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  #1  
Old 12-27-2017
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theksmith theksmith is offline
(Kristoffer) (K1KRS)
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Radio new tablet for the Jeep, Asus Z8s (Verizon)
i bought a new tablet for the Jeep to replace my aging LG G Pad 8.3 LTE...

it's an Asus Z8s (Verizon) and has been on sale this month for $99 (with 2yr agreement). the specs look good at that price - for a cell data type tablet. there may be better deals on WiFi-only tabs, but i've grown accustomed to always having data without pairing to a phone or hotspot.




early review:

i've only had it about a week, so these are just my first impressions:

pros:
- it has a really bright IPS screen! some reviews said perhaps not as nice as the AMOLED screen on newer Samsung tablets, but still considerably better than my previous G Pad 8.3's LCD.

- plenty of RAM and processor power for modern apps. i haven't experienced any lag yet.

- the aspect ratio of the screen is more squared instead of really wide like has become common with Android tablets. not great for watching movies i guess, but i think it is more usable for most other apps.

- modern looking thin metal body, loud & clear speakers with DTS, decent camera, and other such things that don't matter a bit in the Jeep but do make it a nice tablet!
cons:
- the navigation buttons are built in to the bezel instead of on-screen, and the home one is a physical button. this wouldn't be bad except they're placed further from the screen than typical and are not backlit. it's really not intuitive at all to use them in the dark. i'm going to try placing a gow-in-the-dark sticker on the home button to help me find them!
undecided:
- it's running Android 7.0 (Nougat), a full version behind the latest. that's still 2 versions newer than the LG tablet i'm replacing, so we'll see how i like it. one downside is there's currently no way to root this tablet and so i'll likely be giving up some of the customizations i'm used to.

- battery specs are just average, hopefully it's got enough juice to not shut-down when i leave it in the Jeep and don't drive for a couple days.

- fingers also crossed that the GPS chip/antenna works well in the Jeep. i couldn't find any reviews specifically discussing that, so i'll just have to be a guinea pig. so far just driving around town in good weather it's been very responsive.

mounting:

i decided to re-use my existing tablet mount, but needed to change it over from micro-USB to a USB-C connector for the Asus.



i had to dremel off my little custom connector and attach the new cord. i used mostly the same method as before to attach the plug. i cut up a new pipe elbow for the housing, but this time i used a small amount of super-glue to first hold things in place and then filled up the cavity with black RTV.



i'll let you know how the tablet works out after i've had it long enough to use on a couple off-road trips.
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  #2  
Old 01-30-2018
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theksmith theksmith is offline
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Default Re: new tablet for the Jeep, Asus Z8s (Verizon)
it's been over a month and so far this tablet is the best $99 i've spent lately!

it hasn't locked up or glitched in any way and everything just responds super fas. the UI feels even smoother than my fairly new LG G6 phone. still really happy with the bright screen too. the non-backlit buttons still bug the crap out of me at night, but my fingers are getting somewhat used to finding them.

i've been on several short trips offroad as well as using nav in town plenty and GPS reception has been fine.

battery life nor the unavailability of root are a problem. there's a built in battery-saver feature with several "levels" - one automatically turns on/off wifi, data, bluetooth & GPS when the device is awake/asleep. the same things i was doing with Tasker on other tablets. i've been using that level so far the little guy still has plenty of charge after sitting asleep in the jeep for a couple days.

i also figured out how to have Tasker turn the screen on and unlock it when in the Jeep, but if it's removed from the rig then the lock screen is re-enabled. this was simple on previous tablets, but took some round-about thinking to get it working without root.
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2018
Ladybug Ladybug is offline
(Karen) (KG7UHP)
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Default Re: new tablet for the Jeep, Asus Z8s (Verizon)
Kris...excuse my techie ignorance...but is this a device that you have loaded trail maps on, from what? base camp? and can run the trails without a gps satellite or any other kind of wi-fi or cell service? smiles, ladybug
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2018
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theksmith theksmith is offline
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Radio Re: new tablet for the Jeep, Asus Z8s (Verizon)
Karen, i'm gonna give you the long answer, sorry!

this particular tablet has WiFi as well as cellular data (4G) through Verizon, so it's sort of like a giant smartphone. it does have a GPS receiver built-in that can determine your location even when you aren't connected to the internet.

it runs the Android operating system so there are plenty of apps available that will make use of its GPS to show you where you are on a map, record tracks/waypoints, etc. i personally use the app AlpineQuest GPS Hiking which cost $10. we've done a couple classes on how to use it.

the maps come directly from the internet. there are USGS topo style maps, road maps, satellite maps, and much more! it is not compatible with the Garmin maps that you buy on CD or SDCard. you have to download the particular type of map you want for the exact area you are planning to visit before you go (while you have internet access).

as far as waypoints and tracks - any of these tablet map/GPS apps can import a GPX file. so you can use a program like BaseCamp to create routes/tracks/waypoints before a trip and export them to GPX format for use on the tablet.

you can also just draw your routes/waypoints directly in the app. i usually either do that or sometimes use the free website Caltopo to plan out a trip and save the routes to GPX. i like Caltopo because it has the same map sources (map types) as most of the phone/tablet apps do.

