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Proof of Concept: Accordance 11 on an HP Stream 7 Windows tablet


R. Mansfield
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There are a lot of low-end Windows tablets recently released or in the pipeline, and I've been interested to see how Accordance fares on them.

 

Today I picked up the new HP Stream from our local Microsoft Store. The physical build quality seems impressive. The Stream 7 is actually heaver in the hand than what I thought. The specs for this device are rather spartan:

  • 7-inch HD IPS touchscreen 800x1280
  • Intel Atom Z3735G quad core
  • 1GB memory/32GB SSD
  • Windows 8.1 (full version--runs desktop apps like Accordance)

So far, I've only installed Accordance 11 Starter Modules. Since the Stream 7 does have a micro-SD slot, I will be testing Accordance on it with the executable on the main drive and a larger number of modules on the SD card.

 

IMG_0726.JPG

 

Keep in mind that this device is even smaller than an iPad mini! To really capture the size of this tiny Windows tablet, here is a photo of it next to the larger (definitely a relative word here!) Dell Venue 8 Pro as well as my iPhone 6 Plus.

 

IMG_0107.JPG

 

Here's another shot but just of the Stream 7 compared to the Venue 8 Pro.

 

IMG_0723.JPG

 

The screen itself has a resolution 1200 x 800 which is not great, but certainly very usable, assuming your eyes can handle the small text. At the very least, the HP Stream 7's screen is crisp and bright, so it's not difficult to read like screens on some inexpensive tablets. Here's a screen shot of the content in the above two pictures. While not at actual screen size (it's probably larger than 7 diagonal inches if you're viewing it on a traditional computer), this image shows that enough content could fit on the screen to make Accordance quite usable in this compact space.

 

Screenshot.png

 

Beyond the small screen and limited hard drive size, here are a couple of immediate downsides to the Stream 7:

  • Although a touchscreen, the screen does not contain an active digitizer (which I recommend for anyone who wants to use Accordance on a Windows tablet). This mean that there's no digital stylus for the Stream 7, so there will be no crossover highlighting functionality in Accordance unless done manually by touching a word. Of course, you can pair a Bluetooth mouse with the Stream 7, but to me this defeats the purpose of its mobility.
  • Related to the above, there's no way to maximize or close a zone because those buttons do not appear without a digital stylus or mouse. To make matters worse, you can't do something like a keyboard shortcut (control-alt-m to maximize a zone in Accordance/Win) because the extended virtual keyboard (the one with the number row at the top) that is available for other Windows tablets is grayed out as an option on the Stream 7. This is probably due to the small screen size, but this keyboard is available on the slightly larger Dell Venue 8 Pro, which has identical resolution.

Knowing these limitations, though, the HP Stream 7 may still be a good option for someone interested in carrying Accordance primarily as a mobile, handy-size reader that offers more capabilities than the iOS version. This might especially be true now that Accordance 11 allows the ability to take notes on any title.

 

More to come.

 

 

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Rick, what's the least expensive Windows tablet you'd recommend that does include the ability to use a stylus? I am seriously thinking about buying just such a device so I can have a "mini-Accordance" with me wherever I go.

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Tim, first let me say that after carrying the HP Stream 7 with me for a few days, including church yesterday, I'm more convinced than ever that the tablets that support a digital stylus are the way to go. It's simply too difficult to use a desktop app (not just Accordance, but any Windows Desktop app) with one's fingers (a capacitive stylus would not improve the situation either). It's a shame that the Modern UI apps have not caught on enough to justify companies investing in them because although they are designed for touch, all of them seem to be subpar in regard to their desktop counterparts.

 

This is also a shame because having both the Dell Venue 8 Pro and now the HP Stream 7, I would consider the HP device to have much better build quality. If they had included a digitizer and stylus, it would probably be a near-perfect mobile Accordance solution.

