I've been considering purchasing a Tablet/eReader/something to bring to my PFS games. Something I can pull up in a hurry without having 2-3 giant books taking up valuable space. Has anyone experimented with different options? I'm ideally looking for something that I can keep multiple tabs from multiple PDFs open at the same time, create bookmarks that are easy to navigate, and something that isn't a beast to carry around (no laptops). Long battery life and limited glare would be nice, too, although since most games are only 4-5 hours I can just bring a charger if need be. I also don't own any Apple products, and I'd prefer not to start, but if there's something out there that fits the bill I can give it a shot.
Thanks in advance!
Asus makes excellent tablets, I own a transformer prime with the keyboard attachment and use the various pathfinder resources on the android market (most of which are free) to manage my characters and dice and keep track of my groups hp and spells and such. Can't speak for any other brands as I got my whole group in on the band wagon, so now they all have transformers, but I can say ive never had any issues with my tablet for the purposes of pathfinder.
Here's a couple with the keyboard docks for pretty cheap.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ASUS-Eee-Pad-Transformer-Prime-32GB-TF201-Plus-Free -docking-station-/130852845346?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item1e776ff722#ht_168 wt_913
Keep in mind, there are newer versions of the transformer line available, but theyre quite a bit more expensive than the prime.
I use a nexus 7 it doesn't have the price tag of the ipad and battery gets me well through our gaming sessions. I find myself using masterwork tools, I also hop on the srd with it, and have a few PDFs open as well. The PDF navigation will depend heavily on the app you are using I use adobes and another generic free reader if I want to have multiple PDFs opened at the same time and just swap between the two.
Best balance of price/power I've found is the Kindle Fire HD series. These things are pretty beast and easy to crack, if you don't want the Amazon interface.
Behind them come Asus and Samsung as more capable, but more expensive, options.
If you ask again in a few months, I'm sure more Windows 8 Tablets would be worth discussing. I keep being tempted because I run my game out of MS One Note, which isn't on Android, so I have to bring out the laptop instead of a tablet.
I use a Nook tablet, myself, and, even though it isn't the newer bigger screen one, as long as I turn on rotation, and flip my Nook on its side, I can read the PDFs.
As mine is also rooted, it can run the various Android apps for PFS, including the one that lets you track scenarios and modules played and GMed, along with tracing which PC got the credit. It hand;es my 14 PCs just fine, and has an option for multiple players, in addition to multiple PCs per player.
Spellbook PF is a good app, lets you setup spellbooks individualized for each of your PCs.
And there are various and sundry apps for rolling dice and/or tracking initiative. Some of them can even track buffs & debuffs and such.
A tablet with a larger screen, and a keyboard option, would make a bunch of things easier, but would also be bigger.
My Nook, just like the Kindle, is similar in size to a thin paperback book.
|firefly the great
The laptop is the best option, in my opinion. I have the iPad 3 and it is still too slow for my tastes.
That said, I would suggest a high end tablet if you decide to go that route. If you are a Hero Lab fan, the iOS version is slated for March.
But again, I have used both many times and I always revert to the laptop.
I use both an iPad and the Nexus 7. During a game though I'm far more likely to use the iPod touch to quickly lookup a spell or a status effect. The small size is so much less disruptive if you're at a table with 6 or 7 other people.
The other Kindles with e-ink do open PDF files, but the longer refresh between pages make them hard to use for reference. They are ok if you're reading a new PDF from front to back. Very painful if you're looking for a specific page.
In summary though, you can use a tablet to reference one or two PDFs during a game, but it's always a little rough switching back and forth or finding something that's not on the current page. The most effective use I've seen is for the GM to have the mod or scenario open on one, then have the other references available as physical books. As a player, a lot of the value of tablets comes from the apps available. Quickly finding the right rule or reference (even online) can press the game forward rather than waiting even a few minutes for someone to find a line in a physical book.
I still bring and use the core rule book, but I don't carry around the physical APG, UC, UM, etc.
I have an ipad 3 and I use it quite a bit for gaming. Yes its an apple product, but I still enjoy it.
You want to find a tablet with the following:
1. Its got a powerful processor, which is important for any tablet PC, which helps you sort through pdfs quickly.
2. A high resolution screen for crisp reading.
3. Internet connection and not just wi-fi, a data plan if you can afford to. However if the area you're playing in has wi-fi always and its accessible, then don't worry about it as much.
Most GMs I've played with enjoy the tablet as they like to post things online such as pictures, characters, ongoing plots, etc. You can just pull it up on your tablet and show everyone. I also find that sometimes other players do not know what sort of enemy they are fighting and I usually find a picture on google to show them and it gives them a deeper understanding of the game.
Also being able to pull up your sheet on your tablet is helpful and easier than paper/pencil.
I just picked up a 128GP Surface Pro. It'll run anything, including HeroLab (character sheet and combat tracker) and of course several open PDFs for all my rulebooks, and OneNote with the stylus lets you take handwritten notes including dropping in images, hyperlinks, tables, etc. It ain't cheap, but it ain't a toy either.
In regards to the tablet data plan, bear in mind, so long as you have an android phone you can always use a third party tethering program, (foxfi or pdanet come to mind) tether your tablet to the phone, and run whatever internet-required stuff you have that way. You can also get a dongle or mini-hdmi cord for most modern phones that will connect to your tv and upscale whatever you need that way. (I have a flatscreen in our gameroom that is being used for maps and anything that needs to be blown up to size from my phone)
Personally, I'd recommend the Nexus 10 (which is manufactured by Samsung) as it's comfortable to hold, rugged, and has the best screen resolution of any tablet currently available: 300dpi same as your printer.
The only issue I've found is strictly an app issue and not a hardware issue. Simply put, while there are lots of good Android PDF viewers to be found, I have yet to find one that allows me to keep multiple PDFs open at the same time. Of course, nothing's to stop you from having several different PDF viewers open at the same time — switching between apps on the latest verions of Android is actually easier than doing so in Windows (IMO).