavy duty Waze user with it.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Transfering pictures from phone to laptop?

Posted 05 July 2018 – 02:42 AM

I have a load of pictures on my nokia 3 phone which I want to transfer to my laptop but can't work out how to do it. I've connected it by USB cable and it shows up on laptop but can't seem to get access to the folders.

Posted 05 July 2018 – 07:52 AM

Have you had the phone turned on when you made the connection?

On many versions of Android you will be presented with a dialog that asks if you want to allow a connection to the computer for USB file transfer the first time you plug it in (or again and again if you don't answer, since the default is "no").

Many people never realize that this is happening since the phone is not on (and it need not be on as far as the screen display goes afterward) so while a USB connection is made it will not allow file transfer.  This webpage, https://devices.vodafone.com.au/web/nokia-3-android-7-1/customise/connecting-phone-and-computer/transfer-files-between-computer-and-phone, may prove helpful.  Even though I have a Samsung Galaxy S7, the only way I can access the USB transfer options at this point is a downward swipe from the top of the screen once the USB cable is connected.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Posted 05 July 2018 – 08:35 AM

Yes i've enabled USB connection on my phone and it shows up on my laptop.

Posted 05 July 2018 – 08:46 AM

Then what, precisely, do you mean by "can't get access to the folders"?

Typically, the only reason you should be forbidden access to the DCIM folder (or any other folder) on the Android side is if Android is preventing it, and it should not be preventing it if the setting mentioned in the article I gave a link to is active (USB connection for file transfer).

Every Android (or other, for that matter) device I've ever used with a digital camera keeps photos under the DCIM (Digital Camera IMages) folder, whether the camera is directed to store photos on internal storage or an SD (or microSD, in the case of a smartphone) card.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Posted 05 July 2018 – 09:41 AM

Ok britechguy I'm obviously doing something wrong so will check things when I get back in from work.

Posted 05 July 2018 – 12:25 PM

Ok britechguy I'm obviously doing something wrong so will check things when I get back in from work.

If you're still having issues make sure that the screen on the Android device is turned on at the time of connection and report back on any message that pops up there or on your computer when the connection is made.

Otherwise, your device should appear in Windows Explorer/File Explorer (presuming a Windows machine of some vintage is on "the other side") and, beneath it, two folders, at least if you have a microSD card inserted in the device, one for the card and the other for the phone's internal memory.  Both should be readable, and the SD card writable if one so chooses, if a USB connection for file transfer has been established.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Posted 06 July 2018 – 02:19 AM

Right I checked that USB Tethering was operation and that's ok but still couldn't get into the files for some reason.

I have discovered that by installing "OneDrive for Android" on both my phone and Laptop that has solved the problem. It scanned my phone and successfully transferred all my pictures and apparently will automatically do so in the future so a win win all round.

Thanks anyway for your help.

Andrew

Posted 06 July 2018 – 08:28 AM

Well, if you were using USB tethering that would be a problem right there.  USB tethering is a method of using your phone as a mobile access point, but not a WiFi hotspot, but connecting via USB instead.

The USB connection for data transfer is not handled through the USB tethering option.

I am, however, glad that you have this resolved using cloud storage as your relay.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Estate agent cannot use photos I sent him

Posted 07 July 2018 – 05:11 AM

My phone is an Android 6.0.1. Model number SM-A300FU.  I took some photos of my house and sent them to my estate agent to put in brochure.  He said he could not adapt them for use.  He asked me to send him some more with my camera set at normal setting?  Please can anyone advise me what to do?

Posted 07 July 2018 – 06:07 AM

It's a bit hard to offer advice without knowing what the agent found wrong with the files. Did they say why they could not use them? What format were the files in?

Top 5 things that never get done:

1.

Posted 07 July 2018 – 06:19 AM

How do I find the information for what format the files are in?

Posted 07 July 2018 – 08:37 AM

JPG files.  Is that correct?  I sent them by email in a OneDrive link.

Edited by Zaffy, 07 July 2018 – 08:38 AM.