 

To answer your question, I always watch the list of tablets with digital styluses that's maintained here:

http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/threads/list-of-windows-8-and-rt-tablets-and-convertibles-with-stylus.52592/

 

This list was created in 2012 and has been consistently kept up-to-date ever since (the most recent edit was Nov 29 of this year). According to this list, there are three 8" tablets that use a digital stylus:

  • Toshiba Encore 2 Write
  • Asus VivoTab Note 8
  • Dell Venue 8 Pro

I've got the Dell Venue 8 Pro and have a kind of love/hate relationship with it. For all it's benefits, I have four complaints:

  1. The stylus does not work as "naturally" (I don't know what better word to use) as those of the Surface Pro series or even my Acer R7. It seems to have to "wake up" at times as opposed to simply working immediately like the other mentioned devices, which means I occasionally have to poke at something twice or click its buttons for it to begin working.
  2. The wifi will completely quit working sometimes on certain, but not all, wifi routers. It seems that my Apple Airport is one that it does not get along with as well. It might work fine for long periods of time--even days--but suddenly quit working requiring a complete reboot to fix. I'm pretty certain the current Venue 8 Pro is a slightly newer rev than mine (purchased a year ago), so some of this may have been improved. There are numerous solutions on the internet in various forums to help the situation, some of which I've tried with mixed results. It will work fine for a while and then quit working again. Dell has released numerous patches for the wifi, so maybe they are still working on it.
  3. Sometimes (but not always) the Venue 8 Pro has trouble waking up from its sleep state, requiring a complete reboot. One solution I've read on the internet is to completely turn off this feature, but doing so will wear down batteries faster.
  4. I don't recommend the Dell keyboard made for the Venue 8 Pro, which may not even be a consideration for what you want to do with a tablet this size anyway. I would go on record saying that the Dell Venue 8 Pro keyboard is the worst keyboard I've ever used. They've relegated symbols such as apostrophes and hyphens to function keys which means you simply can't touch type any text that will contain contractions or quotations. I have seen some third-party keyboard cases on Amazon which are quite inexpensive, but I've not tried any of them.

Of course, in spite of the above, there are lots of benefits of having a full version (as opposed to the iOS version) of Accordance in a tablet form factor; and these benefits may offset any of the frustrations. I've not had any experience with the Toshiba or Asus tablets mentioned above, but it might be worth tracking one or both down in a store to see how they compare.

 

Interestingly, I have not had issues #2 & #3 on my HP Stream 7. Again, it's a real shame there's no capability for a digital stylus built into the HP Stream 7--what a great device that would be!

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Hi Timothy,

 

When I was considering a Windows 8 tablet vs an iPad to take Accordance and other programs with me, I took the following into consideration.

 

1. How long would I actually work on the tablet? In my case, it would only be a few hours at a time. With such a short amount of time, I would be able to limit tasks on my tablet that were best suited to it, e.g., reading, syntax searches, and notes.

 

2. Do I want to single tap or triple tap? The advantage of reading on an iPad is a single tap and hold to get a lexical entry. I personally find triple tapping annoying. At this moment, the only way to rapidly read with a single tap is Accordance on an iPad, or BibleWorks on a Windows 8 tablet (or BW using remote software).

 

3. Screen size. Using remote desktop software, my computer screen on a 9.7" iPad would look as large, or perhaps even a bit larger than it would on an 8" Windows tablet.

 

4. Resolution. I sure wanted Retina Display.

 

I eventually decided to go with an iPad, a few key apps, and iTeleport. Even without a stylus I am becoming somewhat of a power user with my iPad. My kids are much more adept with gestures, but I am getting better. I'm sure I would be a power user with a stylus.

 

So, I would recommend that you try remote desktop software first, even a free one, see at http://www.accordancebible.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=13747

and an iPad stylus, e.g., see at

http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/10/2925937/best-stylus-ipad-review

and see if it would meet your needs.

 

It won't hurt my feelings if you don't want to try, but it may be the right thing for others. I love the functionality of the iOS version of Accordance for rapid reading, and the full functionality of Accordance in the iTeleport app, which, by the way, also has a very functional keyboard.

 

Finally, if you or anyone has any experience with an iPad stylus, I would be interested in knowing about it.

 

 

Regards,

 

Michel

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Finally, if you or anyone has any experience with an iPad stylus, I would be interested in knowing about it.

 

I've tried a number of styluses for the IPad, and most of them provide no more functionality than my finger because they are all capacitive. However, there is one iPad stylus that is pretty decent, but it's expensive: the Adonit Jot Script. It actually runs on batteries, connecting to the iPad via low-level Bluetooth.

 

Evernote sponsors the Adonit Jot Script for their Penultimate app, but the truth is that it works with everything on the iPad. Moreover, now that iOS supports other keyboards, if you install the handwriting recognition keyboard from WritePad, you can have handwriting input in any iOS app--even Accordance!

