SXSW 2015: hands-on with the Touch Easel

What happens when you cross an Android tablet with a school desk? You get something like the Touch Easel, which is here at SXSW 2015, and is launching later today on Kickstarter. The product, which is designed specifically for students with disabilities and aimed at schools and institutions, puts a large Android tablet into an adjustable school desk.

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Nexus 9 video review

I just spent a few days traveling with HTC’s brand new Nexus 9. It’s definitely the best Android tablet I’ve ever used, and Lollipop is absolutely wonderful. Here’s my video review!

The 8.9-inch IPS display looks gorgeous, and the stereo BoomSound speakers are terrific. NVIDIA’s 64-bit Tegra K1 is super fast, and battery life appears to be holding up so far.

Still, there’s room for improvement. Both the power/lock key and volume rocker are difficult to locate by feel and provide little tactile feedback. The 8MP rear camera lacks HDR. It’s also a bit too heavy for my taste.

Finally, there’s the matter of price. $399 buys you last year’s iPad Air or today’s iPad mini (now with Touch ID), which offer a significantly better tablet-optimized app ecosystem…

 

Asus PadFone X review

For $199 on contract with AT&T, the Asus PadFone X is a phone, a tablet, and even a netbook (with the optional $99 Bluetooth keyboard dock). It boasts flagship specs — with a beautiful 5-inch 1080p IPS display, solid 13 megapixel camera, and responsive Snapdragon 800 — and comes with a 9-inch tablet dock that extends battery life. The design is forgettable, and there are some usability quirks, but the price is right. Here’s my video review.

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