Posted 07 July 2018 – 08:54 AM

It comes back to asking your estate agent what, specifically, was wrong with the photos.   Heaven only knows what he or she means by using a camera at "normal size" since digital cameras can take photos at a great many different resolutions.

Since this phone is in the Samsung Galaxy line I will bet two things:

  1. That the default resolution on the photos is such that the files are insanely huge.
  2. You might have taken them with the camera held in portrait orientation, and the estate agent wants landscape.

You need to ask him or her what it is they want, precisely.   If they say something like, a JPG file, then you need to ask for more if that's what you sent them previously.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Posted 07 July 2018 – 10:39 AM

Thanks to all.  I will talk to agent on Monday.

Posted 07 July 2018 – 10:42 AM

Thanks to all.  I will talk to agent on Monday.

Just to close the circle, might I ask you to report back on just what their response was after you have it?

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Posted 07 July 2018 – 11:00 AM

Posted 10 July 2018 – 09:24 AM

Sorry, miscommunication on my part.  The estate agent wanted me to hold the camera horizontally for landscape pictures.  I sent him mostly portraits which he could not use for adverts. 

Posted 10 July 2018 – 01:02 PM

Sorry, miscommunication on my part.  The estate agent wanted me to hold the camera horizontally for landscape pictures.  I sent him mostly portraits which he could not use for adverts. 

Thanks for reporting back.   My "Theory #2" was correct.

I am not quite sure why so many people tend to take photos (other than selfies) with phones oriented in portrait, but the bulk of the world's camera's have always had landscape orientation as the default.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Posted 10 July 2018 – 01:40 PM

I saw your post earlier and suspected britechguy's horizontal vs. vertical was the issue, but what surprises me is that your agent didn't utilize simple photo editing software for needed corrections (cropping to landscape for instance) unless to do so would have jeopardized the image.
Regardless, in lieu of having an agent do their own photography, I ran across a site (no doubt many more on the 'net) that gives some simple pointers for the DIY:

https://snaphappymom.com/real-estate-listings-photography-home-exterior-tips/

Bleepin' desert rat retiree in climes yet to fry brains (knock on cactus).

Past climes/best friend:  photo-91.gif

Posted 10 July 2018 – 02:00 PM

Yeah Brite is bright.  He didn't have much to go on.  I asked the agent about re-adjusting them to landscape but he said something about it not being feasible. Thanks for the interest.  I will follow the link.

How can I make videos do looping?

Posted 07 July 2018 – 01:14 PM

I just bought an Asus Zenpad 10 tablet, it's fine except that I can't find a setting to make videos and vid folders play on a continuous loop, any advice?

At the moment each vid stops after playing, and I have to keep restarting it.

Posted 07 July 2018 – 05:46 PM

I don't know if you can Mick, the manual seems silent on this subject. If you haven't got a copy of the manual you can find it here –

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/EeePAD/Zenpad/Z301M/E13368_Z301ML_MFL_M_MF_EM_V2_WEB.pdf

Chris Cosgrove

Posted 07 July 2018 – 08:27 PM

What type of videos are you watching (example YouTube) Thanks  :)

Posted 08 July 2018 – 12:32 AM

Thanks guys, I've googled around and checked out the manual but sadly I'm beginning to think it doesn't have a looping feature, it cost me 185 GB pounds (246 US dollars) yet my old smaller tablet does have the feature and it only cost me half the price!

I'll try SuperSapiens VLC suggestion and see what happens unless there's a way round it.

Softeyes, what I did with my old tablet was to simply play a video (whether from youtube or anywhere else) on my big PC screen and film it with my digicam on a small tripod, then feed it into Moviemaker to crop it etc, and save it as an MP4 and copy it into a Movie folder on my old tablet.

I'd then have a few dozen vid clips in the folder and title it 'The golden age of rock n' roll ' or 'World War two fighter combat' etc which could then be played on my old tablet on a continuous loop one after the other while I sit with my feet up munching popcorn without having to keep hitting 'play' to start each vid.