Diane and Tim both have tablets setup to do all of this too, so if you are considering getting one then you might ask them how it's going. i don't think i have them fully convinced that it's a good thing yet
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2018
adriaanvn99 adriaanvn99 is offline
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Default Re: new tablet for the Jeep, Asus Z8s (Verizon)
Always loved the idea of a tablet in the rig because of practicality and variety of uses. Will have to figure out a neat way of mounting one in the XJ.

Have you ever heard of APRSDroid? Seems like a solid option to run APRS when you are out of range of the digipeater (and have data connection of course)
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  #6  
Old 02-08-2018
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theksmith theksmith is offline
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Default Re: new tablet for the Jeep, Asus Z8s (Verizon)
Originally Posted by adriaanvn99 View Post
Always loved the idea of a tablet in the rig because of practicality and variety of uses. Will have to figure out a neat way of mounting one in the XJ.

Have you ever heard of APRSDroid? Seems like a solid option to run APRS when you are out of range of the digipeater (and have data connection of course)
yes, i used APRSDroid a few times in the WJ with a MobilinkD TNC and my Kenwood V71A.

unfortunately i had a stupid moment and hooked the Mobilink to power backwards when i was putting it in the JK (smokend it)! i never bought another one because honestly the whole APRS thing seemed like a cool idea, but i never had a real use for it.

FYI, you can use APRSDroid with offline maps so you don't need a data connection for the maps... nor a repeater if you're just transmitting your position to other rigs on the trip with you: https://aprsdroid.org/osm/
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  #7  
Old 02-12-2018
Ladybug Ladybug is offline
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Default Re: new tablet for the Jeep, Asus Z8s (Verizon)
Originally Posted by theksmith View Post
Karen, i'm gonna give you the long answer, sorry!

this particular tablet has WiFi as well as cellular data (4G) through Verizon, so it's sort of like a giant smartphone. it does have a GPS receiver built-in that can determine your location even when you aren't connected to the internet.

it runs the Android operating system so there are plenty of apps available that will make use of its GPS to show you where you are on a map, record tracks/waypoints, etc. i personally use the app AlpineQuest GPS Hiking which cost $10. we've done a couple classes on how to use it.

the maps come directly from the internet. there are USGS topo style maps, road maps, satellite maps, and much more! it is not compatible with the Garmin maps that you buy on CD or SDCard. you have to download the particular type of map you want for the exact area you are planning to visit before you go (while you have internet access).

as far as waypoints and tracks - any of these tablet map/GPS apps can import a GPX file. so you can use a program like BaseCamp to create routes/tracks/waypoints before a trip and export them to GPX format for use on the tablet.

you can also just draw your routes/waypoints directly in the app. i usually either do that or sometimes use the free website Caltopo to plan out a trip and save the routes to GPX. i like Caltopo because it has the same map sources (map types) as most of the phone/tablet apps do.

Diane and Tim both have tablets setup to do all of this too, so if you are considering getting one then you might ask them how it's going. i don't think i have them fully convinced that it's a good thing yet
Thanks Kris! I think I got it! I'm going to check to see what Diane and Tim like/not like....but it sounds ok to me...I'll have to give it more thought and maybe next time I see you, I'll examine it more closely, ok please?
smiles, karen
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  #8  
Old 02-12-2018
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dzJeepChic dzJeepChic is offline
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Default Re: new tablet for the Jeep, Asus Z8s (Verizon)
Originally Posted by Ladybug View Post
Thanks Kris! I think I got it! I'm going to check to see what Diane and Tim like/not like....but it sounds ok to me...I'll have to give it more thought and maybe next time I see you, I'll examine it more closely, ok please?
smiles, karen
I'm still learning how about Alpine Quest, so I always bring my Garmin along so I have 2 sources of information. But I must say, the last trip I used the tablet, it worked remarkably well! Even though I wasn't sure I had set up the maps correctly, I had, and I liked the display much better than my garmin.
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2018
karrlos karrlos is offline
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Default Re: new tablet for the Jeep, Asus Z8s (Verizon)
Great review. I dig the mounting location of your tablet.
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