17 November 2015

Android Love Affair

I will always be a Mac girl at heart. It will always be my default go-to machine, my choice of a daily driver. That is, if I were given a choice. My office machine is a Windows 7 Dell laptop which is company issued so there's really nothing I could do but use it 5 days a week. Not that I have any personal (and might I say, unjustifiable) grudge over non-Mac / Apple gadgets - I am long past that phase as a geekette - so I'm very much open to all platforms.

In fact, I do like tinkering with Android quite a bit. The toys, err hardware, involved are way much cheaper than the equivalent Apple ones. Let's just say I'm much more ready to risk bricking my Xiaomi Mi4i than my Apple iPhone. Although for some reason, even up to the individual cells in my body believe that I could never brick the iPhone. I would liken it to trying to customize one's fridge to turn it into a fridge with frying abilities, only to find out that the customizations one is able to reach are really just skin deep - like stickers - and well, that fridge remans a fridge, unable to fry anything, in the end.

I did buy a Galaxy Note 10.1 N8000 about 2 years ago, in late 2013. It's now with my parents who use it hooked to the TV in the living room where they stream Korean dramas with an app. The Note 10.1 was just way too bulky and heavy for me to integrate it in my life. (cue: dramatic background music).

Then, in 2014, I realized there was a hole in my tech existence which could only be filled by a tablet but I knew it couldn't be a 10" screen one. So along came the Galaxy Note 8.0. You guessed it right, the compelling factor was the S-pen. I'm an old-school-note-taking kind of girl so the integrated Wacom digitizer lured me in. That meant I couldn't get an iPad even though the polish of iOS and the hardware were tempting. Plus, being the geek I am, I just had to get something of a different platform since I already had an iPhone.

More than 18 months after purchasing the Note 8.0, which was released late in 2013 itself, I'm now stuck with a gadget that's more than 2 years old. Without any valid hardware upgrade from Samsung, I couldn't find a replacement : 8" tablet with a stylus that worked magnificently. Yes, you could say there's now the Tab A with S-pen but the specs of that are cringe-worthy. If only Samsung would release Lollipop and slap in a recent version of their TouchWiz UI for the Note 8.0, I'd be a happy camper. 

But a geek does what a geek does in times of trouble. With the warranty period over, I therefore proceeded with rooting my device in hopes of customizing it. There are plenty of custom ROMs for the Note 8.0 but sadly, the N5120 or 4G LTE version that is so prevalent here in Singapore is always left out of the supported devices for this wonderful development efforts of the Android community. I only see the WiFi versions being more actively worked on.

Nonetheless, I'm still quite happy to go on with my little Note 8. Thus I souped it up to better equip it as my writing machine on the go. Enter: Zaggkeys Folio.

What's great about still owning an outdated gadget which was once famous is that a few years after your purchase, you are able to get accessories at super low prices as resellers dispose of their old over stock of the item. The Zaggkeys Folio for Note 8.0 originally retailed at USD 99.99 or around SGD 140. I got mine at SGD 61 shipping included. Actually, the keyboard case itself cost me USD 24 on ebay but the shipping was exorbittant as always.


And it's got a backlit keyboard too!! I think Amazon has more offers for even as low as USD 17 - shiping to US only or shipping may add considerably more to the price.

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