Posted 08 July 2018 – 01:53 AM

Hi MickinPlymouthUK,

Thank you for giving more details about your videos. Using my friend Google and YouTube to try and find a tutorial for you to get your videos looping I did not have success. However, I did talk to ASUS and their attempt to explain to me how you would use the default app to open and play videos in a loop fashion was far too complicated for me to repeat!  However, customer service would be happy to work with you directly to sort out how to get your videos to loop. Their number is: 1-888-678-3688 (24/7) Link: https://www.asus.com/us/support/CallUs/

Of course another member might have a solution before you talk to ASUS. Please do let us know if you get the looping sorted and how you did so.  This (your) post is showing in Google and no doubt there are many people trying to figure out the same process as you are!

 

Posted 08 July 2018 – 10:05 AM

Since we're talking Android here, exactly how were you doing it on the old tablet?

It's not that a feature is never removed from Android, but it does happen very seldom.  If it wasn't a native option then what app were you using that went through the folder of videos, auto-playing each, then starting again at the beginning?

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Posted 14 July 2018 – 02:52 PM

Thanks everybody, the saga successfully finally ended today (I hope) when the shop installed VLC for me (I tried and failed to do it myself earlier).

Before that I'd also contacted Asus support but they simply told me that the tablet hasn't got a looping feature, they never even mentioned installing VLC and just left me hanging out to dry!

Posted 14 July 2018 – 04:25 PM

@MickinPlymouthUK, I'm sorry that my ASUS information/link lead you to a dead end.  (ASUS has always come through for me in the laptop/motherboard departments.)

However, fabulous news that you're back in the 'loop' business. Have a blast with your movies. 

Posted 14 July 2018 – 09:06 PM

Great news MickinPlymouthUK I'm very happy to hear that VLC is working for you. :thumbup2:

Posted 26 July 2018 – 08:55 PM

Thanks people, and can I squeeze in another question, namely when should I recharge the tablet back to 100%?

I asked the shop but he launched into a long techy speech and I sheepishly mumbled "thanks" and came away without knowing what he was talking about.

I'm not sure if he was saying "Keep topping it up all the time", or "Wait til it's down to about 10% then top it up".

What do you think?

Posted 27 July 2018 – 03:09 PM

I heard that you should charge it once gets down to 30%, at least thats what I do.

Posted 30 July 2018 – 12:59 PM

Ideally, LiPo batteries should only be fully charged prior to use.If it is not being used for any length of time (more than a few days), it's best to leave it only partially charged.

Edited by Al1000, 30 July 2018 – 01:08 PM.

Posted 30 July 2018 – 05:30 PM

And lithium batteries have no issue with "battery memory" as long-ago NiCd technology did.

You can charge 'em up and run 'em down as far as you want/need to and there's no problem with doing so.  Of course, all rechargeable batteries do have a service life, but that of lithium batteries in electronic devices is quite long.

As Al1000 noted, it is best to have them only partially charged if one is going to put a device into storage.  You'll notice that virtually any device you buy that comes with a lithium battery arrives with enough of a charge to fire it up, but usually well under 50% charge (I've generally seen between 5 and 20 percent).  Since lithium batteries lose charge extremely slowly when sitting idle you can be certain that's how they were shipped from the OEM.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

stock android missing feature

Posted 10 July 2018 – 10:33 AM

How to enable app locking option in stock android . other OS have it.

When using third party apps all locked apps are open as the any locking

app software is uninstalled if not from setting then from play store or tap

n hold pop up option.

please this is related to android security. 

And I am helpless :warrior:

Bluetooth drivers

Posted 13 July 2018 – 03:10 AM

Blue tooth drivers for an android is

Posted 13 July 2018 – 04:28 AM

Top 5 things that never get done:

1.

Lenovo Android 5.0 Launcher 3 faults

Posted 14 July 2018 – 08:34 PM

I have two Lenovo tab 20A10-70 tablets.  Identical with Android 5.0.  All of a sudden, both units develop a "Launcher 3 " error,  Tried clearing its cache but nothing helps and no apps will lanuch.  New to Android and need help.

Posted 14 July 2018 – 08:54 PM

When you said you cleared cache I assume you meant wiping the cache partition.