 

I can easily say that the Adonit Jot Script is the best stylus experience for the iPad, but the difficulty remains that it is an afterthought since Apple did not create the iPad for use with a stylus. Even though it is a very good stylus experience on the iPad, it does not compare with some of the better stylus experiences for devices that are made from the ground up for them (such as some of the Windows tablets--especially the Surface Pro series--or the Samsung Galaxy Note tablets that run Android).

 

Steve Jobs hated styluses, of course, so Apple does not have them for the iPad, but I hope that eventually changes. We've been using them since our ancestors first used a stick to write in the mud to explain a concept, and I don't believe we're completely done with them yet.

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Finally, if you or anyone has any experience with an iPad stylus, I would be interested in knowing about it.

 

The best one I ever had was a stylus-pen-flashlight combo that came to the church as a promotional sample. Unfortunately I loaned it to my husband when he needed a pen one day on vacation and it disappeared. I keep a couple of others with me, but it's been a while since I've used them regularly.

 

I mostly used a stylus for handwriting on the iPad: primarily in NotesPlus, which allows for handwriting recognition. (Not in real time, though).

 

MacWorld periodically has reviews of styluses (styli?) often specific to the desired task.

 

Lorinda

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We've been using them since our ancestors first used a stick to write in the mud to explain a concept, and I don't believe we're completely done with them yet.

. . . especially for us dinosaurs.

 

 

if you or anyone has any experience with an iPad stylus, I would be interested in knowing about it.

Thanks to Rick and Lorinda, and to others who might share their experiences.

 

By the way, my stylus needs are very simple - stick drawings, circles, and arrows.

 

 

Windows tablet you'd recommend that does include the ability to use a stylus?

Your stylus needs might be greater than mine. Rick says the best stylus experience is on some Windows tablets.

 

 

 

Steve Jobs hated styluses, of course, so Apple does not have them for the iPad, but I hope that eventually changes.

My stylus needs are not immediate. I can wait if I want.

 

I am becoming somewhat of a power user with my iPad.

Siri likes my voice and renders my dictation almost perfectly; my kids and I experiment with difficult words, and Siri always recognizes my voice and hardly ever theirs. My wife says it is because I speak in a monotone, which the computer loves.

 

And, finally, a bit more clarification on my remote desktop experience:

 

Often my remote location is downstairs by the fire in winter, in the basement during the summer, or in the woods during the fall; it helps to move around. :)

 

Thanks again.

 

Michel

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Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave no doubt. Business Insider had a post yesterday about a digital stylus patent Apple filed for last year:

http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-patents-stylus-2014-12

 

Note that it does have circuitry in it, meaning it is not merely another capacitive stylus with those horrible mushy tips.

 

There are persistent rumors that Apple is working on some kind of "pro" tablet with a larger screen than the current iPads have. Perhaps this stylus will work with that future iPad.

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Hi Rick,

 

Thank you for all the information about iPad styluses.

 

I wonder if the rumor for a pro iPad gained impetus with the announcement of the Apple \ IBM partnership and their new productivity focus.

 

I don't want to hijack your thread about Windows tablets. However, I think the whole discussion merits a new broader category on the Forum - Mobile Productivity, or Taking Accordance with You, or something similar.

 

I would be very interested in hearing about productivity trends in Windows, Android, and iOS devices, including discussions about hardware, apps, and accessories, especially as they relate to increasing productivity in Accordance.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

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  • 4 weeks later...

Rick, what's the least expensive Windows tablet you'd recommend that does include the ability to use a stylus? I am seriously thinking about buying just such a device so I can have a "mini-Accordance" with me wherever I go.

 

It seems like Asus may be working on the next model as the 64 GB version of this tablet has been discontinued and a new 32 GB version is available at the Microsoft Store for $150:

 

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/ASUS-VivoTab-8-M81C-B1-MSBK-Signature-Edition-Tablet/productID.307626900

 

This tablet has pretty good build quality and it has 2 GB of memory and 32 GB built-in storage with a microSD slot, but no stylus.

 

 

 

 

Lastly, I found an extremely useful app for using a Windows tablet without a mouse. It is called "TouchMousePointer" and this little app has made a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE in my usage of my Surface Pro 3 as it allows me to use the screen as a trackpad. The usability is very very good...now I can use my Surface Pro 3 in desktop mode without having to use a Bluetooth mouse, the TypeCover, or the stylus. Also, this will do what Rick is trying to do with hovering the mouse over the text. And best of all it's FREE!

 

Here's the link to it:

http://www.lovesummertrue.com/touchmousepointer/en-us/

Edited by yellowchops
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