There is a hard reset available on Android. The below link is for the A10 but I could only find a video for the A30 which should be the same steps. That video shows the wipe cache partition which I would do first if not done already. 

https://www.hardreset99.com/lenovo-hard-reset/lenovo-tab-2-a10-70-wifi-hard-reset-factory-reset-and-password-recovery/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGC8ZExobn0

Somewhat of a coincidence that both are having the same problem unless it was an update that caused the problem.

Posted 15 July 2018 – 10:31 AM

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

Posted 16 July 2018 – 03:26 PM

Both units needed the Android 6.0 update after hard resets.  Wiped everything not moved to the SD cards.  Much faster platform now, will see how it works out as I never put any personal or financial info on them and just watch sports, movies or play games.

Posted 17 July 2018 – 03:25 PM

This issue is almost certainly caused by a recent buggy update to Google Play services – version 12.8.72.
More info here:

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/play/gDLDqOY20DM

My Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70F (running Android 5.0.1) has become very unstable since the update was automatically installed on Saturday.

Posted 23 July 2018 – 08:53 AM

I managed to fix this issue with my tablet.  These are the steps I took (it case it helps anyone else):

  1. Go to Settings -> Accounts -> Google -> Manage your Google Account.
  2. A blank white screen shows.
  3. Wait 3-4 minutes until regular display appears (I periodically tapped the screen to prevent the tablet going to sleep).
  4. Tablet now works fine again – no need to repeat this or do anything further!

Recovering data – Motorola Droid Ultra

Posted 15 July 2018 – 01:01 PM

The screen on my Motorola Droid Ultra broke (no visual, no touch that I can figure). It has a numeric lock screen (I know the code still) and although I have a computer that has connected to it previously, without unlocking it it will not show up in My Computer.

My primary goal is to be able to pull out Color Note memos and browser tabs/bookmarks for two or three browsers. Having it working would be neat but not required.

I envision this being done by fixing the phone (new screen) or some program that can have my computer serve as screen and input for the hardware.

USB debugging is off – probably because it broke Pokemon Go. SIM removed and disabled (been working on this off-and-on for over a year, at this point I am just stubborn and wanting to learn).

I tried replacing the screen, or rather, pulling out of board and putting it into a different Droid Ultra (same phone, different screen/digitizer and case). It did not work. I opened it up and tried reconnecting, still nothing. When plugged in as one does to charge it intermittently vibrates, which according to the internet seems to mean there is no screen connected. There is. 

I have a pigtail USB, microUSB male, micro usb female, and with all that plugged in to the phone, computer (via charger/phone cord), and a keyboard the keyboard does not light up (capslock, num lock) but the phone starts the occasional buzzing for (what I assume is) the screen "unplugged". Not entirely sure how to know is phone is on or off, or if it will turn on at all with the screen "not connected" as it seems to think.

I so want to just be able to pull out the keyboard and plug it in like I can do with real computers. >.<

Any ideas?

Edited by Lill, 15 July 2018 – 01:05 PM.

WIFI on phone

Posted 17 July 2018 – 01:12 PM

hi i have a user who has two phones one work phone one personal phone,

the work phone has no issues and connects to the work WIFI no problem and stays connected, the personal phone however keeps dropping connection to work network ( this does not happen anywhere else ) any ideas? maybe DNS issue or IP not sure what ye think?

Posted 24 July 2018 – 06:58 AM

Hi, i think that if your work phone works ok, & the other one has some issue with wi-fi signals, then either you should check the internet connectivity in your home, or have your phone checked.

Posted 24 July 2018 – 08:02 AM

Hi i have found the issue, the setting  CONNECT AUTOMATICALLY was not checked, it is now ticked and no problems anymore

thanks 

No notification sounds when locked

Posted 25 July 2018 – 11:40 AM

Hello I am running a Samsung galaxy  tap s2. I have set every thing I can find and have made sure the wifi does not turning off wile locked and I will only get notification sounds for about 15 min after it locks. No email, Skype, whatsapp nothing. as soon as I unlock it they sound.

Apps are set to notify.

Tablet settings set to notify wile locked.

Battery saver not on.

And have tried clearing the app cahe

Any ideas?

Edited by Calvinder, 25 July 2018 – 02:53 PM.